Bree Ryback

Guest Post: Wedding Dress Shopping When You Have a Normal Woman’s Body

We’re no stranger to the topic of dress shopping on this blog. But I think it’s important to showcase MULTIPLE views on how to go dress shopping for your wedding (or like me, you could opt to not dress shop at all, and just have your mother in law make your dress – cheap AND easy). Because it really is a difference experience for different people and I can tell you with 100% confidence that not everyone’s experience is the way the portray it on TV. I can also tell you that not every one looks forward to this part of wedding planning – some might even dread it. AND THAT’S OK. You know are only rule here: there are no rules.

So we have Becca back today, to talk about HER experience with dress shopping, with an average woman’s body type. Take it away Becca!

Wedding Dress Shopping for the Normal, Everyday Woman | By: Becca

Alright, readers, it is time to get REAL.  I was not one of those brides-to-be who was excited about dress shopping.  Even though this was the aspect most exciting for many of my friends (and my mother and sister/MOH, who are devoted Say Yes to the Dress viewers), I had a lot of trouble finding enthusiasm for the idea of the wedding dress.  Why?  Because I have a secret.

Are you ready? I am shaped like an actual normal woman.

In fact, I fall just about where the average American woman does for weight – although I’m considerably shorter than average, just to make this endeavor even more fun!  I have boobs.  I have a belly, mostly thanks to the fact that D.C. has an incredible craft beer scene.  But honestly, I look nothing like the tall, slender models who showcase wedding dresses on websites, magazines, and Pinterest.  It seemed impossible that there would be a dress out there for my body.

Don’t worry – this blog post has a happy ending!  It turns out, bridal dress shopping is a little weird for everyone regardless of body type but it can feel especially odd if your body happens to not be sample size.  I have a few tips to share for dress shopping, particularly for our curvier brides.  Full disclosure: I did my dress shopping in my hometown of Houston, TX, so my family could be involved, so please leave your favorite dress shops in the comments!

  1. Be honest with your consultant.  Your consultant is your friend – they want you to look great and feel great so you will find your dress and they will make a sale.  When you book your appointment, don’t be afraid to share your size/body type in advance.  Both consultants I worked with (I visited two stores total) mentioned how helpful it can be knowing a bride’s shape in advance.  The more information they are working with in terms of the fit you are looking for, the better! If you are considering shopping at a consignment or boutique store, this can be especially important as they may not have the range of options that your David’s Bridal might have.
  2. Wedding dress sizing is weird.  Do NOT worry about the number on the tag.  You know how you might wear different size jeans based on the store you shop with?  It is a thousand times worse with wedding gowns.  Every store/designer/line has different sizing and it may be wildly different from your street size.  Trust your consultant – what matters is how it looks on you, not what the listed size is.  Also, it’s likely you won’t be trying on your dress in your size.  Many boutiques and stores only keep a handful of sample sizes to try on – your consultant will use clips and other tricks to show you how the dress you order will look.  Again, calling ahead and finding out what options they have in your size can save you some headache in advance.
  3. Be open-minded.  As a curvier body type, I was really concerned that anything outside of a very plain, simple dress would add bulk and draw unwanted attention to certain parts of my body.  It turns out wedding dresses are actually built and conceived to make you look great – which means you may find the best cut or style simply by trying on something outside of your comfort zone. Experiment with different silhouettes and styles – even if you think you’ll hate it.  Again, trust your consultant – they have seen these dresses on every body type imaginable and they know what’s going to work.
  4. Alterations are your friend.  There is a good chance, regardless of your body type, that you will need to make alterations to your dress (unless you are getting a custom gown, which in that case, go on, girl.)  Be sure to factor in adjustments for what the dress will look will be after alterations are done.
  5. Bring your cheerleaders.  Even the most confident gals can be overwhelmed wedding dress shopping.  Be sure to bring along your self-esteem squad.  You want a team with you who will be honest and supportive but who will also recognize when you look HOT.

Finally, even if you were like me – totally DREADING the idea and convinced you wouldn’t find a thing – there is a hope.  A couple great consultants, a few hours of trial and error, and an awesome cheering section can result in a pretty fun experience.  (Oh, and readers, I did find THE dress!)

