The holidays are a time when we come together, count our blessings, and give gifts to our nearest and dearest. This can be an especially joyous occasion for newlyweds spending their first holiday season together!
However, this time of the year can definitely be stressful and chaotic, so it is important to be organized and prepare for the season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Diwali, we have compiled several tips and tricks for couples’ first holiday to go off without a hitch!
Be Ready If Traveling
Last year, a record 107.3 million people traveled for the holiday season - which can spell disaster in the event of being unprepared, or just plain bad luck.
If you’re heading to visit family far away, be sure to get to the airport at least two hours in advance for domestic flights, or three hours in advance for international travel. It’s helpful to check in for your flight prior to arriving at the airport, and you can download your ticket on your smartphone - no more lost boarding passes!
Be sure to weigh your checked baggage at home - try using an ordinary bathroom scale and standing on it while holding your bag; you don’t want to be slapped with an additional overweight luggage fee! Remembering your picture ID or passport is paramount, as you will not be able to go through security without it - you and your spouse should remind one another.
Consider a good pair of travel shoes that you can slip on and off - this will make the security line a breeze! Before you hit the airport bar, think about gulping down some water. The low humidity level on planes can dehydrate us, leaving us feeling tired and groggy upon landing.
Prepare Your Place
If you’re hosting your first holiday, it is very easy to become overwhelmed and stressed. Even for those who are naturals at hosting, the prospect of sharing a your home with in-laws can evoke a sense of the Griswold Family Christmas.
But, never fear- with careful planning, you can make the holidays a smash hit! First, determine who exactly is coming in advance to be sure that you have room for everyone. If you are just moving into a new starter home, consider purchasing a new dining room table that’s long enough to comfortably seat everybody; there’s nothing worse than cramming guests around a tiny table!
Online furniture stores like, Arhaus offer many different dining room table options that are sure to wow your guests! Next, make sure you’ve got adequate sleeping space for your guests, complete with enough pillows and blankets for everyone’s comfort. These may seem like simple items on your checklist, but lack of a good night’s sleep can ruin a trip for your loved ones.
Most importantly, keep a tidy house! It’s much better to have your home nice and clean for when your guests arrive, and it will give you one less thing to worry about as you play host to your friends and family.
The holidays are a time filled with tradition, which can sometimes be difficult to adhere to when the family becomes larger!
The best way to negotiate this is by being open and honest about expectations with your spouse. If your family tradition involves chopping down a Christmas tree and bringing it home but your wife has an allergy to Douglas firs, all the Benadryl in the world won’t make her holiday enjoyable!
Conversely, if your family likes to imbibe in alcohol and your husband doesn’t drink, this can make things awkward and uncomfortable for him. The key is compromise - it’s very important to have open and honest dialogue.
This precedent will carry over through your relationship, making this type of transparency valued in your marriage! If possible, make a list of each tradition your family has, and decide which ones your family will continue and which ones will become a pleasant memory!
The holidays don’t have to be chaotic, and through careful planning, you can have the perfect celebration!
By sticking to these tips, you can ensure your preparedness and transform for your home into a beacon of holiday joy. Who knows, maybe things will change next year, or you will set the new tradition for years to come!
It doesn’t matter if you’re getting married in the middle of a beach or in the heart of New Orleans, sometimes you just want that touch of unique class and atmosphere that only comes from a rustic style wedding!
Rustic themed ceremonies tend to focus on the outdoors, floral décor, minimalism, articles of nature such as wood and stone, ambient lighting, and an overall atmosphere of quiet charm.
You almost get the feeling that you’re stepping into another world when you partake in a well done rustic style ceremony, and here’s how you can grab some of that magic for your own wedding or elopement.
Choose the Right Venue
Make sure that regardless of where you’re planning on having your ceremony, it fits your rustic theme. You want to go with soft lighting, frosted style lights, candles, wooden décor, easy access to the outside, a nice old style bar, and plenty of charm.
If you know where to look, you can find such venues in even the biggest, trendiest cities. Actually, these kinds of “rustic” styles are becoming increasingly popular for city cafes and restaurants. The aesthetic lighting, wood furniture or paneling, spacious designs, and simple aura attract people looking for an escape from the usual chaos of city life.
This same philosophy works perfectly for a destination elopement or even a moderately sized wedding. The right venue will allow you to give the ceremony just the right feeling you want, while still providing five star services and dining.
Some unlikely places also can be transformed into the perfect location for a rustic style elopement or wedding, such as barns and large makeshift tents in the woods. Let your imagination do the talking!
Boho is the Way to Go
One of the most popular trends in rustic weddings are casual, boho style dresses with earth tones. Not every ceremony has to be glitz and glam – part of the charm of a rustic wedding or elopement is the simplicity, and that goes for the dress as well.
Get that natural, earthy feel by choosing a more down-to-earth kind of dress, which you can also fit into the theme of the entire ceremony itself. Coordinate what kind of soft lighting, earth tones, and rustic setting you are planning with the kind of dress you are looking for. This is especially important if you are planning an outdoors ceremony. You’re going to want to take weather into account as well.
