Whether you are traveling to an exotic far-off locale, or you are planning to welcome many out-of-town guests to your current home, you can personalize your wedding with the flavors, sights and sounds of the local culture to enhance your guests’ experience. Infuse local flair into your wedding ideas by following these simple tips!

new orleans wedding ceremony gazebo with cream flowers
Photo by Mon Soleil Photography with planning from Emily Sullivan Events

1. Welcome Bags and Favors
Set the tone of the festivities by welcoming your guests with courtesy bags in their rooms or upon check-in. Include a map, recommendations for restaurants within walking distance and a list of the main attractions to see while they are in town. Personalize your recommendations with your own favorite spots. Add local favorite snacks and beverages to give guests a preview of what is in store.

wedding welcome basket with monogrammed crest taga
Photo by Eric Kelley with welcome basket from A Signature Welcome

2. Choose a Venue with Local Character
During your venue search, look for sites with historical significance and find ways to share the specifics with your guests. Some venues offer short walking tours when guests first arrive, and others have knowledgeable staff on hand throughout an event to interact with guests and give context to the architecture, important dates and figures, and current status of fascinating historic buildings. An event is more fun when you create ties to the venue that all guests can share.

wedding venue New Orleans electric signage
Photo by Lance Nicoll with planning from Emily Sullivan Events

3. Décor
When planning your decorations, ask your designer to use locally inspired flowers, plants and other materials. Consider a fusion of styles – something contemporary you love with something purely local for a look that is unique to your wedding.

local flowers wedding centerpiece
Photo by Hannah Pickle with flowers from Leaf + Petal NOLA

4. Customize Your Menu
What foods are famous in or unique to your wedding destination? Southerners, for example, must have their shrimp and grits, and many western weddings aren’t complete without some twist on a taco. You don’t have to turn your entire wedding into a fiesta, a crab-boil, or a luau – simply request local ingredients throughout your menu, and sampler-size local delicacies as finger foods at your cocktail reception.

wedding cocktails
Photo by A Bryan Photo with beverages from The Grand Bevy

5. Entertainment
When it comes to rounding out the experience for you and your guest, music and entertainment ties everything together. In New Orleans, we love a second line to get everyone from the ceremony to reception. It incorporates an element of surprise, keeps the guests moving and is not something you see every day for weddings. If you find yourself somewhere tropical, consider steel drums or other regional musicians to play while your guests mix and mingle. Another more interactive form of entertainment could be incorporating artisans who are making a handicraft that you can send home with your guests or even a sketch artist to draw portraits.

new orleans wedding second line
Photo by Mon Soleil Photography with second line from Kinfolk Brass Band

Use some or all of these recommendations to give your wedding the flavor and flair of your chosen destination and enhance your guest experience in ways they will never forget.

Emily Sullivan is the owner of Emily Sullivan Events, a full-service wedding planning company based in New Orleans and serving couples everywhere.

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