This vibrant DC couple met at the Air & Space Museum, were engaged in the Caribbean (with a pufferfish as their witness), and exchanged their vows following CDC guidelines during a global pandemic, wrapped in a wedding chuppah that literally survived the holocaust!
You won’t want to miss the incredible story of this stellar DC couple, married on the Fourth of July! Let the fun begin!!
Why Rhinehart Photography?
Hannah shared, “I love the way Lisa’s photos show the personality of the bride and groom, the character of the wedding venue, all in stunning color and in such a flattering way.”
She continued, “Lisa was such a delightful presence to have with us throughout this process! She had a flexible go-with-the-flow attitude (we are so grateful!), was very kind to us, and made us feel at ease. We could also tell she was super experienced and knowledgeable regarding all matters of wedding photography! There were times when Lisa blended into the party and others when she was a clear-cut director. She knew when to take on each role, and she did them both with grace and expertise.”
She concluded, “Lisa was wonderfully flexible, optimistic, and willing to do the work we asked for in light of the pandemic. We feel so lucky we now get to work with Lisa for two events!”
Split wedding: Ceremony this year, Reception next
Thanks so much, Hannah! I’m so glad I got to work with you two, and will *again* for your big celebration with all the guests next year!
Hannah and Andrew were one of the first couples to reach out to me about doing a “split wedding ceremony.” Due to CDC guidelines with the pandemic, they decided to do a very small wedding this year in the gorgeous Line Hotel with an intimate group of their closest family and friends and then have the full wedding reception at The Carnegie next year, and have hired me for BOTH(!) I can’t wait! (Next year I hope to finally check off that bucket list item of watching the 4th of July fireworks from a sailboat in the Potomac.)
I have split wedding packages and have photographed several since and absolutely love them!
The Line Hotel, Washington DC
So The Line Hotel is *stunning* it is a boutique hotel with all of this crazy cool space, for example, the classic architecture above and the rooftop bar below. Hannah and Andrew took a little getaway with champagne at sunset and as they enjoyed the sunset and incredible view of the National Cathedral, I hopped inside a palm tree, haha!
They love to travel and I felt like the sunset/palm tree combo really brought that into the light. Their expressions, though!
Meet the Bride, Hannah
Andrew shared, “Hannah is beautiful, inside and out. She makes me feel so comfortable and believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself. She is a person who has strong values, beliefs, and ideals. I’m so excited to be here with her right now and am looking forward to everything to come.”
While I love to capture exploration and moments, I also make sure to capture more traditional portraits, too…
View of the Washington Monument
Hannah smiled, “We were so grateful we could have our wedding at the Line, with a view of our dearest neighborhood in our dearest city. To be married with the Adams Morgan/ DC Skyline as our backdrop was a dream. Also, The Line Hotel was willing to work with us for having a small wedding during uncertain times.”
She added, “The size of the Master Suite patio was also perfect for the size of our small wedding!” Patio is an understatement, it fit twenty guests with plenty of room to socially distance and had incredible views in every direction.
In her dress and veil– it’s getting real!
While Hannah and I chatted, she brought up her friend, Rachel. Hannah told me early on that she wasn’t doing bridesmaids, but mentioned that Rachel had really been there for her through all of this. I made sure to highlight Hannah & Rachel’s relationship, too.
Getting ready at The Line
Andrew explained, “I was out and about through much of the wedding day. I went to The Diner with my dad and brother, picked up the wedding cake (that I chose, more on that to come), and helped with different elements of the wedding day set up.”
He recollected, “I saw the Line before it was the Line Hotel, on a date with Hannah! It was this really cool, large building, but at the time I first saw it, the building was unused. Years later, I remember when it was finally open as a hotel and thinking that it was a really cool place and look and feel for a hotel. Now it has a very important meaning, as our wedding venue!”
American Flag Speedo
Hannah smiled, “Andrew and I worked together at the Air and Space Museum for two years, but our paths didn’t cross until my final summer there. My friend showed me a picture of him in an American flag speedo and I was quite taken with the photo, haha! I eventually asked him out, and I was astounded by how well we got along on the first date!”
Andrew laughed, “Yes, the American Flag thing all started because the first time Hannah saw me, or at least remembered seeing me, was from a photo of me on social media wearing an American Flag speedo in front of the Fountain of Geneva (it’s an absurd picture). That image became what Hannah associated with me. So from there, we thought it was fun to play up the American Flag thing.”
