Emily & Ian’s New Orleans Elopement

Whoa, you guys. Brace yourselves. Today’s wedding is amazing for about a million reasons. First off, I assume that no one ever takes my advice (I know that might be crazy, but it’s sort of my base line assumption), and I was staggered to find that Emily did. Advice I left in the comments no less. When Emily left a comment stressed about how to plan her elopement, I pointed out that, no matter what the wedding media is preaching these days, the whole beauty of elopements is that there is nothing to plan. You grab the love of your life, the outfit, and maybe some flowers, and you run off and do it (or as Alyssa so eloquently told us, “What Grammy kept telling you really is true. All you need is the man, the preacher and the dress. Or the woman, the officiant and two dresses. Or WHATEVER. But that really is all you need.”) And no, you don’t need to plan a wedding after you elope, because marriage is the thing. So I am beyond thrilled to let Emily tell you the magical story of how her simple elopement went down in New Orleans, with chap-stick and Spin Pins. It’s going to start your week off just right.

My wedding was a very zero-to-sixty affair. In October, if you had asked me if I ever saw myself getting married, my reaction would have been equal parts cynical, haughty, and negative. Growing up, there was no happy marriage model in my life. The most important women in my life, my mother, my Nana, and my Aunt Lucinda, had four bad marriages between them, and I was determined to learn from their mistakes. I saw marriage as trading your independence and your sense of self for… actually, I wasn’t even sure what for. And I wasn’t terribly interested to find out.

But in November, everything changed, because my father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away quite suddenly. All I could think was that my Dad wouldn’t be there to walk me down the aisle. He wouldn’t be there to watch me get married. Further more, I realized that my boyfriend, the man who flew down on his Christmas break to help me pack up my Dad’s house, the man who was so lovely to all of the most important women in my life, that was the man that I wanted to marry.
I finished my final college classes from home while I tied up all the loose ends of my Dad’s estate. Mostly a lot of unpleasant phone calls to creditors and completing more paperwork than I thought possible. I visited my boyfriend a couple of times during all of this mess, but for the most part our relationship was text messages and falling asleep on the phone together at night. I flew back to school in May for graduation, which was a huge family affair. After I flew home again, we were having a continuation of a, “I can’t do this long distance thing anymore,” argument, and my boyfriend said, “Well, why don’t you just move in?” So I did. And after I moved in, we had a long conversation about our relationship, all our ups and downs and we decided, together, that we wanted to get married. So we started planning.
Back Camera
Despite my views on marriage, I always found elopement cute and romantic. A little Googling revealed that New Orleans had permissive marriage laws, and that seemed much more my style than Vegas. New Orleans has always had a special place in my heart. It’s a city of survivors, a good place for beginnings, and exactly where I wanted to start our life together.

nola02Planning my wedding was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done, which is weird, because I am a control freak. I imagine if we’d had a big wedding I would have been fretting about flowers or if our families were going to get along with each other or all kinds of things that I can’t even imagine. I commented on APW about trying to plan my elopement and Meg said, basically, stop it. Go get married.

So I let things go. I turned to Google and within the week I had ordered a dress, our wedding bands, a pair of shoes. I’d found a minister, a photographer, and a florist. I tried to find a hairdresser in New Orleans and had visions of a fabulous up-do shellacked to my head with a lot of hairspray, but I ended up going with Spin Pins instead. I didn’t pack any makeup, just chapstick. I planned my bouquet through text-only e-mails. We flew to New Orleans, got settled in the hotel, and took photos the day before our wedding. We were sweating from head to toe but we were so happy that we couldn’t stop smiling. I was smiling with my teeth, something I never do because I’m self-conscious of my smile, but I couldn’t help it. There was no stopping me.

On our wedding day, we put on our clothes that were wrinkled from the plane trip and sweaty from the photo session. Our minister called us on the phone and said she was going to be late, which freaked me out because I’ve heard it’s bad luck to get married on the half-hour. We drove to the park where we were going to get married and waited in the car. My soon-to-be-husband listened patiently while I babbled about superstitions and having a terrible feeling that everything in the entire world was going to go wrong, possibly forever. When she finally showed up at 4:30 on the nose, my man turned to me, squeezed my hand, and said, “You make your own luck.” I have never been more in love with him than in that moment.

The ceremony, as you can imagine, flew by. The minister snapped a picture of us. We said our vows. We exchanged rings. We kissed. We walked back to our rental car and drove to go get wedding beignets. It was divine.

