Hay-Adams DC Wedding Photographers: Handan & Terry

A sophisticated, Washington DC wedding uniting two foodies at the Hay-Adams Hotel… 

Handan & Terry reached out to me looking for a wedding photographer who was familiar with the Hay-Adams and also professional, authentic and highly recommended.  Handan shared, “We wanted our special day to be captured with a natural, unposed documentation by a photographer who was not going to interrupt the natural flow of the day. I knew immediately after speaking with you that were going to tell our story perfectly. I have no doubt you will help us to re-experience every moment of the day when we see the pictures. You were wonderful!!”

I absolutely love working at the Hay-Adams!  It is adjacent to the White House and Lafayette Square with stunning views of the Washington Monument and other national icons.  Handan’s dress was incredible– I wanted to show the exquisite detail as well as her bouquet of white tulips and the remarkable view from her wedding suite.  I captured all of those elements together in this photo:

I used window-light, glass and shadow to capture the elegant wedding details.  I wanted them to look timeless and dramatic…

Handan & Terry chose the Hay-Adams because of its rich history, great reputation and iconic Washington DC location next to the White House.  I held all of those sentiments in mind as I photographed their wedding day.

I kept an eye out for opportunities to capture those scenic elements and even to photograph items like this… it is just a simple coaster, but the elegant gold logo and beautiful wedding rings placed so naturally display a simple authenticity that fits this wedding well:

Handan shared, “We are a very patriotic couple so we wanted to celebrate our union while having the Washington Monument, White House and memorials as the background.” Here I focused on her silhouette as she enjoyed the view of Lafayette Square and the White House lawn.

Terry shared, “Meeting Handan was destiny.  She is bold, bright and fiery. Her drive and heart are her best attributes. We were meant to be.”

He continued, “I thought ‘Wow!  Oh my goodness!’ when I saw her in her wedding gown. She was (and is) stunning!”

Handan’s 1940’s Hollywood glamor look was perfectly executed by Remona Soleimani & Nikki Fraiser:

“Terry is the most caring and optimistic person I have ever met. He is my best friend. He is the most romantic man I know. For the last nine years, I get flowers on a weekly basis. He spoils me. He looked smashing! I treasure every second I have with him and I never ever take him for granted.” 

Handan’s gift to Terry on the wedding day was little tiles with a few of the things that she loves most about him.  This one made them both laugh out loud: “I love that we will grow old together, you faster than me!”

Capturing Handan’s son, Alex, was especially important to her.  This is a candid moment when Terry offered to help Alex with his tie.  I like the authentic feel of it and the balance in the frame, you can even see their reflection in the mirror:

Handan shared, “Alex’s posture is unique, he is very socially mature, an only child, so he’s always been a little adult.  He can carry a conversation about international politics or environmental science.”  It was clear to me that Handan absolutely adores Alex, so I made sure to capture a special portrait of him here:

Handan shared, “An emotional moment that really stands out to me is when I first saw my son coming into the suite and the hug that he gave me.” You can see that moment here.  I love the light and shadows and the pure emotion in this image:

After seeing Handan, Alex peered out the window and was in awe.  I love this photo:

The service at the Hay-Adams was impeccable.  Here guests are offered wine and champagne as they begin arriving.  If you look closely you can see Terry’s reflection in one of the glasses of white wine…

Handan and Terry shared an intimate wedding ceremony at the Top of the Hay.  The unique event space features trellis-like lattice work under vaulted skylights and is wrapped in French doors and windows.

The view from the terrace is spectacular.  Here I silhouetted Handan, Terry and their wedding officiant, to emphasize the view.  I like how happy Terry is, his smile is even apparent in shadow!

You may kiss the bride…  For this moment I wanted to show both the kiss and the Washington monument.  I love the classic black and white and the way the monument appears so gracefully…

Hugs all around– everyone was thrilled to see the happy couple…

Again, I cannot speak highly enough of the staff at the Hay-Adams, they are timely, precise and always on their toes, ready to serve.  I attempted to capture the flurry of exacting activity that was cocktail hour by using a slow shutter speed and panning with the motion of the servers.

Handan & Terry are foodies, so having gourmet cuisine at the wedding reception was a must.  Guests were greeted by Butler passed hors d’oeuvres that included: Sesame Cone with Smoked Salmon,  Green Apple and Mango, Trout Roe and many other tasty treats…

The weather was lovely and guests floated comfortably from the terrace to the ballroom as they pleased.

There were many special guests in attendance, but one played a very interesting role in their relationship.  His name is Johnathan, and he is a waiter at Handan & Terry’s favorite restaurant, Marcel’s. They have their own table there and Terry has sent flowers accompanied by a personal note for the past several years.  Johnathan makes sure to have them waiting for Handan.

