6 Tips for Your Elopement in New Orleans

New Orleans is a popular elopement destination because it’s full of music, great food, and historic architecture. It’s an incredibly romantic place. If you’re planning an elopement in New Orleans, these tips will help you make the most of your experience in this beautiful city.

A groom helps a bride put on a veil for an elopement in New Orleans.

6 Tips for Your Elopement in New Orleans

1 Hire a local team.

When you elope, you get to prioritize having a deeply connected experience tailored exactly to your tastes. A local vendor team can bring your vision for your elopement in New Orleans to life. From picking locations to places to stay, a local (especially a photographer) can offer priceless insights to help you get the most out of your experience.

Two brides smile and hold a bouquet in City Park.

People love New Orleans because it’s full of celebrations and unique cultural experiences year-round. That’s precisely why you want a local to help you plan your elopement in New Orleans. A local photographer, for example, can help you figure out which weekends the city will be packed with festival-goers. (Coincidentally, that’s when prices tend to skyrocket for accommodations.) 

A couple walks past a hotel pool in wedding clothes.

Do you want to plan some activities off the beaten path? A local can help you pick the best restaurants and activities to have the best, most authentic experience. Consider taking your photographer along to document some of your adventures beyond your ceremony! I worked with this couple to photograph their courthouse elopement and their fun in the French Quarter the following day.

A bride and groom walk up the steps of the Drifter Hotel.

2 Keep locations in mind when planning your timeline.

Another way a local photographer can save your elopement in New Orleans: They’ll help you plan a realistic timeline for all the locations you’ll visit. People often like to stay in the French Quarter then have a ceremony at the Tree of Life in Audubon Park, for example. These neighborhoods are a bit of a drive, and the main roads get congested at rush hour. If you have your hearts set on these locations, work with someone who can help you plan accordingly.

A couple leans against a yellow wall in the French Quarter.

On the other hand, if you’re open to different locations, consider doing all of your day’s activities within walking distance of each other. This makes for the most seamless elopement in New Orleans in my experience. Elopements do give you the flexibility to do things your way, but I still recommend being intentional about the amount of time you spend in transit on your elopement day!

A couple cuts the cake at their elopement in New Orleans.

3 Have a detailed plan… or don’t.

I’ve seen a six-hour elopement planned meticulously. I’ve also seen a couple show at the courthouse and wing the rest of the day. Both experiences were amazing! It’s all about what’s best for you. 

A veil trails over the carpet of a wedding chapel in New Orleans.

Whether or not you have a detailed timeline for your elopement in New Orleans comes down to a few things. First, if you really want to make something a part of your elopement in New Orleans (such as golden hour portraits in the French Quarter), make enough of a plan to accommodate that. If you want to get swept up in the moment, pick a photographer whom you trust to guide you through a free and easy experience.

A couple poses in front of a French Quarter home.

4 Have a designated official and ceremony location.

With that being said, everyone benefits from having a designated officiant and ceremony location. New Orleans isn’t like the woods or a beach where you can easily find a quiet spot and set up your ceremony. We’re very much in a city. Some outdoor spots require permits too. The French Quarter Wedding Chapel is a convenient venue in the Quarter. Check out this nighttime elopement!

An antique street lamp illuminates the front of the French Quarter Wedding Chapel.
A bride and groom stand under a wedding arch at the French Quarter Wedding Chapel.

Your elopement in New Orleans will go more smoothly if you have your marriage license in time for elopement day. (You can find the forms here.) It’s probably the least exciting part of planning your elopement, but it is important that you both go in person to apply for the license.

Two women have their elopement ceremony under an oak tree as family members look on.
A woman reads her vows at a City Park elopement.

5 Remember your florals.

Opting out of a big wedding doesn’t mean you have to skip all the fun things that come with it. A stunning bouquet or boutonniere can add so much to your elopement in New Orleans! Florals elevate your photos and add some life to them. Carrying flowers with you makes the day feel special. It’s also an expense that many of my past clients have been so glad they invested in. So go big on the florals of your dreams!

Two women in wedding clothes press their foreheads together and smile.
A bouquet of baby's breath sits on a church pew during an elopement in New Orleans.

6 Opt for film photography!

Elopements have such a unique energy. That nostalgic, swept-away feeling looks perfect on film! From a photography standpoint, having film and Polaroid mementos are instant treasures from your elopement. I’m a big proponent of film because it captures the intimacy and truth of this incredible moment.

Polaroid photos from an elopement in New Orleans sit on a tile floor.

Would you like me to photograph your elopement in New Orleans? I’d love to document your day with photos that you can feel. Let’s connect!

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