DC Wedding Photographers: Katie & Zac at the Carnegie

A classic winter wedding at The Carnegie Institution for Science and the National Mall in Washington DC with a southern twist…
Katie & Zac shared, “We chose Rhinehart Photography because we wanted photographers who would work well indoors and outdoors, authentically capture emotion, & execute a variety of shots and styles with unique perspectives and angles. We are so pleased with our beautiful engagement photos— Lisa highlighted bold fall colors at the Capitol as well as the architecture of DC that we love so much. We also used one for our Save-the-Date and enjoy looking at our engagement album.”
They continued, “Rhinehart Photography came highly recommended by the staff at Carnegie, and it was great that they were already familiar with the location. We enjoyed working with Lisa and her team so much on our wedding day. Lisa was such a calming force, who kept us on time and organized. She was literally part of the family by the end of the night.  We & our parents even hugged her and thanked her for her professionalism, warmth and help throughout the day!”
They concluded, “Gosh, the wedding day goes by so fast!! We hope that our photos capture all of the moments, both big and small, that occurred throughout our wedding day. We know there are so many moments that we weren’t able to see, so we’re looking forward to different perspectives and some surprises too! We can’t wait to see the photos and share with our family and friends.”
Thank you so much for your kind words!  Here is one of those tricky indoor shots that captures emotion while showing a unique perspective of the architecture:
If couples are interested, I ask them to gather a few items that are sentimental or aesthetically complement their wedding to give me some personalized, inspirational pieces to work with for the detail photos.  Katie had several items for me, that are visible in this photograph, including her fur:
There were also plenty of homages to Katie’s upbringing in New Orleans too, including magnolia leaves in her bouquet, the centerpieces as well as garlands throughout Carnegie.  Here I incorporating a magnolia leaf into the photograph of their wedding rings:
Katie explained, “My feathered Something Bleu wedding shoes were such a fun statement piece! With my dress being seemingly simple in the front, I loved having such a flirty accent.”
Zac shared, “We used a letterpress store from Katie’s hometown of New Orleans for our invitations and thank you notes. She has admired their work for years and owns several of their other paper products. The Scriptura designers were so easy to work with, even from afar.”
Katie added, “They were happy to bring some of our ideas like the DC map liner to life. As I love all things paper-related, this was a highlight of the wedding planning things. I have an eye for details, like down to the vintage DC stamps used on the invitations.”
Katie shared, “We went with navy velvet fabric to add some texture and warmth, along with winter white flowers accented with blue thistle.”
Zac explained, “It was really meaningful for Katie to use her family’s ring as my wedding band. The band has been used by two generations of her family. About a year prior to the wedding, Katie’s dad, Mike, passed unexpectedly. Both he and his father had used this ring as their wedding bands. Inscribed inside are their initials, along with Katie’s grandmother’s and mom’s names, and their wedding dates. Mike was so excited for our wedding and had traveled to DC tour wedding venues with us. We enjoyed knowing that he was there in spirit to celebrate with us during this huge moment.”
Katie shared, “I can’t say enough about how beautiful my Allison Webb dress was! Webb is a newer designer hailing from the South, and she previously worked for the wedding line at J.Crew, one of my go-to brands.”
Katie continued, “Allison Webb’s Kingsland gown was so unique with a beautiful asymmetric bow that added to the structure of the dress. It provided a classic, timeless look that had modern elements like the low back and the bow. The dress worked amazingly well with the venue and the monumental architecture on the Mall.”
Here Katie’s sister’s face is silhouetted as she and Katie’s mom and bridesmaid help with the stunning bow detail…
Katie smiled, “My mom is my best friend.  I typically talk with her multiple times a day. She’s an endless source of love, strength, and calmness, which was particularly important as she and I tackled most of the wedding planning. I joke with her being retired that she should enter a second career as a wedding coordinator as she did a great job!”
Here she puts the finishing touches on Katie’s gown:
Katie shared, “I was so glad to have my sister there as my Matron of Honor. She and her family were in the midst of moving back to the States from abroad, but it meant the world to have everyone there.”
To me, there is an element of symmetry here, like a reflection in the mirror…
And an actual reflection in the mirror 🙂
Wow, Katie– that smile!
She’s right that bow pairs perfectly with the architecture!
She’s ready for the first look…
Katie laughed, “It is still so wild to say that Zac is my husband! It was hard not to fall for Zac, he is one of the funniest, most confident and easy-going people I know.”
