Before becoming wedding photographers based in Washington, DC, we used to roam the world as part of the American Foreign Service. In the decade we spent in that career, we lived on three different continents, learned several new languages and cultivated a love for traveling that continues to this day. Even though we are now permanently settled in the Washington, DC metro area and working as full-time wedding photographers, we still love any opportunity we get to travel abroad and take pictures at destination weddings.
Though this particular matrimonial celebration was not in an exotic destination photography-wise (downtown Washington isn’t all that far a trip for us!), it had an international flavor that appealed to our interest in new cultural experiences. The bride was a Foreign Service Officer whose family originally hails from Mexico. The groom was born in Serbia and played professional basketball in Europe when he was younger. After tying the knot, the new husband and wife planned to continue their international lifestyle as the bride took up her next overseas post with the Department of State.
As a couple whose own marriage blends two cultures and whose own nuptial celebrations mixed elements from both of our family histories, we love seeing brides and grooms from different backgrounds embrace the traditions that make each other’s families unique. For example, we enjoyed capturing images of the bride’s kin participating enthusiastically in a traditional Serbian dance led by a famous band from her new husband’s home country.
Though the pair’s differences made their nuptials more interesting, it was the things they had in common that brought them together, just as it is with any couple who makes their way to the altar. This bride and groom were both devout Catholics, and this commonality was an important part in their love story. We overheard the bride-to-be comment to her bridesmaid while getting ready that she was overjoyed to have found a future spouse who shared her religious convictions.
Their common beliefs also played a key role in their marriage celebrations. They exchanged their vows in a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Augustine Church in Northwest Washington, DC. After saying, “I do,” the couple then met their guests for the reception at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Northeast Washington, DC. Though the post-ceremony party was in St. Francis Hall, the monastery’s reception venue located across the street from the main building, we took the newlyweds down behind the monastery for their couples portraits. Taking their couples portraits at this beautiful venue was one of the highlights of the wedding day for us. Just down the hill from the monastery’s main building are the lovely and shaded Lower Gardens, which house several shrines and statues dedicated to St. Francis and other important Catholic figures. The atmosphere down there is intentionally quiet, relaxing and contemplative. It is free of distractions, which made it a perfect place to pose two people who had just gotten married. In such a peaceful spot, it was easy for them to focus only on one another.