Most of all, choose a dress that fits the essence of the ceremony. Are you going for merely a touch of rustic, or a full-fledged “back to nature” kind of wedding? You can accentuate your dress with accessories such as flower crowns, lace, and earthy stone, shell, or wooden jewelry.
Use Natural Elements of the Country as Props
Hay bales? Check. Wagon wheels? Check. Wooden fences, horses, and picnic tables? You bet!
There’s really no limit to what you can put together when you opt for a more rustic style wedding or elopement. Even if your ceremony happens to be in a bustling city like New Orleans, you can invest in some country-style props, like wagon wheels and hay bales, to transform a venue into a mock barn or old-fashioned saloon.
You would also be surprised how easy it is to transform a public park into a slice of rustic heaven with some fairy lights, tents, hay bales, and wooden benches or chairs. Just keep all of this in mind in the planning stages so you have no last minute snafus trying to put it all together.
A little can go a long way in a rustic ceremony. The right lighting and dresses alone can transform what would be an ordinary wedding into something much more memorable and magical.
Don’t Forget the Food
Whether you plan on holding the ceremony in the comfort of a hotel, the square of a local park, or in the middle of the woods, you’re going to want catering that can accommodate the look, feel, and theme of your special day.
Good food can truly put a lasting impression on guests and give a ceremony the right aura. In this regard, do away with the overly fine dining and go with comfort food options. New Orleans for example is one of the biggest elopement destinations due in part to its amazing selection of fine comfort food dining.
Who says you can’t do BBQ or seafood at a wedding? If you’re planning an outdoors event, this can be the perfect kind of after-party. Likewise, sometimes there’s nothing better than a ceremony that’s topped off with a hearty home-cooked style meal.
It’s easy to transform any wedding ceremony into a rustic fantasy, with the right venue, props, and planning. Don’t be afraid to coordinate with all of the parties involved, especially your hotel or venue of choice, catering, floral services, and photographers.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to experiment, after all, it’s your day. You get to make it as magical and exciting as you want. Even if it means renting a horse!
Weddings and elopements are full of small special moments, some being long traditions, and some completely unplanned and spontaneous.
One tradition that has been staple of tradition for centuries is that of a groom not seeing their bride on the day of the wedding, until the actual ceremony takes place when the bride enters the room.
This tradition is still fairly common and it’s something many couples still believe in and practice. It was considered bad luck for a groom to see his bride before the ceremony, and this sentiment still exists to a degree, though a new wedding and elopement trend is starting to become more prevalent in our photography-rich age of social media.
This new trend, dubbed the “first look,” involves the bride and groom meeting up early on the day of the wedding for a pre-ceremony photoshoot.
The sense of anticipation for both the bride and the groom (and everyone watching) is something that adds a bit of magic to the entire elopement or wedding ceremony, so it’s no wonder it’s still somewhat expected that a groom not see his bride until the actual ceremony. However, there can be no doubt that the rising first look trend is taking hold: many couples believe there are several reasons to have a first look, and it’s not just about beautiful photos.
The Magic of a First Look
It’s undeniable that the concept of first look ceremonies might seem awkward to people who area traditionalists or who just haven’t heard of such a thing before. After all, won’t the couple getting married have their pictures taken dozens of times throughout the actual ceremony anyway?
That would be the case if a first look was all about the photos. The truth is, one of the most magical aspects of the first look is getting some time to be alone before the action of the ceremony. This quiet time that brides and grooms get to share can be both intimate and soothing for the nerves.
For many couples, nerves are the biggest downer and impediment leading up to an elopement or wedding ceremony. Even if there’s nothing to be nervous about and all of the planning has gone right, all of the guests have arrived, all of the honeymoon details have been taken care of, and everything else is lined up, that feeling of unnecessary anticipation and nervousness is not something all couples welcome.
Instead, the option of a first look gives couples a chance to spend time together before the day gets too busy, helping to ease nerves and release some tension.
There’s also the fact that the couple gets to see each other before anyone else – hence the term “first look.” It’s a more private, intimate setting before the families and friends get involved. A lot of couples are starting to prefer this, as it gives them a chance to mingle and spend some personal time together. Privacy is something that’s hard to come by on your wedding day. Once everything is set in motion, you might go the entire day without getting a shred of personal time with your new wife / husband. A first look bucks this trend and allows for some personal time before the ceremony gets underway and privacy goes out the window.
The Perfect Photo Opportunity
First Look’s aren’t just about quality time for the couple, there are practical aspects too. One of the biggest reasons why couples opt to have a first look is for early photographs.
Photography is such a huge part of any elopement or wedding ceremony – but cramming in all of the desired angles and moments can be daunting during the actual ceremony itself. A first look gives couples the chance to stage a special photo shoot specifically to take pressure off the ceremony and create easier, dynamic, and romantic shots.
