Kristy & Chrissy’s Red & Teal, Modern Maryland Wedding at Glen Echo Park

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Images: The Happy Couple

Chrissy & Kristy were DREAM CLIENTS. Super rad, super organized, looking for DIY projects, OH AND MY NEIGHBORS. I won’t forget their hilarious inquiry email to me that sheepishly fessed up that they had stalked me (just a little) and found that we were actually neighbors! It made planning meetings and consults SO easy (I literally walked across an alley). They wanted a FUN wedding that had lots of DIY projects and lots of colors. Naturally Glen Echo Park was the perfect venue for their day and they incorporated SO many personalized details.

My favorite might have been how much thought they put into the wine and beer served at the wedding. Their ceremony included a beer pouring ceremony and their reception included the COOLEST DIY pallet beer service counter ever. This one is PICTURE heavy so I am warning you there, but it was nearly impossible to narrow down a smaller subset of the images I was given! Enjoy.

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From the brides:

It was all about bringing our family and friends together for the first time and just making it a great party. We kept it casual and even got school buses to transport guest to and from the venue.

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We went with shades of teal and turquoise with some pops of red for our color scheme to really tie everything together. We wanted to include a lot of elements to reflect who we are, both individually and as a couple.

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My cousin officiated and pulled off a ceremony that was personal, heartfelt, and funny. We wrote our own vows and instead of a candle, we did a black and tan unity beer. My cousin captured it perfectly by saying “neither is lost in the other. Each retains its own unique character and flavor. Yet, when put together, they become something new and even more interesting than before.” He did such a fantastic job! We couldn’t believe how many compliments we got on the ceremony. Surprisingly Kristy and I didn’t cry at all. I think we were just having so much fun and enjoying the moment.

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We incorporated a lot of other DIY elements including our table centerpieces, a candy buffet, a ceremony backdrop that was later re-purposed into garlands for the reception that my mom made, table runners that Kristy’s mom sewed, and paper flower bouquets for the wedding party that Kristy and I made together.

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CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF CHRISSY & KRISTY’S TEAL GLEN ECHO PARK WEDDING

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DIY Workshop Recap: Pearl & Flower Pendant Necklaces with J’Adorn Designs

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Images: Powell Wolfe Photography

[dropca[]S[/dropcap]orry for the radio silence over here Romancers. Between Evie deciding not to nap anymore, getting ready to head back to work, traveling a bit, and Andy being tied up with work in NYC, it’s been BUSY and I’ve barely had a chance to answer emails, much less blog. BUT I’ve got some GREAT features, advice pieces, and a SUPER RAD Giveaway in the works. So I promise I will be making it up to you once I get through this week and transition back to the day job/Evie with her new nanny situation. No one said this was going to be easy right?

We got the pics back from our 2nd to last DIY Workshop of 2015 with the lovely J’Adorn Designs and I wanted to share a quick recap with you. I already got to wear my DIY pearl & flower pendant necklace to a wedding this past weekend, and I am super excited to share the images from such a fun afternoon. Once Emily with Love Blooms (our last DIY workshop host) gets done being all married and honeymooning, I’ll get you all the details for our LAST DIY workshop of the year!!

Here we go :)

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5 Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows (from a Real DC Bride!)

View More: http://mathyshootspeople.pass.us/justara

Images: Mathy Shoots People

I‘m ALWAYS on the hunt for guest posts and contributions from REAL couples in the DC area that planned a wedding & got married here, but DAMN it’s like pulling teeth to try and get any one to actually write me a post! Fortunately one of my SUPER RAD clients this year is down with sharing some insight into their super awesome wedding (seriously, can’t wait to share their wedding with you – this post has a few sneak peaks from it!) and sent me a guest post for today and another for a few weeks from now.

Kara & Justin’s wedding was the perfect DC wedding – locally sourced & focused, super laid back, and super personalized. They stayed on budget by keeping decor DIY and minimal and used bright pops of color to make the most of their decorations. They also put SO MANY personal touches into their wedding day (which I will share once I do the full feature on their wedding day) including their vows.

