Brittany & Justin’s Intimate Virginia Inn Wedding at Poplar Springs

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Images: Kristen Gardner Photography

Hoping this blog post helps me survive the day. Excuse my pity party but things are just STRESSY right now in life and I am hoping by next Monday things will be in a better pace. Evie has gone on a bit of a sleep strike this whole week (with last night’s disaster of being awake from 1am to about 4am and then waking up at 5:30 to “start the day”), my day job is anything but simple at the moment, and I have about 5000 emails (I’m exaggerating) that I need to respond to and work on and all I want to do is lie on the couch and troll Twitter.

BUT you don’t come here to hear me complain, so let’s focus on the positive. We’ve got THE COOLEST Valentine’s Event coming up (#BiteMeDC tickets on sale now!) that was featured on Popville blog, our designer just sent me a first round of designs to start outfitting the Capitol Romance Shop (and omg they’re AMAZING), AND we’re teaming up with one of our FAVSSSSSSSS (Maggie at Pop Wed Co!) for a wedding workshop at The Lemon Bowl! So no more pity party here, let’s focus on the positives ok. And in the meantime, you guys enjoy this super sweet, intimate Virginia wedding, why I go setup my IV of coffee.

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Brittney and Justin grew up just miles from one another. They went to different schools and traveled in different circles, but they knew of one another in a way that is possible when you grow up in a small town. They were even “friends” online, and when Justin wished Brittney a happy birthday a few years ago on Facebook, she noticed that he too had moved to the DC area from their home town in Pennsylvania. (She also noticed that he was pretty cute!) So she responded to his message… and the two went on their first date just a few days later!

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When Justin and I began thinking about our wedding day, we originally planned on eloping. We wanted the day to be all about us – our memories together and the promises we would be making for our future together. We didn’t want to take on the stress of planning a large wedding, just to feel like the whole ceremony and reception passed by in a FLASH (like we had heard from so many of our close friends!) We also felt that a more intimate ceremony would suit our personalities – we were both on the same page about saving money for the future and couldn’t fathom spending the average $27k on just ONE day. Instead, we discussed all the fabulous places we could visit with the money we would save. We were able to splurge on our Cabo honeymoon. We were also able to spend our first married Christmas exploring Iceland for 8 days. It was beautiful!!

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—> click READ MORE for the rest of Brittany & Justin’s intimate, Springtime Virginia wedding <—

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Guest Post: Our Bride to Be Guest Blogger Says Yes to the Dress

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We’ve got our girl, bride-to-be guest blogger, Carolyn back on the blog today to share ALL the details of her wedding dress shopping excursion! She shares not only the background of what went into planning it (the dress she wanted, finding the right shops, etc) but HOW to go about the process of finding the right one.

I’ll admit – the idea of a dress store overwhelmed me entirely, so I opted for a completely hand-made dress that enabled me to skip the dress shopping experience completely. This worked for me, but some people want a dress you can only find at a shop, so I hope that Carolyn’s advice on shopping this way for your wedding stress, takes some of the stress out of it! Here we go :)

Choosing Your Wedding Dress | By Carolyn Thombs

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When I went into this wedding planning whirlwind, the one thing I knew was what style of dress I wanted. The only difficult part was going to be finding it, and actually being able to afford this amazing dress I had designed myself (before I actually got engaged, not crazy, right?!).

The reason I decided to design/draw up my dream dress was because I have seen so many gorgeous dresses, but each one was either missing that one major element or a few of them that would make it MY perfect wedding dress. So I decided to combine all of my favorite elements that I have seen into one dress. Once I had it visualized it was treasure hunting time!


The first dress that took my breath away was a gorgeous navy satin Zac Posen dress, definitely not a realistic option. But this dress has just always stayed with me, so when I saw that Zac (yes we are on a first name basis…I wish!) and David’s Bridal were doing a collaboration I nearly lost my mind!!!! So I hopped online immediately to check out the collection, only to my dismay. All of his wedding dresses just didn’t have that same sexy elegance that was perfectly portrayed in that initial dress I fell in love with. However… One of his dresses for his formal collection was pretty close to perfect, but it only came in red. Obviously this collection just was not working out for me.


One evening I was watching one of those addicting prime time shows with my mom and I was checking my email and came across an article about great wedding dresses under $900!!! Now this article was singing my tune! When I opened up the article in a browser, the first dress that popped up made me double take and catch my breath. It was the basic shape, material and cut that I had been searching for! My mind immediately added the other elements that would take it to the next level and I saw it… I saw THE dress!!!


Valentine’s Weekend Event: DC Pairing Menu from Local Eats & Drinks


Still looking for something fun and different to do for Valentine’s Day? I got your plans right here – and the best part? You don’t even have to be in a relationship to enjoy this one – you just have to love local food, local drinks, and CHOCOLATE. Local DC chocolate maker, Harper Macaw, has created a sensational evening of food & drink pairings, all provide by local DC makers.

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From Harper Macaw:

Indulge your senses while enjoying some local DC love. Curated and hosted by Harper Macaw, DC’s new chocolate factory in Northeast, this incredibly unique collaboration pairing of local eats and drinks includes 16 local makers and purveyors in a 4 course fixed pairing menu.

