Washington DC Wedding Photographers | Nessa K » Washington DC Wedding Photographers Nessa Kessinger

Exploring Charleston SC | What To Do in Charleston


This girl has my heart. Sara lives in Portland and I live in Baltimore. We met in NYC when she was living in Boise ID and I was living in Frederick MD. We’ve been best friends since the day we met, but weve never lived close to each other so when we hang out, it usually involves a lot of travel. We’ve explored Phoenix, New York, Amsterdam, Vegas, Paris, Seattle, Vancouver, DC, San Francisco, and Bruges, but this was first time either of us had been to Charleston, South Carolina and it was so completely charming.

Sara and I found a house on Air BnB a little ways away from the city. Down a dark, forested road was this cozy little building in a commune with walls full of pictures, trinkets, stacks of records and tapes, an outdoor shower, a ladder you climb up to the bed, and a ton of land. We were given homemade ginger kombucha when we first pulled in and we sat on the little dock looking over the lake on the grounds for a few hours before driving into the city.

We had four days in the city; we explored marshes where trees grow out of swamps, forests where spanish moss swings slowly from the trees, the coast with light sand, peppered with lighthouses, found a local carnival, and drove down tree lined paths at the Botany bay Plantation. I had my first South Carolina BBQ brisket (forgive me, Carolinas, but I’ve had Texas brisket and I won’t let you win this war) and we let Yelp be our guide through the restaurants in the city, except that we had to decide for ourselves if Christophe Artisan Chocolatier-Patissier or Macaroon Boutique had better macarons. It turns out one week in Paris was not enough training for my palate because I ate them all happily.

We spent time in historic districts, swooned over the old buildings, selecting the ones we’d both move into. We even checked out a local improv company on one of our last nights in town. It was our only night out — we even spent halloween fully dressed up as a fox and bee in Starbucks, laptops open as we worked into the night.

In the end, I fell in love with the city. We saw a lot in a few short days even though we spent most of our time drinking lavender lattes and mochas at Black Tap Coffee as we planned for a workshop in Austin TX. So here it is. Tons of love from my best friend who lives on the other coast, from the time we picked a city at visited for a few days. Charleston SC, I think you’re swell.

  • Dylan Howell - <3 <3 <3

  • Megan Saul - Aw! you two are precious! Glad you are blogging! And the pictures!!! More please. <3

  • Lindsay Anne Dransfield - I love love love the moments you caught. The cotton candy ones are adorable and have got to be my favorite! You two are a dynamic duo for sure.

  • Elissa - These photos are perfect <3

  • Tiffany Farley - Love these!

  • Jessica Cooper - Your work is incredible! So inspiring :)

  • Joe Dodd - Love these, Nessa!

  • Mat Simpson - I dig

  • Eduardo Goulart - Fantastic! <3

  • Pande Kadek Heryana Saputra - ohhh Sara Byrne awesome shoot Nessa

  • Sarah Fredenburg - Macarons! Yummmm. Love the amusement park/fair photos! Lovely trip! I'm not sure how Sara does it with boots and pants in Charleston. I'd die! Phew it's so hot there!

  • Hanneke Beld Vollbehr - Gorgeous!!!

  • Aia - I’m a big fan of both you amd your partners! You and Sam. Dylan and Sara! <3 You guys are awesome!

  • Adam Cavanagh - Stunning!!

  • Aline Ramos - Que lindo

  • Aline Ramos - Fantastic!

Lauren & Bryan’s Golden Hour Rooftop Wedding in DC

This rooftop wedding in DC has my heart. Sunsets are prettier at eye level, after all.

I love how wedding days ebb and flow with energy and silence. Tiny bits of calm mixed in with chaotic bliss. How couples step away from a bustling party for a few photos together in quiet, basking in the warm glow of sunset.  It’s such a perfect metaphor for how we live.

When I got to know Lauren and Bryan, it was during their picnic engagement session. I loved that Lauren bribed Bryan to get up early with the promise of McDonalds and I loved exploring a bit of DC with them and I was so glad to get to spend the day with them again when they were married. On their wedding day, they wanted to take portraits where they had met, in the National Portrait Gallery, in the atrium. A room with tall trees and running water on the floor, where the sun shines down in a grid upon the floor and walls. Waves of light to decorate the walls. After portraits, their night was spent dancing at their rooftop reception at The Flying Bridge, stepping away for a minute at cocktail hour to be eye level with the sunsetting over buildings in the city. A wedding day was one of golden light and grids.

I loved getting to work with the incredible hair and make up artist Carolyn Berry (as a bonus, she wrote some incredible tips she shared with Style Me Pretty recently too!).

  • Waverly Road Events - Absolutely gorgeous! I love the light and emotion you captured.

  • Elissa - Oh my gooodnesss, this wedding has my heart too. Those bridesmaids dresses especially. And those rooftop portraits are amazinggggg!!!!

  • Amber Marie - Beautiful photos! Inspiring!

  • Roseann - Wow. What a stunning bride! Makes it super fun for the photographer. Beautiful images, as always.

  • jennifer armstrong - golden light, indeed. Such rich moments captured. Beautiful work.

  • Oana - Love the way emotion and joy shine through, you really captured wonderful moments in all their glory. Beautiful work, Nessa!

  • Kayce - Beautifully captured! That light was divine.

  • Angela Moh - Hi Lauren or Nessa,

    The photos look absolutely amazing,if you dont mind me asking, could you let me know who makes your wedding dress? I really like the look of it :-) Thanks for the help!

  • Heather E - Oh goodness. I think that’s butterflies all up in my heart now. This is so adorable and perfect and divine. One of your best collections of images. :)

  • Lindsay Anne Dransfield - Looove the use of line and light in these. Especially loving the black and white tones <3