We had an unusually warm winter this year in Washington, D.C. Relatively mild temperatures in the 40s and 50s, with lots of sunshine, made for a fantastic week in early February – perfect for an engagement session in National Harbor!
Darlene and Marlon’s Engagement Session
Our goal for D + M’s engagement portraits was to get a lot of variety and make it fun. National Harbor is full of great shops and restaurants, as well as the gorgeous waterfront views, which is why they chose to hold their wedding there later this year. It just made sense to take advantage of our warmer winter days and the scenic views for their engagement session!
We started out with a “sweet” series outside a candy shop. I loved the bright colors, especially when winter can be a bit drab in urban environments. From there, we made our way around the area, chatting and stopping to shoot here and there. About midway through, we decided it was time to warm up for a bit in Starbucks (my personal addiction!) Once we could feel our fingers and toes again, it was back out to the waterfront. Two of the musts on our list: shots with the ferris wheel and a silhouette with the sunset. I decided to combine the two! Lots of cozy snuggles kept D + M warm the rest of the session, and despite the chill in the air, I captured some of my favorite engagement portraits of the winter!
Thanks for hanging out with me that day, D + M! I really loved getting to know you both better, and I had a lot of fun! I hope the rest of your wedding planning is smooth sailing, and your wedding day has a perfect sunset just as we did that day.
Here’s a handful of my favorites from Darlene and Marlon’s engagement session:
Last spring, I had the honor of participating in a small event for photographers, hosted by Meghan Rose Photography. Meghan put together a beautifully styled wedding shoot and vendor mixer. As you may know, the Washington DC area gets a little crazy about the cherry blossom bloom, so this was an amazing opportunity to photograph without the distractions and interruptions that typically occur during peak bloom inside the District.
Our venue was Historic Londontown, one of my favorite Annapolis landmarks. The cherry blossom blooms were perfectly delicate, pink, and plentiful. Our models for the day were beautiful, but more importantly, FUN to work with! For our couple, who are really married, it was their first time doing something like this. I think they knocked it out of the park!! It was so difficult to narrow down my favorites from this event!
Not only did we have gorgeous subjects to photograph, but the details….Oh, the details! The jewelry, the cake, the macarons, the cookies, the tablescape….oh my! It was easy to get lost in just capturing the small accoutrements for this event! The soft hues of pinks and greens complemented the theme and rounded out the shoot. As a bonus, I was able to network with fellow creatives from the Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington DC areas and make some new friends! I love when creatives come together to teach and learn from one another!
I am now booking a very limited number of Cherry Blossom Couples sessions for Spring 2017. Perfect for engagements, anniversaries, or just because, but these will fill quickly! Please contact me directly for more details, dates, and to reserve your session: email@example.com
Cherry Blossom Wedding Event Vendors
Hair and Makeup by Vintage Veils
Event Planning by Charming Grace Events
Cake by Whipped Cakes
Glassware and Sandblasting Design by Eikoh Design
Stationery by Lattice Tree Studio
Florals by Flowers by Tedi
Formalwear by Annapolis Formal
Elisabetta and Ty Celebrate their Old South Country Club Wedding Day
A love story many years in the making, this chapter was literally storybook perfect! Old South Country Club was an ideal venue for E + T to tie the knot surrounded by their family and friends. With a Southern elegance and charm, I loved the romantic portraits we were able to capture! Elisabetta looked flawlessly perfect in her wedding gown, and her bridesmaids completed the gorgeous vision with their pale pink gowns. The gentlemen stunned in their light suits. The wedding party was a perfect vision of Southern charm and elegance! Even the hot and humid air couldn’t interfere with the joy of the day. Their forever after was sealed in a brief, but personal, ceremony outside in the courtyard overlooking the golf course and hills beyond.
After the sun went down, and the temperatures cooled, it was time to dance the night away in the beautifully decorated tent. No detail was overlooked! Several heartfelt speeches and even performances to celebrate the newlyweds kept everyone smiling and laughing throughout the evening. It was easy to see that both E + T were deeply loved by everyone they knew. Work friends, school friends, old friends and new friends – all coming together to rejoice with the bride and groom!
