Saturday, April 03, 2010

Ceremony Backdrop: Graves or Port-O-Potties?

When my mother traveled to DC last weekend from California to help with wedding tasks, we visited our possible ceremony sites. Mr. Cathedral Heights and I planned to visit them a few times previously, but kept canceling because of snowstorms and a brief period of low wedding planning motivation. We figured that my mother’s trip offered a chance to check out the sites and try to make a decision.

I let go of the idea of getting married at a castle in Ireland if we could have an outdoor ceremony (okay, maybe a castle in Ireland was never really on the table…). So, when we decided to have the reception at the Key Bridge Marriott, I began looking into affordable outdoor ceremony venues nearby. I learned that the National Park Service charges a mere $50 for a permit to have a wedding ceremony on Park property, and I decided to start there.

We narrowed it down to two choices: The Jefferson Memorial or the Netherlands Carillon. The former would be a bit further from the reception site, but sounded like a memorable place for a ceremony, and the latter was a mere eight blocks or so from the hotel and also a beautiful setting.

First stop: The Netherlands Carillon. A grassy area with a large bell tower gifted to the US from the Netherlands, surrounded by trees, with a distant view of DC, The Netherlands Carillon is sandwiched between Arlington National Cemetery and the United States Marine Corps Memorial. Not sandwiched tightly, but enough to make the setting feel a tad too serene for the wedding ceremony. I just don’t feel entirely comfortable walking down the aisle with a graveyard in my peripheral view.

Second stop: The Jefferson Memorial—a gorgeous monument as the backdrop to our wedding seemed perfect. Although tourist season was in full force because of the Cherry Blossoms blooming, as we made our way to the Jefferson it looked exceptionally gorgeous. We walked to the section designated by the park for the ceremony and massive blue, plastic structures came into view. I attempted to imagine the ceremony without the backdrop of Port-O-Potty row or the stench of chemicals covering the stench of human waste. Call me high maintenance, but that’s just not my idea of acceptable for the “something blue” category. We decided to go back to that site when the Cherry Blossoms, and hopefully the plastic restrooms, have disappeared.

I’m contemplating returning to the idea board for outdoor ceremony sites in the DC/Arlington area (if you have any thoughts on this, let me know!). As a good friend of mine pointed out today, part of planning a wedding is accepting that it won’t all go as planned.

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Blogger Kat said...

Here is a list of all the parks in Arlington, I was going to suggest Fort C.F. Smith because I know someone who got married there and it was really pretty. But its expensive.


Tuesday, April 06, 2010 9:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Great Falls? Or maybe even Roosevelt Island? (Can you get married there?)

Monday, April 19, 2010 10:51:00 AM  

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