Let’s Get Personal: Taking Risks, When You are 100% Risk Averse


If you read articles about successful businesses like I do, then you’ll notice that “take risks” is a common advice piece that is continually mentioned across many of these articles. They say that in order to differentiate yourself and be successful, you have to do things that other people won’t do. I read this over and over, from the comfort of my non-risk taking bubble and always wonder if there’s an out; if I can be successful without having to take risks. I feel that risk-taking is in complete conflict with my Type-A, planning nature. How can I plan for what’s to come if I am taking a risk and doing something I’ve never done before?

Let’s Get Personal: Taking Risks, When You Are 100% Risk Averse

offbeat dc wedding blog

To say I am risk averse is probably a gross understatement. I like to be in control of my life and situations and although I can be relaxed and “go-with-the-flow” at times, I much prefer having expectations and plans set in advance. I just feel better, more at peace, when there is a plan in place! So how the heck am I supposed to take risks with my business and jump into the unknown, where no plan exists?

Well for starters, I think the whole point of articles telling you that truly successful businesses take risks is to show that it’s not supposed to be easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it and all businesses would be successful. I need to force myself to come to terms with the fact that risks will make me uncomfortable and will be challenging and I might even fail at the risks I take, but the fact is that they need to be taken in order to grow my business.

So I’ve decided to take my first real risk for 2014. The risk was something I had long dreamed and thought about doing, but was always too scared to actually take the leap into. Yes, we’re talking about the newly launched DIY Wedding Workshops.

How might these be a risk you ask? Well for starters, workshops aren’t exactly easy or cheap to start up. Though I’ve been planning them for months (of course I have), finding vendor hosts, finding sponsors, finding a space to have them, the biggest risk is – will they be a success? Will they pay off? Will I make back what I’ve spent on them so far? Not only have I spent money on rental space, items for the workshops, and a ton of promotional goodies, but ideally, I’d like to make some money from them as well so that all that time spent planning and organizing wasn’t for naught!

This was the fear I had before I jumped in (and let’s face it, still have every single day) – that while the workshops seem like a good idea, nobody would show up. Ticket sales wouldn’t happen and I’d be left with a crumbling idea, a big waste of not only my time, but the vendors/sponsors’ time, and a big ole hole in my bank account, where the money I’ve spent so far, used to be.

But this is a risk and risks are meant to be scary. Risks can’t be controlled (no matter how hard I try and no matter how much planning for the workshops I’ve done) and risks aren’t meant to be easy. These are the things I have to keep telling myself. I have to believe that taking this risk will be good for my business. I truly believe in these DIY wedding workshops and I do believe there is a market for this sort of event in Washington, DC, but I’d be lying if I said I was 100% at ease with the decision I made to start them.

But I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see if the risk actually pays off.

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Kevin & Mary’s Pink & Orange Maryland Wedding at Milton Ridge

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Kevin & Mary both love Maryland. They are huge Orioles fans and Kevin even proposed at Camden Yards. So when it came time to plan their wedding – obviously the color orange needed to be included. They also decided to use a ton of fun Maryland themed details for their wedding day that gave it a super fun, and personalized touch. Throw in a touch of pink (Mary’s favorite color), a bunch of handmade wedding details, and the bride & groom both in chucks – and well, we’ve got another fine Capitol Romance Maryland wedding feature on our hands! Thanks to Tori Nefores Photography for sharing this one with us via Two Bright Lights.

Kevin & Mary’s Pink and Orange, Maryland Themed Wedding at Milton Ridge

offbeat hot pink orange Maryland wedding


PhotographyTori Nefores Photography & Design | VenueMilton Ridge | Officiant: Father Rob (Milton Ridge) | StationeryThe Inked Leaf | Floral DesignEvents Plus | DJ: DJ Bob Popik | Catering and LinensMilton Ridge | Cake and DessertsHerman’s Bakery | Hair and MakeupMilton Ridge | Bridal AttireSimone’s Bridal  | VeilJ. Crew | Bridesmaids AttireSimone’s Bridal | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Westminster Tuxedos | ShoesConverse | FavorsOriental Trading and Utz | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

  bride in pink chucks

For their wedding, they were inspired by their home state and included special touches throughout their special day. Kevin and Mary are huge Orioles fans (hence the orange) and Mary’s favorite color is pink. Kevin even proposed at Camden Yards with special help from the Oriole bird himself.

groom in black chucks pink and orange bride bouquet

Both being natives of Maryland, the wedding theme was “From Maryland with Love.” Showing their Maryland pride throughout the entire event. From Maryland themed wedding invitations (The Inked Leaf – Etsy) to having each reception table have a Maryland theme (Orioles, Ravens, Under Armor, UMD, Ocean City, Deep Creek Lake, etc.) the theme was clear to all guests.

