New Orleans is a city full of beautiful architecture, historic landmarks and rich culture. Due to its countless amount of historical wedding venues, it is also a wonderful place to get married. There are many wedding venues in this exciting city, from beautiful plantations to elegant courthouses like the Algiers Courthouse. One of the most popular places to get married is in Jackson Square. Most locals are familiar with the beauty and well-versed in the significance of Jackson Square, but if you aren’t, I am honored to share with you the history of Jackson Square. Jackson Square, built in 1721, is regarded as a national historical landmark in the United States. Jackson Square has had many names over the years. During the 16th century, when Louisiana was under French rule, the area was known as Place d’Armes; then, under the Spanish colonial administration in the 18th century, the area was renamed to Plaza de Armas. Finally, after the 1815 Battle is New Orleans, the area was given its current name of Jackson Square, named after General Andrew Jackson. There are several significant statues in the square, including those of Andrew Jackson and neoclassical personifications of the four seasons. Other key features of the square, which also make for lovely photo backdrops, are the “moon walk,” “Washington artillery park,” St. Louis Cathedral, and previous government buildings-turned-museums Cabildo and Presbytère. If you’re a history buff, you may know the Cabildo as the old city hall where the Louisiana Purchase was first signed.
While the square was originally a center for legal handlings, the 20th century saw a shift from a governmental Mecca to a site for entertainment. In the Jackson Square public park, artists, musicians, street performers and fortune tellers can now be found in the square working for tips set against the background of new restaurants, specialty shops and breweries. As you can tell, a lot happens at Jackson Square these days- perhaps the most notable of which are large concerts. Artists like Taylor Swift have played shows at Jackson Square. Like the rest of the French Quarter, where Jackson Square is situated, the stunning, multicultural architecture has made it a popular site for the filming of TV shows and movies. Like most of New Orleans, the French Quarter has a mix of old French and Spanish colonial buildings and “second generation” Creole and Greek revival architecture. Who wouldn’t want to be married in the same picturesque place where superstar Taylor Swift performed and the hit movie The Curious Case is Benjamin Button was filmed? Not only is getting married at Jackson Square an exciting experience for brides and grooms, but it is a wonderful opportunity for photographers. There are so many spots at Jackson Square that make for the perfect backdrop for romantic wedding photos. It is a photographer’s dream to capture a wedding at this historic location because the natural lighting combined with the antique architecture will create wedding photos that couples can appreciate years after their big day. If you are looking for a photographer for your Jackson Square wedding, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to help you capture every moment of your big day. If you are interested in getting married at Jackson Square but aren’t quite sure how to go about planning such an event, here is a brief guide:
How to Get Married at Jackson Square
Because Jackson Square is a public park, there are quite a few steps required before you can get permission to have your wedding ceremony there. Tip: There can only be one wedding couple in Jackson Square at any given time so the city is very specific on the times of day they approve wedding ceremonies.
Here are the steps you should take:
How Much Does it Cost to Have a Wedding at Jackson Square?
The cost of your Jackson Square wedding will depend on the amount of guests you have. Regardless of the length of your guest list, you will need to pay a non-refundable $50 processing fee for your application. The additional costs based on guest count are as follows:
I have shot many weddings in New Orleans and have several wedding photography packages available HERE
What will our ceremony look like at Jackson Square ?
If you’d like to get an image of what your ceremony at the historic Jackson Square might look like, here are the answers to some commonly asked questions:
Who will marry us?
As Jackson Square is a public venue, you will be required to provide your own wedding officiant. Ibay Photography packages include a licensed officiant who specializes in 72 hour waivers as well. See our packages HERE
How many guests can we invite?
Jackson Square is a perfect wedding venue for ceremonies of any size. Whether you’ve dreamed of a small, intimate ceremony or a large, extravagant one, you can host it at the square because there is no limit to the amount of guests you can invite However, keep in mind that your guest count will determine the cost of the ceremony according to Jackson Square’s guidelines.
Is there parking?
When it comes to parking for Jackson Square, you will need to hunt for a spot. While there is no parking lot designated to the square, there are some nearby private lots that charge anywhere from $3 an hour city meters to $36 for the day valet.
What day/time is best to get married at Jackson Square?
Jackson Square is open 7 days per week and, as long as you send your application in in advance, you can get married any day of the week. However, keep in mind that weddings are only allowed while the park is open. Also, refer to your photographer for the best time of day lighting-wise. The square’s hours are as follows:
(Sunday) 12pm-5pm and
Are there any venue-specific rules that we must follow?
