We have been taking pictures of luxury weddings and engagements in and around the Washington, DC area for several years now, and there are times when it feels like we have photographed couples who are in love in every great location in the DC metro area. The Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Gallery of Art, the Kennedy Center, the National Cathedral, the National Arboretum… you name the iconic landmark in Washington, and we have probably taken couples portraits there! And while we love those places we are always pleasantly surprised, then, when we find a great new spot in the Nation’s Capital where we can pose fiancés or newlyweds and make them look great on film!
The couple in this particular image wanted their engagement photos in a location that was both unique and typically Washingtonian so we did some digging and came up with a beautiful venue that they ended up loving. Just north of the District’s famous and elegant Georgetown neighborhood, there are two connected parks tucked into an otherwise residential area. Dumbarton Oaks Park and Montrose Park offer Georgetown residents a beautiful and refreshing green space in the middle of an urban zone, in addition to providing a lovely woodsy backdrop for couples looking to take engagement pictures amid the beauty of nature.
We started in Dumbarton Oaks Park, which is the grounds of a former estate by the same name. Purchased in 1920 by the Bliss family, the Dumbarton Oaks Estate now consists of a 27-acre stream-side park, 10 acres of which are dedicated to Dumbarton Oaks house’s formal garden. We met the lovely future spouses at the Ellipse, an oval expanse of grass surrounded by a ring of boxwood trees with a ornate fountain in the middle. As much as we liked that spot, though, we decided to cross over into Montrose Park and pose the couple in its iconic Ropewalk.
The original owner of the property that became Montrose Park, Richard Parrott, was a rope-maker. He created on his grounds a long, straight building called the Ropewalk, where long strands of hemp were laid out and twisted into rope. The Ropewalk building is no longer there; instead, the space has been turned into a lovely, tree-lined avenue running hundreds of meters through Montrose Park. We got some beautiful images of the couple amid these trees before moving on to the next spot.
Just to the side of the Ropewalk is a trellised garden area that was another great location for creating images of the fiancés that gave the impression that we had happened upon two lovers sharing a private, romantic moment. It was from behind one of the pillars supporting the trellis that we captured this particular photograph.
From there, we walked down a steep hill and crossed back into Dumbarton Oaks Park. At the bottom of the hill runs Rock Creek, whose enormous eponymous park abuts Dumbarton Oaks Park and Montrose Park on their northern edges. Straddling the creek is a beautiful rustic stone bridge (appropriately named Dumbarton Oaks Bridge) upon which we posed the couple. We used a wider-angle lens to get the full breadth of the bridge with the future spouses embracing in the middle, but fortunately, the forest was thick enough in that area that branches and leaves covered much of the empty space in the frame, giving the resulting images a close, intimate feel even at the wider angle.
Location: Montrose Park, Washington, DC 20007.