Just married portrait

How to Get Married in New Orleans

New Orleans, Weddings

Wondering how to get married in New Orleans? If you plan to host your wedding in the Crescent City, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a city bursting at the seams with culture, charm, and personality. However, like every city, you will need to take certain steps and make careful decisions if you want your wedding day to be a success. From getting your marriage license to choosing your catering package, here is a step-by-step guide to tying the knot in New Orleans.

Get Your Marriage License

The first step when planning out how to get married in New Orleans is getting your marriage license. Both members of the couple should go together to visit the Orleans Parish Marriage License Office. However, if one of you is unable to attend, the application must have a notarized signature from that person. If both parties can attend, each person must bring the necessary documentation.

Each of you will need:

• Your current driver’s license or passport

• Your birth certificate

• Your Social Security numbers

• If you have been previously married, a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate.

Alongside the above, you, as a couple, must fill out a New Orleans marriage application. You will also need the exact amount of the fee, currently $27.50, payable in cash, check, or money order. Also, if you would like a certified copy of the marriage certificate, currently $5.

Remember that there is a 24-hour mandatory waiting period between the time you request a marriage license and your wedding ceremony. This means you’re typically unable to get married the same day you request your marriage license, although there are some exceptions.

Marriage licenses have an expiration date, and a New Orleans marriage license expires 30 days after it was issued. If your wedding does not take place within this 30-day period, you must return it to the Orleans Parish Marriage License Office for a new license.

While this is the procedure for obtaining your marriage license in New Orleans, it’s worth noting that the marriage license is valid in any Louisiana parish, in case you decide to marry elsewhere in the state.

Choose the Time of Year

While it may not matter what time of the year you exchange vows in some cities, in New Orleans you should definitely take into account the weather. New Orleans is well known for its hot, humid summers and frequent rainy weather. That doesn’t mean you have to rule out these times, but it does mean you will want to have plans in place. For example, having a rain plan for an outdoor wedding, choosing lightweight or layered clothing for your attendants, or making fans available to your guests.

If you don’t mind somewhat cooler temperatures, a Mardi Gras wedding is an exciting and unique way to celebrate your love. Temperatures tend to be in the 40s–60s Fahrenheit, but you can’t beat the lively party atmosphere of Mardi Gras. You could even get married the first weekend, right before Mardi Gras, and have guests celebrate Mardi Gras with you and your spouse.

However, keep in mind that during holidays or special events in New Orleans, there may be large crowds, as well as competition for vendors and resources. Let your vendors know well in advance if you plan to have your wedding near big events like Mardi Gras or the Super Bowl, though. Many vendors may be tied down preparing a month before these big events and then recovering for about a month after.

Pick the Venue

If you’re getting married in New Orleans, it’s because you want an infusion of the New Orleans charm. The French Quarter might come to mind first, because of the well-known historic charm it offers. However, there are many different styles of venue in New Orleans, from the opulent to the minimalist, to suit every wedding theme and size.

Indoor Venues

Depending on the typical weather during the time when you want to get married, you may want an indoor venue that reflects your style. In New Orleans, you can find everything from historic mansions to modern luxury hotels.

To get the benefit of outdoor views in your indoor space, you could choose an indoor venue that overlooks the Mississippi River. Additional choices include an opera house, famous churches, and gorgeous reception halls.

Outdoor Venues

Enchanted by the idea of marrying among New Orleans’s oak trees, in a garden, or within a charming courtyard? Depending on your preferences, New Orleans affords many beautiful outdoor venues. Among those you might consider are Derbès Mansion’s gardens, for a traditional venue, and the Music Box Village, a highly modern and artistic setting.

Make sure to find out about your venue way in advance, and book your date as soon as you can. New Orleans is a popular city and its venues are booked fast.


If you have chosen New Orleans as your setting, then you may want to consider incorporating Dixieland jazz, Zydeco, or ragtime music into your wedding day as an addition to the festivities. New Orleans has a rich history of music, and many bands are available to play the music of your choice. You can even have a second line and dance along the street, encouraging onlookers to join in.

Other options include hiring a string quartet, a jazz band, a blues singer, funk band, rock band, or an entire orchestra. You can even have a music theme: big band jazz, music from the ’80s, and so on.

If you do go with a live band, try to see the band perform in person, or at least watch videos of their live performances, to get a better idea of what their performance at your wedding would be like.

Find a Caterer

New Orleans is famous for its food, and if you’re getting married in the Crescent City, it’s time to embrace that! New Orleans cuisine should be at the heart of your wedding plans, and it is important to choose a caterer who will work to infuse New Orleans flavors into your special day. Look for a caterer that specializes in Creole, Cajun, and other traditional New Orleans dishes.

Remember that many New Orleanians like their food spicy, and many of the dishes are heavily seasoned. You may want to talk to your caterer about including some milder options for your out-of-town guests.

Among the traditional foods you may want to consider for your New Orleans wedding menu are:

  • Jambalaya, a rice dish with chicken and andouille sausage
  • Shrimp or Crawfish Etouffee
  • Gumbo, a very famous stew, made with okra, andouille sausage, and shrimp or chicken
  • Red Beans and Rice, a simple but hearty dish your guests will love

Many traditional New Orleans dishes contain meat, but that does not mean that your menu will have no vegetarian options. In fact, a creative caterer may be able to create vegetarian or vegan versions of New Orleans favorites.

When choosing a caterer for your wedding, you’ll also want to schedule an opportunity to taste samples to see if their dishes match your needs. One of the advantages of working with an experienced caterer is that you can build the menu together, and benefit from their knowledge of what will please your guests as well as bringing about your vision.

Don’t forget about drink options, too. Your bar catering can include classic drinks as well as some special New Orleans cocktails.

As you start researching your caterer, look at their reviews, which can show you whether they are easy to work with and deliver the kind of results their clients want. When meeting with caterers, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions! Make sure they can accommodate guests who have dietary restrictions, as well as that they listen to your ideas and help you to create the menu you truly want for your special day.

Now That You Know How To Get Married in New Orleans, Let Us Help Make It Memorable!

When thinking about how to get married in New Orleans, you’ll soon realize that you need to consult the best vendors to have the best experience. When it comes to the food and drinks for the day, choose the experienced caterers at Elysian Events Catering for a flawlessly authentic New Orleans experience! We can help you to create a menu that combines traditional dishes with modern tastes, with the delicious flavors that keep your guests talking about your event for years to come. Get in touch with us to get started today!

More Insights & Updates from Elysian