He continued, “That’s how the whole American Flag persona kind of took on. At our apartment, we have a vase full of American Flags that sits on our kitchen counter, I have probably six or seven pieces of American Flag clothing and apparel, sunglasses, cups, etcetera. We have American flag bath towels. I have a wooden carving of a bald eagle by my bed, I had an American flag backpack for a while (Hannah’s graduation gift to me). Tim (our officiant) went through my Facebook page in preparation for delivering the wedding speech and told me that 40% of my profile pictures have the American Flag prominently in them. He’s good with numbers, so I trust his math.”
I had to catch this, such a perfect tie-in…
Meet the groom, Andrew
Hannah shared, “Andrew is a lovable goofball, and he is a reliable and trustworthy companion. We have a similar way of balancing being silly/ playful and being serious/ responsible. I notice that he can sometimes come across as neutral/ poker face to others, but most of the time I see him as exceptionally silly, playful, and lovable.”
She continued, “I wanted Andrew to be my partner for life because he’s my best friend, and we are a family. Our romantic partnership is amazing, and we also treasure our family-oriented partnership. We love each other and take care of each other, and we aspire to have kids and more pets to be a part of our happy family.”
Teary First Look
Andrew shared, “The first look was one of my very favorite parts of our wedding day. Hannah looked so beautiful and happy. I definitely cried.”
Their first look was the sweetest! Here Hannah wipes away Andrews tears:
Andrew explained, “The first time I saw her on the wedding day, I was surprised to see a silver dress. I knew it wasn’t going to be white because Hannah already let that secret slip, but I had it in my head that the dress was going to be blue, so that is what I imagined and expected, so it was a pleasant and fun surprise to see silver instead. I thought she looked amazing! It was a beautiful dress and she was so happy. I can tell she really loved it too.”
Hannah added, “I was so happy to see him during the first look, I thought he looked so cute!”
Hannah shared, “One of my favorite parts of the day was exploring the hotel with Andrew and taking all the pictures, it was so much fun!”
Moonlight Silver Wedding Gown
Hannah explained, “My silver dress was actually purchased once we committed to the Plan B wedding at the Line was established, and it fit the venue and the tone of the wedding much better than my Plan A dress.”
She added, “We wanted to have an elegant DC feel, while integrating the 4th of July aesthetic and festivities. The city of Washington DC was our theme in a variety of ways. We wanted a distinctly DC feeling on the 4th of July weekend! But we didn’t want the colors to be red, white, and blue (although we did consider it). This dress is silver and reminds me a little of the place we met, the Air and Space Museum.”
A question I get asked a lot is if I take traditional portraits. Most of the day I’m capturing moments as they happen, there are also times when I’m getting really creative, but with every wedding, I do take some time to capture more “traditional portraits,” too.
What Hannah loves most…
Hannah shared, “The qualities I like best about Andrew: he’s fun to watch movies with (we love analyzing action movies and movie score), he takes fantastic care of our cat, he’s cuddly and affectionate (he loves back rubs), he’s a brave and creative chef, I can talk to him about anything, he loves me unconditionally, and he’s wonderful to love.”
Ironically this creative spot was right on the way to the kitchen of The Line:
Getting the Blues
I know Hannah likes purple and blue and with the natural light coming in through this window of this dark room, I know I could manually dial the white balance to really play up her favorite colors here. I love the sexy feel of this silhouette. It shows that easy connection.
I want to capture it all and love to play around with a lot of different looks and feels on a wedding day. This shot feels so classic and timeless to me, and romantic, like a fairytale…
Hannah explained, “The neighborhood of Adams Morgan is actually very significant to our relationship. I (Hannah) lived in Adams Morgan for a few years, so Andrew and I went on countless dates in the neighborhood. Even when we moved to Arlington, we still found excuses to go on dates in Adams Morgan.”
This is a shot I captured from the patio, the backdrop for their ceremony…
Chuppah Survived the Holocaust
Hannah shared, “We have this family heirloom tablecloth that’s been in Hannah’s side of the family for generations (even through the holocaust), so having that wrapped around us to symbolize the home we would make as a married couple was quite beautiful. Using this avoided the hassle of having a traditional chuppah, and was so personal and meaningful to us.”
She continued, “My mom and I took a lot of time planning the Jewish parts of the ceremony to decide which parts we wanted, and how we would include them. We conveniently had 7 family members, so they each read one of the traditional 7 blessings. And we arranged for everyone to have a drink prepared so we could drink to the 7 blessings. I bought a beautiful Kiddish Cup off Etsy for Andrew and I to drink out of, and it will now be our official Kiddish Cup for future Jewish events.”
