Washington DC Wedding Photographers: Lori & Clay

The White House and Washington Monument make appearances in this sophisticated, Washington, DC wedding.

The day was spent at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Hay-Adams, Jefferson Hotel & Universalist Church.

Here are Lori and Clay’s wedding rings.  I used the sequinned inner lining of Lori’s dress as the backdrop.  To me, the soft, creme sparkle adds to the luxurious romantic feel of their wedding day.  Wow, what a stunning engagement ring!

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Lori and Clay contacted me looking for a wedding photographer who would use an eclectic, storytelling approach on their wedding day. They wanted someone who would capture everything from the tiny details to the impressive architecture of DC, from the fleeting candid moments to modern posed portraits.  I’m happy to share that they chose us :).

Lori’s wedding day began at the Hay-Adams in Washington, DC.  It is an elegant hotel on Lafayette Square that overlooks the White House and Washington Monument.  Here her make-up is being applied by Gregory Dean.  He is a true artist.

I used a creative approach to this photo, silhouetting her against a window in her suite, framed by greenery and Gregory’s kit of brushes and pigments.  I captured the entire scene in the reflection of framed artwork, which creates an almost dream-like feel here.

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Given the exquisite views out the window, and the “classic DC” feel that Lori and Clay were envisioning for their wedding day, I incorporated her Hay-Adams suite view into the photo of her dress.   Yes, the Washington Monument was really that close.  Also, you can see the subtle sequinned lining of her wedding gown…

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Lori’s family has a lovely tradition of passing family heirlooms to be worn on a wedding day.  A very sweet and personal nod to the Old English rhyme of “old, new, borrowed and blue.”

The wedding bands are new, the garter actually serves both old and blue, and the necklace is one that she borrowed from her mother.

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Here Lori and her sister prepare to dress the soon-to-be Mrs. Gilbert.  I like how their faces are rim-lit so your attention goes to the dress and her married name.    I also made sure to keep the monument in view.  😉

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I really like the fit of her dress in the image above and all of the interesting lines and textures in the photo below.

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Lori’s mom has battled cancer for sometime, and Lori was  thrilled to have her at her side on the wedding day.  Here she is placing the necklace that she wore on her own wedding day on Lori.

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What a beautiful bride!!!

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Lori chose the classic colors of Navy and Gold for her wedding and used accents of shades of purple and ivory.  She fell in love with her wedding invitations and used the lace and pearl to inspire many of her aesthetic choices throughout the wedding day.

Here you can see the lace in the women’s gowns and the shades of purple in their bouquets.  Their florist was Jeff Johnson of Blue Vanda Designs, his work is breathtaking.  They are standing at the portico at the Hay-Adams.  I love the palm fronds in the distance.

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Since we were so close to the White House, we stepped outside for a bit and were able to get it in the background of a few photographs.

I think this shot is so fun– celebrate, ladies!

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Meanwhile, at the Jefferson Hotel, Clay was preparing for the wedding day, too.  Here he straightens his tie…

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Lori shared that she initially fell for Clay because of his loving heart and compassion.  He is driven, generous and always striving to be a better man.

Clay is solid, trustworthy and kind– his love runs deep and I believe those attributes come through in this next photo:


The groomsmen wore gray tuxedos with navy ties and purple boutonnieres wrapped in navy ribbon.  I like how relaxed and dapper they all look in this image:

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Having some fun– there was a mirrored table in The Jefferson, here as the men chat, a few of them are captured in the glass along with a “photobombing” Springer Spaniel, haha.

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As Lori makes her way to the Universalist National Memorial Church, she peeks out the window.  I like all of the textures in this photo…

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She makes a quick entrance (successfully avoiding being seen by guests) with her father holding the train of her gown.  They enter below the exquisitely carved frieze at the front door of the church.  I like how the black and white really allows all of the detail to show in high-contrast:

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A favorite moment for both Lori and Clay, Lori’s procession down the aisle.  I have several perspectives of this event, but really like this “bird’s eye view” from the church balcony.

It allows you to see so many of the wedding guests and their expressions.  They show a range of emotion from beaming smiles to holding back tears.

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One person who did not hold back his tears was Clay.  His expression has to be one of the most touching that I have witnessed.

