Civic Theatre New Orleans Wedding Ceremony
Michael Caswell Photography

Civic Theatre New Orleans Wedding Ceremony

This dramatic photograph shows a very different view of a couple's first kiss at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony at the Civic Theatre in New Orleans, shot from behind and showing the guests in the background.

Honestly, though I think it's a gorgeous and unique image, I hesitated just a bit before including it in my public gallery, for the same reason why I was a little apprehensive when the bride requested it... capturing it required me to be considerably more obtrusive than I'd typically be. Ordinarily, there is no way I'd go directly behind the couple like that (though, being at the very end of the ceremony, it wasn't as big of a deal as it would be right during the middle of it). My other concern was that I did not want the videographer's "kiss shot" to feature me standing behind the couple holding my camera up above them! And I did also want to capture the more traditional kiss shot from the front, as an alternative and just in case the planned shot from behind them didn't look as good as hoped.

The solution was fairly simple... the couple was instructed to make it a nice long kiss rather than just a quick peck, and to repeat it a few times. We also coordinated with the officiant, so that I'd know exactly what he was going to say in the moments leading up to the end of the ceremony (and could get ready to swiftly move into position), and so that he could duck out of the way as well, and discussed it with the videographer as well, so they would know what to expect. The result was that I was able to quickly slip in behind them, fire off a few shots, then get out of the way in time for the videographer to get their shot, and for my second photographer to also get this shot from the front, then move into position for the recessional.

The ceremony took place in the backstage area of the theatre, with lots of beautiful exposed brick and dramatic lighting.

Civic Theatre Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Ceremony at the Civic Theatre in New Orleans

The reception was held in the main part of the theatre.

Civic Theatre Wedding Reception Dance

And at the end of the night, the couple and all the guests had a second line parade down Poydras Street where the party was to continue at Lucy's Bar.

Second Line Parade down Poydras Street

The Civic Theatre is located in downtown New Orleans. It was constructed in 1906, and was originally named The Shubert after the brothers who built it and who are acknowledged as having created New York's Broadway Theatre District. It was subsequently renamed several times as the Star, the Lafayette, and the Poché, before being named the Civic. It thrived for decades, but eventually fell out of favor, being only sporadically used for various unglamorous events before finally closing down in the 1990s and falling into a state of disrepair and decay. As one writer eloquently described, it was in the "too gorgeous to tear down, too massive and unprofitable to fix up" category.

A real estate developer purchased the property in the early 2000s, originally intending to develop it into condominiums. Fortunately, he changed course at the suggestion of a fellow developer, and the two of them instead ended up partnering to completely renovate the theatre, thoroughly modernizing it to function as a top-notch performance and event venue while also retaining its historical Beaux Arts architectural features.

Among the practical improvements made was a floor system that can raise what would normally be the audience portion of the theater, up to the same level as the main stage, to make one large continuous space.

Today, it regularly hosts a variety of music and other entertainment acts, corporate events, and, of course, weddings!

Location: 510 O'Keefe Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113.