Back Camera
I don’t regret eloping for a single second. Yes, it was hard to tell my family, particularly my favorite three women who were very upset that they didn’t get to do the whole wedding planning ritual with me. Two of them cried. But if I had a chance to go back and have a traditional wedding to appease them, I wouldn’t. I know that probably sounds selfish. But my new husband and I had each other all to ourselves in a city far away from home, isolated from everything. We managed to have a laid back, stress-free wedding, which is nothing short of a miracle given my personality. We had a peaceful start to our marriage after a really crazy few months, and I will always feel so blessed for that.


Photos by the amazing Maile Lani Photography in New Orleans

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  • This is wonderful – brave and honest, and beautifully written. Thanks for sharing it with us, Emily!
    Having just celebrated our first anniversary in New Orleans, I can see that it would be a wonderful place to elope to – it’s got exactly the kind of spirit I’d want if I was eloping. And it’s gotta be hard to beat a wedding breakfast of coffee and beignets from Cafe du Monde. Yum.

  • It is so lovely to literally hear the joy and utter clarity coming from Emily. Such a brave and honest decision, and the happiness is evident. Well done to them both!

    …And wedding beignets… YUM and what a perfect wedding feast!

  • A-L

    Congratulations, Ian and Emily! Y’all look great together, and you have a beautiful smile, Emily! I’m always so excited to see a New Orleans wedding, and an interracial one at that too (you might me getting another one in your inbox soon, Meg). Hope the two of you have a wonderful life together making your own luck!

  • Cass

    Ah, this really got me!
    “When she finally showed up at 4:30 on the nose, my man turned to me, squeezed my hand, and said, “You make your own luck.” I have never been more in love with him than in that moment.”
    Starting my day with happy tears :)

    • oh, me too, me too. thank you for this post – it IS a good way to start off the week.

    • That line gave me shivers in a very good way.

    • Tina

      Yep, exactly. I love wedding graduates, but they get put down to the bottom of the priority list when I’m I have to choose how much APW I have time for. When I saw elopement and New Orleans, I was hooked. All the weddings featured are great, but this one was so sweet and honest. I lost it at that line. Something I don’t normally do with wedding graduate posts. Love it!

  • What a beautiful story :-) I love elopements. Unfortunately that’s not what we did… our mother’s were horrified to hear we wanted only immediate family at the wedding (about 15 people) so we ended up planning something slightly bigger. Toward the end of my planning craziness, we got a postcard from two very good friends, saying they had eloped in Hawaii! I was so surprised! So excited! And so jealous!!!! They had a fantastic story, amazing pictures, and none of the stress. Elopements really are cool and exciting, and even though our wedding turned out awesome, I think I would have been happy to elope! Good on you, and congratulations!

  • I went to New Orleans for the first time last month, and I am so very much in love with that city! And … omg, Cafe Du Monde. Love, love, love!!!

    The photo right below where Emily talks about smiling with her teeth really epitomizes her joy that day. How lovely that photo is! I know what you mean, too, about smiling with your teeth. I’ve always been self-conscious of my smile, too. But I couldn’t help it, either. :)

    • B

      Ditto the feeling self-conscious about my smile, but then I discovered it’s something The Boy likes best about me. I’ll bet your husband was pretty happy you were smiling like that :)
      Congratulations on getting married and doing it your way! :)

      • Mel

        Emily, you have a beautiful smile! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • erin

      Emily, can I just say thank you? Both for this really inspiring post, very timely for me as we’re planning to do something similar with just a few family members in attendance. But mostly for that line about the teeth. I have teeth that are crooked in front, and like you, I’ve always been a bit self-conscious of them and in pictures I almost always smile with my mouth closed. But looking at that picture of you, you have a freaking beautiful smile! Your teeth look perfect! Your happiness is radiating out of you! I’m going to learn from this and remember that a genuine smile is way more beautiful and perfect than my silly closed-mouth posed smiles. How silly I was to think that beauty is in the details, or that by hiding my imperfections and not just being myself I’d be more beautiful. Thanks for the wake up call!

  • Jamie

    You know, my mother and female relatives are freaking out that my wedding is scheduled for 3:00 because you have to get married on the upstroke of the clock (3:30, 3:45 are fine, but not 3:00) or it’s bad luck. Emily heard it’s bad luck to get married on the half hour. Wedding superstitions are so dumb!

    I like Ian’s advice, “You make your own luck”. I plan to use this whenever my mom is clutching her pearls and fanning away the vapors about this subject and any other superstitious bs she’s giving me a hard time about.

    • A-L

      Yeah, I’d heard that it was good luck to marry at the :30 but not at the :00. Well, my wedding started at 5:00 (just the most convenient time) so you can see much credence we gave to that!

