Bree Ryback

Irina & Chris’ Glitter Meets Rustic Virginia Wedding at Historic Aldie Mill

Images: Emily Alyssa Photography

FRIDAY! We did it! Another week down, and I already feel like we are blowing through October. Andy, Evie & I are headed North on Monday (first NJ, then on to a short week in Vermont – bring on the Fall break and attempt to stay off social media ….). I’m gearing up for a SUPER FUN wedding at the Loft at 600F tomorrow and then running a 10 miler on Sunday morning (because I love my feet/legs so much) and then it’s RELAX CITY for this lady. Here’s a beautiful Virginia wedding that I meant to have up before 10am this morning and am only just publishing it now … have a great weekend Romancers!

From the bride: I am a super hippie at heart and have always wanted a simple intimate wedding with a twist -where is lots of alcohol (I am also Russian), brick walls, vintage/rustic details, and no stress. The stress part did not happen exactly as planned because it turned out that planning a wedding is overwhelmingly difficult (who knew?), but everything else worked out better than we could ever imagine. To be honest, I am not a very creative person and most of the work was done by our amazing wedding party who diligently came over every 2-3 weeks to help with decor and ideas throughout several months.

My mom and sister in law handmade all 7 flower crowns, bouquets, and boutonnieres for the wedding party and brought them all the way from Kazakhstan (where I am from). They looked absolutely beautiful and you know what’s the best part about fake flowers? I got to keep them in my house and can look at them every day.

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DIY Tutorial: Will You Be My Bridesmaid/Bridesman/Groomslady Wine Bottle

A few weeks ago my sister asked my older sister and I to be bridesmaids in her wedding next October. We were SUPER PUMPED to be asked to be MAIDS of honor, not matrons, but that’s another story ;-p My sister and her husband to be are super excited to be planning a Fall wedding in Vermont next year and she has already promised me a few DIY projects, including today’s! I’ll let her take it from here: DIY Wine Bottle “Will You Be My Bridesmaid/man Gifts!”.


  • Wine bottles (Trader Joe’s)
  • Sparkling lemonade (TJs) (nonalcoholic choice)
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Labels (I used Etsy’s: Labels With Love)


I bought the wine bottles and sparkling lemonade from Trader Joe’s and I bought the labels from Etsy (Labels With Love). The labels were a good price & I was able to personalized each one! The company sent me a preview before the labels were printed and shipped to me! (I was very happy with the preview but I did need to make some changes!)

First I needed to remove the labels from the bottles of wine and sparkling lemonade. 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a pot filled with cold water. I placed each bottle in the water/baking soda mixture for about 5 minutes each. The label came off easily. (The instructions said it may take up to 20 minutes of soaking time before the label comes off).

Take note I had to use a sharp edge knife to remove some of the sticker residue from the label. The wine bottles needed to dry (air dry) before placing the new labels on. The labels were easy to place and also easy to remove if I needed to replace the label.

I highly recommend ordering the labels from Etsy’s Label With Love. Easy to apply and water proof!

Inayah & Safwat’s Styled Vow Renewal and Celebration of Life, Remembrance, & Love

Image: Marianne Blackham

Trying to get back to blogging and not spending my day glued to social media. A sweet styled vow renewal with a beautiful story behind it, is helping for sure. This amazing couple, Inayah & Safwat brought on a collection of fabulous DC wedding vendors, to style a gorgeous vow renewal for the couple, after going through an extremely tough event in their lives. The photographer, Marianne, first met the couple as part of the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep organization – a nonprofit that pairs couples with remembrance photographers, for those that lost a baby. This resilient couple had a photographer capture the birth of their “sleeping” baby boy, Aariz, whose heart stopped at 37.5 weeks.

After spending 3 days with their son, they said their goodbyes and knew that having dealt with such a challenging time, meant their love was only made stronger. Early this year they discovered they were pregnant again, with a child that will make them a family of four and “is not a replacement for Aariz.” They are so excited to have a little girl join their family this past September.

I cannot imagine grieving the death of a child you carried for 37.5 weeks, but couples like this show us that even in truly difficult times, happiness can be found.