Unfortunately, there are some limitations that come with being wed at a gorgeous venue like Jackson Square. Here are some of the venue’s rules:
I hope that you enjoyed this short, informative guide to getting married at Jackson Square in New Orleans. No matter which city you decide to get married in, it’s important that you hire locals to help with the planning. Locals know the best restaurants, flower vendors, decorators and more to make your big day the best it can possibly be. Hiring local is the only way to ensure that your wedding day goes as planned. In addition to hiring local vendors and wedding planners, hiring a local photographer is also incredibly important. Local photographers know the wedding venues in their city inside and out, including the best spots for wedding photos. If you would like to hire an experienced local photographer for your wedding, you can reach me HERE. I would be honored to capture your special day.
Algiers Courthouse Wedding
Are you interested in having a wedding at the Algiers Courthouse in New Orleans? The Algiers Courthouse is one of the most quaint and picturesque locations to get married in New Orleans. It is considered a focal point of the city and for good reason! Couples have been photographed having their weddings inside the courthouse and even on the balcony situated above the main entrance. Built in 1896, the Algiers Courthouse is the third oldest continuously operating courthouse in the state of Louisiana. While the building still retains its Queen-Anne Victorian style architecture and rustic feel, the City of New Orleans made renovations to the building in 1979 and 1984, which have only improved the building’s appearance. The most recent renovation was finished this year and cost the city $1.2 million! The courthouse features large pillars that frame the entrance, a quaint balcony and a rich history. There are many ideal shooting locations for couples looking to have their wedding photos taken at the Algiers Courthouse. While the inside of the courthouse may look traditional, the exterior has several hidden spots that highlight the signature features of the Queen-Anne style: stone quoins decorating the corners of the building and fine brickwork. There are so many prime spots for photo ops that you won’t even know exist unless you search the grounds yourself or have a photographer familiar with the location. Algiers Courthouse is a great location where newlyweds love to be photographed, whether they were married at the courthouse or elsewhere.
There is a certain intimacy inherent in civil ceremonies that, as a photographer, I find so honored to capture. I have photographed many of these intimate scenes, but have found that many couples who want to elope aren’t sure how to proceed. After being the recipient of several questions about this subject, I have decided to put together this blog post detailing how to get married at the Algiers Courthouse to help couples like this turn their dreams into reality. Hopefully this guide is a helpful reference when planning your elopement. If you are interested in hiring a photographer for your Algiers Courthouse wedding, please don’t hesitate to contact me! I would love to be a part of your special day!
At Algiers Courthouse, you are married by a judge employed by the courthouse. The judge is the only person that officiates all weddings held at the Algiers Courthouse whether indoors, on the steps, or on the 2nd floor balcony.
You must make an appointment ahead of time and keep in mind that the courthouse is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The hours are Monday to Friday from 8am-3pm. While they are closed on weekends, you can request a weekend date (based on Judge’s availability) and pay the extra fee for a Saturday or Sunday or “after hours”.
How Much Does It Cost to Have a Ceremony at The Algiers Courthouse?
While eloping is significantly cheaper than throwing a large wedding, there are still costs to consider. In the state of Louisiana, a marriage license costs $27.50 (plus $5 for each copy of your marriage license to be mailed to your home – order at least 2 copies) and can be obtained at the Algiers courthouse. Keep in mind that when you obtain your marriage license, there is a 72-hour waiting period before you can legally get married so you must obtain your marriage license before your ceremony date. However, a marriage license is only valid for 30 days, so make sure to plan your ceremony for some time before the 30 days is up. If you both hold out of state drivers’ license, you can apply for a license 15-30 minutes before your ceremony time and the Judge will waive the 72-hour waiting period. You will be married that day!
If you plan to have a ceremony at the courthouse, there will also be an additional cost to the Judge (Additional fee for weekends and after hours – call Courthouse for exact pricing).
Another cost that you don’t want to leave out is for a photographer. Some couples make the mistake of asking a friend or family member to photograph their ceremony and they end up with blurred photos and bad shots. Don’t make a choice that you’ll regret! Everyone deserves to have an album full of wedding photos that they can look back on fondly. See my intimate wedding package HERE.
What will our ceremony look like at the Algiers Courthouse?
If you’d like to get an image of what your ceremony at the courthouse might look like, here are the answers to some commonly asked questions:
How many witnesses will we need?
Louisiana state law requires that you have two witnesses sign the marriage license at the time of the ceremony.
Who will marry us?
A Judge from the Algiers Courthouse will marry you.
Where can I get more information on what to bring to the Courthouse to apply for a license
Visit our Marriage License requirements page HERE. The phone number to the Algiers Courthouse can be found on this same page.
How many guests can we invite?
Due to the size and capacity of the Algiers Courthouse, I recommend inviting no more than 10-15 guests if you choose to have a ceremony on the premises. Please call the courthouse for an accuracy on guest count.
Is there parking?
Yes! There is a parking lot across from the courthouse that charges only $5 to park. There is also street parking based on availability. Watch for any meters as well.
What day/time is best to get married at the courthouse?