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Liz & Gabe’s Intimate, Bohemian Inspired Art Gallery Wedding in Washington DC

Images: Valerie Demo Photography

An intimate elopement at a DC art gallery? Yup – I can’t think of a better post for Valentine’s Day! Gabe & Liz’s modern, intimate DC wedding was all about love, happiness & family! Surrounded by their family and full of both laughs & tears, this couple had the small, family-oriented wedding they wanted, right in their DC neighborhood. Love it – hope you guys all have a great day spreading the love to anyone & everyone in your life!

“We are having a small, family-only wedding at a local art gallery in our neighborhood. We are MOST excited about, well, marrying each other! We believe we are well suited as partners, excited to share families, and truly love each other as individuals, as friends, and as romantic partners. We are also excited to have our ceremony be simple, short and free of the distractions and expectations that large, traditional weddings put on a couple and their families.”

After getting ready with their own families, Liz and Gabe walked to the ceremony. Their wedding was held a few blocks away from their apartments at Gallery NK. It had the BEST light (and who can argue with a wedding surrounded by art). Liz and Gabe DIY’ed their entire wedding arch and set it up in the gallery, hung some twinkle lights and flanked it with bouquets from urbanstems . Liz’s aunt presided over the ceremony which included a ring warming, super emotional personal vows, and each of their parents giving the couple a special gift.

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Our Bride to Be Guest Blogger, Kelsey’s Final Post : It’s Party Time

Disco dancing, shimmering gold & black linens, a SURPRISE Gospel Choir, and so. much. more ~ Kelsey & Phil’s wedding was one for the #CapRoWedding history books and the best way to kick off 2017. I am already gearing up for wedding #2 (crazy! February!), but I wanted to share Kelsey’s last guest post today, as a bride-to-be. Looking forward to getting the pictures back from the Happy Couple from their big day.

Party Time – Insight into The Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Party | By Kelsey

The wedding you’re planning seems to be the only thing on your mind. Between escort cards and first look details you think nothing else matters, until your best friend texts you and asks what you want to do for your bachelorette party and then your mom calls and asks for your available dates for a bridal shower. You’re all…

Here’s the thing about these two parties. They’re going to happen. No matter how busy you are or if you don’t even want one, they’re going to get planned, and you’re going to need to show up. So you should get involved.

My biggest suggestion: tell the person in charge of planning what you want and perhaps more importantly, what you don’t want. Do you want triangle sandwiches and tea or do you want penis straws and bling-shaped shot glasses that are also light up rings. Something in between? Well, then tell them.

For me, I told my mom and sister that I wanted lunch or brunch with an activity for my shower. I fear silence in a social setting, and when you start mixing families and friend groups, I wanted to make sure there were conversation topics ready. These wonderful women delivered. A wine tasting lunch with one game, a photo slideshow on a loop, and presents. It was just what I wanted.

Now for the bachelorette, I wanted to make this the least expensive party ever for my girlfriends. I did not expect them to fly to Sonoma and pay for a hotel, meals, and more. I also didn’t want…

So I told my bffs I wanted a sleepover. Pjs, prosecco, and games. And that is just what they delivered. They decorated in pink and gold and had everything taken care of when I walked in.

Trust me, four weeks before I’m married, it was the most wonderful thing to walk into a fully thought out party and everyone is ready to love you. It’s kind of the best thing ever and even though I didn’t want a bachelorette party, it was perfect.

Let your friends and family love you during this amazing and stressful time. You deserve it.

Geraldine & Michael’s Modern, Gatsby-Themed DC Wedding at the Arts Club of Washington

Images: Snowdrop Photography

It’s hard to pick a favorite thing to talk about in today’s DC wedding. A modern take on the Great Gatsby for their theme, lots of personalization, and DC-themed touches. You know when couples say “we wanted to infuse our personalities into our wedding”, that they’re the perfect fit for Capitol Romance. We’re almost to the weekend Romancers and I know all of you are out there fighting the good fight – so he’s some great escapism for your day ~ love, laughter & rad DC wedding details!

From the photographer: Geraldine and Michael exemplify “cool.”  As a DC-based couple, it was important to them to incorporate their city into their Gatsby-themed wedding.  Ted’s Bulletin poptarts were placed on each guest’s plate, Zombie doughnuts took the place of the wedding cake, and instead of using the Arts Club as the backdrop for photos, they traveled to their favorite DC spots for some gorgeous shots.  Top it off with vintage details throughout, and these two allowed this thrilled planner to bring the 1920’s to DC in the most unique way possible.