Much like an engagement photoshoot, a first look offers couples the ability to choose a special location with very specific lighting and backdrops, and because there isn’t so much pressure, it’s often easier for couples to unwind and be natural during the photos.
First look photo sessions have other benefits, including timing. Depending on the time of the year the ceremony is taking place, the lighting may not be ideal after everything is done for post-ceremony photos, especially outdoors. Holding a photo shoot before the ceremony even begins guarantees that you get in plenty of gorgeous photos with adequate lighting.
Another benefit is that a photographer or videographer gets to be more involved and can direct the couple if need be into more romantic poses and settings. Despite playing such an important role in the ceremony, photographers can’t really intervene much when the ceremony is going on, so if there is some last minute lighting problems, bad angles, or camera snafus, there’s really not much they can do.
It’s much different during a first look, where a photographer can tell the bride or groom to stand a certain way, remind them to pose naturally, look in a certain direction, or move closer to a light source. You’re also free from the prying eyes of family and friends, so you can be as goofy or as passionate as you want, without risk of judgment later on!
Planning a First Look
Interested in a first look for your wedding day or elopement? The most important part of planning one is to simply make sure everyone involved is on the same page, that you have easy transportation to the location of the first look, and that it doesn’t put any unnecessary stress on you or your significant other.
The key to pulling off a romantic, fun first look is to treat it like a casual date. Let yourself relax and enjoy the time before the ceremony together, your mood will show up in the photos and they will come out fantastic.
You don’t necessarily have to go far or rent out someplace exotic all for the sake of your first look, either. Often the courtyards and lobby areas of certain hotels make perfect places for small intimate photoshoots. Inquire with the hotel you are staying at for your ceremony if they can recommend a spot.
Local rivers, lakes, and parks also provide the perfect place for a first look, especially since these places are typically less crowded in the mornings than at any other time of the day.
Regardless of where you decide to have your photoshoot, take advantage of the time and have fun. A first look is like taking the moment where the bride first walks in and the groom sees her for the first time in her dress, and capturing it for an hour, away from the world. No wonder this trend is taking off!
The key to any good couple’s photography is to capture a “natural” or effortless look and feel. Nothing looks worse than stiff bodies and unnatural, complex poses and gestures, especially in photos that are supposed to be special and capture important memories like your elopement.
But how is this accomplished without going to some kind of modeling school? You’re in luck, we have put together this small guide to help couples take stunning, natural-looking photos without any hassle.
*** ALWAYS STAND TALL, SHOULDERS BACK A BIT and LADIES SHOULD DISTRIBUTE WEIGHT ON ONE LEG (Whether crossing one leg over another or shifting all weight to back leg. This will create an hourglass figure that flatters most ladies)
The Importance of Bending Joints
Think about how you move around throughout the day. You’re rarely stiff, with your joints locked. This is the number one mistake people make when they “pose” for photos. You never want to lock your joints, it’s what gives you the appearance of being stiff and uncomfortable.
Not only this, but these kinds of stiff unnatural poses tend to show on the faces of the people being photographed, which usually means the whole composition comes off as awkward. This is the last thing you want for your elopement photography session! The more you look at each other, laugh with each other and kiss.. the better the photos come out. Your photographer will let you know when he/she would like for you to look directly at camera for a more formal pose.
When getting into a specific pose, remember to relax your body and bend. Don’t lock your knees (ladies should put all weight on back leg), bend your arms, and make sure your hands are doing something. It’s very rare during the course of a day when our hands are just flat and resting stiffly at our sides. That’s unnatural and it will show in the final product!
Don’t Be Afraid to Touch
One of the most important parts of capturing natural, stunning elopement or wedding photos is intimacy. No matter what pose or angle you take, there should be some kind of interaction between the couple.
There are some basic but highly effective posing tips for capturing natural intimacy that are super easy to do and will take your photos to the next level. To create as natural-looking photo as possible, you should be sure to touch each other as much as possible.
This simple, classic pose has the typically shorter of the pair facing the hip of the taller, preferably in an embrace or at least touching. Remember to bend the elbows and knees, don’t force yourself into a stiff posture, and try gazing at one another for added effect!
Chest to Chest
Nothing says romance quite like a chest to chest pose. Can be an especially powerful pose to highlight peak moments of the ceremony or to show off anything you want to camera (like rings!) if the couples extend an arm toward the photographer.
Touch foreheads or kiss for an extra dash of romance. You can’t go wrong with this intimate pose.
Together But Separate
You don’t always have to be in an embrace to create a romantic composition. This pose has become popularized in social media like Instagram in recent years.
All you really need to be doing in this pose is holding hands with your significant other at a distance, but it helps if you look as if you are in the middle of doing something, like sharing a joke or just walking along.
A different take on a classic pose. Standing one in front of the other, one embraces the other from behind. Be sure to be touching each other’s arms or hands for added intimacy. This is one of those sweet poses that is easy to pull off and creates the perfect elopement feel.