Now, if you’ve been a long time reader of my blog, you know how much I love when couples write their own vows. I even wrote a whole post on “how to write your own wedding vows” back in 2012 (!!). But for today we have Kara sharing an updated take on this with her top 5 tips for writing your own wedding vows and even shares her own wedding vows. Take it away Kara!

Top 5 Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

View More: http://mathyshootspeople.pass.us/justara

Before I was ever engaged, I knew that when the time came, I’d want to write my own vows.  Vows can be so much more than the old standby, “Do you take…”; they are a great opportunity to share your personality, love, and commitments with your closest friends and family. Fortunately, Justin was on board with the idea, and agreed it was fitting since we were having a non-traditional wedding.

I remember watching movies and wedding shows on tv, and when it came time for the vows, each partner would typically talk about when they first met, how much they loved the other person, and what they meant to each other, but they didn’t always PROMISE anything. Isn’t that the whole point of the vows section of the ceremony? To me, the vows represent the commitment we’re making to one another, and I wanted to make sure that when we got to this part, we were actually going to promise something.

A few things to think about as you embark on writing your own vows; Do you want to write them together and be the same, or similar? Or do you want to write them separately and keep them a secret from each other until the ceremony? Regardless of which style you go with, I think our tips will still be helpful as you start to write them.

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#1. Have a drink! To get our creativejuices flowing, we decided to get out of the apartment, grabsome lunch, and a few beers. Being out of our apartment, away from distractions, helped us focus on the task at hand. I’m pretty sure the beers helped us too ;)

#2. Make an outline Just like you learned back in middle school, the best way to start writing something is by creating an outline. I think this is particularly if you’re going to write your vows separately. You don’t want one person’s vows to be chock full of inside jokes, while the other person’s are really serious. There should be some symmetry there. We wanted to keep our entire wedding light and fun, so we decided to alternate our vows between serious and funny lines.

#3. Make it personal You and your partner have a relationship unlike any other because you are two unique individuals. Think about how you can incorporate your uniqueness into the vows. Justin and I fell in love in the kitchen, over food, so some of our vows centered around cooking. Sports are another common interest between us, and we promised to adopt each other’s favorite teams. Do you have a favorite show or movie that you could pull quotes from? Little touches like that can really help to personalize the vows, and make them a reflection of you, your partner, and your relationship together.

#4. Consult the internet I’ll admit, in the beginning I was at a complete loss for as what to include in our vows, and how to eloquently express all the things I was committing myself to. So I turned to the internet and some other less traditional wedding blogs for inspiration. This also helped get our creative juices flowing to see how others had structured their vows. We were able to find a few lines from various sets of vows that we used with minor adjustments that were applicable to us. There’s no need to completely reinvent the wheel…take advantage of what’s already been written and what people have shared online to help you out.

#5. Say your vows out loud Once you’ve decided on each of your vows, try reciting them to each other the way you would during your ceremony. This was crucial for us because once we started reading them aloud, we realized we needed to tweak our original outline.

For some final inspiration, here’s the original outline we started with, and the vows we ended up with. We managed to incorporate The Simpsons, D2: Mighty Ducks, cooking, and sports, all capped off with a high five.

Outline (Originally, I planned to read my vows first, and then Justin would read his)

  • Serious promise
  • Sports reference
  • Serious promise
  • Crazy funny off the wall something
  • Ending

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Final Vows (Once we started reading them aloud, it made more sense for us to alternate lines)

Kara: I choo-choo-choose you to be my husband. I promise to love you under any circumstances; happy or sad, easy or difficult, and always bring out the best in you, like you bring out the best in me.

Justin: I choo-choo-choose you to be my wife. I promise to love you under any circumstances; happy or sad, easy or difficult, and always bring out the best in you, like you bring out the best in me.

