After two years of thinking about it, I finally got it together and made it happen. We did an all day Mardi Gras Galveston elopement shoot! Eeeee! I know my couples have a thirst for fun and adventure, and enjoy sharing experiences with their closest peeps. With that in mind, it’s my delight to present to you, what I think is an example of all those things rolled into one.
I know Millennials and Gen Z couples are seeking out more ways to personalize their wedding days than ever before. Over the last decade, they’ve started to move beyond stacking their guest lists with distant relatives and blindly adhering to every tradition. They’ve taken a brave step away from tired social norms that don’t align with their values, and instead turned to embracing experiences and designs that reflect their relationships and personalities. They’re quite simply being more purposeful.
And it is AMAZING and INSPIRING to see!
One class of weddings on the rise is elopements. There are lots of subcategories of elopements and many of them overlap; traditional couple only elopements, elopements with guests, planned elopements, all day elopements, destination elopements, adventure elopements, and the list goes on.
I wanted to take a simple, unique theme, or in this case event, and use it as the base to show how nothing is off the table when it comes to building a custom elopement experience. In the past my elopement inspiration shoots have been presented as 3-4 hour experiences. For this event though, I approached it as an all day elopement experience. Regardless how many people are involved, your elopement is still your wedding day and a lot of couples would love a full day itinerary but they just don’t quite know what that looks like outside the context of a traditional wedding. So I wanted to show you!
Below I share how we spent the day from hair and makeup to closing out the night with a parade. But I wanted to drop a quick note about a hidden story line I found unfolding as we did this. YOU GUYS! This is the wedding Lottie (Charlotte La Bouff) from Princess and the Frog would have had! We saw Tiana find a prince charming and open her dream restaurant, but there was more to the story that we didn’t get to see! This is how I imagine her BFF Lottie, who was willing to kiss a frog to become a princess, meeting her own beau and finally having that Mardi Gras wedding she was dreaming of! You’ll see our bride even resembles Lottie AND there’s a lil ‘ole frog hidden in one of the detail photos so keep your eyes peeled! Enjoy!
Real life engaged couple Anya and Connor played our elopement couple. We spent the afternoon at the Carr Mansion getting ready. The early part of your elopement day isn’t unlike any other type of wedding day. You still have to get ready! Connor relaxed while Anya had her hair and makeup done. We snacked on McDonald’s french fries and chatted until it was time for them to help each other get dressed. Connor wore a charcoal suit and while Anya donned a gold sequin Badgley Mischka gown, the perfect dress to be seen in at Mardi Gras!
The Carr Mansion is a gorgeous historic B&B with tons of southern charm, so we spent some time getting portraits around the property. We started in the courtyard among the tropical foliage and then moved to the front steps to capture the home’s grandeur. From here we jumped into an Uber for the short ride over to the entrance of Mardi Gras Galveston.
We headed straight for the Powell Mardi Gras arch which looms over 24th Street near the Tremont House. During Mardi Gras the streets are blocked off, so you can stand right under the arch without worries of motor traffic! This location served as our ceremony site. It’s the most epic way to have a Mardi Gras vow exchange!
After our imagined ceremony we procured some beers from a nearby stand to celebrate with a beer toast! We took a victory stroll over to The Strand to dance in the streets and catch beads from the balcony party-goers. We stopped in at Hearsay, a contemporary upscale dining space with a touch of art deco ambiance. For those looking to add a sit down service to their elopement, this is the perfect spot to reserve a table or private dining space to celebrate over some hella good food (alone or with guests).
The great thing about Mardi Gras is the party is everywhere! it’s super easy to stay entertained with all the concerts, balcony parties, bead catching, parades and food and drinks galore. It’s an experience you couldn’t replicate in a traditional wedding. And speaking of food, in lieu of a wedding cake, we opted for the couple to feed each other funnel cake. Well wishers passed by yelling congratulations as they sealed their exchange with powdered sugar kisses.
After devouring the rest of the funnel cake we wandered over to the Tremont House to relax for a bit. Anya and Connor put on their masquerade masks for some fun photos at the bar. To close out the night we danced over to catch a parade before Ubering back to the mansion.
From hair and makeup start time to arriving back at the mansion, we spent 8.5 hours together! Even though this day looks very different from a traditionally structured wedding on the surface, the parts of the day are quite similar: getting ready, ceremony, portraits, a meal and party time. Less, or total lack of, guests shouldn’t make you feel as though your day is less of a celebration. Many vendors in the wedding industry approach elopements as a half day or less event and don’t even offer a full elopement day options. So it often feels like it’s not even an option to go beyond what they see as standard. If you want an all-day wedding experience without the standard wedding template, I know many vendors that can help you make your ideas a reality!
Invitation Designer: Shimmering Ceremony
Getting Ready Location: Carr Mansion
HMUA: Makeup by Kristal
Floral Designer: Petal and Shine
Badgley Mischka Gown: Rent the Runway
Venue: Mardi Gras Galveston
Dinner Option: Hearsay
Masquerade Masks: Amazon
Pagoda Umbrellas: Amazon
Special thanks to Anya and Connor!
Let’s start planning your dream elopement day!