As long as you book an appointment well ahead of time, you can get married anytime the courthouse is open. However, keep in mind that Friday afternoon is the most popular day, as the courthouse is closed on the weekends. Book your appointment in advance (typically 60 days in advance is when the courthouse will add your date to their books) and you’ll have your choice of any day and time that works best for you!
I hope that you found this guide informative and helpful! If you would like to contact me to capture your special moments, please email me at: ibayPhotography@gmail.com or via my contact form HERE. I would be honored to photograph your intimate wedding!
Congratulations, You're Married!!!
Now that you guys have just celebrated the best day of your lives...what are the best things to do after your wedding day? Tour the most romantic city in the world of course!
Here is an ideal perfect day in New Orleans:
1. Have beignets and coffee at Cafe Beignet on Royal Street. Most tourist believe the only place to enjoy our famous beignets is to visit Cafe Du Monde on Decatur St. Just a few short blocks is a very quaint shop called Cafe Beignet that sells (in my opinion) even better beignets than the original. An added bonus...no 2 mile long lines here!
2. Catch the free shuttle service to Mardi Gras World and see the amazing Mardi Gras floats up close and personal...then catch the streetcar that follows St. Charles Ave and take it all the way to the river (ask the driver which stop drops you off at Camelia Grill for lunch). The antebellum homes and historic areas of Uptown New Orleans will impress you..... OR after beignets and coffee, jump on the Algiers Ferry and take a short ride over to the westbank side of the river (soak in the great city views while on the ferry). When you arrive in Algiers, walk over to the Rosetree blown glass studio and grab lunch at Dry Dock Cafe.
3. When back in the French Quarter, grab a daiquiri "to go" from anywhere on Decatur St and walk along the river toward Crescent Park OR grab a super short uber ride over to City Park and see the magestic oaks with picturesque moss, cobblestone bridges and the vast beauty of this 1300 acre green space. Did you know that City Park is actually larger than Central Park in New York??
4. End your day back in the French Quarter at the Hotel Monteleone for cocktails (are you getting the theme here in New Orleans? It's all about the spirits...haha) before dinner. The Carousel Bar is world re-known for it's replicated Carousel bar that revolves around just like an actual carousel (verryyy slowly) while you enjoy some of the best drinks you've ever had in New Orleans.
For a list of truly authentic New Orleans restaurants to try for dinner, visit our page HERE
Hope you enjoy your mini-moon here in New Orleans after your wedding day. For elopement packages here in New Orleans, click HERE. For elopement ideas and inspiration anywhere in the USA, click HERE
How to Make Sure Your Makeup is Perfect on Your Big Day
It’s your wedding day, one of the most important and magical days of your entire life, and everything is perfect. Your dress is amazing, your hair cascades softly onto your shoulders. You have the perfect venue, the flowers are gorgeous, and you get to marry your best friend and the love of your life. And then, you look into the mirror, and you want to cry your eyes out, Why?
Your makeup is not what you expected!
What went so horribly wrong? For starters, it’s super important, if you’re a local bride and you have the time and budget, to have a makeup test with your hair and makeup artists. But, we understand at ElopeToNola.com that most of our brides are non-traditional brides and are either coming from out of town for a destination wedding, or may not have the time or budget to afford such luxuries. When you have a limited budget, the last thing you want to spend money on is makeup application that no one’s going to see but you—- why, so you can wear it to the grocery store?
Here are some tips and tricks that you can use to make sure that your wedding makeup is going to be the best it can possibly be on your special day:
1. Do a phone interview (or video chat) with your top choices of makeup artist - Be extremely clear about what you want, what your goals for the day are, what the temperate and climate will be like, and what rubs you the wrong way (blue eyeshadow, or lip liner, for example). If you can video chat, you should wear the same amount of makeup that you would normally wear, so that the makeup artist can get a feel for who you are and how you normally present yourself. For a list of recommended New Orleans Makeup Artists, click here.
2. Check out your makeup artist’s portfolio — Ask to see your makeup artist’s portfolio— If they don’t have one, you should be extremely concerned. Everyone, even interns and student artists have Instagram and social media accounts where they’ve uploaded their work. Browse through the pictures. If you constantly see glitter eyeshadow and glitter lips, the chances of you getting an extremely natural look might not be as good as you had hoped for. Your makeup artist can be extremely versatile and probably is, but it’s best to find someone who matches your natural beauty and aesthetic in general. You’ll communicate much more easily and effectively if you get someone that gets you. The same is true for a mate — you probably could have married anyone, but you’ll have a lifetime of bliss with that person who understands you, and what you’re all about.
