Saint Francis Hall DC Wedding Photographer: Kerissa & Phillip

A romantic wedding at Saint Francis Hall— you two transported me to Spain, what a fabulous venue!
Kerissa explained, “I knew Phil and I would have a DC wedding and was looking for a venue that would be unique, Saint Francis Hall was the perfect location for us!”
She shared, “We visited the reflecting pool and monuments often during the first few months we started dating. We got engaged there and had our engagement shoot there, so that area of town will always hold a special place in our hearts.”
She continued, “I have always loved the cherry blossoms. Before I moved to the District, I always loved visiting my sister in the Spring seeing the blossoms bloom, always signifying warmer weather was on the way!”
Here, I photographed Kerissa & Lauren’s silhouetted reflection on a photograph of the cherry blossoms in Washington DC’s tidal basin, as Lauren buttoned Kerissa’s wedding gown:
Kerissa explained, “I am so glad I took my mom’s advice to keep it simple with my wedding gown, as I chose something completely different than I had envisioned.”
Here I photographed Kerissa reflected in a simple gold mirror, bringing in more gold tones with the lamp and curtains at the Omni Shoreham.
Kerissa shared, “We chose you as a photographer because we trusted you really would know how to play to our strengths and catch us in unique and romantic moments. We knew you could bring a very creative approach and find angles and see opportunities that other photographers wouldn’t even notice.”
She continued, “For my sister Lauren’s wedding, you were able to catch their raw emotions and beautiful moments.  I’m so excited for you to do the same for us!”
Kerissa you are stunning!
Kerissa explained, “I was really special to have my sister, Lauren and my mom there as I was getting ready along with my bridesmaids. ”
She continued, “My dad was later allowed in for the first look, which was really special.”
Kerissa laughed, “He didn’t cry as much as I expected, so I was hoping I looked pretty! Typical girl.”st-francis-hall-dc-wedding-photographers-creative-best-saint-francis-hall-washington-6-2
Sisters!  While most of my work throughout the day is capturing candid moments as they unfold, I make sure to capture plenty of traditional portraits, too.  I like this one because it has a less formal feel.
If you look closely in the background you can see the photograph.  Keep an eye out for it taking a spotlight in a few shots…
Her parents are adorable– This is the third time I saw them, actually…
I photographed their daughter, Lauren and her husband, Sean’s wedding in 2016 and their friend’s daughter’s wedding in 2017 (Steph & Ryan).  One of the shots from Steph and Ryan’s wedding actually landed in the Huffington Post as one of the best wedding photos of 2017.
How sweet are they– and Kerissa and Lauren’s mom is absolutely gorgeous!!
I love to play with reflections and composition and color– I actually fit in a silhouette here as well… does the photograph look familiar to you?
I love working with a wide variety of lenses and keep them with me throughout the day.  That way I can get a wide-angle shot that can bring in the full scene or get the most intricate detailing if you look closely you can see the stitch pattern of Kerissa’s veil, something I could really see with my own eyes…st-francis-hall-dc-wedding-photographers-creative-best-saint-francis-hall-washington-10-2
Kerissa shared, “The morning of our wedding day was probably the least stressful day of the whole wedding planning process. Everything was already in place and we thoroughly trusted all of our vendors to execute our vision.” <— (this is the way to go brides to be, hire the best vendors and trust them to do their thang) 😉
She laughed, “Once I was loaded up on coffee and Diet Coke, I was good to go (we also made sure to get a picture of me drinking diet coke, my first true love. Sorry Phil).”
While the women prepared, the men did, too, they honestly spent most of the morning watching sports and eating chips, haha, but did bring it together and get really dapper here, love the glasses, guys!”
Phil has the coolest glasses of all, and the reflection of his hands on one side and the rose on the other is pretty incredible!
When Kerissa arrived at Immaculate Conception Church, everyone was so excited to see her, waiting in the vestibule, she was radiant…
I walked into Immaculate Conception Church and was blown away by the classic architecture and intricate stained glass, it definitely had a European cathedral vibe.  I liked the yellow glow bright in by the illuminated stations of the cross and the blue detailing at the top of the windows…st-francis-hall-dc-wedding-photographers-creative-best-saint-francis-hall-washington-17-2
There is something so captivating about the shot, maybe the vastness of the church and the window light streaming in the front door to illuminate tiny Kerissa and her father, it gives you a feeling for the scope of it all…
As I captured the image above, I had my second photographer, Darren, stationed in the choir loft to get a top-down perspective of everything from above.  Beautiful shot, Darren!