She added, “I purchased a fun “smash glass” kit from Amazon that allows us to keep the shards in a beautiful embroidered bag that says “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” in Hebrew. I also bought a mezuzah that allows us to put the shards of glass into a little vial next to the vial with the scroll from the Torah into it.”
Their boss from The Air and Space Museum Officiated
Hannah explained, “The ceremony was super personalized. Our officiant was our boss who hired both of us to work at the Air and Space Museum, a job that defined our college years and united us with incredible friends. He even interviewed our friends for his story about us, I was amazed!”
In his vows, Andrew stated, “I’m into storytelling, and you are into emotional analysis. Let’s play to each other’s strengths… We are not 2 halves that complete each other, but 2 wholes that compliment each other. With you, I have complete freedom to be me.”
Hannah recalled, “I just glowed at the validation of what a great team we make.”
He tried to kiss her before “Kiss the Bride”…
Andrew said, “Okay so what I remember most about my vows is trying to kiss Hannah way too early. Whoopsies! Luckily she pulled away and said something like “not yet!”
Hannah replied, “That was literally one of my favorite parts of the day. I pulled back and blew him a kiss, saying ‘not yet!’ haha!”
Haaa after photographing hundreds of weddings, I’ll tell you, Andrew, it’s more common than you’d think! You are not alone. 🙂
Now it’s time…
Kiss the bride– see the Washington monument?
Hannah’s brother’s impressive speech
Hannah smiled, “I was so impressed with my big brother stepping up on my wedding day! He totally prepared me for him to show up looking casual and emotionally standoffish. But he called his friend to help him pick out an outfit, and he looked STELLAR! And he was the first one to announce us as Mr. and Mrs. Gates!!!”
And the crowd goes wild…
Their first dance…
Andrew explained, “First dance choreography was all Hannah. She has a dance background and used to be a dancer. It’s a shame she can’t do much dancing anymore because of a knee issue, but I know she really loves it. I, on the other hand, have never danced nor have much interest in it, but Hannah wanted the dance, so I said “you’re in charge” and I let her teach me what to do.”
Let the (socially distanced) dancing begin!
I was really impressed by Hannah, Andrew, and the Line Hotel’s adherence to CDC guidelines! Most of the day we were masked, outside, 6 feet apart. They bought cute masks that matched their wedding attire and wore them.
At one point we were outside the building distanced for photos, and came in to get out of the heat, the concierge provided Hannah and Andrew with masks, since they hadn’t really thought to bring them outside with all of the emotional excitement of the first look.
Andrew’s cake– the whole story!
Hannah shared, “I actually told him from the beginning of wedding planning, “As the bride, I automatically decide a lot of how our wedding looks, but you should have complete control over at least one thing. You love cake, so you get to make all decisions about the cake and surprise me on our wedding day.”
Andrew chimed in, “I am super proud of this cake. It was my special project and It was so delicious! It was my favorite thing I ate that day. Basically, I knew this bakery was good and I knew I wanted to get a cake from them. My favorite flavor of cake is Red Velvet, but I knew that Hannah wanted the color scheme to be purple, so I asked the bakery if they could make a “purple velvet” cake with purple food dye instead of red. Their answer: No. This stunned me because, while I don’t know a lot about cake, I figured this would be pretty easy to do. So I asked two other bakeries in the area if they could do it. Everyone came back with no. So then I went to the first place again, which was really the place I wanted to go to anyway, and said can you do white on the inside and purple/blue on the outside then? And that time they said yes. The cake was the best! So good.”
Hannah laughed, “He took this job very seriously, even though I’m honestly not much of a cake eater, I do regret not eating a slice on our wedding day (sad face), so next year, I’m having Andrew get that exact cake made again and it will be the groom’s cake. And I’ll remember to eat a slice!”
So proud of Hannah & so in love themselves, such a sweet pic…
Sunset, incredible view just got better…
I move around a lot on a wedding day. If I don’t hit five miles of walking on a wedding day, I’m surprised. Hannah pointed this out to me when she sent me a copy of their wedding video, a go pro stationed at the back of the ceremony.
She commented, “You are the flash– moving everywhere like a little ninja!’ Maybe I’ll find a way to fast forward the ceremony so you can see me moving around like a blur, haha!
Here ninja me is up a floor above, capturing all the guests, the sunset, and the beautiful Adams-Morgan neighborhood they love so much, even the Washington Monument!
