Getting Your Marriage License in New Orleans

Getting your marriage license in New Orleans can sometimes be a hassle that will make you want to run to Vegas.  But don’t fret!  There are ways to make this step much easier.  First, don’t even think of trying to go to the Jefferson Parish/Orleans Parish office of vital records.  It’s worse than the DMV.  Instead, spend $2 and take the scenic and relaxing Algiers Ferry across the muddy waters of the Mississippi to its ferry landing.  Once you’re on dry land, look for the clock tower (not unlike the one Doc Brown frequented in Back to the Future).  This marks the Algiers Court House.  Here is where you will find salvation.  If you take a car on the ferry, spend the $5 to park across the street from the building.  If not, its a nice, short stroll to the entrance.  Once inside, you may or may not go through a metal detector and security check, depending on the break schedule of the security guard.  Ladies, you may want to pack light, leaving behind the abyss that we all call a purse, just to shave off even more time, in case the guard happens to be at his post.  Head up the gorgeous wooden staircase and toward the beautiful windows to the judge’s office.  You may find another couple waiting there, but usually not more than that.  Tell the secretary that you are there to get your marriage license and she will hand you some forms to fill out.  If you’re really organized, you can do this paperwork in advance by printing it online ahead of time.  The application can be found on the Louisiana Dept of Health website here.

Once your paperwork is complete, pay the $27.50 (money order, cash or check only and they don’t always have quarters for change) and within a few minutes you’ll be walking out with your license and detailed instructions on how to process it after the ceremony.  This is going to be the job of your officiant, who will want to fill out whatever he can in advance and just have you sign on the dotted line along with your witnesses at the event.  Then he’ll take some of the paperwork with him to turn in and leave the pretty, souvenir, strictly decorative copy with you.  If you lose it, it does not mean your marriage is null.  It means you will only have the ugly copy for your records, once it comes back to you in the mail.

Here are a few details you really need to know before you start this process:

  • There is no blood test needed in Louisiana to get your marriage license.
  • You will need to show divorce papers, death certificates, visas, passports, and/or military ID’s when applicable.
  • You need to have both sets of identification (bride and groom) with you to get the license, but you don’t both have to be there.
  • You must get the license within 30 days of the marriage date and have a 72 hour waiting period between the time you get the license and the time you get married.  By “time” I mean exact time.  They will ask you what time your ceremony is and count back from there.  If you are from out of town or military, you can ask for an exception to the 72 hour wait and get a 24 hour waiver.  Its not difficult to get.  You just need to ask for it.
  • The state marriage license is not the same as the one you get from a place of worship.  You’ll need both if you’re doing a church ceremony.
  • They will not automatically send you a copy of the registered marriage license.  You keep the decorative one, but if you want a copy of the official, order it while you’re there.
  • Not every state allows their marriage licenses to be transferred to a different state.  If you plan to get a marriage license in Louisiana, but are getting married in another state, you’re out of luck.  Louisiana marriage licenses do not transfer to other states.  To learn if your state license can be used in Louisiana, contact your state’s marriage license office.
  • To see the official requirements on getting a marriage license in New Orleans, visit the Louisiana Dept of Health website.

After this 20 minute-or-so process, you’ll be happy and stress-free on your way back to the ferry landing.  If you’re there around lunch time, stop off at one of the little cafes around the corner from the courthouse for lunch.  The ferry comes every 15 minutes, so you’ll have lots of time to catch your ride!

 

Need a Second Line Permit?

Check out our blog post on How to Plan Your New Orleans Second Line in 7 Steps!

Need someone to plan your second line for you?

Check out our Second Line packages here!

Don’t know what the heck a second line is?

Read about the history!

Save

The Persian Wedding Experience (from a non-Persian perspective)

This post was originally published on blogspot on Monday, May 21, 2012

This weekend I designed my first Persian Wedding for Tala and Kian. Tala came to me asking for help with the décor for the event, with a general theme of a Moroccan Lounge with blues and greens as the color palette. She knew she wanted candles and flowers and an air of romance, but, like most brides, her vision changed daily. Email after email came through with lovely designs she’d found on Pinterest, TheKnot, and Style Me Pretty, among others. With each photo, the design changed, and the result was a very romantic, glowing PINK wedding!