Phil shared, “When I saw her walk down the aisle, I thought she was the most beautiful woman to ever live.  My eyes watered, but I did my best to keep it together.  It was a great moment and one that I will never forget.”
Here Phil wipes a tear as Kerissa hugs her father one last time before exchanging vows with her husband to be…
Kerissa smiled, “When I first saw Phil, he looked as sharp as I had anticipated in his suit.”
She laughed, “I kept thinking ‘don’t look directly at him, you’ll ruin your makeup,’ but I had to check if there was a chance a tear or two. I got one!”
Again I am always switching my perspective and camera lenses, bouncing back and forth from capturing candid moments to showing the full scene…
The yellow and blue in the church really struck me throughout the ceremony, this scene is no exception:
The vows: for better or worse, richer or poorer…
The gold rotunda was exquisite!  I was able to get double the impact by getting low enough to capture the gold reflecting off the marble aisle, surrounding the couple in gold…
Kiss the bride… one of my favorite shots of the day… the tilt-shift effect really puts the key players in focus and lets the rest fade away but still bring in all that color and shine…
It’s official, leaving the church as husband and wife…
We headed straight from the church to the gardens at St. Francis Hall.   They were closing soon, so we hopped right in and played a little in the golden light.
Kerissa, that veil, that smile, wow!
Kerissa explained, “We chose our venue because we felt it had a lot of natural charm and a romantic, rustic feel. We wanted to avoid a cookie-cutter look and thought our venue was successful at accomplishing that, providing a unique atmosphere.”
Phil shared, “Kerissa is the most kind, considerate, and loving person I have ever met.  I couldn’t imagine my life without her so I knew I had to marry her.”
I do believe that “most beautiful woman ever to live” thought was passing through his mind again at this point, haha, he just looks so pleased:
I love playing with unique architectural elements and Saint Francis Hall looked like something directly from Spain– combine that with the golden light streaming in, it literally felt like we had been transported from Washington, DC to Europe…
I made sure to capture a few more traditional shots, too… check out Phil showing off his new bling 😉
Kerissa explained, “As for decor, we were really excited about our string lighting, centerpieces, and to see the stage transform with garland, tea lights as well as the awesome ambiance our DJ Mark Maskell provided. We kept our color scheme pretty neutral with whites, blushes and taupe tones, with slight pops of green leaves.”
Introduced into the reception, smiles all around in the sweet light of sunset, Kerissa you are glowing…
Their first dance– I had my second photographer, Darren, stationed on the ground getting more traditional shots, while I ran up to the top and captured sunset streaming through the windows and a captured a bird’s eye view of the first dance…
Phil shared, “I was so proud to have my brother give the best man speech.  He did a great job, and I am proud of the person he is.”
Phil continued, “It was such an honor to have my sister do a reading at the church as well.  I know my parents are proud of all three of us.”
Phil’s dad sure looks proud:
Sean also looks so proud of Lauren (theirs is the wedding I photographed a few years ago), sweet to see him looking at her in the same way!st-francis-hall-dc-wedding-photographers-creative-best-saint-francis-hall-washington-41-2
Kerissa smiled, “My sister’s speech was amazing, sharing our memories throughout the years, also filled with inside jokes no one else would get but for us, but that’s what made it so intimate and special. I am the only one who truly understands her fear of the movie E.T. and shares the same passion for A Goody Movie.”
Kerissa continued, “The day was filled with love, speeches from those we love and it was amazing to celebrate with those closest to us. My dad already had practice on speeches, granted the speech he gave at my sister’s wedding was 9 minutes long and on YouTube, so I knew he was well equipped to deliver a touching and memorable speech.”
I really played up the warmth of the candlelight and string lights during his heartfelt speech…
Phil reflected, “I wouldn’t be the person I am without my parents.  They two of the best people I know and have helped me so much.”
His dance with his mom, again I got that epic perspective, it reminds me of a castle now!
st-francis-hall-dc-wedding-photographers-creative-best-saint-francis-hall-washington-44-2Even the first time we met, Kerissa mentioned how excited she was to have the lighting– it reminds me of an outdoor market:
The DJ, Mark Maskell, was awesome, resourceful and kept the dance floor packed…st-francis-hall-dc-wedding-photographers-creative-best-saint-francis-hall-washington-45-2
Put your hands in the air… wow what a cool vibe:
Kerissa and Phil stepped outside, the night air was cool and the setting was quiet.  It didn’t feel like a party and certainly not one two miles from the heart of downtown Washington, DC!
Happily ever after…
If you’d like to see more photos of Kerissa & Phil, check out their Washington, DC engagement session and story on my blog, here.
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