From the couple:

When we started the wedding planning process, we had a lot of disparate decor ideas based on our interest in travel and books, but nothing that could be pulled together to make a coherent theme.  We were self-funding our wedding and had recently purchased a home, so venue affordability was key.  We visited more than a dozen venues in person before seeing the Arts Club.  The Arts Club was one of the first places that came up in our online search, but we didn’t like the pictures on their website so we put it at the bottom of our list.  After being disappointed by so many other venues, we decided to give the Arts Club a try on a whim, and we are so glad we did!  It was love at first sight.

The summer before we got married, we attended a wedding during which the priest mispronounced the name of the couple!  We decided then and there to have our wedding co-officiated by people that we know.  We wanted the people standing with us to know us (and how to pronounce our names), so we chose the bride’s sister and the groom’s brother.  The bride’s sister is a great motivational speaker, and the groom’s brother has officiated weddings before.

The bride chose to be walked down the aisle by both parents.  From her perspective, “both parents raised me and made me the person I am, so I wanted them both to have the honor of walking me down the aisle.

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Kristin & Breana’s Intimate, Colorful Wedding at Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, VA

Image: Gosling Photography

2017 seems to be the year of the wedding. Our inquiries for wedding coordination clients are through the roof, and my inbox for submissions to showcase here, are equally overflowing. Not a complaint in the least (though I am sad that be turning coordination clients away since we are almost completely booked out already!), just an observation. Today we have a beautiful, intimate wedding from to cutest brides. They kept their wedding completely local to Alexandria, where their first home together was, and included some DIY touches! Check it out.

We wanted to get married in Alexandria, because it was our first home together.  Everything we did came from Alexandria.  Our dresses came from 2 blocks from our apartment- at Global Bridal.  The morning of the wedding we walked Glynn Jones Salon and then walked to the Hotel Monaco.  After getting ready, we walked around Old Town for all of our pictures- with the amazing photographer who lives on the same street as we do.

We choose the Hotel Monaco because we wanted to be able to walk down the aisle at the same time.  There are two sets of doors to the inner courtyard- both of us were able to walk out with our parents, meet in the back, then walk/dance up the aisle together.

Kristin knit the ring pillow and all the shawls worn at the wedding (most of the knitting was done while riding the metro to and from work).  Kristin’s aunt made all the flowers- and with Kristin’s father built the Chuppah.  While Kristin’s family is all Catholic, Breana’s is Jewish- and it was important to Breana to be married under a Chuppah.

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Let’s Get Personal: Little Actions Can Add Up to Big Things

Image: Amber Kay Photography

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I am hurting big time after my first wedding of 2017 (which was EPIC), finishing my first 8 mile run since pre-Evie days (and also spraining my ankle & not realizing it on mile 5), and staying up too late to watch the Falcons lose. I was a terrible blogger last week, so I am trying to get back on track and ignoring the 800 emails currently in my inbox – I promise I will respond to you all by end of day!

Last week I participated in my FIRST EVER bookclub meeting. It was inspiring, emotional, thought-provoking, and freakin’ FUN. About 10 of us met virtually from across the US via Google Hangout to discuss the Empathy Exams – a really interesting collection of essays on varying personal experiences the author has had, both personally and through other people. I haven’t exercised the analytical reading part of my brain like that, probably since High School.

The meeting couldn’t have come at a better time too, I was having a bad day (for no real reason), just super tired, moody & low and there was a big part of me that wanted to just veg on the couch and flake on the hangout. With this current political climate and everything going on in our country lately, I am just so emotionally drained & mentally exhausted. I’ve spent too much time pouring over social media, and donating half of my bank account to every charity & cause I can. I’ve fought internet Trolls, attended protests, and decked my body in head to toe Nasty Woman gear, but nothing has made me feel so re-energized and soothed like this one virtual book club meeting.

Which got me to thinking about how important small gestures & little interactions can be. Especially right now, for people like me that are driven by solutions. I am a problem-solver, a fixer, I innately see or hear about issues & conflicts and my first thought isn’t anything other than “Well what can we do to fix it?”. And right now, in our country, the problems are big, like huge, like immeasurable. Racial divide, inter-sectional feminism, banning immigrants & refugees, taking away people’s healthcare, and the list goes on. These are huge issues, on which people are REALLY divided, and quite frankly there doesn’t feel like much I can do to attempt to help solve these problems.

Or so I initially thought.