3. Be open to your artist’s expertise — You should be at least a little flexible, after all, you hired your artist for a reason. You’re probably not the best at doing event makeup, or at the very least, it’s not something that you want to fool with on the day. Trust your makeup artist that he/she knows what they’re doing, after all, you chose them for a reason. They also may be more familiar with venues and climates than you are. For instance, your makeup artist may know that your venue has white walls, and so she has to use a powder that won’t wash you out. Or, she may know that in the New Orleans heat, you absolutely have to have a setting powder (and blotting papers) to keep your makeup from dripping off. In general, makeup artists usually apply makeup a little darker than most people are used to because of the way it appears in photographs.
4. But, don’t be afraid to speak your mind — Ultimately, you are the customer, the customer is always right, and this is your special day. If you don’t like your lip color, say so. Makeup remover was created for a reason. By speaking up early, you’ll be able to save everyone a lot of time and frustration, and you’ll be able to enjoy your big day even more.
How to Second Line at your Elopement like a New Orleans Local!
At ElopeToNOLA, we are New Orleans natives and take pride in our special city. We love it all, the beautiful Spanish moss covered trees of City Park, the serene lakes and bayous of our natural canvas, the inns and hotels lining the world famous St. Charles Avenue, and last but not least, the sights and sounds of the historic French Quarter.
We get super excited when people want to get married in our amazing city, and even more excited when folks want to add traditional New Orleans flair to their perfect day! Throughout the years we’ve seen accessories of Mardi Gras masks and beads, grooms cakes made to look like pots of gumbo, and of course, the famous second line parades.
Second Lines can be really fun, but like any good parade, there is a lot of organization that must happen to make sure your parade doesn’t get rained on. (Figuratively, not literally, as there’s always a possibility it may rain! Read below for more info on that). Nevertheless, here are our top tips and tricks on how to have a wonderful traditional Second Line at your elopement:
1. Make sure you understand the tradition
Second Lines are a type of walking street parade, made up of a variety of people. The “first line” generally includes the band, any kind of Grand Marshall or leader, and VIP guests, such as the recently deceased, in the case of a jazz funeral, or the bride and groom in the case of a wedding. All other people who follow to dance, pay respects, and enjoy the music are referred to as the “second line.” The tradition was brought to New Orleans from Africa by slaves who were not allowed to have funerals. They established the jazz funeral, and the second line became a huge part of that event. As it is meant to be a “celebration of life”, the second line has grown in popularity with brides, grooms, and even for folks coming of age or celebrating birthdays. Because many “social aid and pleasure clubs” were established back in the day in New Orleans, sometimes second lines can even be a part of weekly or monthly get togethers in certain neighborhoods or communities. It is always important to be respectful of the second line traditions and heritage.
2. Get your route, your permits, and make sure you follow the laws
It is illegal in New Orleans to have a second line without following the proper procedure. First, you should secure your permit from the City of New Orleans. You can download the C-Parade forms from the One Stop City Website, and then visit the One Stop Shop at City Hall, 7th Floor, 1300 Perdido, New Orleans, LA.
Second, you need to make sure that you book the proper police escorts. You’ll have to pay $25 for clerical and administrative fees to the Police and Justice Foundation, as well as $100 for each officer present (please confirm all fees as these may change after this article is written). Generally you’ll need 2-4 officers for a small to medium second line. Without the proper law enforcement present, not only do you open yourself up to liability if something happens, but you also run the risk of not being able to get the route you want, or running into some of the other routes of other second lines that are happening on the same evening! Hurry and book quickly so that you can make sure you get the date and time that you’d like as well as the streets that you’d like to include.
3. Make sure you have all of the key players
It’s not a second line without a brass band, and there are a lot of brass bands in the city but there are also a lot of second lines at any given moment (especially on popular weekend nights), so make sure you book quickly. I can give you a list of the best brass bands if you’d like to message me.
4. Any good bride knows that you need to accessorize
You’ll need a second line umbrella for you and your groom (or your bride), as well as umbrellas for your wedding party. Ideally you’ll also bring handkerchiefs for everyone else to shake and swing to the music, as that is a huge part of the tradition. You can also add boas and masks for your guests, so that they really get into the fun, and of course you need the right footwear!
5. Don’t forget comfortable shoes…
Not only do you probably not want to wear heels for what could be up to a mile long route, but you also shouldn’t on the French Quarter streets, which are made of cobblestone. I can’t tell you how many heels I’ve broken on that cobblestone! On the other hand, everyone’s go-to comfort shoe, flip-flops can also be dangerous because there can often be glass or debris on the street (not to mention the occasional water from street cleaning or rain). Your best bet is a comfortable wedge or adorable and fashionable sneaker. You can always put your dress shoes back on when you arrive at your destination.
6. … and that you only have two hands
This is something we see all the time. A bride is trying to drink, bustle her dress, and wave her umbrella at the same time, only the problem is that she only has two hands. Try to shorten or bustle your dress in advance so that you have a hand free for your umbrella, and another one free for your “geaux cup” which is what we call plastic containers that allow you to bring your cocktail out into the streets.