Kara: I promise to adopt the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, and to celebrate their victories and drown our sorrows with an I.C. Light.

Justin: I promise to adopt the Demon Deacons and SC Trojans, that way I can cheer for whichever team is better.

Kara: I vow to trust and value your opinions, and stand by your actions

Justin: I promise to always treat you as a best friend and equal.

Kara: I will ask for help when I need it, and offer help to you always.

Justin: Let us be best friends and lovers, grow old together, and be there to hold your hand through life’s many adventures.

Kara: I promise to entertain all of your crazy, complicated cooking ideas, and to never swing the cleaver in anger; only to break down a primal cut of meat.

Justin: I promise to be realistic with my crazy cooking ideas, and make sure we always get equal amounts of bacon

Kara: I know we will always remain a winning team, even when they think we’re about to break apart.

Justin: And the wind blows hard and the sky is black

Kara: And when the roosters are crowing and the cows are spinning in the pasture

Justin: And when everyone says it can’t be done…

Kara & Justin: WE FLY TOGETHER! (high five)

[get the rings]

Kara: From this day forward, I promise to love you every day, in every way, for on and on

Justin: From this day forward, I promise to love you every day, in every way, for on and on

 

…. I mean come on guys, a Mighty Ducks D2 reference and talk of equal shares of Bacon. Can I say, best. vows. ever?!!?

What are YOUR tips for writing your own wedding vows?!

The Importance of Prioritizing & 3 Tips to Help You Prioritize

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Image: This Rad Love

Priorities. We’ve all got them, but some of us are better at putting them in the right order and some of us aren’t. And whether you’re running a business, planning a wedding, or just trying to get things done, nothing is more important than prioritizing. I don’t think I truly realized this until having a baby. Having a baby (or planning for some other major life event) puts things into perspective, and fast, because you suddenly don’t have the luxury of time anymore. Really the ONLY way I can get anything done these days, is by making sure I have my priorities straight, focusing on what REALLY needs to get done, and in what order.

So whenever anyone asks me, “how do you get it all done?”, my answer is simple, I prioritize.

Prioritizing really isn’t that hard either, it takes little extra time and thought and can REALLY help make your life SO MUCH easier! So here’s my top 3 tips for prioritizing that will hopefully make your life a bit easier and help you get it DONE. (Whatever “it” may be).

#1. Make a List

Seriously. Write it down. The things you NEED to do and the things you WANT to do. Then order that list from most important to least. Then get crackin’. Making a list might sound like a “duh” item, but seriously, the mere action of writing things down will help you prioritize because you will most likely drop things from the list right off the bat. There, you’ve already started making your life easier.

#2. Ask Yourself What the Benefit Is

From that list you just made, quickly scan items and decide which ones will bring you the most benefit. When I start my day, my mind is FULL of things I need to get done. Then I start to realize, cleaning the carpet, while it might make ME happier, just isn’t as important as spending 30 minutes answering emails that other business owners, clients, and prospective clients are waiting on. If the benefit is low, drop it down (or even cross it off the list!). Focus on the things that will bring you the best returns, first.

#3. Keep It Big Picture

Start with the big boys and then work your way down to the smaller items on your list. If you start your day tackling the big things, then by the time you make it to the small ones, it will seem like smooth sailing. If instead, you try to tackle a bunch of tiny things first, you’ll be half way through your day (or week!) and still have BIG ticket items hanging over your head. This will cause you some SERIOUS stress and will most likely throw your priorities out of wack for the rest of the week.

OK Romancers! What are your tips for prioritizing and keeping your priorities straight?! Sound off below!

