Nothing screams spring quite like the D.C. cherry blossom season. This finicky tree sure does attract a hullabaloo on the National Mall each year. It can be super tricky to catch peak bloom as a wedding photographer, but the hard work is worth it. Even during their rainy cherry blossom engagement session, Joey and Mary made the best of peak bloom this past weekend!
We learned a lot from this cherry blossom engagement session: How to secure NPS permits, how to dance around tourists and events, and where to find blossoms where there would be less people. But we weren’t quite prepared for the down pour of rain that cut our session short! We got SOAKED. But because of their trust in me, we accomplished so much variety in their portraits before the rain hit that the Tidal Basin photos were just a bonus, despite the turn in the weather.
This was my first cherry blossom engagement session in Washington, D.C. Somehow I was able to dodge it the last few years, but Joey and Mary wore me down pretty easily when they said they wanted to go for it 😉 After being a D.C. wedding photographer for almost five years, the cherry blossom season became more headache than blessing.
First off, it draws unbearable crowds of tourists! People come from all over the world to see our famous blossoms. And the trees only remain in peak bloom for about a week, so the concentration of tourists is immense in a short amount of time.
Secondly, the blossoms are best seen on the National Mall – which requires pricey permitting from the National Park Service. It can cost around $150 per session in permits. For some couples, it’s worth it.
Additionally, because the blossoms come on their own terms and die off as quickly as they bloomed, it can be really difficult to time a session around peak bloom. Joey and Mary exercised so much flexibility and patience with a couple reschedules as I watched the bloom predictions move dates.
Lastly, with blossoms come spring events in D.C. The morning of their original session date, there was a half marathon. Roads were closed around the National Mall and Tidal Basin areas. Good thing we caught it and were able to push another week. But this meant the session would occur on peak weekend, during the D.C. cherry blossom festival. Parking was nonexistent. My patient husband dropped me off and parked a mile and a half away from our session spot.
Out of all the challenges came lots of good lessons. Here are some tips I would share with any couple considering a D.C. cherry blossom engagement session in the future.
Despite all the challenges and learning moments, Joey and Mary outshone it all during their rainy cherry blossom engagement session. We started the morning with just a humid, cold fog. They were ready to rock from the moment we arrived!
Joey and Mary were so sweet together. I couldn’t get over how lovingly Joey held his bride in many of the poses. And after each pose, he would celebrate a job well done by smooching her right on the cheek bone. It was precious watching them interact!
Their blue and teal outfits popped against the fluffy pink blooms. And along the river, we had plenty of time with heavily flowered trees without having to share too much with other tourists. Eventually we went into an outfit change and I photographed Mary’s engagement ring.
The solitaire, square diamond sat in a band with smaller diamonds on either side. This ring was special. It belonged to Joey’s great-grandmother. Read that again… his GREAT-grandmother!! He joked that it was a cost-effective way to propose, but I melted knowing this family heirloom was passed down that many generations. When I tell you my hands shook a little extra while styling and photographing it… I’m not lying. In my head I kept saying, “Don’t drop it. Don’t lose it….” over and over.
When they showed up in their casual outfits, the fog turned into a misty drizzle. We pulled out the clear umbrellas. Joey and Mary were down to continue, hopeful the rain might scare away the tourists from the Tidal Basin. We trekked across the street to check it out.
There were definitely tourists still, but it was a more workable sized crowd. We took our chances and began shooting along the Tidal Basin. But that’s when the rain REALLY picked up. My camera worked HARD, and I often had to wipe water from the glass to try to focus. The rain turned to heavy, dense droplets and we knew we were being cut short. But Mary and Joey were such good sports. I assured them we still got a ton of variety even though it was a shorter session.
On the way back to the car, we met up with Mary’s sister who dropped them off initially to find parking. Her sister handed me a bag of homemade chocolate pretzels! How did she know I am a glutton when it comes to salty chocolate snacks? We said our goodbyes and I quickly began counting down the days until their wedding. They’ll be getting married the day before Kevin and my first wedding anniversary. I can’t think of a sweeter couple to share an anniversary weekend with.
Did you LOVE Joey and Mary’s rainy cherry blossom engagement session?? I’d love to take beautiful images for you too! If you’re looking for a D.C. wedding photographer, check out my wedding photography services.
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