Keep Lighting and Setting in Mind
When taking the perfect elopement shots, you want to make sure you start with the best conditions possible so that your photos come out the way you want them. This includes using the right backdrop or setting, time of day, and lighting.
Remember to keep time of day in mind if you are shooting outdoors. You want the light to be favorable and not too harsh, so early morning or evening lighting is preferable to noon or midday. Likewise, if you are indoors, try to take photos in ambient lighting, or with the right equipment so that shadows aren’t too harsh. You want soft light and a primary light source so there aren’t a bunch of messy shadows.
There are a lot of factors that go into stunning elopement photos but these are the most important. If you remember to stay flexible, pose naturally, and take your photos in good lighting, it’s easy to create beautiful shots that you will come out just the way you want and that you can cherish forever.
There’s nothing like the atmosphere and memories of an elopement in the fall. Make that double for one held in New Orleans. With the wide variety of entertainment and rich cultural history, New Orleans captures the spirit of fall like no other city in the country.
If you’re planning for a fall elopement, check out some of these ideas to take advantage of everything the city has to offer during this mysterious and beautiful time of year!
Oak Street Po-boy Fest
What exactly is a po’boy and why does it have its own festival, you might ask?
New Orleans is certainly famous for a lot of reasons, and one of those reasons is its excellent assortment of signature dishes. A po’boy is a traditional New Orleans specialty that is basically a fried seafood sandwich.
This tasty dish can come in an array of styles and flavors, and is such a hit that every year, people from all around New Orleans converge on Oak Street to partake of the different recipes and enjoy live music.
If your idea of a fun time is mixing it up in historic New Orleans and enjoying some down South comfort food, you can’t go wrong with the Oak Street Po’Boy Fest. While festivals like this are often held every year, this particular one is on November 11th. The perfect time to enjoy the fall weather and indulge!
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
Speaking of festivals, New Orleans excels at them. Just about any time of the year you’re bound to find a unique cultural experience being celebrated in the streets. If you’re looking for one with that fall / Halloween kind of flair, the Voodoo Festival might be up your alley.
This special Halloween weekend event is one part music festival, one part culinary fair, one part art show! Experience an exciting array of costumes, street art, culinary delights, and local music. The festival makes it a point to give its attendees an immersive art experience – many of its attractions are designed to stimulate the senses.
Big artists like Childish Gambino and Artic Monkeys are headlining this year’s experience, and if that’s not enough for you, there’s a haunted Mortuary, amusement park rides, and a beer hall, all taking place right in City Park. What more could a newly eloped couple want?
New Orleans is truly a melting pot of culture and tradition, and its Oktoberfest celebrations are proof of that. Though the city is typically not well known for anything German, it’s a little-known fact that the city actually has some German roots, and has a thriving German culture, along with plenty of high quality restaurants and festivals.
No place does Oktoberfest quite like New Orleans. Celebrated all month long across from City Park on Bayou St. John, the festival includes a large selection of traditional German food, live music performances, family activities, and of course, plenty of beer. More than enough reason to incorporate it into your elopement festivities!
Just because Louisiana isn’t exactly famous for fall foliage, doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on nature’s beauty. Fall is the perfect time of the year to visit New Orleans’s natural outdoors attractions, because the weather is more favorable and yes, some of the trees do change their leaves.
City Park hosts its own fall garden festival right in the Botanical Garden every year, which is the ideal spot for couples looking for some immaculate photography opportunities, and on top of that, it’s a great time too, that includes typical fall events and of course some great food.
Halloween Parades and More
New Orleans takes Halloween to a whole new level. If you’ve never experienced their Halloween parades, you’re in for a treat, and so is your significant other!
Hosted by some of the same people involved with New Orleans’ famous Mardi Gras celebrations, their annual Halloween parade is a dream for any couple looking to spice up their elopement and add a dash of the mysterious and fun.
If you’re of the ambitious sort, they even host a charitable “Zombie Run” right through the French Quarter, just remember to bring your costume!
And of course, numerous bars and restaurants take part in the Halloween Parade, helping to host various mini events and entertainment for all ages, including newly eloped couples looking for a fun night on the town.
New Orleans is proof you don’t have to settle for a boring old marriage ceremony. With all the fun and excitement the city has to offer, especially in the fall season, it’s easy to transform your elopement into a day (or night!) you won’t ever forget.
Also known as one of the culinary capitals of the US, New Orleans is a great place for elopements simply for the dining options it offers, especially if you’re looking to relish some amazing delicacies you can’t really get anywhere else.
If your tickets are booked and your bags are packed, here’s a little help to make sure your stay in the city before and after your elopement is full of deliciousness.
Keep reading to discover some the unforgettable New Orleans classics that you absolutely need to try when you’re here, and places that make them the best.
If you love foods that are packed full of flavor, New Orleans has everything you could ever ask for. One such flavorful dish are gumbos, seafood stews that have long been a staple of southern eating.