7. And that second lines are rain or shine
Your second line will happen regardless of the weather, so don’t expect everyone (band, police, guests) to cancel on you at the first few drops of drizzle. To make the most of it, hike up your dress even higher (to make sure you don’t get the bottom of your dress extra wet and dirty), and perhaps get rid of the boas (as they can shed, molt, and even dye whatever they’re touching at the time). You may also lose a few of the brass instruments, but there should still be enough music to where you can keep dancing in the rain with your loved ones!
8. And finally, to have fun!
Don’t lose sight that this is about your special day and having a once-in-a-lifetime moment with your new spouse and friends and family! Enjoy it! There are no hard rules about second lining, so feel free to mingle throughout the crowd, stop in front of historic sites for a photo, dance with strangers, you get it... The tradition of a second line is the couple are up front and center, the brass band behind them and the guests are the "Second Line" after the band. Umbrellas that show off your personality are best, but ultimately this is about you and how you want to celebrate your special day!
The best part about using Elope To NOLA for your elopement is that we are part of the BeNolaWed network, which includes amazing wedding planners, a florist, an officiant, a travel agent, a social media specialist (think wedding websites, announcement cards or creative hashtags), and even someone to make crafts & decorations for your parade! If you contact me, I have all-inclusive packages available that include everything you could need for your New Orleans Elopement so that you don’t have to think about anything except having fun!
Contact me today to get started on your special day!
Are you searching for a step-by-step guide on How To Elope in New Orleans? Here is our list of 8 steps for a stress-free and FUN elopement in New Orleans.
1. Contact a local Officiant or Judge. Once you have decided on romantic New Orleans, step one on how to elope in New Orleans is calling an officiant. This person must be an Orleans Parish officiant if you are wanting to waive the required 72 hour waiting period. Select someone with experience, knowledge and the skills to perform a quality ceremony. Trust us, this matters. We had a couple who asked their dear friend to become an ordained minister specifically for their elopement. Bless his heart, he was sweet as can be but not used to speaking loudly in the middle of the French Quarter. The constant distractions (fun distractions of course; people laughing on the streets, music, performers) were tough and challenging for him.
2. Contact a local Photographer - Hiring a professional photographer for your special day will go a long way. A photographer will know all the perfect locations to shoot at, best timing of the day and will capture the intimate moments during your ceremony that many guests/witnesses would not be able to capture.
3. Decide on a location - Probably one of the main reasons you decided to elope in New Orleans are the many gorgeous and unique ceremony locations. Do you want to marry under 300yr old majestic Oaks or in the French Quarter in a private courtyard? Maybe you'd like to even get married at the Algiers Courthouse? We suggest contacting a local photographer or wedding planner who knows the city of New Orleans like no other and can help you find that perfect "possibly hidden secret" spot!
4. Order flowers for you and your honey - Be creative! Wildflowers, succulents and daisies are all unique flowers to create amazing bouquets.
5. Make travel arrangements and don't forget your wedding attire, your rings and proper legal documents from home. Oh and wedding props too! Think masks, 2nd line umbrellas, beads, special family heirlooms, etc. Tip: Check online for special citywide events that may be occurring during your desired wedding date. New Orleans has hundreds of parties, parades, festivals, etc a year but some events and conventions will fill up all the hotels months in advance.
6. Once you arrive to New Orleans, plan to apply for your marriage license right away. Give yourself some time in the office too as there may be many other couples applying the same day. We recommend carving out 1-4 hours for this. Visit our marriage license page to have all the required paperwork ready. Tip: The office accepts cash only and will remind you about 100 times to only allow your officiant to write in BLACK INK.
7. Ask your photographer or planner for recommendations on hair/makeup, hotels, restaurants and what to do in New Orleans for the other days you will be enjoying our city.
8. Meet your officiant and your photographer at your chosen ceremony location and say your "I Do's!"! After...enjoy a petite wedding cake, cupcake, petite four or a world famous beignet. Have your professional photographer capture additional "Just Married" photos around your ceremony location. Take a pedicab, horse carriage or streetcar to your romantic celebratory dinner.
These are the steps we recommend if you are searching for how to elope in New Orleans. We hope this information is useful and informative. Did you know we offer all-inclusive elopement packages? Contact us today, we would be honored to help you plan your perfect elopement wedding day!
1. Eloping is alot cheaper! According to the popular wedding website The Knot, the average traditional wedding in the USA now costs over $27,000. But if you live in a large city, the cost could be even higher. Of course, prices will vary depending on what you include, and the date of your wedding. But eloping will cost a fraction of a traditional wedding, even a budget wedding. Save that money for a fabulous reception after you get home if you wish. Put it towards a house, a car, a honeymoon....a new pair of shoes! I've never met a person who has regretted saving money and not going into debt for their wedding. Many people these days prefer the intimacy and romance of a small elopement.