      • Haha, we planned for our ceremony to start at 4.30 but ended up pushing it to 5 when my coordinator came to me at 4.30 and said, “Um… only a third of the guests are here.” The air-conditioning in the church was automated and shut off at 5. But then – and we had no way of knowing this would happen or planning it – the later start time meant that when we started our vows, the sun hit the big stained glass window at the front of the church just right and flooded the whole room with the most amazingly warm light. Wedding magic.

        Which I guess is to say that Emily’s Ian is totally right – you plan and you plan, but ultimately you make your own luck! :)

  • Paranoid Libra

    NOLA is a city of pure magic. There is simply no other way to describe it. I loved it there and I was only there for a long weekend. Which park were some of those pictures in?…cuz I think it City Park which my God if it is so jealous. I would love to get married down there but, for me it’s important for the grandma’s to witness it and they are all rather aged….ok one I could stand to do without, but still there are 2 others i feel should be there.

    If anyone is planning a trip to NOLA you have to try to make it up to their City Park. It’s bigger than Central Park and just a dreamy place.

    Emily you and your hubby looked stunning. And your smile is beautiful and just so full of joy. The line about making your own luck got me too.

    I need me some beignets and Po’boys now.

    • A-L

      I’m 99% sure the pictures were taken in Audubon Park, which is across from Tulane on St. Charles Avenue. City Park now requires any photo sessions to have a permit (which you need to pay for). Also, they’re now making people pay for permits to photograph in the park in Jackson Square (but you can do photos on the streets surrounding it…go figure). Anyway, if anyone has any other NOLA questions I’d be happy to answer them! (Any other APW folks down here? I’d go to Meetups…)

      • meg

        I may be there in April for a conference. We’ll meet up at least.

        • A-L


      • Maria

        Emily-Congratulations on your marriage & I’m so happy to see that y’all came to NOLA and enjoyed it!

        A-L-I’m in the NOLA-area as well. I had no idea that you needed permits to take pictures in those areas!

        • A-L

          Hey Maria,

          Glad to know there’s another one of us! I knew about the City Park one but neither my photographer nor I knew about the one for Jackson Square. We were meeting our photographer there when one of the maintenance guys asked to see our permit, and as we were leaving the park we saw the sign saying that permits were required. So we just stood outside the gates and took pictures in front of St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo instead.

          • maggsfriend

            I just had my engagement pictures taken in City Park about a month ago. I had no idea about the permit- I guess I squeaked in. Oops!

      • Jess

        A-L: I would love to ask you a few NOLA questions – could I email you? :)

  • Trisha

    Your wedding sounds perfect.

  • I’m crying happy tears…You do make your own luck, indeed!

  • Rachel

    So cute. So so so darn happy. And your smile is flawless! My husband is another “always smiles with no teeth” people, and his teeth are proudly displayed in every single wedding picture. They’ll probably be some of the only photos taken in his adult life like that, and I think that adds a little extra something when you know that about him. I just look at them and think, “yeah, he was THAT happy” and smile.

  • Cupcake

    Never again be self-conscious about your smile — it is lovely! I’ve never seen more wonderful wedding photos! And even though I don’t know you, I am so proud of you for stepping up and doing what you felt you truly wanted. Hugs!

  • Cody

    I love this!!! I just love it!!!!! So true to starting the week out right!

  • Erin

    “You make your own luck.”

    Perfect. Sounds like you’re making it AWESOME.

  • bino27

    I may or may not have cried reading this one. I must agree with the commenter who said she was proud even though she doesn’t know you.

  • Faith

    SO beautiful! Congratulations!

    My favorite part…wedding beignets! I want those!

  • Elisabeth

    Thank you for this post-perfect timing! My fiance and I are likely to elope (for a lot of reasons, including the fact that I’m a little pregnant!) and I love to read elopement stories- it’s reassuring to see that they are just as romantic as a ‘full-blown’ wedding.

    And this is perfect, too: “And no, you don’t need to plan a wedding after you elope, because marriage is the thing.”

    More wedding graduates elopement stories, please!

    • “a little pregnant” …..I love it!! And congratulations!!

    • We eloped and then had a wedding a year later on our anniversary. The courthouse elopement in my favorite tattered H&M dress will ALWAYS be more romantic. Congratulations and go for it!

    • meg

      A little pregnant!!!!!! I put up every single elopement story that I get, because I’m determined to break the “elopements are selfish” taboo AND determined to convince people that you don’t have to plan an elopement (or have a wedding after). So if you elope, send me yours.

    • *More* romantic, I think.

      That’s not to say “better.” I’m having a “full-blown” wedding, as you put it, and the way I see it, a big party is more about the families and friends and the community (and maybe a bit about having a bigger party than you may ever have again).