Let’s Get Personal: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Image: Amber Kay Photo

If you are like me, than you woke up this morning to the horrific news of yet another mass shooting in America. Andy told me before I could see on Twitter first, and I was equal parts shocked and distraught. I cried, hugged Andy for 5 minutes, and then sat on the couch holding/hugging Evie for a solid 10. Andy got ready and took Evie to the nannyshare, while I couldn’t get off the couch for another hour. All the same feelings are being felt: sadness, grief, anger, frustration, anger, helplessness, more anger. The same hot takes & quotes already making the rounds on all social media platforms, yet one stood out to me this morning: “The Vegas shooter will have a history of violence against women. Just watch.”

Perhaps it’s all the Feminism reading I’ve been doing lately, but my eyes have now been fully open to the way in which our society treats women. Abhorrently is how we treat women. We blame them, we don’t trust them, we undermine them, we speak over them, and worst of all, we hurt them.

Violence against women is a reality and will be a reality for the majority of women in America. 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and nearly 3 women are killed every day from intimate partners, and black women are 35% more likely to be at the receiving end of domestic violence than white women. There is A LOT to unpack with regards to domestic violence and violence against women, but with the news this morning from Las Vegas, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share (in case you didn’t know already) that there is an undeniable link between domestic abusers, or men that are violent against women and men that ultimately commit mass shootings.

So while Congress heartlessly repeats their “thoughts and prayers” line and continues to do nothing to enact real policy that could actually help us see the number of mass shootings and gun deaths decrease, I’ll put the spotlight on something we can do: spread love & support victims of domestic violence during Domestic Violence Awareness month.

I found this great DC nonprofit via Twitter: DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence that are out at metro stations this morning trying to spread love and awareness to garner support. If you are feeling like I am, so utterly distraught and helpless (especially without representatives to even call to ask for stronger gun laws), perhaps share your time, talents, or money with this great cause and great organization.

OR if you are in an abusive or dangerous situation, please know you can contact DC’s Victim Hotline 24 hours a day: 1-844-4HELPDC (1-844-443-5732).  The DC Victim Hotline is available 24/7 by telephone, text, or online chat.

Via DCCADV: “Through a partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants and the National Center for Victims of Crime, the hotline provides comprehensive information, resources and referrals in the District of Columbia. The new DC Victim Hotline represents an unprecedented collaboration of service providers in DC who are working to seamlessly connect victims of crime to free, resources and to help them navigate the physical, financial, legal, and emotional repercussions of crime. To contact the hotline, dial or text 1-844-4HELPDC (1-844-443-5732) or access the online chat at “

Perhaps if we can tackle the very real & present problem of domestic violence, we can also inadvertently decrease the amount of mass shootings in America. It’s worth trying.

Marilyn & Rob’s Intimate, Modern Succulent & Lace Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor

Images: Rachel Gierlach

Happy Friday Romancers. Another week of blog slacking, but it’s Andy’s birthday today, and I’ve got an Eastern Market wedding tomorrow, and FALL WEATHER IS HERE (back? it better stay!), so it’s been another busy week, with lots on my mind, not enough things accomplished, too much bad news, and always looking for more happy. So here’s a GORGEOUS Maryland wedding at Oxon Hill Manor to help get you all to the weekend.

“When Rob and I decided to get married, first we looked at the things that are most important to us. We decided: Our people – We’ve both been blessed with amazing families we couldn’t live without, and a group of friends as close as family. Our people are by far the most important thing in our lives and we knew this had to be a priority.

Rob and I both grew up in Georgia (different areas oddly enough, we didn’t meet until years later in Washington DC). Rob’s family is from Michigan, and he considers it a second home. Lastly, Washington DC has been our home for almost 10 years. We own a home and consider it a very important part of our life together. We wanted to incorporate aspects from all of these places that have shaped who we are.

We consider ourselves fairly funky and somewhat non-traditional (at least we like to think we are :)). We’re city people who like to have fun. We really wanted to make sure our personalities didn’t get lost in the planning process, and our priorities remained at the forefront.

Rad Things For Your Big Day & Life Together Go Shopping!