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Mary’s cousins served as her “Pink Ladies” helping her with many details.

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Click inside for the rest of Kevin & Mary’s hot pink & orange, Maryland themed wedding at Milton Ridge!

Aubrey & Raja’s Old Town Alexandria Engagement Pictures on the Water

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Their names are Aubrey and Raja and they have been dating for the last ten years!

That was the first line of the email I got from Wolfcrest Photography on today’s real engagement session feature! I’m a sucker for couples that have been together for years before finally tying the knot and plus the beautiful foliage & Old Town’s gorgeous historic scenery make for a beautiful Virginia engagement session feature today. Enough from me, more love! Happy Monday Romancers!

Aubrey & Raja’s Old Town Alexandria Engagement Pictures

old town alexandria engagement pictures

How they met:

When he first met me during our freshmen year of high school, Raja was pretty sure I didn’t like him. He walked up to me in Mr. Corey’s Western Civ class to introduce himself and said, “Hi Audrey, my name is Raja”. I looked at him and said, “It’s Aubrey”, and that was it. I do not remember this exchange, but for his 14-year old self, it was traumatic.

Not one to be discouraged though, he charmed me into being his friend, partially to get cliff notes on the history reading that he never did, but mostly because he thought I was cute. You see, he had a crush on me as soon as he saw me; and while it’s been a long time since Mr. Corey’s history class, he still does.

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click inside for the rest of Aubrey & Raja’s Old Town Alexandria engagement pictures in Northern Virginia!

Capitol Inspiration: A Honeymoon Review of Vieques, Puerto Rico

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I get a bunch of weird, non-wedding submissions from time to time and I usually just respond with a simple “sorry I’m a wedding blog” response. However, when I got these images from Eastport Photography of their first anniversary vacation (they never took a honeymoon), well I just couldn’t resist sharing! Jess and her husband Bill not only took a trip to Vieques, Puerto Rico, but they had an adventure! Wild horses, small plan rides, Jeep explorations – plus the views on the beach are just to die for.

So, let’s all take a deep breath this Friday (especially as I run around like a FOOL this weekend hosting my family, manning a table at the DC MEET Market and getting things in order before I leave for vacation next week) and just enjoy this awesome trip review (a perfect place to visit for your honeymoon or anniversary trip). Oh and warning, you will be jealous. Very jealous.

Wedding Inspiration: A Honeymoon (or Anniversary Trip) Review of Vieques, Puerto Rico

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Images: Eastport Photography | Transportation:Maritza’s Car Rental | Location: Quinta Jabalí | Transportation: Seaborne Airlines | Other: Vieques Classic Charter | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

 puetro rico honeymoon anniversary vacation review

Bill and I never took a proper honeymoon vacation, so we decided to spend our first wedding anniversary vacationing in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Vieques is a small island about 20 minutes from San Juan by plane. The journey to Vieques is an adventure in itself! Bill and I opted to take Seaborne Airlines, which offers the largest planes flying to Vieques. But our 18 passenger plane still seemed very tiny to us! It was a very cool experience sitting 2 seats behind the pilots and actually watching them fly the plane. And the views of Puerto Rico from the sky were incredible!

Vieques does not offer any large resorts (with the exception of the relatively new W Hotel). Most accommodations on the island are small guest houses. Bill and I decided to stay at a private 1 bedroom house called Quinta Jabalí. The house is set up on a steep hill offering 180 degree views of the Sea, beautiful landscaping, and an infinity pool. We enjoyed complete privacy and seclusion while at the house.

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The only way to properly explore the island of Vieques is by Jeep Wrangler. Many of the roads you will need to take to the beaches are unpaved and very rugged. Your Jeep will be your best friend. We explored all corners of the island with ours!

There is no shortage of gorgeous beaches on the island of Vieques. My personal favorite was the beach at Punta Arenas (also known as Green Beach). There were no large waves there, making the water very swimmable and the shore was scattered with pretty conch shells. I recommend exploring a different beach every day. Getting there will be quite an adventure – sometimes long and bumpy but worth it!

puetro rico honeymoon anniversary vacation review

Bill made it his mission one day to open a coconut. It was a lot harder than you would think! You can admire his hard work below!

puetro rico honeymoon anniversary vacation review

Click inside for the rest of the awesome pictures on Vieques, Puerto Rico!

