National Monuments Wedding Elopement - Washington, DC - Kristine and Gaetan
Believe it or not, despite having photographed tons of weddings over the course of my 4 years as a wedding photographer in Northern Virginia, I hadn’t done any wedding portraits at the National Monuments in Washington, DC - until now!
Kristine and Gaetan have a romantic wedding in France planned for a future date, but upon realizing that getting legally married abroad is more than a little complicated, they decided to have a private elopement at the courthouse in DC. I met up with them shortly after their courthouse wedding, where Kristine showed up looking GORGEOUS in this lace and tulle dress that she got at a sample sale, paired with a beautiful hair styling and drop jewelry to polish off the look. Proof that just because you’re having a quick and simple wedding doesn’t mean you can’t look stunning while you do it! I loved that she was able to have this opportunity to dress the part for her legal wedding without spoiling the look she has planned for the French ceremony later on.
We were nervous about rain in the days leading up to the session, especially since they had an appointment at the courthouse, permit from the National Parks Service, and dinner celebration with immediate family that all couldn’t be moved. Praying that the rain would hold off, we were sooooo lucky to have a comfortable mostly-cloudy day to wander around the city, capturing romantic wedding portraits at the National Monuments. The sky was a giant softbox that let us shoot wherever we wanted, in whatever direction, without worrying about harsh unflattering light ruining the shot.
We wandered around for two hours, starting at the Tidal Basin near the MLK Memorial and making sure to get some shots along the water with all the greenery of the cherry blossom trees that line the basin. We had expected to hop inside the DC War Memorial to get some shots with the classic marble columns, in case the Lincoln Memorial ended up being too crowded by the time we got there and because the Jefferson Memorial is under heavy renovation - we didn’t realize there would be a wedding going on there on a Thursday evening! We kept our distance going around to the back of the memorial and were able to discreetly capture photos of the memorial in the background without any sign of the wedding on the other side but it definitely threw us for a loop (and made me want to photograph a wedding at such an iconic DC spot!).
We kept moving along and visited the WWII memorial and reflecting pool before continuing down to the Lincoln Memorial. There was a good number of people around the front so we were nervous we wouldn’t end up getting any clean shots with the big marble columns that just scream “Washington DC” but lo and behold, we turned the corner around the side of the memorial and it was CLEAR! Kristine and Gaetan were able to share a dance, do some twirls, and wander down the corridor with only an occasional stranger trying to pass by… and then we did it all again at the back of the monument with the even longer stretch of columns virtually clear of tourists and visitors as well. It was a dream come true!
Kristine and Gaetan were naturals in front of the camera and it was so fun to work with a couple that was so obviously in love and willing to let me make them kiss and dance and snuggle in the middle of one of the most busy cities in the country. Their families tagged along throughout the session and only added to the fun - they were all so sweet and so easy to work with! I envy their photographer in France for the big celebration to come!