The ultimate guide to your New Orleans elopement
TIPS. VENUES & LOCATION IDEAS
The wedding day is one of the most important days for the would-be couple. However, a lot of planning and hard work will be required behind the scenes before the big day arrives. You can expect the wedding planning to be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive as you try to account for every resource that will be used. All this meticulous planning can prove to be quite a drag in the days leading to the wedding. Have you ever thought about eloping? Well, it’s an excellent alternative to the hassle that comes with having a big, traditional wedding.
More and more contemporary couples are quickly adopting this option given how it’s so intimate, beautiful, and uniquely crafted to align with relationship goals. So if you’re looking for an intimate adventure with your partner as you begin your new lives together, there’s no better place to experience this than in New Orleans – you can either be by yourselves or have close family and friends to witness. New Orleans is the biggest metropolitan city in Louisiana. The area emerged under French rule, with their influence still ingrained into present-day customs and traditions.
Let’s dive in…
First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:
What is an elopement?
What is defined as an elopement today has completely deviated from the traditional one. Eloping is no longer seen as the couple running off to get married in secret. Previosuly, it wasn’t something that was taken lightly or accepted by family members or relatives, since the couple was seen to be sneaking around or looked like the bride was being stolen.
The definition of elopement today is more about the couple and how they have chosen to get married. An elopement nowadays can be defined as a small, intimate, intentional, and authentic wedding experience that reflects the relationship. It’s more meaningful since the focus will be on the both of you. New Orleans, also called the Crescent City, is the perfect place to have your original adventure elopement. It’s internationally renowned for its beauty and charm. The town is the perfect combination of the new and old, and of nature and city. From the random street parties to the French Quarter, its life and charm make it the perfect location for your elopement.
How to get legally married in New Orleans
For your marriage to be legally binding, you will need to obtain a marriage license. It usually takes three days between the application of the marriage license and its issuance. So ensure you’ve obtained your marriage license before the date of the ceremony. Note that only a handful of states can self-solemnize, but Louisiana doesn’t fall under this purview. To make your elopement legal with the city services, here’s what you’ll require when applying for the marriage license:
-Current passport, state ID, or driver’s license
-Certified birth certificates copies from both parties
-Provide Social Security numbers if applicants are U.S. natives
-A non-refundable marriage license fee of $27.50 that’s payable via money order, check, or cash
-Both parties must be present to fill the application. You will also need at least two witnesses to sign the license
Why you should consider a New Orleans elopement
When it comes to culture, New Orleans has it in abundance. The crescent city is well known for its distinct music scene, unique dialect, Creole cuisine, historical culture, and annual festivals and celebrations that really bring the city streets to life. Most notably is the Mardi Gras festival and the French Quarter, which is the historic heart of the city and still architecturally sound as it was when first occupied in the 1700s. All of this is a concoction for a memorable and stylish adventure elopement.
New Orleans is among the most alluring, peculiar, and eloquent cities in America. It will provide you with a picturesque backdrop to say your vows and enjoy the honeymoon with its attractive and lush gardens and scenic lakes and beaches. The plethora of scenic overlooks to take in and enjoy will give your relationship a new perspective that’s sure to leave you energized. The charm and scenic beauty of New Orleans is sure to take your breath away.
Located on the Gulf Coast, New Orleans enjoys a warm and relatively stable climate throughout the year. During summertime, it can get occasionally humid, but if you want a paradisiacal getaway, you may want to elope to New Orleans in the dead of winter. The photos you capture will be out of this world.
The best places for a New Orleans elopement
If you are looking for the perfect wedding spot for your New Orleans elopement, you may want to look through the following locations for inspiration:
City Park is among the oldest parks in America and is a fantastic choice to tie the knot with your partner. The park is 1,300 acres and is filled with moss-canopies and large ancient oaks that provide the perfect atmosphere for your wedding. There’s just too much of City Park to pick one spot – from the botanical rose garden, the wildflower field, and Monet-esque bridges and gazebos, they all provide marvelous views to get married. City Park has all sorts of backdrops to fit your special day. It’s the ideal location for an intimate elopement. If you’re planning on having a photographer present, you’ll have to pay a $50 park fee.
Tree of Life
If you want a unique location to elope in the beautiful New Orleans, consider the Tree of Life located in Audubon Park. Formerly a sugar cane plantation, Audubon Park was bought in 1871 by the city of New Orleans and borders the picturesque St. Charles Avenue and the stunning Mississippi River. The expansive park is known for its natural splendor and scenic qualities and is home to an impressive centuries-old oak tree almost as old as the city. It’s a big tree, a very, very big tree!
The tree was initially called the Étienne de Boray Oak but was renamed to The Tree of Life mainly because it’s so huge and old that it looks like it has been around for eons. The Life Oak Society estimates that the tree is around 100-500 years old. So getting married in front of the Tree of Life will represent a piece of history that you can even show your kids and grandkids.
