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Posted at 5:32 PM ET, 09/11/2008

Wedding Photos: Picture Perfect Locations

By Stephanie Merry
Wedding Week 2008: Click for Special Report

The Arboretum has the perfect mix of nature and architecture. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

After spending all that money on the dress and the hair and the makeup (among other things), there is only one thing left to do: make sure you never forget how good you looked on your wedding day. Hence the importance of wedding photos. And couples aren't just going to the chapel for pictures, they're heading to other locations before or after the ceremony. The Jefferson, the Lincoln and the Mall are obvious choices for great scenery; here are a few of our picks for photo options off the beaten path.

Although a lot of D.C. has a decidedly urban vibe, it isn't hard to find a little greenery. At the Arboretum alone there are 446 acres of picture-appropriate locations to choose from. The azalea collection would certainly make a nice backdrop as would the grove of state trees. Or add a little architecture to the mix by heading to the curved archway of the Chinese moon gate at the bonsai museum or the freestanding Corinthian columns that once lined the east portico of the Capitol.

In search of a more aquatic backdrop? Hains Point, the tip of land where the Potomac and Anacostia rivers meet, offers a mix of views, plus lots of trees and grass. For an only-in-D.C. feel, take photos at the Tidal Basin, but if it's anytime near the Cherry Blossom peak, get there super early, unless of course you think tourists would perfectly complement the wedding party.

If a background with a view of the city is important, your first stop should be Netherlands Carillon. On a hill nestled between Arlington Cemetery and Iwo Jima, the bell tower that was a gift from the people of the Netherlands is not the only interesting site. Face away from the carillon and capture a perfect view of the Mall, the Potomac and Memorial Bridge. After that head down GW Parkway to either Gravelly Point or Lady Bird Johnson Park, where the views of the Washington skyline are at their most impressive.

If you appreciate the urban landscape and want to capture some of the D.C. architecture, I can only begin to scratch the surface. Both the colonnade facade and the arched interior of Union Station could spice up some photos, while the starkness of the Temple of the Scottish Rite would make an interesting contrast against a seafoam green wedding party. Better yet, head to Kalorama and take photos at the Spanish Steps where 22nd dead-ends off S Street. While the D.C. version isn't quite up to the caliber of Rome's, this little-known gem lined with flowers and tucked away behind a cul-de-sac is one of the more romantic spots in the city.

One other thing to note is that in May, the Park Service began charging anywhere from $50 to $250 for wedding photos. Rumor has it that the new policy isn't being strictly enforced, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.

Any other photo locale suggestions? Let us know in the comments.

-- Stephanie

By Stephanie Merry  | September 11, 2008; 5:32 PM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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yeah, perfect if you have lots of cash laying around! LOL

www.anonymize.us.tc

Posted by: JIff Lewis | September 13, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

DC can be very beautiful at different times of the year. I am personally thinking about getting married in the Caribbean. I'm finding lots of information about that here:

http://marrycaribbean.com

Posted by: Tiffany | September 13, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks! If I lived in D.C., I'd be glad to have this list. It's always good to know good locations for wedding photography. Having said that, although a stunning location may be nice for a couple of pictures, a good photographer can get great pictures in a park, mall, downtown, ordinary back alley etc., by focusing more on the couple than the backdrop. www.traumfoto.ch/blog Great pictures of the couple is what it's about, the backdrop is garnishing.

Posted by: rovi | September 14, 2008 2:21 AM | Report abuse

The Park Service policy of requiring a permit for commerical pictures went into effect a couple years ago... right before my wedding.

I told my photographer to say he was my cousin if anyone asked... technically he wouldn't need a permit if he wasn't being paid, and how can a park ranger prove that?

Posted by: Jen | September 14, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Hi,
Thanks for all the informations.

Posted by: Akum | September 15, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Don't just show up at the Arboretum and expect to take wedding pics--you need to apply, pay and get a permit well in advance of when you plan on coming. Also, unless you are having your wedding at the Arboretum, you can ONLY take pictures at the columns, no where else.

Sorry to rain on anyone's parade, but that post is a little misleading.

Posted by: teddy | September 16, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Don't just show up at the Arboretum and expect to take wedding pics--you need to apply, pay and get a permit well in advance of when you plan on coming. Also, unless you are having your wedding at the Arboretum, you can ONLY take pictures at the columns, no where else.

Sorry to rain on anyone's parade, but that post is a little misleading.

Posted by: teddy | September 16, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

There are many beautiful edifices in Washington. I had photos taken at the National Gallery of Art (the mirrored pyramids in the plaza between the two buidlings and at the fountains), the Capitol and at various gardens around town. Also, the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism (near Union Stations) has a gorgeous aesthetic. All free. Just be mindful of other visitors. The less fuss and disturbance you create, the easier it will be to get nice shots.

Posted by: Kristine | September 18, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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