 

Melissa & Paul’s Wine Themed Northern Virginia Wedding at Coomber Hall

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Images: Ryan & Brandi Photography  via Two Bright Lights

So sorry for the radio silence Romancers. We were out on a family vacation in Vermont last week and boy was it REMOTE. On a gorgeous lake, but no cell service & spotty internet. A great way to force me to unplug a bit ;) Evie has also decided to stop napping, so nothing got done on Sunday or during the day on Monday so I apologize for that as well! Today I have a little wine themed Virginia wedding that took place at Coomber Farm in Northern Virginia. The couple, Paul & Melissa, planned a beautiful wedding based on their love for each other AND their love of wine. And while the weather wasn’t really in their favor, they made the best of it! Check it out.

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From the Photographers:

The day started out in the pouring rain. We mean poooooouring rain. The ladies lucked out as they moved from their house to the salon and the salon to Coburn Hall, where the wedding was being held, the rain broke just long enough to keep them dry! We did luck out quite a bit with the rain, whenever we needed to head outside for a photo, the rain would stop. It wouldn’t stop long enough for the ceremony to be outside, but Coburn Hall was set up perfectly for Paul & Melissa’s wedding.

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About the couple: Paul and I met online in September 2011. We emailed back and forth several times, set up a place to meet, and the rest is history. We instantly hit it off and never looked back. When it came time to propose, Paul took me back to the same place we met for the first time and popped the question. Just like on our wedding day – it was a rainy Saturday afternoon.

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Their favorite moment of the wedding day: It is so hard to pick just one – I would have to say having our first kiss and being announced as Mr. and Mrs. Vasquez rank up at the top!

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—> CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF PAUL & MELISSA’S WINE THEMED NORTHERN VIRGINIA WEDDING <—

Guest Post: Choosing Your Wedding Catering Company

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And we’re back with the latest installment of our REAL bride-to-be guest blogger series with Carolyn. Today we join her to learn more about her experience with finding the perfect catering company! Don’t forget to check out her past posts too on why you should have an engagement party, how to choose your wedding theme, and advice on finding the perfect wedding venue in the DC area!

*warning: this post may cause drooling*

The Wedding Catering Decision | By Carolyn Thombs

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Before starting the fun part of finding the caterer, which is the tasting, I did a lot of research online. I found out menus and pricing and other little details that would go into the decision process. In the end we decided to just go ahead with two catering companies to schedule tastings, so as not to make it harder to decide in the end.

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Caroline Street Catering was referred to me by a fellow bride-to-be. Shane, the owner and chef, was so great about getting back to me quickly through email and taking all of my questions seriously and giving me straight to-the-point answers. He kept adjusting the proposal each time I changed something and never got exasperated with me. Finally when we did the tasting – OMG! The food was so amazing!! Even plates that Jon & I were iffy about turned out to be surprisingly delish. There were so many amazing things we tasted; it was pretty difficult to narrow things down. The most amazing dish was the beef tenderloin topped with bacon butter (I mean does anything sound more delish than that?!). Shane was extremely patient with me in my decision process and would check in once in awhile to see how everything was going.

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The other place we did a tasting with was the venue’s caterer at Stevenson Ridge. Elizabeth had such a beautiful set up waiting for us when we got to the tasting. I always feel at home when I am at Stevenson Ridge because they are always so friendly and welcoming. My favorite dishes from the tasting were the spring rolls and the mouthwatering pork loin with Dijon cream sauce. I even got to try this delicious grapefruit infused wine, perfect for a hot summer day.

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Both are very accommodating to all diets and food allergies and can have customized plates specifically for those with a limited diet. Both are delicious and open to changing things on the menus to meet our specific wants. But when it came down to decision making time Caroline Street Catering and their amazing bacon-butter topped beef tenderloin won!! They also fit into our budget a bit more.

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But if you are looking for a place where you can have everything accomplished pretty much by one vendor, then Stevenson Ridge is the place for you!!!

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Now on to getting started on DIY projects and finishing up the rest of the items on my bridal to-do list!

