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Here, I celebrate and affirm your love no matter what your love looks like. I know the wedding industry was built on a foundation of whiteness, thinness, and cisheteronormativity.
Your queer wedding photographer & posing coach.
New Orleans is a magical city. Bubbles drift off ironwork balconies in the historic French Quarter. Magnolias decorate the lawns of stately Garden District homes. The wind carries Jazz music around the river bend in the Marigny. It’s understandable why so many people want to have an elopement in New Orleans. The Crescent City is the perfect place for an intimate celebration of your love.
As a wedding photographer, I have attended dozens of elopements. This blog post rounds up what I’ve learned to help you plan your elopement in New Orleans.
You may be surprised to learn that the French Quarter Wedding Chapel is the only venue of its kind in the neighborhood. For couples who want that wedding chapel vibe for their elopement in New Orleans, this is the place. It’s conveniently located in the heart of the French Quarter hotels, restaurants, and entertainment. You can spend your day walking from your hotel to your ceremony to a beautiful meal afterwards. People are likely to congratulate you in the streets along the way.
The French Quarter Wedding Chapel has a unique mix of a laid back atmosphere and quirky decor. The interior has lots of dark reds and browns. Think eclectic but cozy. It’s also hard to miss the dollar bills hanging around the chandelier! Reverend Tony, who has officiated weddings at the chapel for many years, says they’re to bring luck to newlyweds. This venue makes elopement in New Orleans a quick, easy, and memorable experience.
I’ve found that elopement ceremonies don’t always happen in the most photogenic spaces. That’s ok! Some couples are more interested in a photo session to celebrate. The French Quarter is the perfect place to commemorate your elopement in New Orleans. Even on rainy days, the old Spanish architecture and gates of Jackson Square make you feel like you’re in another world.
One reason I love an extended photo session for an elopement is that you get stunning images with less fuss. That appeals to a lot of marriers who opt for an elopement. The French Quarter has so many colorful houses and lush plants trailing over brick walls. There are endless opportunities to capture images that celebrate your love. One of my favorite ways to bring the magic of the French Quarter into your photos is night portraits. The images are so lively and intimate at the same time.
Race and Religious has gained a lot of attention over the last few years. Walking into this beautiful venue in the warehouse district is an otherworldly experience. Often it gets rented out for full weddings. The layout makes it ideal for an elegant elopement in New Orleans, though. The property includes three connected buildings and a courtyard. Weathered brick passages lead to charming rooms with tall doors. It feels like there’s something to discover around every corner.
If you want a timeless elopement in New Orleans, you can definitely get that at Race and Religious. The courtyard alone is worth checking out. A bridge spans the rectangular courtyard, and a long reflecting pool mirrors the sky. Palm trees add some tropical flare. You can have a few guests seated or just your officiant and witness by your side. Whichever route you take, your Race and Religious elopement will be gorgeous.
For marriers who want some of that sweeping Southern landscape at their elopement in New Orleans, the Tree of Life can provide that! The Tree of Life is one of the oldest oak trees in New Orleans. Standing under its gigantic branches, you can’t help thinking about everything that tree has witnessed. It’s heartening to think about all the lovers who have stood there before to exchange vows.
My tips for having a Tree of Life elopement? Prepare for any weather that might come your way. Illinois couple Ayla and Dakota had a beautiful ceremony despite the rain. Also be sure to secure a permit in advance because this location books up fast.
As you can guess from the name, Hotel Peter and Paul is a former church and school that have been renovated. Now it’s a cool hotel with chic retro vibes. The hoteliers were so intentional in choosing the color palette and antiques for each room. It’s aesthetic is classical and monochromatic at interesting moments. There are so many stunning locations for first looks and portraits.
After your ceremony, you can head to the hotel bar, the Elysian Bar. Sip craft cocktails in vintage chairs or share delectable plates in the courtyard. It’s so fun to have this incredible dining experience built into your elopement location.
City Park’s grove of live oaks make a popular canopy for an elopement in New Orleans, but the bandstand is beautiful too! Say “I do” between the towering pillars. Even a little rain won’t stop a City Park elopement under the bandstand! Stone lions look out towards the ponds where ducks paddle and herons dive for fish. With Spanish moss in the trees, you get the lush Louisiana experience.