      Eloping is about just you two. What’s more romantic than that?

    • CONGRATS!!

    • Shotgun Shirley

      Congratulations Elisabeth!! You are entering a very exciting time… and although I’m excited for my shotgun wedding, I sure do wish I could elope! (Especially when my MIL starts suggesting more expenses…)

      • Elisabeth

        Thanks all! We are excited. Despite what family (and some friends) think, we were actually trying to get me pregnant, it is the right time for us. But now there are all these ‘oh my gosh, when will the wedding be?’ questions, assuming that we absolutely must marry before the baby arrives. Well, no. We don’t absolutely need to marry before then. We want to. for a lot of reasons.

        In some ways, it feels like it ‘diminishes’ the wedding/elopement with people assuming that it is mainly because of the baby that we’re getting married.

        Oh well. In a year or two, no one (hopefully) will remember the order in which we did things, and just be stoked for our tiny family.

        • This is so true. I had the “out of order” for a few friends, and for them, they were going to get married/commit their lives to one another ANYWAY, it just happens to be that the baby came first … whoops, but a happy whoops nonetheless. You’re absolutely right that everyone will forget and just be happy for you. For me, I was more, “Yay, wedding! Yay, baby! Happy times for you!” when I heard. :)

  • I’m just all-over-smiling today! SO beautiful, SO happy you did send pictures (I remember those comments!) and just SO excited for you both! I’m with you in the feelings about marriage that you stated in the beginning, and in the moment of “oh, THIS is why, and THIS is who” clarity.

    May the joy always outweigh the tears, and may you always make your own luck.

  • What a beautiful story! I’m always happy to hear about a couple who made the right wedding-related choice for them, and I hope this inspires other couples who feel similarly.
    Also, my college roommate eloped, and it worked out very well for her and her husband. She’d always told me that she wanted a small, intimate wedding (even before she met her now husband) but knew it wouldn’t happen because her mom and sister were so into the big wedding reception thing. She was horrified that she’d be in a room with two hundred people she didn’t know, just getting stressed. So they went to a judge, took pictures together, and had a beautiful day that was important to them. I know it’s caused some tension in her family that they weren’t there to share the experience, but at the end of the day it was the right move for my friend and her husband.

  • JT

    Your wedding sounds amazing and the pictures are so happy and beautiful! It makes me just a little bit sadder that I couldn’t convince my guy to elope. :)
    p.s. I love spin pins!

  • Jen

    Congrats! I love this post so much, and I’m so glad your wedding was so joyful, Emily. And girl, don’t you fret over “smiling with your teeth”! In these pictures you look radiant, amazing, so full of life and love. Smile big and own it.

    And as someone who got engaged in NoLa, I love this post extra! :) I wonder if there’s a way to get “wedding beignets” for our wedding in CA…

    • A-L

      Cafe du Monde does sell the mix…

      • kyley

        This is true! I have the box in the cabinet as we speak. Mmm…..

  • Lovely smile . . . Looks like you guys are making your own luck work for you already!


    “But my new husband and I had each other all to ourselves in a city far away from home, isolated from everything.”

    This literally gave me goosebumps. Congratulations! What an amazing wedding. And, beignets!

  • I should have some sort of wonderful comment but I am too distracted by the thought of beignets. Need. Now.

    (Congratulations! This looks absolutely wonderful!!!)

  • This is just so beautiful. Thank you, Emily, for sharing. You looked absolutely beautiful, and I loved your shoes. You really hit the nail on the head with the whole darn thing. You got the man, the preacher, and the dress, and that’s all that you needed!

    Also, regarding the time: I’ve heard one should start the ceremony at the half-hour, because it’s good luck to be married as the hands of the clock are moving upward! And your husband is totally right– the two of you will make your own luck.


    • Sarah

      That was something my grandmother always told me, as well. So I fought hard to have our ceremony on the half hour. Of course, the timing of the venue wasn’t going to work that way, so our invites went out with 11am on them.

      One then led to another, and our ceremony started half an hour late. Secretly, it was one of my favorite little things about the day. =)

      • That is amazing!! Love those little victories. I hadn’t heard of that superstition before, but we decided to start at 5:30, and I LOVE the idea now; it’s just a little superstition, but so neat. There are superstitions for everything; rain is supposed to be good luck, or the tears of all the bride’s ex-boyfriends, or that the couple will have many children, OR that the bride will cry through the whole marriage. There are superstitions for everything. :)

  • Ali

    Wedding beignets…OMG, I’m jealous!

