Are you a future bride or groom who appreciates history? Do you want to get married in a wedding venue with a timeless feel? Do you like the idea of getting matrimonial photographs that look like they could have been taken 100 years ago? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then a wedding in an old ballroom or theater might be for you.
We have photographed several marriage celebrations in venues like that and cannot recommend them highly enough. On a personal level, we like weddings in those locations because we are some of those aforementioned suckers for history. It is one of the things we enjoy about living in the Nation’s Capital! Inside these structures, there is a sense that that the settings have seen and experienced a lot over the years. We always wonder what stories the walls would tell if they could talk.
On a professional level (and more importantly for you), we feel that these older locations are conducive to great wedding photography. There is often an eternal quality to wedding venues like that. That makes pictures of you and your beloved look and feel timeless. In our opinion, those kinds of images speak to the notion that love is forever. They give the sense that your love story transcends time, and that you and your spouse-to-be were always meant to be together.
It is for this reason that the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium is one of our favorite Washington, DC, wedding venues. Its Great Hall, in particular, is a classic and timeless spot in which brides and grooms can wed. A massive ballroom capable of fitting up to 1000 wedding guests, the Great Hall looks like it could have hosted marriage celebrations at any time in American history. Its huge stone columns and gorgeous wood flooring are elegant and classical, turning any wedding into a classy affair. More importantly, those elements look and feel permanent — like they have always been there and always will. If you want your wedding to celebrate the timelessness of love, you cannot select a better DC venue for your nuptials than that.
The same qualities make the GOP Varieté Theater Bad Oeynhausen a great venue for marriage celebrations in Northern Germany. If you and your future spouse are thinking about a destination wedding, it is a fantastic choice. Located in a spa town about 50 miles from Hannover, this theater and ballroom is a beautiful spot for destination weddings. It is set in a grand building that is reminiscent of the residences of old European nobility. That is not surprising, given that town boomed in the early 1900s as a vacation destination for the German bourgeoise. Those wealthy visitors wanted residential homes that resembled the opulent structures of the past. So many mansions sprung up during that time that the town became known as the “Museum for the Architecture of the 19th Century.”
Though actually a former casino, the edifice that houses the GOP Varieté Theater was built in a similarly grand style. It is called the “Kaiserpalais,” indicating that it was meant to be opulent enough to serve as a ruler’s residence. The Kaiserpalais is a sprawling building with two low-slung wings meeting at a gorgeous dome in the center. To these DC wedding photographers, it looks a bit like a combination of Washington’s Union Station and Hannover’s Neues Rathaus. The building’s front facade is a perfect spot for wider-angle portraits of brides and grooms. The grandeur of the Kaiserpalais behind them makes it look like theirs was some sort of royal wedding.
As beautiful as the building’s exterior is, the real highlight of the venue is the theater space on the inside. Its luxurious table seating is capable of accommodating up to 345 wedding guests. From the comfort of plush chairs, they can witness brides and grooms exchanging their vows on a large, elevated stage. The GOP Varieté Theater’s excellent technical staff can light the event in whatever way the future spouses want. If you have ever dreamed of being the star of your own wedding, this venue can literally give that to you.
We wanted that look and feel for the couples portraits of these particular newlyweds. They tied the knot in a glamorous ceremony up on the main stage. After the guests departed the theater to enjoy cocktail hour, we brought the bride and groom back in for their portraiture. Our idea was to use the theater setting to make them look like celebrities who had just gotten married. We had them stand back up on the stage and asked the venue staff to hit them with a spotlight. We closed the apertures on our cameras to turn that light into a starburst pattern. To introduce a little dynamism into the images, we asked them to dance a bit. Given that the bride had been a dancer, this seemed like a wise choice. At one point, the groom spun his new wife away from him, and she stretched out her other arm. They looked so graceful and elegant at that moment that we knew we had our shot. We pressed our camera’s trigger and got the beautiful image you see here.Destination Weddings (27).
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