In our time photographing weddings and engagements in Hannover, Germany, we have taken pictures of couples in love in beautiful spots all over the city. We have done couples portraits in and around the renowned Herrenhäuser Gartens, in the pathways circling (and even in the waters of!) the Altwarmbüchener See (Lake), at the old city hall, in front of carnival rides at the city’s annual Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market), inside Hannover’s stately opera house and next to the iconic Kröpcke clock tower. But the venue we keep coming back to is Hannover’s Neues Rathaus (New City Hall). It has enormous personal significance to us, and more importantly, it gives the couples portraits we take in front of it both a dramatic backdrop and an immediately recognizable “Hannover” feel.
That’s why we started this particular future bride and groom’s engagement photography session at the Neues Rathaus, bringing them around to the Maschpark behind the city hall building for the first group of pictures. A beautiful green space surrounding a lovely little pond, the Maschpark serves as both a relaxing area for residents of the city to spend a summer afternoon and as a connector of sorts between the Neues Rathaus and the Maschsee (Hannover’s enormous manmade lake).
After capturing some images of the spouses-to-be cuddling on a charming footbridge spanning one part of the pond, we brought them around to the front of the building to get some pictures of them with the New City Hall’s iconic dome and spires in the background. Our next stop on the little photo tour of downtown Hannover was going to be the Aegidienkirche, the roofless shell of an old church that was damaged in Allied bombing raids during World War II. On the way from the Neues Rathaus to the Aegidienkicrche, however, we noticed an intriguing spot and decided to stop there to take a few pictures of the bride- and groom-to-be.
The place we found was a concrete awning jutting out from an abandoned beer garden across the street from the New City Hall. We loved the way that the structure framed the couple and gave the future groom something to lean against. Plants and bushes had sprung up in the area due to disuse, and the green added much-needed color to the foreground and background of the images.
At the time, we had no idea what the building was, just that the space we found under the awning was a great spot for taking engagement photos. When we sat down later to do a little research, we discovered that we had inadvertently posed the future bride and groom in front of a Hannover institution. The awning and abandoned bar were part of the old Maritim Grand Hotel. Opened in 1965 as the Intercontinental Hotel, the building was Hannover’s first large hotel and had played host to famous guests like Michael Jackson, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin and Mick Jagger when they stayed in Hannover. The Maritim Grand Hotel gradually fell into decline from those heady days and was eventually closed in 2015. A Berlin-based company plans to renovate the building and reopen in 2018. In the period in between, the City of Hannover rented the facility and used it to house recently-arrived refugees.
Location: Neues Rathaus, Trammplatz 2, 30159 Hannover.