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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.
Emily and James chose to have an intimate French Quarter Wedding Chapel elopement with only their closest friends and family. While they both live in Florida, they fell in love with New Orleans on a visit for New Year’s Eve. They wanted to have a small destination wedding in a city where they knew all their friends and family would have a great time. A New Orleans elopement was perfect for this.
Their wedding was planned for a Saturday in February, which, when they were planning, they didn’t realize was Mardi Gras weekend! The Saturday before Mardi Gras is one of the busiest days of the year. To be honest, when I first got the inquiry, I thought they were little nuts for trying to get married on Endymion Saturday! But we woke up before the crowds, and everything fell perfectly into place. We started our day at their hotel where we walked with family until we found a good spot for family photos. Then, Emily, James, and I took the long way to the chapel and did a pre-wedding photoshoot. We arrived at the chapel just on time for things to get started.
Emily and James wanted an elopement that felt fun, easy, and not cheesy. For that, French Quarter Wedding Chapel was a perfect venue. Their day felt laid back and focused on their community instead of the fuss of a traditional wedding. It was perfect.
Walking into the French Quarter Wedding Chapel, you are transported to a different decade. The interior feels like something out of an old movie or something you would find in Las Vegas. The aesthetic is maximalist. Every wall and every corner is packed with trinkets and stories. The more you look, the more you see from lamps to statues, clocks, and golden curtains. Then you look towards the ceiling and see thousands of dollars nailed to every inch.
“What the heck? Why is all this money up there?” you ponder to yourself.
At the French Quarter Wedding Chapel, legend has it that that long ago a bride asked Rev. Tony “so when do I get to sign my new name?” to which he whipped out a sharpie and a dollar bill then tacked it to the wall. Now, each couple gets to participate in the tradition. Each couple signs their name and writes their wedding date. You pick a spot together (in your first joint decision as a married couple) and nail your own signed bill to the ceiling. Forever memorialize your experience as part of the collective memory of the French Quarter Wedding Chapel.
Every wedding at French Quarter Wedding Chapel is officiated by Reverend Anthony Talavera (Rev. Tony.) Rev. Tony is a larger than life character who adds an element to your wedding day that is hard to get anywhere else. He always starts the wedding with a little bit of advice (which can feel a bit focused on traditional gender roles even for same-sex couples) on the key elements of a lifelong marriage. The advice dances around elements of “be nice, give each other nice things, listen to each other, don’t let the romance die.” Some of his advice is a bit outdated, but it pairs perfectly with the kitschy aesthetic. The whole experience is cheeky, theatrical, and leaves me feeling a bit nostalgic.
Rev. Tony’s ceremonies are short, sweet, and always pack a few good laughs. Immediately after the ceremony, we sign papers, take a few photos, and do the time-honored nail-a-dollar-to-the-ceiling tradition.
If you are looking for something simple in the heart of the French Quarter and you are down for some Dad jokes, the French Quarter wedding chapel is a beautiful choice.
Reading through this, you might wonder why go to the French Quarter Wedding Chapel instead of just going to a courthouse? While many cities have the option for courthouse elopements, New Orleans is not currently one of them. Rumor has it that, in early 2019, there were a few judges that were caught up in embezzlement schemes involving courthouse weddings. I can’t tell you if that is true or not, but either way, courthouse weddings are currently closed in New Orleans. The only way I have heard of a courthouse wedding happening is if you personally know a local judge and can call in a favor.
Possibly this will change in the future, but for now, it’s a fun New Orleans quirk that gives you a great excuse to learn about alternative wedding venues. If you want to see a write up on my favorite elopement spots, check out this blog -> Best Ideas for Elopements in New Orleans