vintage musings
Comment 1

pick your parasol

Parasols and umbrellas are as important to a New Orleans wedding as red beans & rice are to Monday. But why? Where did the tradition come from? And what is that second line handkerchief all about? Heck, what’s a second line? I know many of you already know the answers, but for all of you destination brides and your confused family members, I thought a little explaining was in order.

The second line tradition is one of my favorite ‘only in New Orleans’ wedding traditions. After the ceremony a brass band plays celebratory music as the couple, holding his and hers parasols, dance behind. This is called the ‘first line’. All of their wedding guests, (and often times random people in the French Quarter) are invited to dance behind, waving white handkerchiefs in the air, to celebrate the newlyweds. The band leads the entire wedding ensemble to the reception venue. Think of it as your own little personal parade. I mean, what bride doesn’t want that?

The tradition is based on the famous New Orleans jazz funerals, where the band would play somber, slow music to honor the life of the deceased person. A second line of family and friends would form behind twirling umbrellas and parasols (it is New Orleans after all, and HOT practically all the time!). Those who didn’t have a parasol would retrieve a white handkerchief from the breast pocket of a nearby gentleman and twirl it above their head to join the parade.

So next time you go to a New Orleans wedding, and are handed a handkerchief at the ceremony, you’ll know it’s not to dab your tears or blow your nose but to celebrate the couple in a parade afterwards!

maile lani photography second line new orleans

Maile Lani Photography  see this full wedding here!

Mrs. Vintage New Orleans Second Line One of my brides! Photo by Shannon Kaeding. See the entire vintage, traveling circus themed wedding here.

Mrs. Vintage Blog second lineIsn’t her parasol just to die for!? Peach feathers! Photo by Steve Randon. See the wedding here.

Mrs. Vintage Blog ~ Austin Gros Photography. Originally featured in Martha Stewart WeddingsThere’s that hanky. Austin Gros Photography. See this stunning wedding here.

second line studio vieux carrePhoto by Studio Vieux Carre.

second line meg photo

Photo by Meg Photo.

second line maile laniAnother Mrs. Vintage bride, who was recently featured on the Travel Channel! I can’t wait to share all the lovely pics by Maile Lani.

second line wedding wire

Love the pose, love the parasol! From Wedding Wire.second line handkerchiefs

Southern Weddings Blog

1 Comment

  1. Love it!! The second line was one of our favorite parts about our wedding! It was one of the main reasons for us wanting to get married in this amazing city 🙂 Even Spencer’s 80 year old grandma still raves about our second line and how much fun she had! A definite must for any New Orleans wedding 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s