The Tree of Life has big, gnarled branches that are ideal for climbing or acting as a stage for taking photos –making it the perfect wedding spot. The Tree of Life provides a mystical and fairytale allure in the great outdoors that is sure to satiate your dream elopement. It’s important to note that any ceremony conducted at the Tree of Life is strictly on a first-come, first-serve basis. Even if you have a permit, there’s no guarantee that the venue will be available. Don’t worry; you don’t need a permit to take photos of your special day.
Clark Creek Natural Area, Baton Rouge
Clark Creek Natural Area is nestled between the state line of Mississippi and Louisiana and is about three hours from New Orleans. It occupies 700 acres and features up to 50 waterfalls with varying heights ranging from 10 feet to 30 feet. None of the waterfalls have been named individually – they fall under the umbrella name Clark Creek Falls. The lovely waterfalls, tall trees, several creeks, and manageable paths provide the perfect setting for an adventure elopement.
This place offers the most beautiful terrain in Louisiana and will provide the perfect environment for exploring the trails, spend the day hiking and camp with your newly beloved spouse. Be sure to wear hiking boots or any proper footwear since the trails aren’t paved, and there will be a lot of climbing and trudging through water and mud.
Kisatchie National Forest
Kisatchie is the sole national forest in Louisiana and is about three hours from New Orleans. It covers over 600,000 acres that support a variety of ecosystems that touch multiple parishes and support rare animal and plant species. Its natural and serene environment is perfect for a wedding ceremony. The best season to elope here is during spring since it’s the time when wild azaleas bloom.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
This place protects the cultural and natural resources of Louisiana’s Mississippi River Delta area. The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve features six individual sites and a park headquarters. Two of the sites are located in the New Orleans local and well worth exploring. The Barataria Preserve (about 30 minutes from New Orleans) provides an opportunity for experiencing the natural treasures that Louisiana has.
The preserve features gorgeous scenery, native floating marshes, native wildflowers, live oaks, bayous, natural levee forests, and swamps. So make sure you wear the right footwear. There are archeological sites that have remnants of the ancient Marksville, Troyville, and Tchefuncte cultures. I must admit that this place is a bit adventurous, but that’s exactly what you sign up for when you visit this preserve. If you visit in April or May, you can have your wedding ceremony surrounded by blooming Louisiana Iris. But the fact remains that the backdrop here will be absolutely exquisite!
The steam-powered sternwheeler is known for hosting elopements on the Mississippi River. There’s no better place to get married than sailing through the Mighty Mississippi River on New Orleans’ last authentic Steamboat. The Steamboat Natchez provides couples with the opportunity of getting wedded during Daytime jazz and Dinner jazz cruises. Doing the ceremony in the evening is best if you want to use the city views as a backdrop. The evening package includes witnesses, a wedding coordinator, an officiant, toasting flutes, champagne, dinner, and a photo session for $575, while a day ceremony encapsulates all of these at $500. Flowers and cake can also be included.
Particularities Of A Voodoo Wedding
Voodoo is a philosophy, religion, and a way of life for many people across the world. New Orleans has long been associated with Voodoo. Why not say “Till death do us part..” a little different with a voodoo styled theme that offers personalized love rituals for your elopement. So if you are a Voodoo child, and want you and your beloved to bind your eternal souls in a cosmic knot with a lit candle under the full moon, you may want to consider a Voodoo inspired elopement. You can do this wedding by wearing stunning Mardi Gras masks, avant-garde ‘Red Wine Black Roses’ affair, Hoodoo Handfasting, Twisted Cake Topper, or matching Voodoo dolls.
Mardi Gras Elopement
The Mardi Gras is the signature event that epitomizes New Orleans, with celebrations spanning for over two weeks. It’s the best place for an out-of-the-box elopement. Everything about the Mardi Gras is just fascinating, where the party is everywhere; from the masquerade masks, parades, bead catching, balcony parties, concerts and drinks, and food galore. It’s something you just don’t get in a conventional wedding. Look at it this way, your elopement is a cause for celebration, and the party is all around you.
The best time for a New Orleans elopement
When is the best time to elope in New Orleans? Well, I might argue that any season is a good enough season for a New Orleans Elopement. The city always has something to celebrate, and your wedding can be one of them. On the New Orleans playlist, every season is like a new song – you only need to dance to the tune. Not to be caught off-guard, look up the local weather before eloping. But it’s never a wrong time to elope in New Orleans.
Eloping in New Orleans during the winter season can prove to be quite amazing. Most of the hotel lobbies have sites worth beholding, and many hotels provide Papa Noel Rates. Some people may suggest that you avoid a Mardi Gras wedding, but that logic isn’t necessarily right. Even though it may not be the easiest or cheapest time to do a New Orleans elopement, it will definitely be worth it. Your close family and friends will get a view of the ‘Greatest Free Show On The Planet’, and being a Mardi Gras bride is equivalent to being a Carnival queen – your colors gold, green, and purple, not forgetting the Mardi Gras masquerade masks.season for your elopement.
Springtime in New Orleans is the best time to get hitched. The weather during this time is nothing but glorious. During this period, celebrations will be in full swing, including the Heritage Festival, New Orleans Jazz, and the French Quarter Fest, which are quite popular. So it depends if you want to get married when the festivals have kicked off or not. You can get married amidst the blooming azaleas or botanical gardens that offer picturesque backdrops.
