Outdoor Wedding Blog

Outdoor Wedding Blog: Ideas, news, tips and resources for brides and grooms planning outdoor weddings, from Kim Knox Beckius, author of "The Everything Outdoor Wedding Book." Visit Kim's Outdoor Wedding Web Site: outdoorweddingguide.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Outdoor Weddings in Cajun Country: Vermilionville

When I was invited to speak at a Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) event in Lafayette, Louisiana, I accepted immediately, not only because I'm always happy to share insights about working online with my fellow writers but because I was excited about the prospect of exploring several Louisiana outdoor wedding venues during my June visit. On my first evening down south, our group was scheduled to attend a Fais-do-do at Vermilionville, a living history attraction that preserves the history and culture of 19th-century French Acadiana. Although I was ready to Fais-do-doze, since my early flight required me to head for the airport at 4 a.m., I had the best time at this Cajun feast and dance party.

Want to exchange "I dos" at a Fais-do-do in the heart of Cajun country? A wedding at Vermilionville could be wonderfully fun. A successful wedding has three key ingredients: a meaningful ceremony, a memorable meal and lively music that gets everyone on their feet. If you've never been to Louisiana, the food alone is a reason to go. Cajun cuisine is hearty, and its heat is satisfying, not tear-inducing. Zydeco, the local folk music, originated at house dances, and its up-tempo beat really keeps a party jumping. And Vermilionville offers a variety of indoor and outdoor settings for your wedding celebration. I'll show you a few in these photos from my visit:

Chapel at Vermilionville in Lafayette Louisiana

La Chapelle des Attakapas, Vermilionville's chapel, can seat 110, but it also makes a lovely backdrop for an outdoor wedding ceremony. Couples can arrive at the chapel via horse and carriage or make their dramatic entrance by crossing Le Petit Bayou aboard a hand-pulled ferry.

La Chapelle des Attakapas

In the fall and winter, the option to light the path to the chapel with a flickering trail of candles is available.

Garden Outside the Chapel at Vermilionville

The garden adjacent to the chapel also makes a lovely wedding setting. From this angle, the garden bed in the foreground appears heart-shaped.

Vermilionville Visitors' Center and Festive Area

Many couples choose to hold their Vermilionville outdoor wedding in this courtyard, with the Visitors' Center, which is modeled after a Creole plantation house, as the backdrop. One advantage of selecting this location is that it is near Le Jour de Fête--the Performance Center--which accommodates up to 300 guests for an indoor reception. It's the perfect space for hosting a memorable wedding meal, whether you'd prefer a crawfish boil or a buffet of Cajun specialties. Vermilionville handles all event catering and can tailor the menu to your needs.

Bayou Boys Gumbo Zydeco Show at Vermilionville Performance Center

At the Fais-do-do I attended, the music was provided by the Bayou Boys, who opened the evening with their Gumbo Zydeco Show. Yes--that big slow cooker on the right side of this photo actually holds mouth-watering gumbo, which the band cooked on stage during their performance and served to the audience. After our buffet dinner--complete with my favorite dessert, pecan pie--members of Danser Avec Vous (Dance With You) taught us all the easy-to-learn Cajun waltz. They're available for hire for your wedding celebration, too.

One last hint: Vermilionville has a wonderful Cooking School, so if you're planning a Louisiana destination wedding, consider taking a class during your stay. It's a fun pre-wedding activity for brides to share with bridesmaids and female family members, or, for couples who like to cook together, it's a great way to learn to prepare some dishes that will always remind you of your festive wedding in Cajun country.

More Louisiana Outdoor Wedding Locations

Vermilionville photos © 2008 Kim Knox Beckius.

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