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Kristen & Alex’s Modern Meets Vintage, Intimate DC Wedding at Darlington House

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Images: Love Life Images submitted via Two Bright Lights

I always love hearing from couples that they used my blog to find vendors or help plan their DC wedding! Such is the case with Kristen & Alex, who found the OH-SO-FABULOUS Emily of Love Blooms through me and planned a TOTALLY “Capitol Romance” wedding with a DC War Memorial engagement, dinner & dancing at The Darlington House, no bridal party, a DIY music playlist, and lots of personal details throughout the wedding.

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From the bride:

I knew two things going into wedding planning-  I wanted to get married outside and we really wanted a DC wedding- in the District.  We don’t have a car, and a lot of decisions I made we based around that. If it was too hard for us to get to a place on public transit  it was off the list. Our friends were tireless in their help and support for us. They helped me run so many errands, gave valuable opinions and just let me vent for months, I couldn’t have done it without them.

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That said, I really didn’t want us to be relying on friends to schlep us and wedding decor all over either. For these reasons finding Metro or at least taxi/Uber accessible locations were very important for us. I started searching online and even making phone calls about ceremony and reception locations. I found the DC War Memorial pretty quickly, there are some other local couples on blogs who have gotten married there and the pictures were always beautiful when I saw them.

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I actually found my photographer, Love Life Images, by googling DC War Memorial weddings. Dealing with the Parks Service, wasn’t hard per se, but you pay the fee, apply for your date, and then wait.  Lucky for us the date we picked was free and it was only $90 for the permit!

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—> CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF KRISTEN & ALEX’S DC WEDDING <—

Stef & Joe’s Classy, Lavender & Succulent Themed DC Wedding at Carnegie Science

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Images: Ryan Rayburn and Michelle Silberberg of George Street Photo & Video

Stef & Joe were one of those dream clients. Insanely kind & nice, super type-A and organized, planning a classy but FUN wedding, and oh, also drop dead gorgeous. The ONLY thing wrong with them was their unfortunate college alma mater (just kidding you guys!). They planned a perfect early spring wedding at one of DC’s best wedding venues, Carnegie Institute for Science, and I was lucky to get to be their day-of coordinator. Their choice of lavender and succulent details were the perfect match for the venue and time of year and their wedding was just SO fun. Not even a fire alarm going off IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR CEREMONY could wipe the smiles from their faces. Ah – you guys are going to love this one as much as I loved working it ;) Enjoy.

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The write-up from bride, Stef (which is making me blush and I SWEAR I didn’t tell her to write this ;)

To set the stage, I should start by saying that I never thought I would be the bride who submits her wedding to a blog (until I knew that a blog as rad and unique as Capitol Romance existed, that is!)! :)  I was initially so intimidated at the thought of planning a wedding and the whole industry because I thought I would have to adhere to stuffy, traditional customs and follow a cookie cutter format. I was worried that who we were as a couple would get lost in the fray of putting on such a huge and potentially expensive event.

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However I was so pleasantly surprised to find throughout the course of planning my wedding that this was not the case AT ALL! I actually LOVED planning my wedding with my husband Joe so much more than I ever imagined, and couldn’t have been more pleased with how our day turned out. During the planning process, I was delighted to discover that so many couples, more than ever, are embracing their creativity and individuality as couples, and focusing on meaningful experiences for their friends and families. That is exactly what we wanted to do. I was even more delighted to find blogs and vendors in the wedding industry IN WASHINGTON DC like Capitol Romance who support, encourage and embrace non-traditional creative weddings!

My husband Joe and I got married this past March in Washington DC. We decided to get married in DC because, even though we both originally hail from the wonderful state of Michigan, we have fallen more and more in love with our nation’s capital since we moved here four years ago. I had always dreamed of living in DC, and came to pursue my master’s degree at Georgetown. Joe bravely moved with me without a job.

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Fast forward four years later and we couldn’t be happier together here – living in one of DC’s liveliest areas with our adopted cat Kulu (she rocks), and loving our careers and life together. This is the place that we have truly grown together as a couple, and thus chose to get married in this special setting. And indeed Washington ended up being the perfect backdrop for our wedding – we love so much that this city is historic, worldly, romantic, and smart, with a touch of classic glam.