For starters, don’t forget to give the gumbos at Gumbo Shop a try- from the classics to the some others with delicious twists- you’re in for a good surprise here, and that’s obvious considering how this place has won the ‘Best Gumbo’ award every time.
If you’re talking about breakfast foods you absolutely wouldn’t want to miss out on treating yourself to some delicious beignets- the traditional New Orleans favorite!
This deep fried pastry is sprinkled with powdered sugar over the top and tastes absolutely divine, and if you’re looking forward to tasting it, Cafe Beignet is the place to be! Best of all, this place has an amazing menu that serves so many other delicious breakfast items too- you’ll actually be spoiled for choice here. If you’re a fan at all of breakfast treats and you find yourself in New Orleans for any reason, including your elopement, you’re not going to want to skip out on visiting this place.
If seafood spells love for you, and oysters are your weak spot, you definitely won’t be disappointed when you’re here.
New Orleans is famous for its unique traditional seafood dishes, and is the home to some of the best chargrilled and charbroiled oysters in the country.
Felix serves some of the best plump and delicious chargrilled oysters, and the place is pocket friendly too. If you’re looking to taste some authentic charbroiled oysters or just purchase a kit that helps you make them yourself, Dragos is the place to visit.
If you’re in New Orleans, you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on tasting the Bananas Foster, another staple and trademark of the area.
One of the most loved desserts, and there’s nowhere better to sample it than at Brennan’s.
This dramatic dessert tastes amazing, and after you’ve had your fill, you’ll be left with a smile on your face! Don’t be surprised if you find people who have dined elsewhere to arrive at Brennan’s just for dessert, it’s that good. We already featured Brennan’s in our piece on the best romantic restaurants for the newly married couple in New Orleans!
Whether you’ve heard of Po’boys or you haven’t, make sure you don’t miss out on giving them a try when you’re in New Orleans, and Johnny’s Po-Boys helps you do just that!
Known for being the oldest Po’boy restaurant in the world, this place serves the classic and rich Po’boys that will tickle your taste buds. Choose from their extensive menu or try one of their specials, you won’t be disappointed. These down south staples might have you coming back for another trip!
Napoleon House is a must visit if you’re looking forward to try mufalettas, the quintessential New Orleans sandwich which is packed with cured meat and cheese and is slathered with a tangy olive salad and is heated to intensify the flavors.
Don’t be fooled by the idea that it is just another “sandwich” - you can try, but you can’t finish one yourself - that’s how filling and hearty it is! You absolutely won’t find another sandwich quite like it outside of the city, so while you’re there, be sure to grab one
For More tips on must see and do in New Orleans, click HERE.
Thinking about eloping but don’t want to go the typical “Vegas” route? While Las Vegas has practically become synonymous with eloping, there are plenty of other magnificent locations to tie the knot.
There’s a few, we would argue, that are even better than Vegas, and we’ll be taking a look at each of them here. Sure, Vegas has its charms, but if you’re looking for a truly unique, unforgettable romantic getaway, you’re going to want to check out our selection!
Camp Wandawega: Elkhorn, Wisconsin
Now, Wisconsin is certainly not a name you’d ever think would be associated with romantic getaways and elopements, but don’t let that deter you. If you’re looking for an experience closer to nature, with beautiful retreats in a rustic setting, Wandawega is your winner.
Over the past few years the camp has actually made a name for itself tailoring parts of its grounds for couples looking for something off the beaten path. Cozy log cabins, lodges, and even treehouses can be found in its expansive woodlands. What used to be Wisconsin’s best kept secret is becoming one of its finest attractions!
This quaint coastal town has long been a destination spot for anyone looking to experience the charm and beauty of the south. Not coincidentally, its charms lend it to being an amazing place to hold an elopement ceremony.
Fine dining, brimming with art and culture, plenty of entertainment, and of course, a flawless romantic setting, Savannah is simply a couple’s dream. If the glitz and glam of Vegas isn’t exactly your thing, Savannah will appeal to more classic sensibilities while still being full of fun, excitement, and romantic moments!
Typically thought of as a honeymoon spot, Maui is the perfect setting for the whole ceremony if that’s what you’re looking for. Why not make the entire wedding a honeymoon?
Maui is famous for its absolutely breathtaking white sand beaches, seaside attractions, paradisaical resorts, and minimalist aesthetic. It’s truly a place to go if you want to “get away from it all.” Here, it’s all about the beach, the sun, and the romance!
Beyond the attractive ambience of the island alone, there is more than enough to keep an adventurous couple occupied: rock climbing, surfing, cruises, snorkeling, ziplines, helicopter tours and more. You certainly won’t be bored.
Treehouse Point: Issaquah, Washington
Like a quaint forest village from a fantasy movie come to life, Treehouse point has been making a name for itself over the past few years as a premiere retreat and small wedding venue. Nestled in the midst of gorgeous woodlands, it features an array of unique fully decked out cabins built up in the trees, as well as more traditional options. There are even lodgings on the water.