It wasn’t until last week’s bookclub meeting that I was able to take a step back and re-focus at a more micro-level, the things I could do on a small-scale, to make a difference. My sister & a friend both posted online about connections they had to refugee families and so instead of sending all my money to Red Cross and other large Refugee Support organizations (which don’t get me wrong, I still plan to do), I was able to donate baby bottles & boys’ pants, directly two two refugee families that needed these items. That felt really good.

I am also currently a member of at least 3,000 “action” Facebook groups post-Inauguration (I kid, it’s not exactly 3,000), and again, it’s starting to get overwhelming to me to try and be apart of SO many of these groups and try and tackle a ton of big issues. So instead I am going to mute a good amount of them and refocus on the 1-2, where I can actually take small actions, without getting overwhelmed. It might take some time to see the bigger result at the end, but I am confident that the smaller actions I am now taking, will end up doing more in the end.

Julia & Chris’ Maroon & Gold, Fall Inspired Virginia Wedding

Image: Porter Watkins Photography

I think I am finally in a space where I can start looking at & reading (and posting) non-political articles without feeling guilty. The feeling of trying to solve all the problems and save everyone and everything is getting exhausting and I know I need to step by and focus more on the things I can control. Like still bringing beautiful couples & love stories to your screens. So for today we have a lovely Virginia wedding with touches of gold and beautiful Fall scenery. A nice escape indeed.

Why did you choose the colors you did? Magenta, navy, and gold. I love pink and blue, but wanted shades that would compliment the fall season. Gold allowed for some shine and glamour – which made for a more celebratory atmosphere! Bonus: the magenta and navy made wedding party attire easy and the gold was fun to accessorize with.

We love Virginia and the mountains. After looking at several barn venues, we found House Mountain Inn and were blown away by the view. The facility itself was perfect for an outdoor cocktail hour and dancing, with a more formal seated dinner inside. The combination was ideal!

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Tips & Advice On Building A Ritual-Free, Personalized Wedding Ceremony

Guys! Our Bride to Be guest blogger, Kelsey, will no longer be a bride-to-be in just 5 short days!!! Her big day is Saturday and I cannot wait to help it go off! I hope Kelsey will write more after, but for now, we share some of her last posts! First up, her thoughts on creating a custom & personalized wedding ceremony. Take it away Kelsey!

How to Create a Personalized & Custom Wedding Ceremony | By: Kelsey

When it comes to the ceremony, it’s kind of a big deal, even though it may be the shortest part of the evening. This part of the evening is important because it’s the actual act of getting hitched, wooo! But depending on your situation, it can also be a minefield to plan because people have a lot of feelings about rituals and ceremonies.

We aren’t getting married in a church and since moving to DC we don’t really have a consistent place of worship so the first order of business was to find an offiiciant.  The internet has a zillion options and we had a handful of friends who we talked about asking. Where to start?

I’m going to tell you something very important about the ceremony: ask your parents. Sure you can make your own choices about dinner, music, even your dress, but the ceremony carries this weird importance that us unmarried people don’t understand. I had no idea how much importance my parents put on my ceremony, and I’m glad they told me, because I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Now, you’re crafting the ceremony. The officiant is all ‘what rituals do you plan on doing?’ and automatically my mind goes –

Here’s the thing, I don’t want to pour sand into a glass or light a candle and call it magical. I don’t want to release butterflies or doves, because it’s just messy. It’s not my thing. Getting married is my thing, that’s what I’m here to do. So be honest with yourself and your officiant and say what you want. If you want to read your own vows, do it! If you want your dog to walk you down the aisle, do it! If you want to tie your hands in some sort of Houdini slash Irish tradition, well, do it!

Listen, I’m learning in planning this thing that you are going to make more decisions and think about the tiniest things ever you never thought mattered. Let this 20 minutes of the day matter. They’re important. They’re why you’re doing this. When the wine stops pouring, the dances are over, you’re going to remember looking into your love’s eyes when you said ‘I do.’

Blue & Gold Spring Wedding Inspiration at Maryland Vineyard

Images: Lindsay Eileen Photography

Going to be taking a step away from the social media world today. It’s been the longest week ever with what is happening in the news and our political landscape and I think my brain and emotional well being just need a break. So here are some wedding inspiration images from a Spring wedding at Vineyard in Maryland to help get you to the weekend. Have a great one Romancers. See you on the flip side (again Monday).

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