    • sarah

      Congrats! I love NOLA! My husband actually proposed on a visit there with beignets and coffee from Cafe du Monde. Not a bad way to be woken up! I will always love that city!

  • Beignets!!

    An elopement wouldn’t have been right for me (I don’t think) but I will probably always wonder about how it would have felt to just run off and do it. Congrats on being brave enough to recognize what was right for you! It sounds like it was pretty darn perfect.

    • An elopement would have been very right for me, but it would not have been right for my husband. Which, actually, is a little bit ironic – I’m the extrovert, I’m the one who loves to go to weddings, not him. And yet, HE wanted a Wedding. (He said it was because his mom wanted a Wedding, which is true, she did – but he rarely does things just because someone else wants him to do it, which tells me a part of him really wanted the Wedding, too.)

      It turned out to be a wonderful choice, but that doesn’t change that I’m a tad bit jealous of the lovely, intimate elopement ceremonies I see featured both here and on Offbeat Bride.

  • Oh, I don’t think it sounds selfish at all {ahem, I’m the one who desired an elopement and ended up with a huge wedding that I regret in many ways). I think it sounds like you did what was just perfect for you, and I am so happy for you both!

  • AHHH!! AMAZING!!!! Best wedding grad, ever. I am a huge fan of elopements. This was such a great post to start my day off with.

  • My parents eloped. I don’t know the whole story, but their wedding pictures are super cute, though my mom did say she would have liked to have had something better to wear and better pictures, but I think they’re just fine.

    Growing up I always wondered why there weren’t any wedding pictures of them, when there were others of my aunts and uncles. It wasn’t until I got older that they had eloped. My mom wore a black jumper, my dad a simple black suit and a cane. They have been happily married for almost 40 years.

    Congrats you two! I love elopements and I love hearing about them! I also love to see other interracial couples. You guys are adorable together!

    Reading this made me super happy. :D

  • Katie

    This post got me all teary eyed with happiness. Congratulations on a beautiful wedding

  • Kamilah

    Yes! to wedding day beignets and cafe au lait. Beats wedding cake–seriously.

  • Tonia

    New Orleans is magical. Nothing less. I know this because I dream of it day in and day out, having only been there once. This story makes it seem like a jealous city that wouldn’t tolerate the wonderfulness of this moment happening anywhere else!

    But by the tears welling up in my eyes, I can see that the magical city didnt make this. How wonderful to know that you are your own little luck factory, and even more wonderful to find a partner that waited until the right moment to tell you so.

    I hope I smile like you did and produce as much luck as you did on my own wedding day, in 8 days.

  • They look so darn cute and happy!

  • Jen M

    I have nothing to contribute to this conversation other ZOMFG I LOVE IT SO PRETTY!!!!!! Congrats!

  • Elopements are the absolute best. And I’m so glad you opted out of Vegas. Most people don’t realize that many states have permissive marriage laws and it’s easier to elope to them than it is to Nevada.

    I’ve seen a huge increase in elopements in the last two years.I think it’s one of the silver linings of a bleak economy. They are so intimate and stress free and I’ve yet to see one bride regret eloping.

    And I LOVE the “unlucky” 13 photo. You go!

    • Ana

      New Orleans seems like a wonderful place to get married and so great to a find a place that suits you! In case anyone is looking into it, I got married in Vegas and had a super easy time arranging it. We stayed in the city and had the ceremony out in the desert at sunset and that suited us.

  • Thanks for sharing this! I love elopements (and may have my own one day!) and it’s encouraging to see other people going for it – there’s so much noise out there about how one “has to” have a wedding that sometimes we can forget that “the marriage is the thing.”

  • Yea! What a great elopement. Ever since being engaged, I have very, very much respected those who elope. They are the bad-a$$es of the wedding world. AND my favorite photo is the one with you beaming with a wide open smile. Sheer happiness there, no?

  • My husband and I went to New Orleans for our (first) honeymoon, and that city has magic in it. I LOVE that you got married there!! And even better– eloped there! My only (not really) critique about what you wrote: you gotta stop it with being self conscious about your smile. It is gorgeous. Seriously. I mean for God’s sakes you have dimples, woman!

  • You do make your own luck. And you seem to be very lucky indeed.

  • angela

    Congrats for your marriage!!!Yes, we do our own luck…..but sometimes we forgot we do it every second of our life

  • Class of 1980

    I have never heard anything about the time on the clock being lucky or not.

    I loved it when your fiance said “You make your own luck.” CONGRATULATIONS.

