Dahlgren Chapel in Georgetown: A Wedding Photographer’s Guide

As a wedding photographer in Washington DC, I’ve been so grateful to be hired to capture love stories at the most breathtaking venues in DC, but there’s one place that holds a special spot in my heart – Dahlgren Chapel in Georgetown. This charming chapel nestled in Georgetown offers a timeless and romantic setting for couples looking to tie the knot.

In this blog post, I’ll share my insights on having a wedding at Dahlgren Chapel and provide some planning tips and advice to help you make your special day unforgettable.

You can check my list of 25+ wedding venues if you are looking for the perfect venue in Washington DC.

Why Dahlgren Chapel?

Dahlgren Chapel, located on the Georgetown University campus, is a hidden gem that exudes classic elegance and rich history. Mari and Sam chose to get married here because of Mari’s catholic roots from her Mexican heritage. When they were looking for a place to organize the ceremony, it just made sense to Mari to get married where she went to school. She knew how beautiful and unique Dahlgren Chapel was!

Just like Mari and Sam, here are some reasons why a couple might want to consider it as your church ceremony:

  1. Historical Charm: The chapel was built in 1893 and boasts stunning Gothic architecture with intricate stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings, and beautiful woodwork. It provides a timeless backdrop for your wedding photos. I get so creative in that space, using reflections and shadows to really play with the church’s beauty (see examples below).

  2. Intimate Setting: Dahlgren Chapel is perfect for couples seeking an intimate ceremony. It can accommodate up to 110 guests, making it ideal for smaller, more personal weddings.

  3. Central Location: Located in the heart of Georgetown, the chapel is easily accessible to both locals and out-of-town guests. Its proximity to iconic locations like the C&O Canal and the Potomac River offers numerous photo opportunities. The only con is parking. For their ceremony, Sam and Mary had rented a bus service to take their guests from Georgetown to their wedding venue: President Lincoln’s Cottage.

Planning Tips and Advice

Dahlgren Chapel is a great place to get married but like many catholic churches, it also has a set of rules to follow. Here are some planning tips and advice to make your day truly special:

  1. Booking Your Date: Since Dahlgren Chapel is a popular venue, it’s essential to book your date well in advance, especially if you’re planning a wedding during peak wedding season. But remember, you need a type of affiliation to Georgetown University. Check their website for more information.

  2. Photography Timeline: Discuss your photography timeline with your photographer well in advance. The chapel’s lighting can be a bit challenging, so it’s crucial to plan your ceremony and portrait sessions to make the most of the available light. I would avoid the end of the day. Mari and Sam had their ceremony at 4pm in June, which was perfect, with a lot of natural light available as the use of flash inside is forbidden.

  3. Décor and Florals: The chapel’s beauty shines on its own, so consider keeping the decor minimal to let its charm take center stage. Classic floral arrangements and candlelight can enhance the romantic ambiance. See with your florist how they can help you with a minimalist selection.

  4. Permits and Restrictions: as a wedding photographer, it is very well known that most catholic churches have a set of rules for photography. In this particular church, I was not allowed to be in the center of the alley, only on the sides. I was not allowed to use my flash or any light assistant. I could not go past the guests as well. Be aware that these restrictions don’t allow for a lot of angles. That’s when it is crucial to have a creative wedding photographer to see past the restrictions.

  5. Transportation: Georgetown can be busy, so plan transportation for you and your guests accordingly. Shuttle services or rideshare options can help alleviate any parking concerns. That’s the option Mari and Sam chose for their wedding.

A wedding at Dahlgren Chapel in Georgetown is not just an event; it’s a love story woven into history. With careful planning, attention to detail, and a talented photographer, your wedding day at this charming chapel will be an experience you and your guests will cherish forever. So, get ready to say “I do” in a place where history, love, and beauty come together in perfect harmony.

Vendors Team

Venue: President Lincoln’s Cottage

Planner/Coordinator: Khank Stenberg of Harp Row

Catering: Corcoran Caterers

DJ: Ultimate Occasions — Chris Yates

Florist: Catherine Lee Florals

Makeup Artist: PriscillaM

Mariachi: Mariachi Los Amigos


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