There was one tree handing on to its fall leaves, my second photographer, Jim found it… such a handsome groom, and he’s all ready for his first look!
Zac shared, “At our first look, I was stunned at how Katie could be even more beautiful than she usually is. The moment took my breath away. We can’t wait to see how these photos turned out!”
Zac smiled, “I love to make Katie laugh, that makes me very happy. With her in school and me living in various cities due to work over the past 5 years, it was always a good thing to have someone you can feel comfortable with and laugh with, even at the stupid things. We’ve shared a small space for some time now, and being able to enjoy each other’s company and laugh at and with each other has been the best.”
I love to play with dramatic light.  Not just because it brings out the vibrant colors, but because, like in this care you get really high-contrast images with rich shadows and highlights.  Here I framed Zac against the white and Katie against the black so they’d pop:
Zac shared, “I’m extremely proud of Katie. She got her MBA (at Georgetown no less) while working full-time for three years, and she was able to come out on the other side. She is very intelligent, hard-working, beautiful, and fun to be around.  I am a lucky man.”
They explained, “For our wedding, we wanted an intimate but formal, timeless and elegant feel. From our first tour, we knew Carnegie – which is in our neighboorhood & a place we pass frequently – was the right location for both our ceremony and reception. The beautiful exterior architecture proved perfect for our first look!”
Katie added, “The entire bridal party lives or have lived in DC; many of us for over a decade, so incorporating the Mall into our photos was a no-brainer.  It’s not only an iconic background filled with beautiful architecture, but it’s also part of the fabric of our city and home.”
She went on, “We’ve all spent time on the Mall from watching fireworks to battling crowds during the cherry-blossom season to running and biking on weekends.”
The iconic Washington Monument stands tall against the vibrant blue sky.  Look at all these bundled up beauties…
Zac added, “Pictures on the Mall with our crew was a fun, memorable highlight of the day!”
Yes, that’s the Lincoln in the background:
Katie shared, “One of our best ideas was having a dear friend on hand who was willing to clear tourists from the background of our photos!  So many people there were excited to see us and congratulate us and accommodate us by moving a few paces to the left or right, it was sweet.”
I used a tilt-shift effect to bring the bridal party as well as the monument (roughly 1 mile away) in sharp focus…
Those columns against the blue sky though…
While I spend most of the day capturing natural moments, I do make sure to get a few “smile and look at the camera” photos, too ;).
This one happens to feature the Lincoln and Washington Memorials:
Taking some time to smell the roses ;).  I love shadow play!
Zac reflected, “Katie is affectionate, curious, and loving. She is cautiously adventurous, very cautious, yet can be a willing co-conspirator at times. She takes her time to enjoy the good things and takes her time to do just about everything, but the relaxed pace leaves time for real love and reflection.”
Katie shared, “Zac is incredibly handsome, as well as adventurous and a rule-breaker at heart, which challenges me and my rule-loving ways. He is a great chef, which comes in handy as I’ve burnt things in the Crockpot. I look forward to continually pushing each other out of our comfort zones to explore, travel and enjoy everything life has to offer.”
Katie shared, “We were so pleased with our flowers, and the lanterns + magnolia leaves both outside Carnegie, on the stairs and fireplace!  They were stunning and complimented the space perfectly, adding that New Orleans touch.”
Zac shared, “Prior to the ceremony we signed our beautiful Ketubah from Israel. It is a Jewish marriage contract that outlines the responsibilities of the groom and bride to each other.”
He continued, “We chose to have a childhood friend and family friend read the English and Hebrew versions of the Ketubah during the ceremony. Having that as a central part of the ceremony reinforced the importance and seriousness of our choice to enter into our marriage.”
Katie shared, “We limited kids at the wedding to our family (two nieces and one nephew) and twin sons of a bridesmaid. It was just the right amount, and they loved being part of the big day. The twins kept saying that Katie looked like Elsa from Frozen. They all had a blast and stole the show at many points throughout the night!”
Katie shared, “As I entered the rotunda from upstairs, I had the perfect balcony view of the entire bridal party procession and guests prior to walking down the aisle. It was such a heart-warming moment to see the rotunda full of people we love. The spiral staircase provided a dramatic and picturesque bridal entrance. And that was one of my favorite parts of the day.”
Here comes the bride:
He looked at Katie and quickly looked away with this expression, how sweet:
Zac shared, “We wanted elements of our Catholic and Jewish faiths woven into our ceremony, while also having a highly personalized and meaningful ceremony. It turned out really beautiful with the help of our dear friends, a married couple who Katie met in undergrad at Catholic University, as our officiants.”
