How to Plan a Wedding Parade

How to Plan a Wedding Parade

Want to make your wedding exit truly unforgettable? Then go beyond rose petals and rice for your recessional and plan a wedding parade! Known as a second line in New Orleans and and a Callejoneada in parts of Mexico, wedding parades are popular all over the world. They are a wonderful way to celebrate your marriage wherever you go. Here’s what you need to know to plan a wedding parade that runs smoothly and adds a ton of fun to your wedding day.

#1 Plan your path. To make your parade perfect, you’ll want to walk for no more than 20 minutes through a place where passersby can join in and the public will cheer you on. Pedestrian streets without vehicles are ideal, and if they go by restaurants, hotels, and bars where people are already partying, they’re all the better. Should your ceremony and reception site be close together, plan your path between the two as a festive way to commemorate your marriage and arrive in style at the next phase of your celebration. 

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Photographed by Dark Roux - Houston, Texas photographers

#2 Strike up the band! First and foremost, to have a great parade you have to have upbeat music. Find yourself an experienced brass or mariachi band that features trumpets and guitars, and be sure they have a fun-filled repertoire. Their music will lead your guests along and draw people passing by to jump in and join the festivities.

band-players-with-their-instruments-in-wedding-parade-new-orleans-austin-houston-wedding-photographer-photo-by-dark-roux.
Photographed by Dark Roux - Houston, Texas photographers

#3 Choose your grand marshal and other entertainers. Usually a grand marshall will come with your band, but if you’re having a small group you can ask your best man, maid of honor, or any gregarious family member who can continue to drum up the fun while they lead the group behind you. Consider getting stilt walkers, dancers, or costumed revelers to add to the excitement.

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Photographed by Dark Roux - Houston, Texas photographers
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Photographed by F5 Photography - England, UK photographers

#4 Embrace the style of New Orleans and get some parasols for the two of you to twirl as you lead the parade. Give out white handkerchiefs for guests to wave in the air. Or, make your parade more of a traditional Mexican affair and get a decorated donkey to carry a tequila bar for toasts and shots along your way.

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Photographed by Morgan Lynn Photography - Colorado photographers
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Photographed by Marissa Joy Photography - Los Angeles, California photographers

#5 Don’t forget your permit. If you and your group of friends will be parading on a public sidewalk or thoroughfare, you’re going to need the right permits. Check with your local city or county permit office and be prepared to pay a fee. You may not need a permit if your party is small, but chances are you’ll need both a permit and a police escort if you’ll be blocking traffic. Getting married in New Orleans? Fill out their special event permit and parade permit application no less than 15 days before your wedding day. 

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Photographed by ModernMade Weddings - Florida photographers
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Photographed by Lyndsey Goddard Photography - London, UK photographers
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Photographed by Katie Kaizer Photography - Nantucket, Massachusetts photographers
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Photographed by Rebecca Love Photography - Nantucket, Massachusetts photographers