For the full holistic experience, there are spa, yoga, and massage options available in and around the area: a stay at Treehouse is meant to be full of romance and relaxation. If you’re looking for a downright magical experience, you can’t go wrong with Treehouse Point.
Thorncrown Chapel: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Another rustic romance spot less for retreats and more for very intimate elopements and weddings. This beautiful, obscure chapel rests in the forests of Arkansas, and is another contender for best elopement spots you might never have heard of.
It has that same magical, otherworldly feel as Treehouse Point, with plenty to do nearby, including tours and hiking opportunities. If your idea of a perfect elopement is an advertuuous getaway, you really can’t go wrong exploring this one of a kind chapel.
Bear Flag Farm: Winters, California
A self-proclaimed luxury estate, this farm-turned-paradise has made a name for itself in the wedding world in the last few years. They now specialize in hosting weddings and other events, and offer several magnificent attractions, including their own vineyard.
Of course, Bear Flag Farm is best known for the gorgeous photography options it offers: it is the perfectly picturesque kind of place you would expect to see only in movies. The rolling farm hills of the California countryside are all yours to share with your significant other!
No talk of elopement destinations would be complete without mentioning New Orleans. With its rich culture, gorgeous locales, numerous entertainment and dining options, and famous chapels, parks, and museums, it is quickly becoming the new name synonymous with “elopement.”
Areas like the French Quarter are becoming world-renown for the quality of the events hosted in the area, with unbeatable fine dining, romantic settings, and of course, professional elopement services that are unmatched anywhere else.
Vegas Isn’t Your Only Option
So whether you’re planning on going out to the West Coast or heading to the bayous down south, you don’t necessarily have to settle for Vegas. There are plenty of amazing elopement options all over the country, you just have to find the one that’s right for you.
After an engagement comes wedding planning. From the venue, the food, flowers all the way down to the table placements there’s a lot to think of.
For some however, they bypass all of the traditional wedding planning and decide to elope. Somewhere in that planning process is the decision on who will be taking pictures on your big day.
There’s a lot to consider when preparing for your wedding day. This is arguably the longest photoshoot of your life. More specifically, we’re focusing on tips for the groom to best prepare for a long day of looking picture ready.
There’s not much content geared toward the groom, can you believe it? So, here are the top tips for grooms to prepare for their wedding day photo session:
1. Decide on a hairstyle.
Many photographers ask that their clients pay mind to their outfit choices. Given that we’re talking about preparing for a wedding, that tip is self explanatory. We’re focusing on the smaller details, like deciding on a hairstyle. It’s key to decide on a cut and style that will last through an entire day. You don’t want to start the day looking fantastic and then see you hair fall flat and disrupted by the reception. Practice makes perfect here. Do a test run of your desired style using the products that you’ll be using the day of. This will ensure your hair will hold, and avoid unexpected reactions like rashes to the products.
2. Tame your facial hair.
Whether you are partial to a beard or prefer a clean-shave face, it’s important to make sure you’re perfectly groomed on your wedding day. With your photographer getting shots at all angles, you want to ensure you have the closest shave, or trim as possible. Brands like Harry’s offer a variety of razors and shaving products that will guarantee the closest shave, no matter your preference. Much like with your hairstyle, take the time to master your shaving regimen and ensure that you won’t have any nicks or cuts after your wedding day shave. Better yet, you won’t have a single hair out of place.
3. Brighten your smile.
A wedding is an occasion of love and happiness, which hopefully translates into smiling. With the focus of the day being on you and your bride-to-be, give yourself an added boost of confidence with a whiter brighter smile. From getting your teeth professionally whitened, to trading in your standard paste for a whitening toothpaste like Crest 3D, there are endless options to eliminate those coffee stains.
4. Be well rested.
This may seem obvious but getting a decent amount of sleep can make all of the difference. I’m not talking the night before, you should try to rest up weeks before your big day. Stress can take its toll on us without realizing it, even altering our appearance. Get plenty of sleep and perhaps indulge in some exercise to help work off any hidden stress.
Even though we typically think of destination elopements as spontaneous, almost impulsive acts of passion, there’s still a little bit of planning that goes into one if you want everything to go off without a hitch.
They key to a wonderful elopement is knowing the right time to do certain activities, and how to get to where you’re going in the first place.
We’ve put together a little timeline to take some of the headaches away and act as a guide for your elopement planning.
Why It’s Crucial to Plan Ahead
You want your elopement to be as stress-free as possible, right? Doing a couple hours of planning can save days worth of headaches in advance.
Even though elopements are typically smaller than weddings, there’s still a lot that goes into one if you’ve invited some friends and family and want to treat them to a good celebration. Then there is simply the importance of holding your ceremony at the right time so that it doesn’t interfere with other activities you have planned.
A properly planned destination elopement is something that can make what could be a monumental series of headaches and hiccups into a streamlined series of connected events that fit like clockwork.
