New Year's Eve Wedding in Washington DC - The Haute Sauce

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Lover of all things stucco, political and chocolate.

New Year’s Eve Wedding in Washington DC

Lizzie and Craig just celebrated their anniversary, so it’s a great time to share their New Year’s Eve wedding in Washington DC. Combine Christmas decorations, a stunning bride, waterfall flowers, and red lipstick and you have the makings of a dream winter wedding.

Lizzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at the Norbeck Country Club.

The DC wedding season is highly geared toward June and October– both of which are nearly completely booked for me! So, most of my photos are light and bright. A New Year’s Eve wedding in Washington DC, however, is different. It’s dramatic, using artificial light- ie. flash, and it’s shooting after dark. If it rains, as it did at Lizzie and Craig’s wedding, it is also implementing creativity. ** Note the bridal party picture below.

I. Getting ready

We started the day at the hotel where everyone glammed up and the couple exchanged gifts.

Invitation deals for Lizzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.
Craig's getting ready photo with his groomsmen for his New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.
Craig's groom's gift for his New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.
Lizzie's bride's gift for her New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.

The weather was cold, but what was even worse was that it was raining. Pouring actually. That meant we needed to be extra creative about where to do a first look with dad and then about where to do a first look with the bride and groom.

II. First Looks

There was a dance competition going on in the hotel ballrooms, and we co-opted the hallway for a few minutes. Everyone enjoyed watching the magic happen, and the couple was met with cheers and clapping.

Lizzie's first look with her dad at her New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.
Lizzie and Craig's first look at their New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.

We used a hidden corner of the hotel to take a few more photos after the first look. Man! Those waterfall flowers and red lips get me every time. Lizzie is the definition of a classic beauty. Really. Look it up.

III. Couple’s Portraits

Lizzie and Craig's formal portraits at their New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.
Lizzie and Craig's formal portraits at their New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.
Lizzie and Craig's formal portraits at their New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.

Next, we met the bridal party at the reception venue– Norbeck Country Club. The goal was to take photos around the venue, then under an overhang…. but with minimal light and the POURING rain meant we had to be especially creative.

The ballroom included about 15 feet of black pipe and drape. Bam! I’ve always wanted to create a composition photo. With a huge bridal party, no space to take a photo, darkness…. Consequently, I had to be creative.

And I LOVE the results. Love-love-love.

IV. Creating a composite photo

To take a composite photo, I took individual photos of very small groups– usually 2-3 people. Here’s how to shoot a composition:

  • The light needs to be in the same spot for every photo and at the same intensity.
  • The subjects need to be in the same spot in every photo
  • You need to photograph from the same location.
  • You need to mix up what everyone is doing in each photo.

So, a composition starts with a photo of every couple or three people like this.

Lizzie and Craig's formal portraits at their New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.  A classic bridal portrait.

Below you can see what little space we had. These two photos are of everyone at one time…. definitely not enough space for the whole bridal party.

Groomsmen photos at Lizzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.
Bridesmaid portraits at Lizzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.

But when I piece together each of the individual photos into one, large group photo in Photoshop…. YAY!! So, so good.

Here is the serious portrait.

Formal bridal party portrait for Lizzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.  This is a composite bridal party portrait.

Here is the “fun” group photo.

Fun but formal bridal party portrait for Lizzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.  This is a composite bridal party portrait.

When I hear, “Oh, you can just Photoshop that, right?” Yes, I can, but it takes FOREVER. I think that these photos took 2 hours…. each! Still, I looooove them!

After the high of knocking out those photos, we took a few more photos in the Christmas decorations for a New Year’s Eve wedding in Washington DC feel. Photos in Christmas decorations is tricky. The goal is to embrace the season without losing the romance of the day. This isn’t a kid-on-Santa’s-lap kind of session.

Lizzie's bridal portraits at her New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.  This would have also worked for bridal portraits at Christmas.
Groom's portraits for his New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.
New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC boutonniere.
Wedding photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.

V. Ceremony

Next it was off to the wedding ceremony at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church. Even though this was a New Year’s Eve in Washington DC wedding, Catholic churches have Christmas decorations up through early January. The feel in the church was positively magical!

New Year's Eve wedding ceremony photos at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Rockville.
New Year's Eve wedding ceremony photos at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Rockville.
New Year's Eve wedding ceremony photos at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Rockville.
New Year's Eve wedding ceremony photos at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Rockville.
New Year's Eve wedding ceremony photos at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Rockville.

VI. Reception

After the wedding ceremony, we headed back to celebrate Lizzie and Craig’s New Year’s Eve in Washington DC wedding– and it was a BLAST!

The reception was set up with gold sequins, black and white, and there was a HUGE ballon drop at midnight. Black ties and straight up classic.

New Year's Eve wedding reception set up photos at Norbeck Country Club with gold sequin and black and white table cloths.
New Year's Eve wedding reception set up photos at Norbeck Country Club with gold sequin and black and white table cloths.

The couple had a photo booth which doubled as our family portrait backdrop. The backdrop brought in the “fun” of the event.

Photo booth backdrop for Lizzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding at New Year's Eve wedding Norbeck Country Club.  The New Year's Eve photo booth included gold sequin pipe and drape and black, white and gold balloons.
The first dance at Craig and Lizzie's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.  The wedding reception as at Norbeck Country Club.
The father-daughter dance at Craig and Lizzie's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC.  The wedding reception as at Norbeck Country Club.

VII. Late-night portraits

When there is a break in the dining, dancing, and toasting, I love to have my couples step away from it all for a quick 5-10 minute session. This quick session allows for a greater diversity of the types of photos I’m able to give my clients. Usually, we are shooting in VERY bright light and then at sunset. During the winter, however, this means that we shoot around sunset and then after dark.

Now, if you want photos with #drama , after dark photos are going to give you that. Check out these two.

Wedding photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.

My favorite of the whole night! We used the an off-camera flash hidden in the bush on the right. To get this image, we used the off-camera flash near the street light to mimic the street light’s own light but with more intensity and without the yellow color cast.

Outside wedding photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.

Above all. Jaw. Drop.

Outside wedding photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.

VIII. Back to the reception

Then the couple returned to the party and counted down to midnight.

Wedding photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.
Wedding photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.
Wedding toast photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.

The speeches got everyone. Consequently, Lizzie, I have never seen a prettier crier.

Wedding toast photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.
Wedding dancing photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.
Cutting the cake photos LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.

As midnight fell, so did the balloons. For that reason guests were able to celebrate Lizzie and Craig and a new year!

Wedding photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.
Wedding photos from LIzzie and Craig's New Year's Eve wedding in Washington DC at Norbeck Country Club.

So there it is, and amazing winter wedding. Let me know, which is your favorite– the light and bright of the spring-early fall weddings or the drama of winter weddings?

Finally, can’t get enough? Check out more weddings here.

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and when you appear all the rivers sound in my body, bells shake the sky, and a hymn fills the world.

PABLO NERUDA

@jalapenophotography