Towards the end of the evening, several of the groomsmen “decorated” the getaway car, and filled it with packing peanuts, but the couple took it all in good humour. We also had the opportunity to step outside the country club for some nighttime portraits, which are always my favorite. Then we capped off the evening with a sparkler exit and one final farewell to E+T!
These are a few of my favorites from their Old South Country Club wedding day!
Venue: Old South Country Club, Lothian, Maryland
I may be a little biased, but it seems like the two items I hear couples describe as “most important” in their wedding planning are the photographer and the wedding venue. It seems that these are the two choices couples agonize over, because they want to get it right. And who could blame them? The venue often sets the tone for your wedding celebration, and the photographs are the permanent record of your wedding story. I see dozens of wedding venues each year, so I’ve developed this list of items to consider when you start looking for a wedding venue. (That’s one of the benefits of working in the industry: you gain a lot of insight!)
- Food/Beverage Options
So, these aren’t in any particular order of importance. In fact, I would probably rate all of these with the same importance if I were planning my wedding. Unfortunately, with both venue and photographer, I see a lot of couples place a lot of emphasis on budget. Thankfully, there are ways to work with a tighter budget and not have to cut corners, but more on that in a moment. Let’s just take these one at a time.
Choose a Wedding Venue: Space
I see it often: beautiful venues with the perfect vibe for a wedding, but sadly, the couple has a guest list that very closely matches the fire department maximum capacity. You might be asking, “What’s the issue? The venue says it can hold 300 people, so we can invite 300 people!” Well, let me be frank – no one likes to be crowded. I’ve photographed weddings where there wasn’t room to walk between tables before any guests were seated. You can imagine what it was like once everyone was in their seats! Not only is it difficult for guests to navigate the area, but also for vendors/catering staff/photographers. Another issue: not enough seating for the number of guests present. It’s a sure way for some of your guests to leave early when they become uncomfortable.
I recommend looking for a venue that has room for your entire guest list, and then some to spare. If you have a band or DJ, you also need enough room for everyone to break out their dancing shoes! Having a little extra space also lends to an overall more elegant and cohesive feel. I know you’re spending lots of time choosing decor, florals, place settings, and the overall theme. Don’t allow it to be overrun by a tight and crowded space.
Choose a Wedding Venue: Decor & Appearance
One of the easiest choices you can make for your wedding day is a theme – the overall vibe you want to convey in your celebration. Themes can be specific, such as nautical, beachy, New Years Eve, or even Harry Potter. Or they can be more general, perhaps following a color scheme or a more general decor scheme. When you begin shopping around for a reception venue, it is important that you keep the overall feel of your celebration in mind. For instance, you most likely wouldn’t hold a traditional, elegant, black tie event at a rustic barn venue. Likewise, you wouldn’t hold a casual, beachy affair in a grand ballroom. Envision your guests and decor in the space.
Choose a Wedding Venue: Food & Beverage Options
Food and beverage will make up a large portion of your celebration’s budget. Most couples have an idea what they would like for food and drink, however each venue offers different options. Many venues will be able to provide onsite catering options. These are great if you’re looking to consolidate services, or keep the planning simple. Other venues may have a list of preferred outside caterers.Seeking out individual caterers and bartending services can be quite an undertaking, so always ask venues if they have a preferred list. Another thing to consider is whether or not the venue will require you to apply for an alcohol permit for the event.
If you have identified a caterer or service you absolutely must have, prior to booking your venue, ask if they have any recommendations on venues they worked well with. In fact, some of the best word of mouth referrals can be from other vendors!
Choose a Wedding Venue: Availability
Setting a date may have been the first thing you did after becoming engaged (after spreading the good news to your families, of course!) Occasionally, couples will find their ideal venue, but as venues often book more than a year in advance, it may be booked on your chosen date. I do encourage a little bit of flexibility, if possible. I know it isn’t ideal to change a date in all instances, but as the venue is often the first thing you book, you might have some wiggle room. Venues often give the option of holding your wedding and/or reception during the day, which can be helpful if you absolutely cannot reschedule your wedding date. It’s always a good idea to consider off-peak months and weekdays, as a handful of venues in your area may offer discounts!
Choosing a wedding venue is certainly a very personal and difficult choice. I hope that my insight has been helpful so far! Be sure to check back for Part 2, where I’ll discuss location, budget, and staffing!