Planning an engagement session in DC can be picturesque and historic, but requires a lot of extra logistics. It can feel impossible to navigate the crowded backgrounds, tourist attractions, and permit processes. As a Richmond and Central Virginia wedding photographer, more than half of my couples opt for secluded weddings in the mountains, but want an engagement experience that represents their relationship living in Northern Virginia. When my couple, Alex & Andrea, shared their favorite date night DC location, it seemed too good to be true! The Kennedy Center was the perfect engagement session backdrop! The aesthetic, variety and quiet evening were incredible rare to find in the city. I’m sharing some of the magical features of this DC engagement session location below!
Alex and Andrea choose this sentimental location close to home. A date night spot where they love an excuse to get dressed up or lounge outside at the new Reach event space. We even included their adorable dog in the portrait experience. I can’t wait to be reunited this spring to document their wedding day!
Let’s start with some of the features that make the Kennedy Center such a RARE engagement session location… especially in the middle of downtown DC.
- 100% FREE to use! We did not have to purchase a ticket or request permits for photos in the space.
- EASY street and garage parking! (This is always my most anxiety inducing part of dc sessions!)
- Mix of architecture/ green space/views of the water (be sure to venture to the REACH next door!)
- Column walkways (without the monuments crowds)
- Classic white stone (HECK YES for natural reflectors)
- A variety of sun and shade! (whatever your heart desires)
- Indoor natural light (no crazy shadows)
- Panoramic city views of the Potomac and Monuments
- Spacious rooftop (dare I say the best in the city!
Now there are a few key takeaways that allowed us to have this magical portrait experience. Keep scrolling to learn more!
I’m still amazed we had full access to this gorgeous property for FREE, without reservation fees! Here are a few tricks we used to make sure we had the best portrait experience.
Be sure to look ahead at the event calendar and choose a date with NO EVENTS, that means you get full access inside and out, almost completely vacant. I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE we were allowed to take photos inside without a permit…. Every time a security guard walked by I was hesitantly trying to act natural waiting to get in trouble. If you are local to the area or just visiting for the night, be sure to allow extra time to check out the exhibitions, grab dinner or a drink at their rooftop restaurant or explore the community programs at the REACH.
The Kennedy Center is now my new favorite DC engagement session location! The style might not be for everyone but if you are looking for a sophisticated date night location, and love an excuse to get dressed up it might be perfect for you! If you are in need of a relaxing portrait experience with a glass of wine, without the awkward stares of so many crowded popular DC locations, be sure to check it out!
Keep scrolling for the dreamiest sunset rooftop views!
Im so excited to go back at the Kennedy Center for a show next year, and can not wait to be reunited with Andrea and Alex for their wedding this Spring! For another DC favorite checkout the southern charm of a Georgetown Engagement in the Spring!
Kennedy Center Date Night Engagement Session | Virginia Wedding Photographer
Jan 24, 2024