  • april

    YAAAAY for elopements – Lovely! Brave! Sweet! I’m grinning from ear to ear for this darling couple and their awesome wedding grad story. Congrats and years of happiness to them. XO

  • Andrea Marie

    “I don’t regret eloping for a single second. Yes, it was hard to tell my family, particularly my favorite three women who were very upset that they didn’t get to do the whole wedding planning ritual with me. Two of them cried. But if I had a chance to go back and have a traditional wedding to appease them, I wouldn’t.”

    I love this part. Despite it being hard, you did what was right for you. You are so brave! :) :) Thanks for being an inspiration!

  • Olivia

    beautiful and cheerful!

  • Esther

    Beautiful!!! We are getting married next Tuesday at the courthouse in New Orleans — not quite an elopement, though, as we’ll have our parents and my sister there.

    • meg

      Write us a post! Send pictures.

    • I just exactly’ed that post, when what I really meant was, “Yay!” :)

      • Esther


        Meg – I’ll try to work up the courage to send a post and pics. We’ll see : )

      • I’ve mentioned it before, but for me an Exactly! can mean all of these things: “Yes! This!” / “Yay!” / “I empathize” / *hugs* / “Great idea!” / “Glad that worked out for you!”

        So I totally would have understand that an Exactly! on that post meant “Yay!” :)

  • This is weird, but I was totally thinking about Café du Monde last night for some random reason, so I particularly enjoyed seeing this elopement today! And I just love the beautiful detail on your dress, Emily!!!

  • Alyssa

    Elopment!!! Pretty dress!!! Beautiful smiles!!! New Orleans!!! Hydrangeas!!! Wedding Beignets!!!

    I want to wrap myself up in this wedding and wear it like a warm happy coat. LOVES it.

  • Zan

    I know it’s already been said but I’ll say it again: You have a beautiful smile!!

  • Theresa

    I played with the idea of eloping off and on through the whole engagement. The whole planning process is stressful. You are being pulled by so many obligations. I’m hoping we made the right choice to have a wedding and a reception, rather than just running off by ourselves.

  • Laura

    This post is so lovely, and the happiness just radiates from all of the photos! It made my Monday a little brighter :)
    I’m considering eloping with my fiance, just us two, but our worry is that I’ll feel the absence of my family too strongly, and end up being upset that they aren’t there – and I want to cry tears of happiness, not sadness, on my wedding day!
    So I’m wondering if Emily or anyone else who has eloped can tell me – did you wish that your family members were there to see you get married, and feel sad that they weren’t? Or did you get caught up in the meaning of the day, and not even think about it?
    Other than this one issue, the idea of eloping is so appealing to me, and this post just confirms how great it can be!

    • meg

      Read the last paragraph, lady. She makes it really really clear. No regrets.

      In my experance any wedding is imperfect, but life is too short for regrets. Whatever you do, really show up and make it yours. That’s it, that’s all.

    • Anon just this once

      Elopement was appealing to me. It’s really what I wanted if I didn’t think about anyone else’s feelings. But I felt guilty about leaving family out. I went through with the public wedding, and it didn’t feel right. Even though I did what was right for my family, it wasn’t right for me. I ended up “eloping” in secret with my husband a month later just so I could feel married. No matter what, I think you need to do what is right for you. Like Emily said, it’s hard, but people will understand. I wish I had taken that advice!

      • Melissa

        I love your secret elopement a month later. :)

    • Ana

      Hi Laura,
      We planned our elopement really quickly and just followed our gut, I feel for you, I’m sure the debating is really hard! I was a little worried about what it would feel like and any fallout but just together felt right for us so we trusted that and it was everything we wanted. I felt happy not at all sad. Icing on the cake was that once we told them later our families were just happy that we were happy and no one gave us a hard time. I just appreciated their blessings and support but I didn’t miss their presence that day, I just needed my guy. You will figure out what is best for you : )

      • Laura

        Thanks for your comments, ladies! You’re right, I just need to figure out what feels right for us, and go for it!

  • Beautiful and lovely and full of joy! Congrats, Emily – you two look like you’re both about to float away with sheer happiness in those pictures!

  • mandy

    this was gorgeous! though i am not eloping (we did manage to get the guest list down to 50 by making it a destination wedding, phew) i know that i want to feel exactly what you felt… the intimacy, the knowing that you wouldn’t have done it any other way… that’s all i ask. if i can just feel those two things on my wedding day then i will call it a success!

  • jlvanort

    this – “When she finally showed up at 4:30 on the nose, my man turned to me, squeezed my hand, and said, “You make your own luck.” I have never been more in love with him than in that moment.” I love that… that reminds me of my husband – we celebrated one month yesterday and I love him more every day… best to you!