Start with When You’re Holding the Ceremony
This is the centerpiece of your celebration, of course. But there’s a lot to think about other than where to have it and what to wear. The when can be almost as important, and here’s why: the lighting.
You want to avoid having a wedding ceremony of any kind fall exactly at noon or even an hour before or after. There’s a reason why it’s so desirable to have intimate photography done at sunset: it not only looks beautiful, but it makes getting incredible shots that much easier.
If you really want your elopement photos to stand out and have perfect lighting, you’re going to want your ceremony either in the morning or early evening (approx 1 1/2 hours or 2 hours before sunset), especially if you are planning to have a good portion of the ceremony outdoors. Nothing worse than a bride and groom squinting into a camera or harsh shadows across their face.
Once you know when you want to hold the actual ceremony, you can plan the rest of your day and night accordingly.
Preparing for the Elopement Ceremony
With all the fanfare surrounding the actual elopement, sometimes it’s easy to forget that you have to actually prepare “day of.”
Specifically, makeup and hair for the bride is extremely important. Even if you are going for an extremely casual, carefree elopement with minimal fanciness, the bride is going to want to make sure she’s looking her best, which means an hour or two of prep time.
Make sure you make room before the ceremony for hair and makeup. If you work this into the schedule ahead of time, you will save tons of stress when the day actually comes.
If you are having a stylist do your hair or makeup, triple check that they know the time of the day they are providing their service to you, make sure they know how to get to you if you’re not going to them, and above all, make sure you have a backup plan.
Guest Transportation and Venue Location
So you booked a fantastic hotel and you’ve planned a gorgeous little elopement – it won’t do your guests any good if they can’t get there to see it!
One of the least talked about wedding and elopement concerns is guest transportation. Not everyone will necessarily be coming by car, especially if your guests are coming in from out of state, had to fly to the destination, or if it’s taking place in the city.
Are you coordinating a couple buses? Are you relying on uber? Private car rental? Whatever the choice is, make sure you talk it over and plan ahead of time, and ensure that your guests have more than one viable option in case something goes awry.
If it’s the case where many of your guests can’t rely on their own transportation, it’s the bride and groom’s responsibility to see that your guests are accommodated. At the end of the day it’s their decision whether or not to utilize the services, but at least if you organize a shuttle or coordinate something, the option is there.
Venue location is also extremely important. All of your guests should have an easy time finding the courthouse, hotel, or ceremony location, and should have an easy means of double-checking where it is, such as on their invitation or on a social media site such as Facebook.
The location relative to parking and coordinating guests is also important. In the days leading up to the ceremony it might be wise to “scope out” the most important locations for your elopement and make sure they provide adequate parking and if not, suggest alternatives to your guests.
This is an area where the more homework you do beforehand, the less random snafus are liable to happen when you are having the ceremony. Parking can be a nightmare for dozens of people in a congested, unfamiliar area. Ease their burden (and yours) by planning ahead of time!
An elopement should be about romance first and the extras second. A proper schedule will ensure that you can focus a bit more on the former and less on the latter.
Make Reservations at Your Restaurant of Choice
One of the best parts of an elopement is not having to necessarily get tied down with a huge dinner party at a hotel. Instead, you can opt for a more romantic setting with only your closest friends and family, or even just you and your significant other.
The most important thing to remember is that a reservation is everything. The last thing you want is your heart set on a great restaurant only to be turned away. This is especially true of high class, high reputation venues that typically cater to celebrations. They’re bound to be booked, even if it’s off season or the middle of the week.
Even if you expect that there won’t be a problem getting in, you’re going to want to set up a reservation anyway. You don’t want to leave this kind of thing to chance. Also, if you’re celebrating with more than just a few people, any good restaurant is going to want to know ahead of time so that they can be properly prepared.
If you’re elopement destination of choice is indeed New Orleans, we’ve put together a must-have guide for choosing the best restaurant for an elopement dinner.
You’re also going to want to make sure you and your guests have an easy way of getting to the restaurant, so this is another instance of double-checking with uber, your private car rentals, or any kind of other transportation you are coordinating. Plan ahead!
After The Celebration is Over
What couples love about elopements is that they are like a wedding and honeymoon wrapped into one. Just because you just got married doesn’t mean the next day has to go back to the daily routine until the date of your honeymoon. The romance and excitement is just beginning.
There are a ton of amazing world-class restaurants in New Orleans, there’s no reason not to live it up and tour some of the best food the south has to offer. Attend a live jazz show, which are amazing and easy to find in the city, or tour the Mississippi river on a cruise.
With all of the art and culture in New Orleans, you can easily fill a day sightseeing the Historic district or visiting the various museums that pepper the city. Finish the night off with a stroll through the gorgeous French Quarter and stop for some drinks at one of the local lounges.
Whichever venues you decide on, make sure you do it ahead of time. Yes, there’s fun in spontaneity, but what’s even better is not having to stress about details when you should be having the time of your life.