Tim & Megan’s Offbeat, Film & Literature Themed Wedding in Alexandria, Virginia

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You might remember Tim & Megan’s theatrical engagement session (it was captured at the George Mason University theater – where their love story began), it’s the one with a super awesome setting, outfits, and Megan’s fire engine red hair (of which, I have SO much envy). Well now they’re back, but this time with their theater and movie-themed wedding in Virginia! Megan’s hair is still as brilliant as ever, but it’s their centerpieces that really got me this time! To mirror their love of film and literature the couple created pop-up book centerpieces that featured films that meant something to them as a couple or as individuals.

Yes, the groom designed and built over 10 pop-up books for their wedding centerpieces and then the couple painted the books over the course of several weekends. This groom DIYed even more than that too! He helped make the bouquets & bouts and designed the floorplan & lighting too!

I cannot even begin to explain just how awesome and badass these centerpieces and entire wedding are. So I won’t, I’ll just show you instead! Thanks to Stephen Gosling Photo (one of our AMAZING sponsors) for sharing this one!

 Tim & Megan’s Offbeat, Film & Literature Themed Wedding in Virginia

tim megans offbeat film literature themed Virginia wedding


Photographer:  Stephen Gosling PhotographyVenue: Christ Church | Cake Designer: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes | Caterer: Ridgewells | Floral Designer: The Virginia Florist | Bride’s Gown: Ann’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Invitations: LilyPad Weddings | DJ & Lighting: Musical DJs | Bouquets & Boutonnieres: Sharon Nagassar Designs | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

bride red heels

The couple intended to be married in the fall as it is the couple’s favorite season. The colors of the season also matched the colors that the bride wanted for the wedding. Gold and the rich colors of eggplant, crimson, and orange just shout lavishness.

mismatched blue purple bridesmaids dresses orange blue silk flower bouquets

On their awesome wedding theme of combining film & literature:

After choosing a color scheme, Megan and Tim wanted to make their shared passion for storytelling the main theme for the wedding. Working with Lilypad, the couple designed save the dates and invitations that harkened back to old fashioned theatre tickets and movie announcements. To tie back to their dating story, Megan designed a “wedbill”, a wedding program formatted and designed just like a theatre playbill. For the cocktail hour, bundled stacks of antique books, which Megan and her sister found at used book stores, graced each table.

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Click inside for the rest of Tim & Megan’s film & literature themed Virginia wedding!

Let’s Get Personal: Complacency is a Killer


This morning I woke to a few disheartening tweets. I won’t go TOO much into the DC political scene here (this is a wedding blog afterall) but if you follow me on Twitter, than you already know who I voted for and my thoughts on the candidates any way. It wasn’t the winner of the DC Primary that got me though. It was this:

“Good morning. You live in a city where many avoid registering to vote, & less than 25% of the registered bother to vote in an election.” – @FrozenTropics

The 2nd disheartening tweet was that DeSean Jackson signed a 3-year deal with the Skins. I was SO hoping the NFC East had seen the last of him. But football aside, I was PISSED, angry, frustrated, annoyed, and so many other feels that all basically mean the same thing. All of these adjectives, to me, can be summed up into one root cause: complacency.

Let’s Get Personal: A Reflection on the Killer that is Complacency

offbeat dc wedding blog

Why are people so complacent these days? I GRILLED my coworker (a DC resident of many years) why he wasn’t voting. He gave the usual response, “It doesn’t matter anyway. Plus I hate politics”. Does anyone actually like politics? But seriously, in an election where candidates won by a mere hundreds of votes, I don’t understand how you can say, “it doesn’t matter anyway”.

As I continued to drive into work, my anger grew outside of the complacency in local politics and into the wedding scene (naturally). People seem to be increasingly complacent here too. On the vendor side, I can barely ever get people to commit to our At Your Service volunteer events. On the blogging side, blog comments are at an all time low, and so are any sort of interactions I used to have with my readers. And on the couples side, my workshop ticket sales are no where near what I thought they would be at, at this point. What am I blaming all these things on?


I think people have just grown overly complacent with the status quo. People don’t want to DO things, GO anywhere, PUT forth any effort. Whether it’s voting or volunteering or taking an extra second to let someone know you like what they put out.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am exempt from this. I know I am guilty of being complacent too. I should go to more neighborhood meetings, I should volunteer more, I should see more of my friends in a timely manner. But I don’t. I use the busy excuse and I carry on.

