Vintage Film Wedding Photography at the Drifter Hotel

When the pandemic hit, Beau and Sydney drastically revised their wedding plans from a big ceremony at The Shaw Center for the Arts to an intimate backyard celebration. While their backyard celebration was incredibly beautiful, there was a bit of sadness of not having the day as it was originally planned. With that being said, we used this time at The Drifter Hotel for a second, more intimate celebration of their love. This day spent with Sydney and Beau is proof that your wedding doesn’t have to look any way in particular to be memorable and meaningful.

I hope this can serve as a visual example (and maybe even permission slip) of what is possible for a wedding day. We spent this celebratory day adventuring around incredible corners in New Orleans, and overall the day felt relaxed and enjoyable. The best part? I shot this day almost exclusively on film! Sydney and Beau’s film wedding photography has an emotional but cool vintage aesthetic that they’ll treasure.

film wedding photography
film wedding photography

Elopement Vibes at The Drifter Hotel

The Drifter Hotel is located in the Midcity neighborhood. It’s unique among New Orleans hotels because it embraces a very 1950s beachy vibe instead of playing up the classic French Quarter look. The Drifter is a fun and unexpected choice for a getting ready location and portraits.

film wedding photography
The Drifter Hotel New Orleans
No Vacancy sign

Originally built in the 1950s, it has been renovated with nostalgic details, including pink tile. Those retro details are everywhere, including in the clean lines of the architecture. There are endless possibilities for film wedding photography with thoughtful compositions. We couldn’t have picked a better venue to capture the more design-forward portraits that we weren’t able to the first time around at Sydney and Beau’s backyard wedding.

film wedding photography
bride and groom polaroid portraits
hotel terrace photos
The Drifter New Orleans

Sydney, Beau, and I collaborated on a vision that fit The Drifter perfectly. Even though the day was more of a vow renewal, it had the organic, spontaneous feeling of an old-school elopement. From the simple clothes and flowers to the pink staircase, that impression of the couple being carefree and wildly in love is everywhere in their images. 

poolside wedding photos
New Orleans hotel
retro couples portraits
Wedding portraits outdoors

As it turned out Beau and Sydney’s decision of a chilly February day meant we had The Drifter largely to ourselves. They put on their wedding clothes, and we took our time getting pictures in their rented room, on the outdoor walkway, and poolside. Like all great getting ready locations, there was amazing lighting everywhere.

New Orleans wedding photos
retro Polaroid portraits
The Drifter Hotel New Orleans

Emotional Film Wedding Photography

One thing that was so special about this day was that I photographed it almost entirely on film. Film wedding photography is so special because it requires me to be very intentional about every photo. Rather than spend a lot of time setting up shots, I actually find that I stay in the moment better. You can see the candid joy in Beau and Sydney’s images. 

Mississippi River wedding

Heirloom Polaroid Portraits

After portraits at The Drifter, Sydney and Beau read letters to each other by the riverside in the French Quarter. Even with the hustle and bustle of the Quarter so close, the little patch of rocks felt like a refuge for their loving exchange. The minimalist setting lets the emotion take center stage in this film wedding photography. 

Polaroid wedding photos
riverside vow exchange

Some people get nervous about so many of their wedding photos on film, and I appreciate tha Sydney and Beau trusted my vision. I got all of the day’s highlights on digital and focused the rest of the day on film. In my experience, people value digital images of their highlights more than having hundreds of images to comb through anyway. Film brings that sense of authenticity to these wedding photos while emphasizing the day’s tastefully retro style.

French Quarter wedding photos
New Orleans elopement

Film Photography is perfect for New Orleans!

Film really does feel right in New Orleans! The French Quarter has its own vintage vibe which we captured with some portraits before heading to dinner at Cane and Table. I can’t say enough good things about the food, staff, and ambiance at this beautiful restaurant. It would be an incredible wedding venue all its own!

bride and groom
French Quarter balcony
film wedding photography in French Quarter
Cane and Table Restaurant New Orleans
wedding toast
retro portraits

Throughout their day, Sydney and Beau expressed how happy they were to celebrate their love creatively in a way that was truly just for them. It goes to show that the best wedding day is about the people getting married, not what people think they’re supposed to do. I’m thrilled that they’ll have these images as heirlooms to tell their love story.

Vintage wedding photography
nighttime portraits
Vintage hotel sign for film wedding photography

Are you interested in having me capture your film wedding photography? Reach out, and tell me about your vision!

Thank you to the vendors who made Sydney and Beau’s wedding day possible:

Venue: The Drifter Hotel

Restaurant: Cane + Table

Sydney’s beaded seater: Time Warp BR

Photography: Olivia Yuen Photography 

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