  • margiemive

    Ahhhhh this is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. Thank you for sharing your wonderful wedding with us all. You look so happy and in love – and now you’re married! What could be better?

  • Oooh, I love the photo in the fountain up above. How awesome! :) And oh man, beignets. Yum.

  • Ana

    Congratulations Emily & Ian! Your pictures are beautiful and both of your grins are amazing. My new husband and I just eloped in Las Vegas last week and had the time of our lives too!

  • Katie

    Congrats! This is such a heart-warming story. I love the simplicity of it all! Looking at what I have planned, sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t just hop on a plane to somewhere and tie the knot. I would say that women who get eloped are of a special breed… because you can’t hide behind all the “stuff” of the wedding day and it’s really just you, your man, and some great shoes. Or chapstick, in this case. :)

  • Your photos are stunning and your story even more so. Thankyou for being so honest about the process of figuring all this out! And I remember that post – it is amazing and moving to think that APW plays such an active role in people’s experience of their weddings – yours especially! – and incredible and wonderful to actually read about it in this way.

    (Also, as someone seven and a half months into a nine month engagement, I say: GOOD DECISION on eloping! Despite the fact that our wedding will be beautiful, at this stage if I could do it all again I would elope no question.)

    • meg

      If we had to do it all again (god forbid), I’d have a three month engagment. Anything you can’t get done in three months doesn’t need to get done (in retrospect).

      That said, no regrets. Really.

      • Anon just this once

        Agreed. I would have liked to been engaged longer than three months so I could THINK about what kind of wedding I wanted…marinated in the idea of a wedding, but not planned anything for more than three months.

        • Agreed as well. I’m not engaged, but when that time comes I don’t want it too be too long (2-4 months, or I guess shorter if things worked out!). I’ve been ruminating on wedding stuff forEVER now, and sites like APW have really made me think about what’s important to me. It’s not a long list anymore, although obviously my future partner will have input (I feel like a jerk even saying that… of course they will! Why do I have to say it!). Let’s just do the thing!

      • Yes! Three months was always my ideal plan time save for the fact that:
        a) We both work extremely full on jobs including him travelling unpredictably. (And by unpredictably I mean his work saying on Monday “hey tomorrow you’re going interstate for a month!” Back on weekends, but still. Impossible to plan during – he can’t do anything but work while he is away.)
        b) Timing of our engagement would’ve put us smack bang in the middle of a freezing cold and very rainy winter, and we knew we wanted to get married outside.
        But you know! Those are the breaks. And to be fair, the flip side is that we have dealt with a LOT of issues during the 9 months (well, 7.5 so far) of figuring this all out that otherwise would have been difficult to make ourselves deal with, but needed to be canvassed.

      • Yep, short engagements definitely have some pluses. Ours was 3.5 months and enough time to get it all done, then be done with it. :)

        • B

          I’m kinda jealous of short engagements! The Boy and I are pretty young and so we initially gave ourselves a long engagement (to us – a little over a year), then moved it forward a few months because circumstances changed and we realised we didn’t have to wait that long. We’ve now been engaged 7 months and have 2 1/2 to go and man do I wish we were married by now!!
          There are definitely pros and cons to any length of engagement, but make sure you and your partner work out what suits you (be it eloping, having a short engagement or having a really long one) and go with that regardless of what you think you “should” do. My guess is that’ll make it easier to have no regrets at the end! :)

      • lou

        i think like many things, it all depends on your situation. we are planning our wedding from overseas, so 9 months has been a good amount of time for us. any shorter and i think we would have struggled to arrange all the things we wanted. also, as many of our guests are traveling internationally to be there, 9 months was about right to give them enough time to figure out if they could afford to come and get good deals on flights etc.

      • Ours was 8 months, but I agree with you – we could have done it in 3 months, and about 3-4 months into the engagement I started wishing we had, because I just wanted to be MARRIED. We spent a few weeks deciding what kind of venue we wanted, and then the last couple months before the wedding putting everything together. There was a stretch of time when there was nothing I could really do, because it was either already done, or it couldn’t be done yet.

        That timeline worked for us, though – we got engaged in January and we wanted a fall wedding (we ended up with September), and it would have caused a family row if we got married before my cousin (who got engaged the previous March and got married that July). As it was there was some sore feelings over the fact that we chose a date 2 1/2 months after their wedding.

  • Emily, you have a beautiful smile. And what a beautiful little wedding you had! Huge congratulations to you & Ian. :) Also – LOVE the wedding beignets. My mouth is watering.

  • Cassandra

    1) I remember reading that comment of Meg’s and thinking “Yes! Take this advice!” I’m so happy to see you did, and had such a lovely time doing it.