But complacency is a killer, isn’t it? When you really look back at all the things you DIDN’T do because of complacency, you realize you haven’t really done much. Are you OK with this? I’m not. I want to do more – I need to do more. And I honestly think the world would be a better place, if more people not only felt this way, but started to act on it.

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Indie Bridal Party on April 17th!


“On a mission to make weddings cool. First in DC and then the world.”

A new type of wedding show is coming to Washington, DC on April 17th. It’s called the Indie Bridal Party and it’s 110% awesome. We are SO PUMPED to be teaming up with the amazingly talented ladies behind this show and our very own Ribbons & Bluebirds will be on hand at the show to run a DIY Station and tease our upcoming DIY Wedding Workshops!

indie bridal party logo

From the Indie Bridal Party Website:

Indie Bridal Party is a pop-up bridal show redefining weddings starting in Washington, DC. Join us for our premiere event on Thursday, April 17th from 6-10pm at Darlington House.  With a dozen local artisans showcasing their wedding creations, our signature cocktail ‘The Brick House’, a DJ, dessert tasting from one of the coolest pastry chefs in DC, and a fun DIY project from Capitol Romance, this is sure to be a fun Thursday night treat whether you’re engaged or just a wedding fanatic!

Ready to go and help us start a #localweddingrevolution? Well you’re in luck because we are GIVING AWAY 2 tickets to this rad DC wedding event! Leave a blog post comment and use our Rafflecopter widget below. Ticket giveaway ends next Friday, April 11th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And just in case you don’t win – or you just can’t wait to see if you do or not, GO BUY TICKETS here.


Natascha & Scott’s DIY Backyard Wedding in Leesburg, Virginia


The sun is finally out in DC and I am FINALLY getting in the zone for wedding season (the cold didn’t exactly make me want to think about being outside in any sense). I had two awesome consultations this weekend with my first two May weekend brides and I am overflowing with timelines, layouts, and last minute confirmations before I head to Portland & Seattle next week. In the spirit of sunshine and love, I have a fun backyard wedding in Leesburg, Virginia to share today. Natascha & Scott got married in Natascha’s parents’ backyard in a laid-back, intimate ceremony and backyard reception. This backyard Virginia wedding had it all – handmade details, DIY projects, an intimate venue, and of course, a food truck! Thanks to VNess Photography for sharing this one!

Natascha & Scott’s Intimate, DIY Backyard Wedding in Leesburg, Virginia

intimate backyard wedding in virginia


Photographer: Vness Photography | FloristPurcellville Florist | CatererThe Q Company – Leesburg VA (BBQ) D.J.: Family Friend | Cake: Baked by a family friend | Food Truck: Curley’s Q | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Tasha and Scott are just about the most easy-going and all-around friendly people you’ll ever meet! They wanted their wedding to be fun, easy and relaxed – just a memorable and beautiful get-together with their family and close friends. They had an intimate ceremony surrounded by people that love them the most. It was the perfect wedding for a perfect couple. They followed it with a a laid-back reception with barbecue from Curley Q’s Food Truck and their details helped create the perfect setting.

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Click inside for the rest of Natascha & Scott’s backyard wedding!

Nilam & Aatman’s Pre-Wedding, Turmeric & Henna Ritual Ceremonies

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With last week’s Maryland handfasting ceremony and now today’s stunning Hindi pre-wedding ceremony features, we’re on a pretty non-traditional wedding roll and I LOVE it. Today’s feature centers on two pre-wedding events for bride to be Nilam and her friends and family. In the Hindu wedding tradition, the pre-wedding ceremonies involve one day of prayers and the traditional application of turmeric paste on the bride’s skin, and another day of bridal shower and henna festivities. The tradition explains that the turmeric paste is applied to beautify the bride’s skin for her wedding (more here). With all the beautiful colors, striking patterns, and all the raw emotion packed into this feature – it’s an honor to get to share something to rich in culture and so different from the usual DC wedding submissions  we get!

Nilam & Aatman’s Pre-wedding, Turmeric & Henna Ritual Ceremonies

turmeric pre-wedding ceremony

Photographer, Michelle VanTine, explains “the event was rich in beautiful cultural traditions, bright colors, intricate patterns, delicious Indian food, and beautiful décor. It was truly an honor to play even a small role in the ceremonies and something we will not soon forget. Nilam and her fiancé will be getting married in their home country of Sri Lanka.”

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Click inside for the rest of the beautiful images from Nilam’s turmeric & henna pre-wedding ceremonies.

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