She added, “They compliment each other amazingly well, plus theirs was the first wedding Zac and I went to as a couple! All of our wedding guests seemed to comment on what a great job our officiants did (it was surprisingly their first time!) and how moving the ceremony was.”
While Jim captured the more traditional photo shown above, I captured the image below.
I’m always looking for a unique angle or vantage point to tell the story or capture the beauty of the setting.
I tend to move around a lot on a wedding day. It is not unusual for me to log 5 miles on a wedding day, like I did at this one :).
Here is a much lower perspective I captured, as I wanted to capture the reflection off the marble floor, yet still show the detailing above the door…
Awww this little flower girl was so sweet… just wait until you see her at the reception though, this is just a power nap!
Katie smiled, “While so emotionally overwhelmed with the importance of the day and culmination of a year plus of planning, being literally surrounded by all of our friends and family – with Zac smiling ahead – was like something out of a movie.”
At the end of the ceremony, Zac broke a glass crushing it with his foot as guests shouted “Mazel Tov!” (Hebrew for congratulations).
I like how his foot is poised and his gold wedding band is glistening…
While I have a more traditional capture of this as well, I used a motion blur technique on this one to give it that soft, swept away feeling…
Gold pine cones as place card holders, so sweet and wintery…
The gold uplighting and table cloths along with navy linens and winter white flowers hit the perfect note:
They were all smiles during the first dance!
While Jim captured the moment above I was working on the full scene and playing up that beautiful reflection:
Sealed with a kiss…
I played with the champagne bubbles during the best man’s toast:
The speeches were definitely enjoyed by all:
How sweet it is:
The hora:
Don’t fall, Zac:
Guests hit the dance floor like:
She’s awake!  Good thing she took that power-nap 😉
Zac shared, “I lived in a group house with the best man’s wife, also named Katie. I became good friends with both of them and they both happened to be there the night “my Katie” and I met over 5 years ago. When all four of us lived in D.C. at the same time, we would spend most of our weekends together hanging out.”
Here is a candid shot of the best man and his wife, Katie:
Katie shared, “My mom came up with the rainbow tambourine ideas from a family friend’s wedding in New Orleans. As you can imagine NOLA people really know how to throw a good party!”
Katie continued, “The tambourines along with the Mardi Gras masks from my bachelorette and the sparklers were quite a hit! They also made for great photos. Laissez les bon temps rouler!” (Let the good times roll) 😉
Katie shared, “The boardroom is so uniquely DC with the grand fireplace, portraits, and wood-paneling. I love how it looks like we’re at someone’s grand, historic home.”
As a preferred vendor at the Carnegie, I photograph a few weddings there each year and one thing I love to do is to challenge myself to find a new spot or photograph it in a different way.
While photographing a couple in front of the fire place is something I have done before, I belive this is the first time I’ve specifically shown off the beautiful detailing at the top of the columns on the rotunda:
Here is the same space but I used completely different lighting and a totally unique perspective!
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Katie and Zac, thank you for inviting me to be part of your special day and introducing me to your friends and family!  I hope these photos are just the sort of creative, authentic, architectural images that you were hoping for!  If you’d like to see more of Katie and Zac, check out their engagement photos, here.
Wedding Vendors: 

  • Preparation Location: The Darcy Hotel 
  • Bridal Store: Jennifer’s Bridal I loved working with the staff at Jennifer’s Bridal. They were so hospitable to accommodate me for a last-minute, weekend appointment to try on dresses while up visiting Zac’s family. They went above and beyond to call the designer, see if they could get a sample dress sent down from NYC overnight in a particular fabric, and worked with me to get a dress within my price range. I’ll be forever grateful!
  • Dress Designer: Allison Webb
  • Venue: The Carnegie Institution for Science
  • Catering: Susan Gage Caterers
  • Invitations: Scriptura
  • Makeup: Beyond the Veil
  • DJ & Lighting: DJ Cuban with Entertainment Exchange
  • Tuxedo: Generation Tux
  • Flowers: Growing Wild Working with Barbara, the owner of Growing Wild, was a great experience. She graciously invited us my mom, future mother-in-law and me to her farm in Virginia to tour her workshop, see containers and view her past work. We were so pleased with our flowers, and the lanterns + magnolia leaves both outside Carnegie, on the stairs and fireplace were stunning and complimented the space perfectly.

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