Summer in the south is typically uncomfortably hot. Being a June bride is something special that dates back to the Roman era, where on the first day of June, Romans celebrated Jupiter, the goddess of childbirth and marriage, and the god Juno. Although June is the beginning of the hurricane season, it becomes more active between mid-August and mid-September. Despite the humidity and heat, you will find that airfare rates and hotel prices are low, plus restaurants won’t be as crowded. These are pretty enticing factors for an elopement wedding.
Having a New Orleans elopement during the fall is heavenly-like. Precipitation amounts are relatively lower, and the average daily temperature nearly perfect (October is around 80 degrees while November is 72 degrees. The greenery and Mother Nature are in sync and arguable the best time for eloping. You can choose to do a Halloween themed or Voodoo themed ceremony.
What to wear for a New Orleans elopement
Just like conventional weddings, the wedding dress is the most important feature of the entire ceremony. You should bear in mind that Princess dresses will not do if you are looking for an adventurous elopement. Go for dresses that are lightweight and flowy, but still sturdy enough to traverse the terrain. You don’t have to wear it to the elopement spot, pack it in a backpack, and change once you arrive. The dress should epitomize elegance.
Although the weather in New Orleans is relatively stable, you can never be too sure. Track what the local weather is like or will be like to help the right footwear. If your elopement entails some form of strolling, hiking, or climbing, you’ll have to wear shoes with good tread. Boots are always reliable when in the great outdoors and will get you to your destination without having to dirty the fancy shoes you may have bought for the elopement. Generally, go for shoes that are slip-resistant and sturdy.
The men’s dress code for such an event is pretty straightforward and can be as simple as a dark suit and white shirt. A cut-away jacket or Tuxedo is also another option. Other features of the suit may include suspenders or a nice waistcoat.
What is the cost of an elopement in New Orleans?
HIGH – END ELOPEMENT
Travel to and from New Orleans: $500
5 nights in a high-end accomodation // $2 500
Elopement photographer // $12 000
Private chef or full board // $1 000
Officiant // $1 000
Florist // $500
Rentals // $500
Wedding dress and accessories // $4 000
Suit and accessories // $1 000
TOTAL FOR A HIGH – END ELOPEMENT IN New Orleans :
Travel to and from New Orleans: $500
5 nights in an airbnb // $700
Elopement photographer // $8 000
Food // $250
Officiant // $500
Florist // $200
Wedding dress and accessories // $2 500
Suit and accessories // $500
TOTAL FOR A BUDGET ELOPEMENT IN New Orleans :
New Orleans Elopement Checklist
Think about where you’d like to go
Elopement destinations are endless in the city of New Orleans, and selecting the right spot is contingent on you and your partner’s vision. Other factors to consider include accessibility of the location, your budget, and whether you’ll have guests in attendance. Solid places to choose from include the Audubon Park, Louis Armstrong Park, and City Park.
Pick a date
Choosing a date to elope is more of a personal decision. The time of year you pick will significantly impact the experience you’ll have. You can start with the weather patterns New Orleans has. Picking a date in the fall or spring will help you avoid the humidity of summer and the crowded streets associated with Mardi Gras. Selecting a date will give you time to organize and plan your budget.
Find more informations about travel visas and wedding documentation
If you are a foreign national and want to get married in New Orleans, you or both of you must have valid travel visas. You also need to prepare the wedding documentation discussed earlier for your marriage to be legally binding.
Book your accommodation
Depending on the type of adventure elopement you have set out for, you should ensure you have a ‘temporal home’ to relax after the exploration escapades. Book the accommodation near the spot you’re planning to have the ceremony.
Find a place to exchange your vows
Although adventure elopements are supposed to be carefree and spontaneous, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan ahead. From the different locations for having an elopement in New Orleans, have one to three spots scoped out so that your photographer is prepared and knows what to expect.
Book your other vendors
Some of the vendors you may find yourself in need of include hair and makeup stylists, florists (for arbors and bouquets), wedding attire designers, caterers, music providers, and post-ceremony details like a NOLA wedding parade or carriage ride. If you want to add more New Orleans charm on your special day, you can coordinate with local businesses to enrich the celebration.
Plan your travel
If you really want to enjoy the wedding, then you’ll have to plan your travel meticulously. You can strategize on how to avoid unforeseen distractions or traffic on elopement day. New Orleans is a stunning and accessible place, and with a bit of planning, eloping here can prove to be a memorable experience.
Book your photographer
Eloping to New Orleans means that you won’t spend much on the venue, food, or décor. So this will leave enough to hire a photographer to document the day. A professional photographer knows what to expect, can provide planning ideas and tips, and knows how to get those picturesque shots you will relive forever in photos.
Does New Orleans sound like your dream?
How to plan your peaceful elopement in New Orleans with me
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Experience a place close to your hearts, or a bucket list dream.
Are you eager to start planning your elopement in New Orleans? I’m here to help you envision, plan and immortalize this beautiful adventure! Contact me now for a free consultation!