New Orleans Wedding Venue Review: The Columns Hotel

Happy Wedding Wednesday, brides!  Can you believe this is the last week of March?  Crazy!  I know, for me, the closer my wedding gets, the more unprepared I feel!  This past weekend, though, I happily said "Yes!" to the dress, so I am still basking in bridal gown bliss!  It's a good thing too, because my deadline for finding a gown was quickly approaching crunch time.  Definitely shop early if you can, ladies.  The amount of time it takes to get gowns in-store is ridiculous!

But enough ranting, here's another venue review for this fabulous Wednesday!


The Columns Hotel

The Venue

Located in the historic Garden District (3811 Saint Charles Avenue), the Columns Hotel offers, not only wedding packages, but hosts the Victorian Bar and Lounge, as well as a selection of rooms for your guests.  As suggested by the name of the bar, the decor and setting has an elegant, Victorian vibe.  The lounge itself features a luxe, mahogany bar and fifteen-foot ceilings imported from Honduras.  Put that together with its location on historic Saint Charles Avenue and you've got one charming, New Orleans venue on your hands.

The Columns is also very versatile in accommodation, with the ability to host weddings up to 300 guests in size, as well as to offer either served or buffet style meals (depending on the size of your party).  In addition, there are up to 20 rooms available for guest room blocks with a complimentary honeymoon suite for newlyweds on the day of the wedding.   

Photo Credit: www.thecolumns.com

The Details

Price

The pricing of this venue is based on the size of your event and your space requirement.  The Columns Hotel is three stories, with the first floor being used for catering/dining, and the second and third floors being used for guest rooms.  Depending on the size of your event, you may use either part of the first floor (with the restaurant and lounge still open) or you may rent out the entire floor based on your need for space (requires the restaurant to close for your event).  If you do wish to rent the entire first floor for your event, no site fee will be incurred.  (Please contact The Columns Hotel for site fee quotes.)

The Columns Hotel does accommodate ceremonies in addition to receptions.  For an indoor ceremony, you can host approximately 70-90 guests.  The cost for a 30 minute indoor ceremony is $300.  For larger parties, an outdoor ceremony is required, and costs $1500.  Chairs and set-up fee are included in this price. 

The reception menu options are quite extensive, offering a wide range of options:

  • The Avenue Package- $29.50/person
    • 12 servings of food per person
    • One specialty station
    • Seven passed hors d'oeuvres
  • The Albertine Package- $34.50/person
    • 15 servings of food person
    • Two specialty stations
    • Eight passed hors d'oeuvres
  • The Ballroom Package- $39.50/person
    • 17 servings of food per person
    • Three specialty stations
    • Ten passed hors d'oeuvres

All packages are based on a three hour reception with a minimum of 50 people.  A 9.75% tax and 20% service charge will be applied to all packages.

Specialty stations can include carving stations (such as top round of beef Au Jus or whole roasted turkey), New Orleans gumbo stations, pasta stations, or fruit stations, with plenty of options in each to really personalize your menu.  You also have a wide range of passed hors d'oeuvres options (hot or cold) including minature muffaletas, beef brochettes, Louisiana crab cakes, and alligator sausage. 

Photo Credit: www.thecolumns.com

The beverage package options are as follows:

  • Three Hour Open Bar
    • House Brand- $24.00/person
    • Call Brands- $28.00/person
    • Top Shelf- $32.00/person

Includes scotch, whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, beer (light, import, local), red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, and all mixers, juices and soft drinks.

  • Three Hour Unlimited Beer, Wine and Champagne Only
    • House Brands- $25.50/person
    • Call Brands- $30.50/person
  • Three Hour Unlimited Soft Drinks, Juice and Coffee Bar
    • $18.50/person

You are also able to add on signature craft cocktails, such as Sazeracs, French 75's, Juleps, Old Fashioneds, and Pimms Cups.  If you so choose, price and quantity quotes will be given to you upon request.  Bear in mind that all bar packages will incur a 9.75% tax and a 20% service charge.  Also, bartender rental starts at $75/bartender.

The Package

One thing to bear in mind is that the Column's does require a minimum reached by food and bar of $5,000.  The events coordinator estimates that parties of 70-100 people usually meet the minimum.  The good news is, if the minimum is met, the package will include the following:

  • China
  • Silverware
  • Glassware
  • Linens
  • Tea Lights/Flowers (Seasonal)
  • Staff
  • Event Coordinator

The Columns openly lists in their wedding package that they do not cover music (though space and voltage is available) and wedding cakes (though they have several recommended bakeries).

Side Note

One thing I really wanted to touch on while reviewing the Columns Hotel, is the event manager, Adam Miller.  Adam is attentive, informative, and just all-around helpful.  When you think of excellent customer service, this gentleman should come to mind.  Mr. Miller not only provided an abundance of information regarding packaging at the hotel, but he made a point to follow-up and was extremely courteous, though we had decided not to use the Columns as a wedding venue.  Even though all of my correspondence with him was via telephone and email, I had the pleasure of meeting Adam at a bridal show recently.  I made it a point to tell him just how awesome of a job he was doing and that, though the Columns wasn't the right venue for my fiance and I, I would definitely recommend it to other brides based largely on the detailed customer service that he provides.  I wholeheartedly believe that you will have exceptional service and an amazing event if you choose the Columns!

Photo Credit: www.thecolumns.com


Summary

Overall, I think the Columns Hotel is a very unique, New Orleans venue.  I especially like the special events they hold- such as Happy Hour from 5-7 everyday and their Sunday Jazz Brunches!  Check out their website for more information on that!  While the price range is definitely comparable, my fiance and I had to absolutely ensure that our pup would be able to enjoy the day with us.  Unfortunately, unless renting out the entire first floor, pets are not allowed.  Thankfully, this probably won't be an issue for most brides!

Brownie Points:

  • Comparable minimums and prices
  • Top-notch customer service
  • Room block availability at venue

Drawbacks:

  • Less inclusive packages
  • Not pet friendly unless renting out entire first floor

The Columns is a lovely venue choice, especially for those of you looking for a lower minimum guest requirement.  Though most brides want their weddings to be within the French Quarter, venues located outside the Quarter can be just a fabulous- and easier on your wallet. 

Do you have any thoughts or feedback on the Columns?  I would love to hear your stories, as I know the Columns is a popular venue, especially for locals!  Share your comments below, or find me on social media (links below)!

Until next time,

-The Newly NOLA Bride