Before the big day, sit down and plan out a time table for your celebration, including the days after, with all of the relevant times, dates, contact info, travel info, and anything else you and your guests need to make everything run smoothly. This is one of the biggest “secrets” to an unforgettable, flawless elopement. For more information and tips on Eloping, see more blogs here or email us at Info@ElopeToNola.com
For many women, finding the right dress can be one of the most important, and daunting parts of planning that goes into a wedding.
The same holds true for an elopement. Just because you’re looking to save money and have a small ceremony doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the dress. Despite what you may have heard, most women who elope still get a special dress for the occasion, and it can be every bit as fancy and elegant as a typical wedding dress.
We’re here to help you find a dress that’s the right combination of stylish and affordable – perfect for a romantic destination elopement or small wedding!
Finding the Right Elopement Dress
An elopement dress doesn’t have to be this $5000, showy thing, but it also doesn’t have to be informal. The best part about an elopement is you don’t have to stick to the norms and you can think outside the box a little.
Having more freedom with wedding dress choices is one of the best parts of an elopement: you’re also not pressured to invest so much money, because an elopement should focus on the romance and fun, not the extras!
One of the important points to remember in searching for your elopement dress should be comfort. Don’t settle for a stuffy dress that you feel like a fish out of water in. Sometimes simple and elegant beats extravagant by a mile. Besides, part of the fun of an elopement is that you can make it yours: don’t stick to norms if you don’t want to, and choose the dress that best fits your elopement theme and your style.
Dressesonline Women's Bohemian Wedding Dresses Lace Bridal Gown
This simple yet elegant bohemian style dress is the icing on the cake for a perfect elopement. It was modeled specifically for informal kinds of weddings yet still retains plenty of that effortless elegance you want for your special day.
An elopement dress doesn’t have to be a typical traditional white lacey deal with a long train, veil, and sequins, but if your idea of a simple romantic destination elopement includes a white dress for the ceremony, this would be the one to set your sights on.
Ellenhouse Women's 2018 Lace Vintage Country Style Bridal Wedding Dress
Want something a little more classic, but with a lavish twist? This dress from Ellenhouse is fashioned after classic southern ball gown styles, yet has a distinct wedding aura that makes it perfect for any size ceremony.
The simple style accentuated with lace gives this dress a truly vintage feel, which makes it especially ideal for a New Orleans style wedding or elopement ceremony!
Babyonline Women's Double V-Neck Tulle Appliques Long Evening Gown
Looking for something a little more flashy? This dress might be what you’re looking for.
Technically a cocktail dress or fancy party gown, this number caught our eye for its sheer simple elegance mixed with stark color and beautiful design. The best part of an elopement is you’re free to choose how formal you want to go, and if you want to stray from the traditional white wedding dress trope, you can’t go wrong here.
Lace, tulle, flowery yet simple, this quality dress is also extremely affordable. The last thing you want to do if you’re planning an elopement is getting caught up with spending a fortune as you would planning a traditional wedding. You absolutely don’t have to spend a month’s pay just to look stunning when you’re getting eloped. This dress definitely proves that!
Elleybuy Women's Two Pieces Beach Wedding Dresses
Want something good for an outdoor ceremony? There’s nothing more romantic than an elopement in a beautiful park or beach. This dress fits that niche rather nicely!
It’s actually a two-piece style dress, something you don’t see very often at weddings, but it works. With lace and a light gown that’s meant to catch the wind, it makes it a stunning choice for an outdoor elopement.
Lovelybride Elegant Empire Chiffon Bridal Beach Dress
As far as elopement dresses go, if you’re looking for something a bit more spicy and elegant, this one from Lovelybride might catch your eye.
Simple, shoulderless chiffon with a cinched waist and undeniable class, it’s the perfect answer to the quandary of finding a stunning elopement dress for any kind of ceremony. What makes this dress stand out compared to some of our more traditional selections is that this one is unabashedly modern, so if that is your taste, you’re going to love it!
Obqoo Gorgeous Sweetheart Beaded Lace Appliqued Ball Gown
Our last selection is possibly the most unique one. Your elopement should be special and if you want to go all out and feel like Cinderella at the ball, you should. And you can with a dress like this!
Like something custom made for a fancy ballroom dance party, this shoulderless dress features tulle lace with sequins, a corset style bodice, and a true classic ballroom skirt, for a purely eye-catching fantastical look.
Your Elopement, Your Style
Regardless of the look you choose for your ceremony, the thing to remember is, make it yours! Don’t feel tied to traditional ideas of what wedding dresses are supposed to look like. An elopement is your chance for a romantic celebration of your love with your partner. Don’t get pigeonholed into a “classic” kind of dress if that’s not what you want.
Whether it’s a ballroom look you’re going for, or a colorful outdoors feel, the first principle you should follow when looking for your elopement dress is: does it fit your style? This is your day, live it up! For eloping tips, affordable packages or to find an elopement photographer in New Orleans, contact us at ElopeToNola.com