Must-know Planning Tips for your New Orleans Destination Wedding


brei olivier

Must-know Planning Tips for your New Orleans Destination Wedding

This blog post contains 7 planning tips for your small wedding or elopement in New Orleans.

From the romantic architecture, vibrant culture, delicious food, unique art, and incredible live music scene… it’s easy to see why so many couples come to the city each year to get married and celebrate their love.

You may be at the very beginning stages of planning your wedding or elopement in New Orleans and need a bit of insight into how you should go about everything.

As a wedding photographer working first-hand with couples, I have a behind-the-scenes perspective on what makes a wedding experience in New Orleans fun, successful, and memorable for years to come.

Couple gets married at the pharmacy museum in New Orleans

Here are 8 planning tips for your New Orleans elopement or small wedding:

Tip #1: Look at the festival calendar before choosing a date

New Orleans is a city who loves to revel, and we always welcome an excuse to celebrate. Festivals are almost always happening in the city, mostly during the spring and summer months. Check the festival calendar before choosing your date! There might be one you want to be in town for!

Couple enjoys their small bayou saint john wedding in New Orleans.

Tip #2: Don’t limit yourself to the French Quarter

New Orleans has so much to explore and do beyond the French Quarter. That’s not to say the FQ isn’t amazing, because it is. But definitely consider venturing out to other parts of the city – I think you’ll be happily surprised!

8 planning tips for your New Orleans wedding or elopement

Planning Tip #3: Go wild when envisioning your style

One of the reasons New Orleans is an amazing city for weddings is because there’s something for everyone’s style. Modern, tropical, classic, rustic, goth, garden, historical – there is a wedding venue that will fit what you’re looking for and many amazing vendors who can bring everything you’re dreaming of to life.

Couple standing together in Pirate's Alley, New Orleans on their wedding day

Tip #4: Have event insurance & an inclement weather plan

The great weather in New Orleans is one of the reasons couples come here from all over the country to get married. While we do have great weather year-round, we also get quite a bit of rain. Last year alone, New Orleans had 71 inches of rainfall.

Summer months tend to see more rainfall, and it isn’t uncommon for a typical day in New Orleans to go from bright and sunny to a torrential downpour, so always have a rain plan for your wedding day! Here is more information on the average weather in New Orleans by month.

Also important to consider is hurricane season. New Orleans is vulnerable to hurricanes, and the season is from June 1 – November 30 annually. Hurricanes are taken seriously within the city & have the capacity to cancel events – It is always wise to have event insurance, and it is especially wise to do so during hurricane season.

Make your New Orleans wedding day unique

Tip #5: Take the liberty to make your day unique to you

New Orleans is a unique city that balks at tradition and instead encourages full expression of self. So it only makes sense to run with the sentiment and make your day completely unique to you.

That could look like: wearing a multi-colored dress, getting ready together, taking your wedding portraits at night, getting married at sunrise, showing up to your ceremony in a classic car, going on a kayak adventure for your wedding day, having a first cocktail instead of a first dance… there are endless ways to incorporate you into your day!

Infuse some New Orleans charm into your wedding day, and 7 other New Orleans wedding planning tips

Planning Tip #6: Infuse some NOLA charm

Plan a second line, have king cake or beignets for dessert, hire a tarot card reader for your reception, have an absinthe tasting, reserve a street car to bring you & your guests to the ceremony, go see live music for your afterparty… there are so many cool aspects of New Orleans you could bring into your wedding day!

Make your wedding an all day event and 7 other wedding tips from Brei Olivier, New Orleans wedding and elopement photographer

Tip #7: Make it an all day event

Your wedding day only happens once, and is so much more deserving than a quick ceremony in the park. New Orleans is the perfect city to create an all-day celebration that you love. It could be romantic and low-key, or fast-paced and energetic… however you imagine it, it’s a day to be celebrated!

Henry Howard Hotel Wedding Guide & planning tips

Tip #8: Create a timeline for you & your guests

Creating a day-of and weekend-of timeline for your guests (and yourself!) is super helpful because it let’s everyone know what is happening and when. There’s no confusion about what to expect, because it’s all written out for them! I think it’s a great thing to include in your guests “welcome bags.”

Example timeline for a 6 hour wedding day:

– 3:30 pm: Start getting dressed
– 4:30 pm: First Look
– 4:45 pm: Formal Photos
– 5:30 pm: Ceremony
– 6:00 pm: Just married portraits
– 6:30 pm: Cocktail hour
– 7:00 pm: Dinner
– 8:00 pm: Cake cutting & toasts
– 8:30 pm: First Dance
– 9:30 pm: Reception ends

I hope these planning tips for your wedding or elopement in New Orleans have been helpful. Please drop a comment below if you have any questions for me, I would be happy to help you!

Are you looking to get married in New Orleans?

Hi! I’m Brei, a wedding photographer here in New Orleans and I help couples create amazing wedding experiences here in the city then tag along to photograph it all from start to finish.

If you enjoyed this blog post about planning tips, you may also be interested in:
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