Tips for Hosting a Picture-Perfect Wedding at the Anderson House in Washington, DC
Location, location, location! This adage applies to more than real estate. In fact, choosing a venue for your wedding is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during the planning process. As soon as your guests walk into your wedding venue, they’ll experience the specific style and visual vibe of your wedding.
That’s why we’re writing these blog posts for you! In this series, trusted experts will share tips for hosting a picture-perfect wedding at unique venues around the Washington, DC area. From monumental properties like Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC to countryside destinations like River Farm in Alexandria, Virginia, we’ve got you covered.
In this post, we'll be sharing tips for brides and grooms having an Anderson House wedding in Washington, DC. We've got plenty of beautiful photos to help you visualize your own wedding too!
Tip One: Embrace the Old World, European feel of Anderson House.
Built in 1905 as a winter home for Larz Anderson, an American diplomat, and his wife, Anderson House is an incredible mansion full of English and Italian decorative influences. From gorgeous marble floors, to gilded ceilings and intricately-carved wood walls, this estate is an ideal spot to host an elegant wedding and offers endless opportunities for sophisticated portraits. Let's take a closer look at some specific spots within the property.
- The Ballroom: If you have a chance to use the ballroom before your reception is set up, definitely take time to take a few photos in this exquisite room. Surrounded by second floor windows, the light filters into the ballroom and beautifully highlights all the amazing architectural details in the space and will surely add charm to your elegant portraits.
- Great Stair Hall: Sweeping staircases are always a classic backdrop for truly timeless wedding photographs. And these grand stairs offer a lot of variety for photo opportunities and are also a perfect place for bridal portraits, from both upward and downward perspectives. Explore the great stair hall with your photographer to create classic images that will stand the test of time.
- The hallway next to the ballroom is unique to the Anderson House with it's ornate metalwork and long, narrow shape. An ideal location to host guests for dinner, this space is awash in daytime light. Long tables work well in the space. If it's not being used for decor, this space would be a perfect spot for group photos if there is rain.
- The second floor gallery is another great spot for portraits. This beautiful hallway is lined with windows on one side and tapestry walls on the other. The natural light pouring in seems like a scene straight out of British royal history, rich in tonality and regality. Dramatic lighting here is used for couple portraits and individuals, but can be tricky if your decor team is setting up. Allow enough time to use this space with natural light before set-up or after cocktail hour. Statues and doorways here add to the sophistication of the space, especially for black-tie weddings.
- This lovely portrait was taken in the cove just below the stairs. Light here is softer and the area is removed from the rest of the reception and dinner spaces. This spot is also great for the Snapshot Studio set-up. Staff is careful to keep the historic pieces safe, so be sure to keep hands and items away from any artwork here.
Tip Two: Take advantage of the courtyard space.
The courtyard space in front of the Anderson House is a perfect location for photos of all kinds. Beautiful soft light falls in this area, making it an ideal space for first look photos before your ceremony. Here's another wonderful bonus: while the ballroom is being set up for your event, the front facade is out of the way of loading areas, so you won't be disturbed as you share a quiet moment together as a couple before saying your "I Dos." It's a picture-perfect, private spot!
"Wedding planning is such a collaborative process and all vendors have to work in conjunction with each other. Making sure the photographer is comfortable with the flow of the day, the location for the photos is incredibly important. For one wedding, the bride really wanted some seated photos at the venue, but all of the existing furniture was antique and no one could sit on it. Jennifer suggested a furniture vignette from the florist to go with the look of the property. It was a great result!
Light is a photographers best friend, so make sure you have the right light in your venue at the right time of day. If not, work with a lighting designer and your photographer to achieve those once in a lifetime images." -Aimee Dominick, A. Dominick Events
This part of the mansion is also an ideal location for recessional photos – "exit shots" – whether you have a classic car waiting to whisk you away, or a grand sparkler exit, the courtyard is a perfect place for guests to gather and send you off in style!
Tip Three: Check out this hidden gem for portraits.
Located in the heart of DC, only blocks from bustling Dupont Circle, Anderson House is a gem in itself for its old-world charm nestled in a modern city. We suggest taking a quick trip to the alleyways around the corner from Anderson House for some additional portraits. There are a variety of textures and lighting scenarios which offer abundant opportunities for interesting photos, and will give you a modern contrast to the photos you'll get inside the venue.
Those are just a few favorite tips for getting great photographs at Anderson House in Washington, DC. When we work with couples, we love collaborating around Anderson House to capture incredible images! Within the next few posts in this series, we’ll share more ideas for couples getting married at various venues around Washington, DC, Baltimore and Virginia. So stay tuned for beautiful photo ideas for your own dream wedding!