Exotic Travels- Proposal Part 1, coupons…
We were on a trip to Puerto Rico. I knew at the time that I wanted to propose during the trip, but I didn’t know when or where, or how. I’d already gotten all the parents’ blessings and I had the ring. That Christmas, Hannah made me a coupon book as a gift full of things like “I will do a chore” or “I will buy you ice cream” and one of the coupons was “You decide!” So I thought it could be fun to use the coupon to propose.
Sometime during the trip (or maybe it was before the trip), Hannah expressed interest in seeing the sunrise one day. The fact that she brought up that idea, not me, was great because it didn’t mean I needed to force anything or create a scenario that would make her suspicious of my intentions. So this was perfect!
Proposal part 2, the Caribbean…
Andrew shared, “The night before I was going to propose, I was really nervous and distracted and I think I blatantly asked Hannah if my heart rate was too high or something like that, she didn’t seem to think much of it. We set the alarm to get up early at sunrise and then, when sunrise came, I was so excited. I got dressed and looked nice and had all this energy. Hannah, on the other hand, got out of bed without changing clothes or washing up. She was in her pajamas and I was wearing regular clothes, but she didn’t seem to notice, so I just continued with the plan.”
He continued, “We went out to this dock on the sea (we were on the Caribbean side of the island), but the sun wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. I was waiting for it to be that awesome pink and purple mix, but it didn’t quite happen. So after a while, Hannah suggests we go to the beach and so we leave the dock. But I’m not worried because I think the beach is still a good place to propose too…”
Here is a bit of pink/purple mix for you, palm trees, too!
Part 3, Only a Pufferfish…
Andrew concluded, “Along the walk from the dock to the beach, we see a pufferfish in the sea (the water is really clear). The sun still isn’t right and I was waiting for the right time, but eventually, Hannah says she wants to go back to the place we were staying and so I decided to propose right then and there. I pull out a coupon she made for me and gave it to her, but I didn’t write anything on the “You choose” card, so she asked me, “What do you want?” and I said, “This is what I want” and boom! Ring. Our only witness was the pufferfish.”
A Dancer at Heart
Hannah looked simply angelic in her dress, combine that with golden hour, and wow!
Values, Beliefs & Goals
Andrew continued, “We have the same values and beliefs and goals. We both value family and friends above all else. To us, a career is secondary. These days and especially where we live, that is not always easy to find.”
Balance: She Believes in Me
Andrew shared, “In general, I consider myself a very optimistic and positive person about the world, about other people, and about most everything, but the one exception is that I am not always optimistic and positive about myself. For whatever reason, this is where my positivity falters the most. Hannah has always believed in me. Hannah helps me see the positivity in me and shows that she believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.”
I actually shot through the back of a chair to create this image. I liked the sunset silhouettes and like how this shows the balance that they bring to each other.
They Met at the Air and Space Museum
Andrew smiled, “Hannah actually wrote the daily schedules at the Air and Space Museum, back in the day. As I already shared, we met there. I didn’t share that she intentionally scheduled us to work together a lot on purpose, which I now know. We worked together so much and really got to know each other there.”
My time with Hannah and Andrew was coming to a close, and I noticed the moon, it was this pinkish purplish color as it rose and seemed so fitting for these two with their Air & Space Museum background.
Wedding Planning During a Pandemic…
They shared, “Our advice for other couples planning their wedding is to not get lost in the “show factor.” When we were planning our Plan A wedding, we started prioritizing having a show for our guests rather than having a meaningful experience about our romance. We are grateful we were motivated to recheck our priorities in the Plan B wedding planning process, and as a result, we had the most perfectly personalized ceremony imaginable.” <— Yes, I can vouch for this first hand, their ceremony was incredible!
They added, “We also actually love that we get to have our big reception on a different day. Personally, as the bride, I was so into my emotions and nerves I barely enjoyed the food and drinks and company. I’m now truly happy the super big party with the excess food will be on a different day, when I will be able to comfortably eat, drink and socialize sans nerves!”
Hannah & Andrew, I am so happy that I get to photograph you two not once but *twice* and was so impressed with the way you were thrown the pandemic curveball and responded authentically with grace and ease.
- Hotel, drink, and food: Line Hotel
- Dress: Dear Heart
- Dress shop: Lovely Bride DC (fantastic virtual appointment!)
- Alterations: Green and Blue Studio
- Andrew’s Suit: Nordstrom’s
- Andrew’s Shoes: Collars ‘n Cuffs
- Flowers: Steelcut Flower Co
- Hair and Makeup: Gabby and Martha
- Photography: Rhinehart Photography