One of the coolest things about the Nation’s Capital is the history. And we’re not just talking about the monuments, memorials and museums! (Though those are pretty awesome spots for marriage celebrations or wedding portraits.) Get past DC’s tourist spots, and you’ll find a wealth of gorgeous old buildings that are part of the country’s or the city’s past. And the best part? Many of them are available to host wedding events! And the best, best part? The photos you’ll get at Washington DC’s most historic venues will look awesome! They’ll be gorgeous and have the sense of time and place that every great wedding picture has. During Mary and Skip’s wedding, we had the pleasure to work at two of the metro area’s most historic locations. Christ Church in Alexandria and the Larz Anderson House in DC gave this wedding a deep, meaningful connection to the region.
A Christ Church Alexandria Wedding
Mary and Skip’s day began with a wedding ceremony in Old Town Alexandria. That historic district is home to the aforementioned Christ Church, which was the site of their wedding ceremony. And when it comes to venues with an interesting history, they don’t get much better than this one! The story of Christ Church is part not only of the history of the Nation’s Capital, but also of the birth of our country.
Alexandria’s Christ Church began in 1753 as a “chapel of ease” – something of a local branch of the main parish church. By 1765, though, the parish’s population had grown so large that the Virginia legislature split it into two. After the American Revolution, Christ Church became part of the newly-formed Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Throughout the church’s early days, George Washington was a notable supporter. He worshiped there and even occasionally served as an administrator.
The first president’s ties to Christ Church gave it a special status during the Civil War. While the U.S. Army converted most of Alexandria’s churches into hospitals or stables; it would not do that to Washington’s place of worship. Instead, it remained a church, though one only for soldiers.
The tradition of presidential involvement with Christ Church continues today. Each U.S. president typically visits the church at least once during their time in office. A particularly notable visit occurred in 1942. On New Year’s Day, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill came there for the World Day of Prayer for Peace.
Old Town Alexandria Wedding Ceremony
With such august surroundings, Mary and Skip’s Christ Church Alexandria wedding ceremony couldn’t fail to be magnificent. Though the interior of the church is elegant and beautiful, the atmosphere does not have the dark heaviness of many other houses of worship. Large windows let in plenty of light, giving the space a happier, brighter feel. And makes wedding ceremony photos much prettier and more flattering.
Two of Christ Church’s other features allow us to take gorgeous and often unique pictures of weddings there. The first is its choir loft. In addition to housing a lovely antique organ, the space also gives a very cool view of a ceremony from above. Especially because the loft wraps around most of the inside of the church. So we can get fairly close to the couple as they exchange their vows and rings. The second is a very lovely courtyard that sits between Christ Church and its administrative building. There is a grassy patch and several large trees that offer a bit of shade. These make it a perfect space for couples portraits or family photos right after an Old Town Alexandria wedding ceremony.
Larz Anderson House DC Weddings
If possible, Mary and Skip’s Larz Anderson House DC wedding reception was even more spectacular than their ceremony. The venue for this part of their celebration is one of the most ornate and beautiful in the entire Washington DC metro area. Every inch of the inside of Anderson House is fabulous. From the walls of carved wood to the gilded papier-mâché ceilings to the iron staircase to the gorgeous marble floors, every element makes a wedding event a celebration of elegance.
Construction of Larz Anderson House finished in 1905. Almost immediately after its completion, the 50-room mansion became one of the most fashionable locations in Washington DC. For the next few decades, Larz and Isabel Anderson hosted some of the most talked-about galas and parties in the Nation’s Capital. Attendees included President Taft, President Coolidge, General Pershing, Henry A. DuPont and some of the Vanderbilt family.
After Larz Anderson’s death in 1937, Isabel gifted the house to the Society of the Cincinnati. A couple of years later, it received National Historic Landmark status and opened to the public as a museum. And of course, as a venue for opulent Washington DC weddings!
Anderson House Wedding Photos
Mary and Skip came to Anderson House well before the arrival of most of their invitees. They used that time to relax and to change for their reception in one of the venue’s sumptuous guest rooms. Once their family and friends began to arrive, the newlyweds greeted them with cocktails in the Olmsted Gallery – a long space decorated with some of the Anderson family’s largest works of art. Before the guests got there, though, we got pictures of them ascending Anderson House’s magnificent staircase. We also had them pose for quick portraits in a gilded doorway in the French Drawing Room.
After the cocktail hour, Mary and Skip made their grand entrance to their wedding reception. They descended a second, equally grand staircase to a rousing ovation from their guests. After their first dance and a delicious dinner in the Ballroom, the couple moved to the Great Stair Hall for their cake cutting and toasts. Then it was back to the Ballroom for spirited dancing until the end of the evening.
Wedding dress: Paloma Blanca
Groom Suit: Geoffrey Lewis
Hair and Make-up: Nash Hair Design
Cake artist: Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe
Florist: Devers Design
Caterers: Spilled Milk
Wedding rings: Quest Jewellers
Band: Scott Ragsdale Orchestra
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