Throughout the experience, I learned a lot about the Persian wedding traditions. I’d done some planning for Persian parties and receptions in Los Angeles and remembered the elaborate displays of food and the fantastic Persian music—a DJ accompanied by a conga drummer that made everyone rise to their feet and dance, but I’d never seen or dealt with the ceremony. It’s really a beautiful setup, with symbolism and history in every detail.  The Sofreh (ceremony table) is set with elements like spices, apples, grapes, pomegranates, honey, and candles. A large mirror faces the couple that sits at the end of the low table, the couple facing their guests. As the two entered, the guests applauded their arrival and at the end of the ceremony, the couple stood to receive well wishes and gifts from close family and friends.

Tala and Kian had an English interpreter for the Persian ceremony, and I learned what each item I’d set up on their Sofreh meant to them. This website explains very well all of the elements and their meanings: http://www.persianmirror.com/wedding/sofreh/sofreh.cfm#spread

At the reception, the couple’s first dance was to traditional Persian music and was a conversation in undeniable seduction. They followed this ritual with a customary American bride and groom dance. Guests joined the couple on the dance floor throughout the evening and the room revved with energy when the DJ switched from the American style of music to the Persian dance music. My favorite part of the evening was the cake knife dance—yet another ritual involving an unmistakable element of seduction. Ladies from the pool of guests take turns dancing with the cake knife, enticing the groom to want to get the knife from them by giving them money. Gentlemen guests do the same, dancing for the bride and teasing her (usually in a comedic way) into reaching for the knife. The guests take turns, refusing to give up the knife, but taking the money and passing the knife to the next woman or man in the audience. The last of the guests to dance for the bride and groom finally gives them the knife, to the applause of the bride and the rest of the guests, and the cake cutting continues.

Here is the explanation of the cake knife dance from www.persianmirror.com :

The purpose of the Persian Knife dance (Raghseh Chagoo) is for the couple to retrieve a knife from the dancers so they can cut the wedding cake. The dance starts with one person dancing a typical Persian dance, with the knife and basically asking the couple for money. Once the dancer gets the money, the knife is passed on to the next dancer. The bride and groom continue to offer money to try and get the cake knife. A little back and forth, and a few dance moves later, the couple finally are given the knife and are able to cut the cake. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDi0uFYw8TQ&feature=related

Best Wishes to Tala and Kian!

Are you planning an outdoor wedding?  Learn what NOT to do! Click here

Save

To tip or Not to tip…

To Tip or Not to Tip…. That’s every bride’s question.

There are lots of articles out there explaining who you should tip and who you shouldn’t tip.  At the end of the day, it comes down to this:  if you would tip that person when its not your wedding day, you should tip them when it is your wedding day.  If you feel like someone went out of their way or went above and beyond, tip.  Tips should be 10-20%, just like when you tip at a restaurant, based on the performance of the person giving the service.

Here’s the breakdown:

Tip Expected:

  • Transportation drivers (check first to see if tip is included–you can pay this in advance)
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Head Waiter
  • Bridal Attendant
  • Waitstaff (check first to see if this is included)
  • Bartenders (if they put out a tip jar, you can tip them just for you and the groom.  If not, give a little extra for the guests)
  • Hotel bellmen and concierge
  • Anyone that does something extra for you

Tip Appreciated but not Expected (more of a bonus than a tip):

  • Musicians/DJ
  • Extra Entertainment
  • Caterer
  • Wedding Coordinator
  • Celebrant
  • Anyone that works day-of and on-site

Tips are best in cash, but if that’s not possible, you can add it to a payment by check.  Have tips and payments ready in advance, in sealed, labeled envelopes that will be easy to hand out day-of.  If you have a wedding coordinator, you can give these envelopes to him or her at the rehearsal and check that off of your list.

If you have more advice or questions about tipping, please comment!

Save

Save

Save