Theresa and Nathaniel wanted a true runaway elopement in New Orleans. When Nathaniel reached out to me, we decided to make it a two-day experience. I documented the mid-week New Orleans courthouse wedding with a mix of film and digital photos. The next day, full of joy, Theresa and Nathaniel explored the French Quarter, and I photographed them as they revelled in their newly wed feels.
Theresa and Nathaniel knew they wanted to elope, but a New Orleans courthouse wedding can come with some hiccups. The marriage license process is cumbersome and requires a 24-hour waiting period before actually receiving the license. A judge can grant a waiver for out-of-state couples. Fortunately, Theresa and Nathaniel had a relatively smooth experience.
The court did move their original marriage date from Friday to Wednesday, but it ended up being perfect for enjoying the French Quarter with less of a crowd. We met up at the Ace Hotel before heading to the New Orleans courthouse wedding at First City Court. On the way to the ceremony, we took some portraits on a dappled corner of Poydras Street. These images feel so vintage!
At the courthouse, we got clearance to bring a camera in. We had a bit of a wait, but the courthouse staff was so excited for Nathaniel and Theresa. The sweet elopement was clearly a welcome change from everything else the staff was dealing with. People even cheered as I took their photos. The experience proved that a courthouse wedding can be just as emotional and full of beautiful moments as any big, formal celebration.
During Nathaniel and Theresa’s ceremony, it felt like we were a world away from the business-like decor and fluorescent lights. I truly couldn’t imagine being anywhere else at that moment. It was clear, too, that all Nathaniel and Theresa cared about was getting married. All the glitz and glam of a traditional wedding was stripped away, and their love shined all the brighter.
We took post-ceremony portraits outside the courthouse. The light was so perfect, and Nathaniel and Theresa looked timeless as they stood in front of the courthouse sign. Even Nathaniel’s sunglasses suited the occasion. The film photos especially capture the pure emotion and vintage ambiance.
One of the beautiful things about having a New Orleans courthouse wedding was that Theresa and Nathaniel could just focus on each other. In the last couple years, Theresa has spent a lot of time taking care of family. It was special for Nathaniel and her to just be with each other on their wedding day.
When we left the courthouse, we headed to Cafe Du Monde for a beignet “cake cutting.” The Young Fellaz Brass Band happened to be performing beside the patio. The music added to the festive feelings as Nathaniel and Theresa shared a plate of sugary beignets.
Throughout the entire day, Nathaniel and Theresa’s mutual adoration showed in every gesture and kind word. It felt like they’d found a home in one another. Their steadfast love has carried them through so much already. They’ve supported each other through huge challenges and come out on the other side closer. These images from their elopement really show that combination of strength and tenderness.
Nathaniel and Theresa’s New Orleans courthouse wedding wasn’t the end of their celebration! We met up for a second day, and they wore edgier outfits. I helped them coordinate a haunted tour. It was a great excuse to walk around the French Quarter taking portraits.
As an elopement photographer, I love splitting activities into two days like this. It gives me space to be as creative and get as wide a variety of images as possible. I’ve found that couples also love the ability to wear different outfits and explore other parts of the city. Everyone feels so comfortable when we spend that much time together that the photos look and feel very natural.
The mix of film and digital worked so well to capture the whimsical, runaway feeling of Nathaniel and Theresa’s New Orleans courthouse wedding. Do you want to see film photos from another New Orleans elopement? Check out these vintage-inspired images from the Drifter Hotel!