He said that seeing Lori walk down the isle was his favorite part of the day– she was so beautiful that she was glowing.  🙂

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The historic architecture of the Universalist Church was exactly what Lori and Clay wanted for their wedding day.  They loved the arched columns, the stained glass and exquisite detailing in the sanctuary.  I captured all of those attributes and more in this photograph:

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I stood outside of the sanctuary for this next image to show the windowed-wooden doors that opened up into the room.

It offers a unique perspective for their vows and provides nice framing for the photo as well:

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This was Lori’s favorite part of the day.  Recessing down the aisle with Clay as husband and wife.

I absolutely love this candid, emotion-packed image.  It was captured at exactly the peak of the moment when Lori raised her bouquet and Clay waved.

You can see the guests applauding and the bridal party and minister beaming as well as all of the gorgeous church architecture.

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After the church was emptied of guests, Lori and Clay explored the church a bit.  Here they are walking behind the pews along the plaster walls.

I like the composition of this photo very much as you get a sense of space and time.  You can see many arches, windows and doorways along with the clock on the wall and all of the lovely textures in the church…

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They stopped for a moment on the window seat, back-lit by the stained glass.

Clay shared that he and Lori compliment each other so well.  She is a rock when he is not (a reference perhaps to her entrance), Lori was quick to point out that the reverse is also true.  Their personalities and strengths balance each other out, he is able to make her feel relaxed, calm and loved.

I like the balance and symmetry that comes across in this photo as well as the intimacy of this moment.  It fits them well.

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While they had planned to stroll around the fountains of Meridian Hill Park before heading to the reception, the weather had other plans.

I like how the rain drops are illuminated on the glass windows and you can see the reflection of the couple in the frame as well.

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Another candid moment, Lori and Clay exited the limo to the lower lobby of the Carnegie.  I chose to focus on the raindrops in the foreground and allow the rest of the frame to blur.

It draws your attention to the rain and allows you to see the hurried couple in the distance.

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Dry and under cover at the Carnegie Institution for Science, the happy couple is still all smiles.

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Inside the lobby they practiced their first dance for a few moments before heading up the stairs.

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I used the fronds of foliage to frame Lori and Clay as they stood at the entrance of the stairwell.  I love their body language here– so sweet!


Lori shared that Clay is her perfect compliment and truly completes her.  Clay said he is looking forward to experiencing the rest of their lives together!

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I love a modern, elegant bridal party portrait (think Vanity Fair or GQ) and try to set aside time to capture one at each wedding that I photograph.

Here is Lori and Clay’s bridal party in the Carnegie Institution for Science Library.  We started out serious:

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But took a fun one, too:

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Elizabeth Bailey Weddings did a fantastic job on the wedding decor.  Gold chiavari chairs, lace embroidered linens and gold pearled chargers brought in Lori’s theme of ivory lace, gold and pearls.  The exquisite linens were by Table Toppers, so pretty!

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The centerpieces were truly exquisite and provided by Blue Vanda Designs.

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Throughout the day I worked in tandem with Bowen Films.  Tom is great and I loved that they were a father-daughter team!  If you look closely you can see them in the photo below.

Lori & Clay’s first dance took place in the rotunda.  As Clay spun Lori, I used the arches to frame the pair and their wedding guests watching in the background.

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The guests were quick to enter the dance floor at the lead of DJ Evan Reitmeyer.

Eventually, super hero masks from Bill Jansen’s photo booth even made a few appearances…

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Ah, the classic, Invisible Jump Rope, love it!

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At the end of the evening, Lori and Clay waved goodbye to their guests from the second floor.  It felt almost presidential and was perfect for their DC wedding.

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Guests lined up on the steps of the Carnegie as they exited the building tossing flower petals.

Lori is wearing a “mum” as a playful nod to Clay’s Texan homecoming tradition.    I love their joyful expressions here:

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Lori and Clay it was such a pleasure to work with the two of you!  Thank you for your very kind note– I’m glad you thought I was fun, relaxed and easy to work with and that you both felt comfortable in front of my camera on your wedding day. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed seeing a few highlights from your day through my lens!  Please feel free to comment or drop me a line, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you haven’t had enough of Lori and Clay, you may want to see my blog post about their Annapolis engagement, here!

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