Where have all the daytime weddings gone?

To say that the daytime wedding is an endangered species is probably an understatement. In fact, I could probably count the number of daytime events I've photographed in the last couple of years on one hand.

Why is that?

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing a beautiful wedding on a beautiful day at a beautiful Georgetown estate. The bride and groom, Patricia and Miguel, came to me many months ago very excited about the prospect of throwing—as they said over and over—an "elegant garden party." They didn't want 19 page itineraries or assembly line photo sessions. They wanted an event where children could have fun, where the food was excellent, and where guests could linger under the trees and laugh. And specifically, they wanted the wedding reception to take place during the afternoon. They say beware of what you wish for, but that isn't the case here. Patricia and Miguel got exactly what they wanted: an elegant garden party.

I get really excited when people tell me they're getting married during the day. After all, weddings used to be daytime events. Perhaps I'm being too much of an Anglophile here, but when I think of weddings, I still conjure up some British affair, with the men all looking sharp in morning coats. (Or maybe I've just seen Four Weddings and a Funeral too many times on cable.)

Royal British weddings have always been daytime extravaganzas, the better, I guess, to see the pomp and circumstance. Even on American soil, the most regal and celebrated weddings usually take place during the day. I tend to think of the great Kennedy weddings in Hyannisport (Miguel is probably biting his lip about now)--that famous Harry Benson photo of Caroline Kennedy on her wedding day, the rolling Massachusetts hills and picket fences behind her. And if you think of all the silly celebrity weddings on the west coast, well, they have to be daytime events, lest the prying helicopters not be able to circle overhead. And if there are no circling helicopters, could you really call yourself an A-lister??

Certainly you don't need to be either British, a Kennedy or Tori Spelling to get married during the day. But it's no secret that the trend over the last few years has been in the other direction--towards evening affairs. There's nothing wrong with evening weddings, of course. I shoot them almost every week of the year. But as Patricia and Miguel proved last week, there's a lot to be said for dancing to Cole Porter and Irving Berlin on a beautiful late summer Georgetown day. It feels so, well, Georgetown-y.

In this case, the wedding was at Dumbarton House, a historic mansion on Q Street operated by the Society of Colonial Dames. Dating back to Thomas Jefferson's time, the house features an indoor museum and gorgeous manicured gardens--a truly perfect setting for a wedding.

For me, the wedding day began just a couple of feet away from Dumbarton House, at Patricia's apartment, where her hysterical bridesmaids kept the atmosphere fun and stress free. They are not a shy bunch, to say the least. It was then on to Holy Trinity, one of my favorite churches in the area because of it's easy photographic access (granted, not what most people look for in a church), and then over to the garden party. During cocktails I had a chance to say hello to my friends Chris and Caroline, whose daytime wedding at the Society of the Cincinnati I shot ten years ago, as well as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who, as a huge opera buff, is a friend and admirer of my dear friend, the great mezzo soprano Denyce Graves. (You can read all about Denyce in the post below.) Each time I see Justice Ginsburg she always asks about Denyce's little daughter, Ella.

The entire day felt so relaxed, something I know that Patricia and Miguel had aspired to from the beginning. And as I looked around and saw everyone laughing uncontrollably during the toasts, the bright sunshine pouring down all around, I kind of felt sad that more people don't follow their lead.

Daytime. To quote George and Ira, 's wonderful.



Matt

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