If you want your marriage celebrations to include spectacular views of downtown Washington DC, then a Top of the Town wedding might be right for you. In our time as Arlington wedding photographers, we have photographed several nuptial events at that venue. And even though we have seen it before, the view of the Nation’s Capital from there never stops taking our breath away. We have lived in the Washington DC metro area for more than a decade. We know the city like the backs of our hands. So we can tell you with some authority that you will not find a better view of the downtown area at any other venue in DC. But do not just take our word for it! Washingtonian Magazine has also called the view of the city from Top of the Town “the best” of any wedding venues in the DC area.
What makes the view from Top of the Town so spectacular? The location. The venue sits atop a tall river bluff in Arlington Virginia. Being that far above Washington DC gives you an unobstructed view of the downtown area. Which means you can clearly see most of DC’s important landmarks. The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and US Capitol line up in a row directly opposite Top of the Town. The Jefferson Memorial is also clearly visible if you look just a little to the right. To the left is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Next door to that is the famous (or perhaps infamous) Watergate Hotel.
A Top of the Town wedding does not just give you great views of the Washington DC skyline. The Theodore Roosevelt and Memorial Bridges lead your eye across the Potomac River to Arlington Virginia. There on the river bluffs are some of that area’s most notable memorials. To your left is the United States Marine Corps War Memorial (known locally as “Iwo Jima”). Looking to the right, you see the Netherlands Carillon. That bell tower was a gift from the Dutch people following World War II. If you look farther to the right, you will see parts of Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial.
The spectacular view would be nothing, of course, if you could get a good look at it. And more importantly for your marriage celebrations, it does not do any good if you cannot get pictures of you with it in the background! Fortunately, a Top of the Town wedding offers you three different spaces with beautiful vistas behind you.
The first is Top of the Town’s main wedding ceremony and reception room. The wall of that space that faces downtown Washington DC comprises nearly floor-to-ceiling windows from one end to the other. Those afford you completely unobstructed views of the monuments below. Which means that you can realize the dream of many a DC resident who marries in the metro area. You can exchange your vows with the Washington Monument rising behind you.
The second space is a small rooftop patio on the south side of the building. That is an ideal spot for family formal pictures after your Top of the Town wedding ceremony. It is spacious enough for all but the largest gatherings to fit together for a group portrait. Then all your Arlington wedding photographers have to do is get up on a ladder or chair, and they can get pictures of you and your family with the National Mall behind you. The rooftop patio is also the venue’s best spot for sunset portraits of you and your new spouse. Thanks to the topography of Northern Virginia, it can be hard to get a clear view of the western sky from behind the hills. Because Top of the Town rises so high above the surrounding terrain, though, you get a lovely view of the sky lighting up at dusk.
The final spot is perhaps the best. Particularly for your couples portraits. On the north side of the building is a small catwalk that ends overlooking the National Mall. From that area, your Arlington wedding photographers can get stunning pictures of you and your new spouse cuddling. If they can get the angle right, the monuments and memorials will be just over your shoulders. And what is more “DC” than a portrait like that? The added bonus of this particular space is its potential for beautiful night wedding portraits. The venue’s staff is happy to open up the catwalk for you after the sun has gone down. You can then duck out of your Top of the Town wedding reception to get portraits with the city lights twinkling in the background.
The bride in this picture certainly took advantage of all the views that Top of the Town has to offer! Immediately after their ceremony, they headed out to the rooftop patio for some sunset wedding portraits. Her wedding was in mid-January, so the conditions were less than ideal. But there was no way she was going to let a little cold get in the way of taking some beautiful couples portraits! Protected from the chill wind by only a wedding dress designed for beauty and not warmth, the lovely bride posed for some epic images along with her new husband.
Our favorite image of the day, though, was actually taken back inside the main venue space. The bride was waiting to make her grand entrance into her Top of the Town wedding reception. The cold winter wind had disturbed her hair and makeup a bit, so her bridesmaids helped her touch everything up before the big moment. It could have been an extremely nervous time for her, but it was not. The look on her face says that she was clearly enjoying those few moments of peace and quiet while her bridesmaid adjusted her veil and before she went back into the crowd.
What we love most about this picture is that we caught a completely unguarded moment on film. The bride is not posing, putting on a smile for the camera or even aware that her Arlington wedding photographers are there. She is just lost in the flow and enjoying her wedding day. And for documentary wedding photographers in Washington DC, it is always our goal to give our clients reminders of moments like that.Arlington Wedding, Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer (5), Virginia wedding (12), Virginia weddings (5).
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