The Washington National Cathedral is one of our new favorite venues in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area at which to take pictures of weddings and engagements. It literally has something special for every bride- and groom-to-be, regardless of their individual tastes — beautiful religiously-themed architecture for the traditionalists, lovely green spaces for those who want nature to play a role in their matrimonial celebrations and iconic backdrops for future spouses who want their wedding to have a quintessential Washington, DC, feel. As we have mentioned in other posts on this wedding and engagement photography website, we have only recently had the chance to photograph a full wedding ceremony at the most famous church in the Nation’s Capital. Now that we have had the privilege of helping a lovely couple document their nuptials on film at the Washington National Cathedral, however, we cannot wait until we can get back there to turn beautiful matrimonial moments into images that will last a lifetime.
The couple in this particular picture chose to hold their wedding at the Washington National Cathedral, and we feel that the resulting pictures are a testament to what a great fit the church was for their nuptials. The bride and groom tied the knot in the ornate Bethlehem Chapel, a hidden gem of a venue located in the basement of the National Cathedral. Because they had only invited their immediate families for what was the civil portion of their nuptials, the cozy confines of the space were a perfect fit for this particular matrimonial event. The Bethlehem Chapel combines the elegance and refinement of a large cathedral with an intimacy that keeps the photographs from looking like the bride and groom are getting married in a cavern. Because the setting complemented their ceremony so perfectly, we were able to capture some lovely images in which the Bethlehem Chapel makes the newlyweds the center of attention.
The real photographic highlight of the venue for us, however, was taking the couples portraits in the Bishop’s Garden, a beautiful green space located just to the side of and down the hill from the Washington National Cathedral. Early spring in Washington, DC, is tulip season, and the terraces of the Bishop’s Garden were alive with gorgeous orange and purple flowers in full bloom. We got some beautiful images of the couple celebrating their recent marriage with some cuddling and kissing amid the beauty of nature.
One of our favorite shots, though, was this picture. The path down that winds from the Washington National Cathedral down through the Bishop’s Garden passes through an ancient-looking stone gate before ending in a grassy clearing in which visitors have picnics on warm days. The gate is partially obscured by the trees and bushes that have grown up around it since the garden’s completion in 1928. That made it an ideal spot for taking couples portraits on a bright and sunny spring day, because it offered shade that both kept the new husband and wife cool and kept the light that illuminated them even and gentle. What really made the photo something special in our opinion, though, are the little bits of sunlight that added some rim lighting to the bride’s hair. They help give the pictures some dimension by separating her and the groom from the moss-covered stone wall of the gate behind them. These are the little elements that turn a good photograph into an unforgettable one and the type of things that future brides and grooms can find at venues like the Washington National Cathedral.