As we walked the empty streets, these streets we know by heart,
the silence bubbled up from the ground and began to curl around us
like the steam that rises up from the hot pavement after a summer rain.
And the deafening stillness grew louder with each forward step.
It eventually gave way to the noise in my head,
the wonderful clatter from the swirl of dancing memories,
the ones that reside in every nook and cranny of this 300 year old place we call home.
They live in every piece of crumbling façade
where a fern has taken root and reached out for life,
around every brightly stuccoed corner,
and sit on every well worn door stoop.
The clip clop of horses, the mournful sigh of a saxophone reverberating in the distance,
the tinkling of silver and glass as it hits aged marbled tabletops,
the roar of a crowd as the brass band leads a second line for the newly-married
through these potholed filled streets, these streets we know by heart.
The memories leap to life in my head of the joyful times we’ve spent here,
on the happiest days of so many lives,
of the nights we walked these streets alone and playfully whispered to one another,
“Tonight, we are in Paris,” and let our imagination run wild,
and it wasn’t hard to fall in love again as we wandered along,
on these streets we know by heart.
I have started so many posts and emails in the last 6 weeks with “in these uncertain times”, so I swore I would find a better way to start this. I’m not sure what else to say, since these are very uncertain times that we are living in, so I’ll just say Corona … you are making life really hard! All of us, in every walk of life, on every inch of the planet, have been affected by what Corona is doing to our health and to the economy. Couples trying to plan a wedding are having a particularly hard time trying to navigate the ever-changing rules, and my heart breaks for them. Also, the wedding industry as a whole has been turned upside down in the scramble to postpone all 2020 spring weddings. We have had weddings moved to as much as a year into the future, and some moved just a few months into the future that we are still unsure what they will look like. In an article from Biz New Orleans, Steve Caputo, president of Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association and the manager of Hotel Monteleone speculates ” … that a lot of things that have been pushed to later months may or may not materialize depending on what we’re allowed to do. For instance, if there are no large gatherings allowed until there’s a vaccine, well what is considered a large gathering? Is that 25 people? Is it 50 people? Can you have a wedding reception for a hundred people?”
Not unexpected given all of the uncertainty, we have had fewer than normal inquiries during these days of quarantine. But people will continue to get married, albeit for love, or health insurance benefits, or any number of reasons in between and we are noticing a trend in that couples are starting to inquire about elopements more than ever before. We have literally had one of our fall weddings bump up their October soiree to an April porch wedding complete with hand sanitizer and face masks, due to a need for insurance benefits brought on by COVID-19 job loss.
Every year we shoot a handful of elopements and small, intimate weddings and we absolutely love them! The vast majority of these are destination weddings, meaning that the couple come from out of town to get married in New Orleans, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Most have a connection to New Orleans, such as one grew up here, or they went to school here, but occasionally a couple will tell us they just “threw a dart” and it landed on New Orleans! We get it … New Orleans is a fantastic place to get married and this town really knows how to throw a party!! It is the perfect backdrop for a fun and memorable experience. And in these uncertain times (I had to say it), planning for a smaller, intimate wedding for just the two of you or for a handful of your closest people might just be the way to go. Planning for small may be the best way to adhere to the rules for social distancing for the immediate future and may even keep you from having to cancel or postpone if the rules don’t relax right away. Going small doesn’t mean that it can’t be special and may be just the perfect solution for navigating love in the time of Corona. It may not be the wedding you always dreamed of, but if you can keep an open mind, intimate weddings and elopements do have some advantages over big blowout events.
Although it can be fun and exciting, let’s face it, wedding planning can be stressful! Many of our intimate wedding couples expressed a desire to just want to focus on the love they have for each other and not get distracted with the stress of a larger event. As one recent elopement bride stated, “We have decided to get married in an intimate ceremony with just the two of us so that we can focus on what really matters—our commitment to each other and God.”
According to the Wedding Wire 2020 Newlywed Report, on average a couple will hire 15 vendors for their wedding day! Unless one of those vendors is a good wedding planner, that is a LOT of coordination. Eloping can certainly help eliminate many of those vendors, depending on how elaborate, or simple you want your wedding to be. Technically, all you need is an officiant. We’d like to think you might want a photographer around, too! For smaller weddings and elopements, the most common other vendors we work with are officiants, hair/makeup artists, florists, transportation, music and cake bakers. We maintain a list of vendors that we have worked with in the past on small weddings and elopements that we would be happy to share with our couples. We often also work closely with our couples to suggest timing of their wedding so that they can take advantage of the most optimal light to insure that their wedding photos are the best they can be.
Just because you opt for a smaller wedding does not mean that you have to skimp on making it memorable! Pretty much anything that is done for a large wedding can be done for an intimate wedding. That’s the beauty of it … you can make it your own! Have a first look, take a whirl on the dance floor, have a tiny second-line, cut a cake, just make sure you schedule time to take lots of great photos! The memories you make will be yours to have forever between the two of you, and the photos are how you will share your great news with all of those who love you. We often recommend to our couples to schedule time for a “walk about” on the wedding day and we spend an hour or so either before or after the ceremony doing a fun photo session! Some of our couples even have us document their details and get photos of them helping one another get ready.
You bet we can! There are so many places to have a small wedding in New Orleans. The city is so visually rich with wonderful architecture that almost anywhere can be a beautiful backdrop for a wedding! Restaurants, hotels, courtyards, backyards, front porches, all work well for small intimate weddings. Some of our favorite places include:
Getting started on planning your elopement in New Orleans is simple! Just fill out our contact form which can be found HERE! We will get started right away getting you all the information you need to plan your perfect intimate wedding in New Orleans!
You can also start by checking HERE for good information on how to obtain various licenses and permits, including a marriage license. As of this writing, marriage licenses are being issued by appointment only, so be sure to call before going to the courthouse. We remain hopeful that as more information is determined about COVID-19, life may not return to “normal” as we knew it, but that we will have a clearer picture of what the new normal will look like and can plan accordingly.
When it comes to weddings, small and intimate is quickly becoming the new normal, and that worked out perfectly for Megan and Billy! After doing a long-distance relationship for some time, they finally decided it was time for Megan to move to Billy’s hometown of New Orleans! Their plans were always for an intimate ceremony in the Big Easy, with just the two of them. They wanted to focus on what really matters—their commitment to each other and God. The wedding was planned and in place before Covid-19 showed itself in New Orleans and by the time the wedding date arrived, social distancing was well underway. Without any fuss and just a few minor adjustments, moving from an indoor to an outdoor location, they were able to tie the knot in the small, intimate celebration they had dreamed of. Being photographed by a couple of masked up photographers who shouted directions from 6 feet away was probably not in their original plans, but oh, what a story they are going to have to tell their children! Love always finds a way. We left them right at sunset so they could go pick up their takeout dinner and cake to celebrate quietly at home! We’ll be joining them later in the fall for a little livilier celebration with family! But the important stuff is taken care of for now! Wishing the best to Megan and Billy for a lifetime of happiness! Stay safe, and continue to take care of each other!