2. Elopement means fewer hassles and much less stress - don’t worry about the bridal registry. Do you really need those monogrammed towels or another toaster? Do you care about coordinating the color of the invitations with the guest favours? Guest lists alone have driven many a bride-to-be to drink! We have read reports that 19% of brides say they have more disagreements with their boyfriends after becoming engaged.
3. Eloping is much quicker — most wedding planners agree that it takes at least a year to plan the average wedding. Many popular venues are booked a year or more in advance. Maybe this is a second marriage for one or both of you. Maybe you just want to get started on your new life together. Long engagements aren’t for everyone.
4. Avoid “sticky” situations. How will you control Uncle Jack’s excessive drinking? What about Grandpa’s notoriously bad breath or the divorced aunt and uncle who are still feuding over custody of Fido and each wants you on his or her side? Dodge the family drama when you skip the traditional wedding.
5. No need for thank you notes - hadn’t thought of that? Many etiquette experts say that thank you cards for gifts received on the wedding day should be sent out within 2-4 weeks of returning from the honeymoon. Others say you may take up to 3 months. But to quote Peggy Post: “No fill-in-the-blank cards, no preprinted cards, no phone calls, no emails, and no generic posts on your website.” We suggest a simple announcement that tells everyone that you eloped. You can send this announcement electronically and it won't be frowned upon.
6. Eloping helps you feel the true significance of the moment. You are more likely to live in the moment of this important event when you are in a small group or just with your loved one. Eloping can be truly intimate. And isn’t that what committing your life to another person is all about?
7. No seating charts! Do you know who is feuding with whom? Do you care? Should you put only those who know each other at the same table or mix it up so that singles can meet others? Will someone be offended that you stuck them at the back table with the photographer?
8. Elopements can be more memorable than run-of-the-mill weddings. Get creative. Think of the stories you can tell your friends for years to come. Imagine getting married atop a glacier or in a hot air balloon! Deciding to elope doesn’t have to mean running to the courthouse in your work clothes or going to the drive-through chapel in Vegas (unless that turns your crank). It can still be very memorable and special.
9. Spontaneity can be very romantic. You’ll never look at a pineapple the same way if you use one for a bouquet! If you choose to elope to New Orleans, you will likely grab some beads...find a balcony in the French Quarter and throw them at random strangers. Or dance in the middle of the streets to amazing street performers. Can you do that at a traditional wedding?
10. Not everyone likes to be the center of attention. Believe it or not, there are some women who do not care to be “Queen for the day”. Men too don’t always like being in the spotlight.
Why Choose to Elope?
By Best Elope Ideas
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re thinking about getting married soon. Congratulations! It’s hard to find the love of your life and even harder to make that big leap into such a huge commitment for the rest of your life. A huge celebration is in order! Right?
We’ve all dreamed about our wedding day(s) since we were young. Some of us pictured the priest, the chapel, flowers. Some of us wanted princess gowns and horse-drawn carriages. Still others had binders with every single detail mapped out in excruciating detail (okay, you caught me).
The problem is that over time, the wedding became more about this grand event, and less about what it was supposed to be about. It’s a ceremony celebrating the love between two people (who, by the way, are no longer even necessarily a “bride” and a “groom”). Nothing more, nothing less.
With times changing, finances being rough for many, people struggling to do this whole “adulting” thing, it’s no wonder why people are choosing elopement more than ever before!
Here are some of the top reasons you might choose to elope:
1. Money, Money, Money, Money. Money! — The most popular and most unsurprising reason why people elope is because of budgetary reasons. Why spend thousands (or hundreds of thousands of dollars) on a wedding when you have bills to pay? If it’s going to leave you struggling to pay your mortgage or utility bills next month, are you really living happily ever after? Elopements have less pomp and circumstance, less food, less people, and are overall much, much cheaper.
2. Who ARE These People? — Speaking of money, a top complaint from brides with large weddings is that they feel like they didn’t get to meet and greet all of their guests, and sometimes brides and grooms didn’t even know all of the attendees at their wedding because of dates (not to mention even the possibility of wedding crashers). If you’re paying $50 a person, you really should at least know a person’s first name, don’t you think?
3. It’s All About Priorities! — Let’s go back to that list from when you were a kid. Maybe flowers are extremely important to you. Maybe your Grandmother who’s no longer with you loved roses but hated carnations. Roses are expensive and not always possible if you have a 300 person guest list. By eloping, you’re able to simplify the entire process and focus on the few things that are absolutely make or break for your big day.
