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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.
Your queer wedding photographer & posing coach.
Cara and Jay had started to plan their weddings when they came across Hotel Peter and Paul. They thought it would be lovely to have a Hotel Peter and Paul wedding but with the uncertainty of today (and this pandemic!) they haven’t picked an exact date or location yet. They didn’t want to wait though, so we spend an evening taking photos around one of their favorite wedding venues, Hotel Peter and Paul!
Cara and Jay met each other almost by accident and through mutual friends. Cara was prepping to spend a night in with her six roommates in a shared house in Washington, D.C.. Then one of the roommates’ boyfriends came over to pick up his girlfriend, and Jay came along. Cara sneakily asked if she could join along and the rest is history.
Now, Cara and Jay live together in New Orleans in the Lower Garden District and spend their evenings strolling around the local parks. Cara and Jay have a playful kind of love that was effortless and beautiful to photograph.
Hotel Peter and Paul is located in the Marigny Neighborhood just downriver from the New Orleans French Quarter. The hotel opened up just a few years ago after a four-year restoration of the former sight of the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The original structure dates back to the mid-19th century and was remodeled with a playful mix of modern and vintage aesthetics. This hotel is one of the most beautifully renovated hotels in New Orleans.
Hotel Peter and Paul is located in the perfect neighborhood for anyone looking to stay close to the action but still feel a bit of local flair and get away from the biggest tourist attractions. The Marigny is a bustling neighborhood full of colorful houses, cute cafes, delicious restaurants, and even my favorite karaoke bar. The hotel is just a few blocks away from Frenchmen Street, New Orleans’ own music corridor filled with live music seven days a week.
Within Hotel Peter and Paul, you cannot miss a trip to the Elysian Bar. The bar is filled with over-the-top decor that feels luxurious, playful, modern, and vintage. It seems like that would be a hard combination, but the Elysian Bar pulls it off well. Their happy hour is a great time to get a delicious cocktail and their small bites to eat are always delicious. The Elysian Bar is an experience for all of your senses with sights, smells, tastes, and the sounds of other patrons clinking their glasses. It’s personally one of my favorite places.
For this session, my approach was a bit different than usual. Most of my photoshoots happen outdoors in the open, meaning we have to work with the unpredictable elements of nature. For our photoshoot at Hotel Peter and Paul, we got to enjoy the AC and had an easily accessible location for costume changes. A lot of my couples are worried about the summer heat in New Orleans, and renting a place like Peter and Paul is a great option. Usually, the cost is a few hundred dollars, and the results are well worth it!
We started the engagement session in the old school room on the third floor near the stage. That room is full of beautiful natural light and French blue accents. The stage and the rich green curtains give this room a vibe that cannot be matched. After we finished in the school room, we went to the old sanctuary which is full of warm colors, stained glass windows, and pink and blue details. Much of the original wall was left with a beautiful worn patina aesthetic.
When we arrived in the sanctuary, the light was cascading perfectly onto the stage. It almost looked like a planned spotlight! I started by posing Cara and Jay in that pocket of light before moving around to different places within the room. Working with dark church light can be difficult, and it’s important that your photographer understands light, contrast, and how to compose an image to keep the focal point on you against a busy background. These types of challenging lighting scenarios are some of my favorites to work with, and I kept the lighting natural (opting to skip flash) to maintain that warm romantic feeling.
If you liked this session, check out this sunset session in the French Quarter!
For a full review of the hotel experience at Hotel Peter and Paul, check out this NYTimes review.