City Park is a beautiful outdoor venue that doesn’t require a lot of decor to feel special. Afterward you can pop over to Cafe du Monde for some beignets and cafe au lait. Just make sure you secure a permit to use the bandstand ahead of time.
Hotel Monteleone is known for the Carousel Bar, which serves up Vieux Carres and other classic New Orleans cocktails. Many marriers are excited to learn that the hotel has a stunning rooftop, too. The rest of the hotel has an old school French Quarter vibe, but the roof feels more modern. The iconic red sign glows bright red as the sun sets. Elopement photos on the roof are cinematic!
Located in the upper French Quarter, Hotel Monteleone is near dozens of restaurants, clubs, and sightseeing opportunities. In addition to amazing photo opportunities, this rooftop has a pool. Hotel Monteleone is great for a New Orleans elopement that’s elevated and relaxed.
Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral are some of the most widely recognized landmarks in New Orleans. They can make a perfect backdrop for an elopement in New Orleans. On sunny days, the blue sky stretches over the gray cathedral spires. Spring rains make the paving stones shine, adding depth and dimension to photos.
Like City Park, if you want to hold your ceremony inside Jackson Square, you will need a permit. There’s a platform across the street overlooking the square and cathedral. It’s a very photogenic spot and would be great for an intimate wedding. Keep in mind, though, that this platform gets extremely busy during peak hours (4pm-6pm and weekends). If you would like a private experience here, early morning and mid-week are the best.
Audubon Park is Uptown’s answer to City Park. The huge park has majestic oak trees and lush ponds. The landscape ranges from manicured lawns to overgrown meadows. Portraits here are classic and indisputably Southern. If you want to make sure your Audubon Park elopement happens no matter the weather, try a ceremony in the elegant band shell.
This beautiful park covers over 300 acres stretching from Tulane’s campus to the Mississippi River. The iconic green St. Charles streetcar drops you off near an entrance.
If you want your elopement in New Orleans to have some historical flair, check out the Ursuline Convent. The beautiful building was constructed over 300 years ago. It’s actually the oldest building in the city. A well-preserved example of colonial architecture, the white building has classic shutters and a balcony over the arched entrance.
Although the interior of the convent has been restored in detail, the courtyard garden is great for elopement portraits. Low symmetrical hedges zigzag across the courtyard. It has very old school European garden vibes.
A festival elopement may be the ultimate experience for people who love New Orleans! New Orleans’ calendar is PACKED with festivals. The peak season is March through May, though more and more festivals are being scheduled for June and July. Planning your elopement during a festival means you can take advantage of all the parties the city is having already!
Kelly and Michael planned a small City Park wedding ceremony. Afterward, they headed straight to New Orleans Jazz Fest. This was truly one of the most unique weddings I have ever photographed! It was planned by Alchemy Events. Check out this wedding’s feature in New Orleans Wedding Magazine!
Felicity Church is a chic New Orleans wedding venue that previously served as a church. When the current orders restored it, they honored the best parts of the architecture, including the vaulted ceilings, stained windows, and balcony. Florals really stand out against the brick, hardwood floors, and white trim of the interior. There’s something so intimate about an elopement in such a grand setting.
Located on the edge of the Lower Garden District, Felicity Church is close to the hotels of the Central Business District (CBD). The CBD and Lower Garden District have cocktail bars and fine dining restaurants. Felicity Church is on a residential block and has a quietly enchanting air despite its proximity to so much nightlife.
Having a backyard wedding can be the most personal and intimate way to get married in New Orleans. All you need is a yard big enough to fit you, your boo, and anyone lucky enough to get an invitation. A backyard wedding has that laissez les bon temps rouler ambiance that people love in this city.
I also love how customizable backyard weddings are. It can be as casual or luxe as you prefer. You can hire your favorite vendors without contending with venue restrictions. Plus at the end of the night, you’re already home. Check out this backyard Bywater wedding here.
Armstrong Park is the most underrated location for an elopement in New Orleans. This park has beautiful bridges and winding paths lined with rose bushes. Statues of jazz legends stand beside the pond. The arch at the park gates light up at night. It has an incredible energy that makes it a perfect spot for night portraits.
This park is located where the French Quarter meets the historic Treme neighborhood. It’s widely considered to be the oldest Black neighborhood in the country, and it’s full of charming architecture and incredible music.
Are you interested in having me photograph your elopement? Reach out, and let’s make some magic!