4. Elopements Can Actually Be More “Grand” — I had a friend recently who was married in a hot air balloon, hundreds of feet in the air. I know someone who was married on horseback. These days, you can have an underwater submarine wedding, a cruise ship wedding, or even a wedding on top of a unique national like the Eiffel Tower, but that’s not possible when you have a huge wedding party. With elopements you are free to do some wild and crazy things that might really appeal to you or describe your relationship perfectly.
5. Location is Everything — With that said, elopements make it possible to have a destination wedding. You can fly to Vegas and get married by Elvis. You can come to New Orleans, and have an amazing Carnival celebration. We can absolutely help you with that at BestElopeIdeas as we’re part of the Be NolaWed network. The point is that the fewer the people, the easier and more affordable it is to make travel accommodations.
We also have some amazing locations in New Orleans that are picture perfect but not accessible for a large wedding party. The Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast has some beautiful locations and rooms but they won’t fit more than 20 people. Tableau, a restaurant owned by the Brennan Family, has some amazing balconies that overlook the St. Louis Cathedral and the entire French Quarter, but more than 4-6 people on the balcony and you’re not going to be able to make it work. Elopements and smaller parties just make the impossible possible.
6. The Timing Is Right — With elopements, you aren’t restricted to scheduling. There are brides and grooms who have to wait 18 months to get married before they can find an available Saturday in their church. Not only do you have flexibility in terms of available dates because the venues may not get as many requests, but you also have flexibility in terms of the people who need to be there. You, your love, a few of your closest friends and family members, the officiant, photographer, wedding planner(s). That’s it. It makes it a lot easier to get married on a Wednesday afternoon or a Thursday morning. This makes it not only even more affordable, but also enables you to get married on a special date like an anniversary, or on a romantic date like Valentine’s day.
7. Secrets are More Romantic — Speaking of romance, did anyone watch “The Office”? Jim and Pam had the most adorable relationship ever, and one of the best things ever was when the audience found out (spoiler alert) that that had secretly eloped at Niagara Falls before their “big” wedding. This made it much more easy to bear when everything started to go wrong on their big day. They were already married, they had an intimate ceremony, and everything went perfectly. Above all, how romantic is it to have a secret wedding date? Elopements enable you to surprise people later with the news of what happened and that you’re finally hitched!
If you can’t tell already, we love all things wedding, and elopements are our specialty! If you need additional help or advice on your big day, don’t hesitate to contact us!
The Best Places to Elope in New Orleans
New Orleans, affectionately called the Crescent City because of the distinct moon shape formed by being surrounded by Lake Ponchartrain to the North, and the Mississippi River to the South, is a town internationally known for being full of charm and beauty. From the moss-covered trees that line some of the oldest streets and parks, to the French Quarter, that still looks like it did when it was first settled in the 1700s, New Orleans is the perfect mixture of the old and new, and of city and nature. Not to mention, with open container laws, bars open 24/7, and random dancing in the streets, it’s one heck of a spot for a good party. It’s charm and life makes every day a celebration, and every celebration an epic event.
It’s no wonder, therefore, why thousands of couples each year flock to the Big Easy for their Big Day. It’s a one-stop shop for your intimate elopement or small wedding, celebratory brunch/dinner and even your honeymoon. With all of the travel in and out of the city (including several cruise ships), it makes it an extremely convenient way to check off all of your wedding boxes, especially for smaller parties and elopements.
We understand that if you aren’t from the city, it can be a little confusing to figure out which place might be best for your marriage ceremony, so we’ve put together a helpful guide of some of our favorites. Here are just a few of the most amazing places to elope in the Crescent City:
The French Quarter - Who wouldn’t want to get married in the French Quarter? The air is filled with sweet smells from the river, like fried shrimp and oysters, baking French bread, and powdered sugar beignets? There are beautiful balconies everywhere & tons of wrought iron and greenery. Additionally, there are sounds of jazz music being played everywhere you turn. The photo ops are plentiful, and you’ll have a special day somewhere that’s filled with thousands of years of happy memories for all types of people. Plus, you’ll get to second line with your new spouse, if you choose!
Jackson Square - Obviously the most sought after wedding destination, Jackson Square is in the heart of the French Quarter, and is steps from the river, with an optional aerial view of the French Quarter, as well as the traditionally popular St. Louis Cathedral.
Tableau - Tableau is a restaurant that’s owned by the Brennan family, a New Orleans monarchy of good food and drink. It’s an amazing choice because it’s just a block from the St. Louis Cathedral, but offers several private rooms to choose from, including the wine room (and a ghost named Caroline), the room with gilded ceilings, the green room, or even several balconies. It’s also attached to the oldest theatre in the city, and that stage makes for another interesting place to tie the knot. Or, you can climb up to any one of the four floors and pick an array of windows overlooking beautiful nearby Quarter scenery. Getting married on a balcony with the St. Louis Cathedral in the background? I do!
