Here, I celebrate and affirm your love no matter what your love looks like. I know the wedding industry was built on a foundation of whiteness, thinness, and cisheteronormativity.I stand to change that. Join me.
Your queer wedding photographer & posing coach.
Some people hear “garden wedding” and think of tea cakes and formal linens. Hannah and Charlotte put their own unique spin on the concept, one that was colorful, relaxed, and stylish. With a venue as vibrant as Paradigm Gardens, they made their guests comfortable and kept the laughter flowing. I was able to capture the day’s magic with film photography. The images have a dreamy nostalgic quality that pairs perfectly with Hannah and Charlotte’s modern tastes.
Hannah and Charlotte made their wedding day their own in so many ways. One was that they decided to get ready together. Some couples love the excitement of a first look. For others, getting ready together is a chance to connect and have some low key time together before the bustle of the ceremony and reception. We also used it as an opportunity to kick off the film photography for their wedding.
The Columns Hotel was a beautiful place for Hannah and Charlotte to get ready for their wedding. The interior design is flawlessly classic with elaborate wallpaper, gilded mirrors, and dark furniture. I love the light that streamed in through the gauzy curtains. It made everything in this film photography glow.
When I asked Hannah and Charlotte what kind of pictures they were looking forward to, they said candids were important to them. I love film photography for candid shots. The softness captures the emotion of a wedding day so well. There’s no editing. There’s just the moment exactly as it is. You can look at these pictures and feel what it was like to be there in that luxurious hotel room with that stunning light. The interactions between Hannah, Charlotte, and their loved ones feel all the more intimate.
Film photography gives what I call a modern nostalgia aesthetic. Yes, film has grown in popularity, but it’s for a good reason. After a decade of pristine Instagram feeds, people are ready for something real that they can connect to. Hannah and Charlotte’s getting ready photos feel modern and vintage at the same time. The green and pink wallpaper and fringed pillows of the Columns Hotel give these images an elegant heirloom quality too.
Once Hannah and Charlotte were ready, we headed to their garden wedding venue. Paradigm Gardens’ website describes it as “hidden in the heart of New Orleans, and it’s true. This event space is just across the street from the Central Business District and blocks from the Superdome. That neighborhood is full of hip hotels, incredible restaurants an cool art galleries.
Walking into Paradigm Gardens, though, you would never know you were so close to the hustle and bustle. It’s peaceful and welcoming like you would want a garden wedding venue to be. Market lights and bright murals make the space feel festive without interrupting the urban garden vibes.
One of the most unique features of Paradigm Gardens is the open air kitchen. All the food is prepared on a huge grill. At Charlotte and Hannah’s wedding, the cooks got to work during the ceremony. Smoke drifted behind the guests. It added a surreal feeling to the film photography. The delicious smells were enough to make anyone’s stomach rumble too. The guests were in for a decadent meal!
Hannah and Charlotte’s garden wedding ceremony was full of touching moments and gorgeous colors. It really felt as though the venue was made for film photography. Golden light reflected off surrounding buildings lending warmth to the colors. The images feel like tangible moments in time. Hannah and Charlotte’s connections to each other and the people around them are very clear in their candid expressions.
Although Hannah and Charlotte are foodies with a penchant for making silly videos, their favorite thing really is just being together. They prioritized spending time together at their garden wedding reception rather than let themselves get pulled in a million directions. The evening was designed to put guests at ease so they could connect too. Even the sometimes unpredictable New Orleans springtime cooperated with perfect weather.
As the sun set, strings of lights lit up the reception. They glowed warmly over the picnic tables where guests enjoyed their meals and each other’s company. Paradigm Gardens is so colorful and welcoming after dark. All the artistic details add to the festive atmosphere. I love the photo of Hannah and Charlotte in front of the bold mural of the bird, butterfly, and skyline. That combination of nature and city life is very characteristic of Paradigm Gardens.
The lower light meant that the film photography became grainier, but I think that the softening details let the emotion and intimacy of the evening shine through. The images from this garden wedding feel all the more magical because of the particularities of the film.
To capture the party vibes at this garden wedding, I used direct flash to light the photos. This style of lighting is widely used in fashion photography and increasingly popular in wedding photography as well. Paired with film photography, direct flash gives these modern photos 90s overtones. (I have a lot more to say about direct flash and film photography in this interview with The Knot.) This technique shows that a Paradigm Gardens wedding can be a big bash as much as it also has chill dinner party vibes.
Garden weddings really are special. Just like love has no single aesthetic, your garden wedding can be whatever represents your relationship best. Hannah and Charlotte’s was relaxed, artistic, and welcoming, like them. I loved documenting all these candid moments for them to enjoy for a lifetime.
Do you want to see more film photography with a modern nostalgia aesthetic? Check out this Houston wedding with a disco cowboy theme!