Here Terry’s mother is introduced to Johnathan for the first time.  Ironically Handan is carrying a flowers ;).  It is a simple moment that I was thrilled to capture.

The Joshua Rich Band entertained guests throughout the afternoon.  The ensemble included Joshua Rich, accomplished pianist on piano and vocals, as well as his drummer and bass guitarist.  They really helped to set the mood for the event with an eclectic mix of jazz and American standards as well as popular music from today…  

Handan chose clean, simple white tulip bouquets for the centerpieces.  They looked fresh, sophisticated and were the perfect touch for a Spring wedding.

The tulips had an avant-garde twist, with tulip leaves wrapping the inside of minimalist vases.  They fit the event perfectly…

Handan shared, “Alex, Terry and I love sushi, we love Mediterranean, Asian, Italian…… food. We simply love good food and most importantly, we love seeing everyone enjoying good food, wine and champagne. We purposely wanted various food stations vs serving a plated meal. We wanted everyone to pick and choose what they wanted to eat and interact. And yes, we wanted to make sure we had PLENTY of food. Running out of food was not an option!”

Food was arranged elegantly at stations with servers in authentic attire to match each.  Here are some photographs from the sushi station:

Guests were able to try a little bit of everything, as if they were taking a trip around the world.  Each plate showed the unique taste of each guest as was perfectly suited to them.  

While most guests chose to eat inside the ballroom there were a few who chose to dine al fresco, the view was incredible…

There were several toasts shared throughout the reception, the first of which was given by Terry.  I captured it from the back of the ballroom as I wanted to show the happy couple surrounded by their joyful friends and family members and the architecture of the Top of the Hay.

Kris, who is my husband and second photographer, caught the same exact moment from close-up showing Handan and Terry’s expressions from a closer perspective.  I really like both images and like how we work so well together as a team!  His slow shutter speed captured the movement of Terry’s hand and gives it a natural look…

It was time for the first dance.  Handan shared, “Terry and I complement each other. He has the ability to calm me down when I am anxious and impatient. We work in the same industry. Some of our work-related discussions and how we challenge each other help us to take risks and try new way of doing things at work. We help each other to get out of our comfort zone. Seeing Terry so happy was very special.”  I think the feeling is mutual 😉

I was using a macro lens for this next photograph.  I wanted to capture the intimate feeling of Handan and Terry’s first dance and the intricate details on her dress.

Several touching speeches were given by wedding guests.  This toast was especially favorable and given by Handan’s boss.  You can see how touched Handan and Terry were here:

While their hearts are in Washington, DC, they also love Virginia State and wanted to acknowledge it in their wedding cake.  The confection was decorated with dogwood bows (Virginia’s state flower) and cardinals (Virginia’s state bird), a custom design by Tiffany Maclsaac of Buttercream Bake Shop DC:

The fondant flowers were so delicate that they actually looked authentic!

The entire event felt light, airy and romantic, guests seemed swept up in it all!

The dance floor opened and everyone was ready for fun!

Handan & Terry took a romantic moment alone on the terrace…

They walked along Sixteenth Street towards Pennsylvania Avenue.

The tulips and cherry blossoms were in full bloom!

As they crossed H street Handan stopped traffic, literally!

One little boy rolled down the window of his mother’s car to tell Handan that she was beautiful!  Much to my surprise she thanked him and kissed his cheek!  I love to capture genuine moments like this, it shows you the sort of person Handan is– openhearted, appreciative and living in the moment.  

They sat on a bench in Lafayette Square taking in a view of the White House and all of the tourists mulling about.  Handan reminisced, “Everything about that day was magical.”

Handan and Terry have a pair of Golden Retrievers at home and mentioned that they would miss them on the wedding day, but as fate would have it, a golden did pass their way.  Handan hugged it and here you can see the dog giving Terry his paw!

They walked back to the hotel, where Handan admired the daffodils…

They headed back up to their suite where there friends were gathered to congratulate them again.  Here you can see them waiving to passers by!

It certainly was an incredible day and I am honored that I had the opportunity to document it and spend it by your side, Handan & Terry!  I hope that these photographs allow you to re-live this day for many happy years to come!  Please share this blog post with family and friends and comment below if you feel so moved ;).

UPDATE: I love getting mail like this!!! Thanks for making my day, guys!!! “Lisa, We are speechless. We knew you are good but you went above and beyond! You exceeded our expectations. These are amazing, your comments are exceptional. You did tell our story perfectly. We just can’t thank you enough. I want everyone to know who you are and we will proudly share these with everyone. You are simply amazing. THANK YOU! Thank you! Thank you! We are officially your number one fans! -Handan”

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