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Our approach to our wedding overall was to try to keep things simple, meaningful, and focus on the experience for our friends and family. Though we did have some help from our parents, we also tried to be as budget conscious as possible, especially considering we were getting married in a pricey city. We also largely wanted to do the planning ourselves. For us planning our wedding really was a labor of love between my husband and me, with each of us playing an equal role in making the day come to life.

We also could NOT have done it without Capitol Romance as our day of coordinator! Bree and her team were absolute rockstars who ended up doing MUCH more than just pulling off the day of coordination and helped guide us throughout the process.

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So the planning process for us started after getting engaged in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in the summer of 2013. The next order of business for Joe and I was to pick a venue and date. It can be challenging to find venues in DC because many of them either cater to absolutely huge events (convention centers, etc) or are very small. We were trying to hit a sweet spot somewhere in the middle of about 130 guests, AND also not completely break the bank in renting a space (totally possible in a city like DC!).

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—> CLICK INSIDE FOR SO MUCH MORE OF STEF & JOE’S GORGEOUS CLASSY, DC THEMED WEDDING <—

Julie & Emery’s H Street NE & Union Market Alternative Engagement Pictures in DC

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Images: The Oberports

This weekend was far from relaxing, but BOY was it awesome. Friday we went to the Nationals game - Evie’s first! And by a total random turn of events, we got to sit ON the dugout at the stadium. Like literally, my hands were ON the Nats dugout – it was SO COOL. Then we got up early to head to Philly for the day on Saturday to visit my sister, brother in law, and our niece Stella – we had some serious hang time, and ate some REALLY good pizza. Then yesterday we recooped slightly, but not without a trip to the burbs to have brunch with Andy’s cousins & Aunt. Serious family time you guys.

So I am a bit sleepy today catching up from all of that – but I’ll manage because on Saturday we start our journey to Vermont for ALL OF NEXT WEEK (!!!!). Lake house vacations in Vermont are my absolute favorite. I can’t wait for some serious R&R. But for today I have a SUPER RAD DC engagement session thanks to the oh-so-talented photography duo, The Oberports. Though they are based in WV, they make the journey to DC from time to time and I am ALWAYS pumped when they do, because that means I get a shot at featuring their awesome work. Today is no exception, as I share Julie & Emery’s rad Union Market engagement pictures in my home neighborhood of H Street/NE DC. Happy Monday all.

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From Julie:

I actually don’t remember much from our first date.  I remember that Emery was carrying sheets with him.  Now, a couple years later I realize they were from free-cycle, a free listserv where other people’s unwanted things can become your new, free possessions. Although now as I write this, I am almost certain he told me he picked them up from a friend… as if somehow that was a better source of free sheets. Either way, it wasn’t very impressive at the time, especially not for a first date.  But Freecycle would later give birth to a futon and our amazing record collection so he definitely moved up from those sheets. (Thanks for your diligence on that one, babe.  A few bad record finds was definitely worth getting that one great one).

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But free sheets and all, we ended up having an amazing date. What I do remember is talking about everything. I remember him actually being interested in where I was from and the road that led me to that day. He asked questions of which he was genuinely interested in the answer, a refreshing experience when so often in DC I found myself downplaying my roots in an effort to somehow highlight my credentials and fabricate a pedigree.

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Emery is able to bridge my worlds in a way that helps me make sense of my own journey.  With him I can be all sides of myself without fear of judgment. It is not that he makes me complete, but reinforces the fact that I am complete on my own. He compliments my attributes and minimizes my flaws in a way I cannot express. I have never felt as special and content as I do by his side. As we take on this new adventure, I only hope that we continue to grow together, creating a shared life experience full of big ideas, open arms and compassionate spirits.

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—> CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF JULIE & EMERY’S RAD DC ENGAGEMENT PICTURES <—

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