City Park — City Park is another amazing choice. Get married underneath a large beautiful Oak tree (Spanish moss included free of charge), or in front of one of the park’s lagoons. There are also several picturesque bridges and gazebos with amazing views.
Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast - The GVBB is a picturesque Bed & Breakfast that offers amazing deals for elopements in New Orleans, and is in the heart of the city’s Garden District. Conveniently located on St. Charles Avenue, the GVBB was built in the late 1800’s and has been majestically restored to it’s original furnishings. There are beautiful rooms that you can choose for your bridal party, and you can even stay there for the duration of your visit. It’s on the historic streetcar line, and just minutes away from the French Quarter, for even more pre-ceremony celebration opportunities.
St. Charles Avenue — If you wanted to do something outside, you can step out of the Grand Victorian and be immediately on the Avenue. Get a picture in your wedding dress with the streetcar or take a ride on it (drinking along the way, of course) into the French Quarter, or lower Garden District. You’ll also be able to visit some of the city’s most beautiful mansions and period homes.
No matter what you choose, there are an array of amazing possibilities to make your special day memorable and unique!
For more information about getting wed in New Orleans, be sure to check out the Elope to NOLA Facebook page, the Best Elope Ideas Facebook page, and the Be NolaWed Network page. We have assembled a one-stop-shop of wedding professionals in New Orleans so that you don’t have to search any longer. Let us handle all the details while you enjoy the culture, your romance, your ceremony and your experiences that is only New Orleans!
7 Secrets for the Best Elopement Ever
Getting married is the biggest, most exciting day of your life, and this applies whether it’s a 500 person event in your hometown church or a Destination Elopement. In fact, because most of the elopements we see at Best Elope Ideas happen within a quicker time frame, it becomes even more important to have everything together.
Here are our Top 7 Secrets for the Best Elopement Ever:
1) Choose Experts that are Locals - Destination wedding photographers who travel the world to photograph weddings, while very talented experts with the very best of equipment, do not know the local area like a resident would. Residents typically know hidden venues that you can't find doing a "Google Search”, and they usually have connections to make the impossible, possible.
2) Always have a Weather Plan - . You never know if it will rain on your wedding day. Many of the hotels or B&B's you will be staying at will have private indoor rentable space. We suggest making the call when you book the hotel so that a plan is in place. Many elopement photographers will simply wait out the weather and continue on with the ceremony once the rain has passed.
3) Make Sure to Know the Legalities that Apply - 2 weeks prior to your arrival, connect with your officiant for updates to marriage license requirements. Municipalities in each city require different documentation and it's important to be sure you are up to date with their rules and laws imposed by their state. Your officiant will assist in this process.
4) Listen to Your Photographer - Get a nice dress hanger. Personalized or silk wedding hangers make all the difference and look leaps and bounds better in photographs than the hangers provided by most hotels. Your photographer may also suggest shooting at a different time of day, using a different part of town, or bringing certain props to the shoot. Obviously you’re the customer and know what you want, but everyone can save a lot of time and trouble if you default to your photographer in areas where she may have more experience.
5) It’s all in the Details — Your ceremony is one of the biggest events of your entire life, so leave no stone unturned. Make sure to pick amazing ceremony music and bring your iPod, iPhone, or anything else that can play “your song” as you walk down the aisle and have our first dance. Music is also one of the single most important (and cost effective) things that can be used to set a romantic mood at an intimate elopement. If you have a slightly higher budget, you may even want to spring for a solo violinist or guitarist for a truly magical setting.
6) Personalize, Personalize, Personalize. - Your special day is your day, and it’s special because of all of the details that apply to you. Don’t try to please everyone else, you are who matters. If you have a favorite color, add it everywhere, or wear a wedding dress in that shade. If you’re a die hard fan of a certain sports team, incorporate team colors or little footballs into your bouquet or cake. If there’s a place where you met your honey that you’d like to be featured — this is the time for you to let your personalities shine through. No one will judge you for having monogrammed everything on your wedding day, trust me. If there are children involved, you can also involve them by adding them into the ceremony or by having them write a sweet framed message to their new step parent to be displayed on your after-ceremony dinner table.
7) Themes - Your special day is a celebration, and there’s no better party than a themed party. It doesn’t have to be wild and over the top (unless you want it to be) but you can definitely have a theme whether it’s carnival or shabby chic. Above all, if you’re having a destination elopement, make sure to take advantage of the location you’re in — you picked it for a reason. Try horseback photos in Louisville or Carnival masks/Second-line dancing in New Orleans.
If you enjoyed these tips or learned something from this blog, please like and share it. We also love feedback, so welcome any questions, comments, or suggestions you have for us. If you have any questions or would like to read our other pieces, you can join our Facebook Group for Eloping Couples: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bestelopeideas/