Last week I shared a post on the 15 Best Engagement Session Locations in Washington, DC and this week I’m back with a new list! This focuses on locations outside of DC in Northern VA because, as much as I love shooting in the District of Columbia, sometimes my couples want to escape the city! Here are just a few of my favorites…
- AIRLIE CENTER
This is my absolute favorite spot outside the city! They have gorgeous hedged gardens, stunning architecture, endless fields, and a romantic lake! The butterfly garden is stunning as well! This gem does not have a permit fee, but a reservation is required! Click to view a full Airlie engagement session.
- MANASSAS BATTLEFIELDS
Almost tied with Arlie, this is another favorite location! Think tall grasses, tree-lined trails, rustic fences, and open fields aplenty. The Old Stone Bridge and manor home make gorgeous backdrops as well and the best part is? It’s all in one spot! Click to view a full Manassas Battlefield session.
- GREAT MARSH ESTATE
This epic location is one of those “if I had known about it when I got married…” locations that would be a serious contender for me. This unassuming home has a vast circular patio with an endless view of the setting sun. There are tree-lined paths, open fields, and fantastic architecture. If you’re looking for a unique and show-stopping backdrop, this is definitely the place for you! The permit fee is $150, but that’s money WELL spent if you ask me! Click to view a full Great Marsh engagement session.
- STONE TOWER WINERY
This area is full of great wineries, and Stone Tower is certainly among the best! The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains at this amazing location cannot be beat and are paired best with their endless rows of vines and a heart-shaped lake. There is a small permit fee ($75), but it is definitely worth it! Click to view a full Stone Tower Winery engagement session.
- PEARMUND CELLARS
If you’re looking for a great winery that doesn’t require a fee, this is the spot for you! They also boast some pretty gorgeous views and have a stunning weeping willow to boot! Just don’t forget to grab a couple glasses of wine after your photos to support this amazing business! Click to view a full Pearmund Cellar engagement session.
- OATLANDS PLANTATION
This elegant manor home has its own set of hedge English gardens that make my photographer’s heart just melt! I love when the greenhouse plants are in season as that makes for a wonderful stop as well! A small permit fee ($50) and reservation are required. Click to view a full Oatlands Plantation engagement session.
- OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA
I think this has to be one of the most photographed areas in the DMV and if you’ve ever been, you know exactly why! Cobblestone streets, adorable ivy-lined alleyways, cute gardens, and an expansive waterfront are just a few of the features you can find in OTA. No permit is required, but I highly recommend shooting here at sunrise to take advantage of the sun coming over the water! Plus, your photos won’t be littered with tourists — win/win! Click to view a full Old Town Alexandria engagement session.
- OCCOQUAN REGIONAL PARK & DOWNTOWN
If you’re looking for a great park closer to I-95, this is a great location! It has some really pretty trails in addition to a small waterfront area. When enough time is planned (generally at sunrise for the best light!), we can hop over to downtown Occoquan to add a bit of variety to your photos. Click to view a full Occoquan Park engagement session.
- MEADOWLARK BOTANICAL GARDENS
I’ve been wanting to shoot at this location for a LONG time! The permit fee is only $25, so super reasonable, and ensures that only a few sessions can happen at one time. Flowers, gardens, greenery, trees — this place specializes in all of the above! Photo below is by Audra Wrisley.
- WILLOW TREE PARADISE
This location doesn’t have a name, but I just call it “Willow Tree Paradise” because it’s overflowing with these epic trees. I don’t think anything photographs as beautifully as a willow tree, so to have a session filled with these? Dream! Click to view a full willow-filled portrait session.