    2) You two make a beautiful couple and those smiles! You’re both just radiating love for one another.

    3) “I realized that my boyfriend, the man who flew down on his Christmas break to help me pack up my Dad’s house, the man who was so lovely to all of the most important women in my life, that was the man that I wanted to marry.” I just want to ‘exactly’ this over and over. The men (or women!) who help you through the hard times, and love the people you love (I especially have a soft spot for the partners out there who make it a special point to treat not only you but all the special women in your life wonderfully), these are the ones worth marrying – even if you’re not too much into the idea of marriage.


  • Trudi

    This Saturday I’m eloping in NYC! APW always manages to read my mind when it comes to posts! How do you do it?! What a PERFECT way to start the week for me. We’re also an interracial couple as well :)

    • meg

      Send pictures, have fun!!!!!!!!!

  • I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said before, but I wanted to reiterate:

    1) You have a beautiful smile

    2) Beignets = Best Wedding Dessert Ever


  • lovely story. i highly approve of any wedding elopement or otherwise that ends with beignets.

  • Melissa

    I planned an elopement and I wouldn’t change that. I didn’t want to jump from dating to marriage. I wanted to savor the engagement period, and I did for ten months. The “planning” did not take the whole ten months, but I wanted to take some time to ponder marriage. However, had I to do all over again, I wouldn’t tell people what we were up to. I got really tired of explaining when, where, why and how. Especially the why. Not sure how I would have gotten away with not telling anyone for ten months and also not having any wedding planning talk for ten months, but maybe a secret engagement was in order.

    I also had a reception six weeks after the actual wedding ceremony. I still think this can work and it can be a great experience and celebration, but it did not work for me. Oh, my. People were ass-hats. I should have known better given the people involved. Would. Not. Do. That. Again.

  • Karin

    Emily — you look FABULOUS! I’m getting married in 17 days and beginning to enter the slightly-stressful snowball-phase, and your post just totally reaffirmed for me why we all do this. That third photo of you just blew me away, and then the beignets from Cafe du Monde made me want chicory coffee all day. Congratulations!!

  • Melissa

    P.S. I love New Orleans. I love City Park. I love beignets. and I love your dress. Did I read that right – you’re not wearing any make-up? You’re glowing.

  • Jessie

    So beautiful! I wanted to elope and didn’t, but my dream had always been to do what you did ,and the feelings you described (mainly “free”) are why I wanted to do it. Very happy for you! Good luck!

  • Ariel

    Girl- you have one of the most beautiful (and contagious) smiles I have ever seen. Seriously, I could not stop smiling just looking at pictures of you smiling, It brought so much joy to my day! Pleas don’t hold it back anymore!
    Also beautiful photographs, and beautiful all around post. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Alexandra

    So awesome! Congrats!!!

  • Emily and Ian, Congrats! You took the spirit of my city (no matter where I currently live) and used it to help make your own luck. My fiancé and I are getting married in NOLA in May but it’s going to be a big shindig with all of our family and friends because we are now living in France and don’t get to see them as often so what better way for us to see them and have them help us celebrate our future together. Your pictures are beautiful and I really cried to see you two having the wedding of your dreams.

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  • Joy

    I love this post! Thank you for sharing your lovely wedding, Emily. And thank you, Meg! It is so refreshing to find a wedding blog that embraces the beauty and romance of elopements, and celebrates them as they deserve to be celebrated. LOVE THIS BLOG!

    I have been engaged now for 14 months (about 12 months too long, in my opinion — loooong story) and as we have planned our wedding we have continuously made the classic mistake of trying to please everyone, thus pleasing no one. And not ourselves. Not in the least. So, after reconnecting with how *we* wanted to start our marriage, my partner and decided to ditch the current rather lavish and tedious wedding plans and take off. He and I are eloping in San Francisco in three weeks. I couldn’t be more excited (finally!), and it feels so right.

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  • Kellie

    LOVE IT! We are going to elope on 1/3/13 in New Orleans & I was wondering where your photograph with the number “13” was taken. I would like to get one similar for ours. & the wedding beignet cake from cafe du monde…GENIUS!

    • Emily

      It was taken at one of the outdoor shelters in Audubon Park! I can’t remember where it is exactly, but it should be easy to find once you’re in there.

  • Pam

    Thank you for this article. I’m in the beginning stages of starting to stress about my elopement to New Orleans. We’ve set the date for September 28th of this year (just a couple of months away) and I catch myself more frequently thinking about and stressing about things that we need to ‘do’ before the date. But, who really cares? This girl did it the way I hope my special day happens. Low stress, little planning and just enjoying having the time to really spend with each other.