Local purveyors include Atlas Brew Works, Baku Beverage, Capital Kambucha, Compass Coffee, Dangerously Delicious Pies, DC Brau, Element [Shrub], Gordy’s Pickle Jar, Harper Macaw, Leonora Bakery (Northside Social), On Rye, Pie Sisters, Red Apron, Sona Creamery, True Tonics and wines provided by Schneider’s of Capitol Hill.


And we’re super excited to announce that we’re also helping out to decorate & coordinate this awesome, local event. So we really hope to see some of you there! I’ve gotten a sneak peak of the menu, and let me tell you, you will NOT be disappointed ;)

You can attend 1 of the 3 tastings, Friday night at 7pm or Sunday at 3pm or 7pm. All tastings take place at Harper Macaw’s Factory in NE DC. Tickets are listed as per person, so be sure to select the correct number of tickets. Guests must be 21+ Please bring a government issued form of ID; we will be verifying age upon entry.

So grab your partner, your mom, your best friend or all your roommates and GET YOUR TICKETS NOW before they’re gone! A great way to avoid over-priced restaurants on Valentine’s Day and support local food & drink makers instead! See you there.

Troy & Manuel’s Surprise Potomac Point Winery Proposal in Virginia

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Images: Chamberlin Photos submitted via Two Bright Lights

Yikes, noon. This weekend was really nice – I felt like I got SO MUCH done (We cleaned the house! The ENTIRE house! I got to run. I got a massage! We watched Inside Out (and cried a bunch) and even went for a walk yesterday). And then Monday hits and I am feeling SO over whelmed by everything going on. Let’s through in the fact that Evie is on a sleep strike and well, let’s just say it’s a wonder I got a blog up at all today ;) We have a super sweet SURPRISE proposal for your Monday. So let’s get to it.

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From the photographers:

We originally met Troy and Manuel while shooting a styled session, back in November of 2014. The pair had been dating for just a couple of months, at that time, but they played the part of a marrying couple for the day! We remained friends with these great guys and during the first week of November, 2015, Troy contacted us to ask if we’d capture his surprise proposal to Manuel, which we were thrilled to do!? We pretended to just ‘run into’ the guys, at a local winery, on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Manuel had absolutely no idea what was about to happen. When we all took a little stroll down the vineyard, to a bridge, Troy dropped to one knee and the magic began!

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Troy began his proposal with “… you came into my life like a wrecking ball…” and it just got better from there. Troy purchased two, identical rings, so Manuel also ended up on bended knee, proposing to Troy! It was a great celebration of love between two very special people.

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Vol 3: The Real Life of a Mompreneur – The Need to SLOW DOWN

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Image: Trinity Walker Keefer

Happy Friday Romancers. With the craziness this week, I can’t believe it’s even Friday. We have another Momprenuer guest post today. These are quickly becoming my favorite blog posts to write and share and I really hope you guys are liking them too (I’d appreciate all/any feedback here). Today we have Taryn from Taryn Blake Events sharing her business and momprenuer experiences. She runs a wedding planning company in York and also is a mom of 2. Running her own business and being a rockstar mom has taught her how to prioritize (and continue to learn this) and juggle. But her biggest lesson to share today? The absolute need to SLOW DOWN once you add “parent” to your job list. Take it away Taryn.

Momprenuer Series Vol 3: Learning to Slow Down | By Taryn Blake Events

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Hi, I’m Taryn, owner of Taryn Blake Events, a wedding planning company based in York, PA – about 2 hours from DC. When I decided to start a wedding planning business, I was a newlywed living in the city of Baltimore. I would sit on our rooftop deck answering emails, sipping wine and not giving a second thought about filling my calendar a year in advance. This was my dream! Afternoon coffee dates with potential clients, staying up half the night working on design layouts – it was part of the job and I couldn’t get enough.

A few years later, life started changing. We relocated to PA and I built the business all over again – but then, we started thinking about a family. My type-A planning personality figured I could pinpoint exactly when this new little one would join us (not in wedding season, of course) and struggling with infertility definitely knocked me down a few pegs. Finally, I was pregnant – and due in December – so wedding season rolled on. Through a very rough and complicated pregnancy, I coordinated until 36 weeks and had our baby boy 2 weeks later.

I didn’t take maternity leave. None of my clients were taking 6 weeks off, so neither was I. It was crazy, looking back. I slowly learned how to blend my old life with this new one. I have an amazing team who works their ass off too. But I didn’t slow down. I felt like I HAD to rock the mom life just as much as the wedding life. I couldn’t let anyone see that I was tired or overwhelmed – that’s just not who I was. Who would trust a planner who didn’t look like she had it all together? The craziest part is that I was able to keep it up – our weddings were amazing and couples were happy. I booked styled shoots, did interviews, and never missed a deadline. I also gave it my all at home. My baby and husband were happy. We hosted friends. I threw parties. I always just figured that was how it had to be – that’s what moms do – especially mompreneurs. We just can’t quit. I was tired and stressed but that’s what it takes to “have it all.”

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Fast forward 2 years. After another few rounds of treatments, we were pregnant again – this time, due in August, prime wedding season. My last wedding was at 38 weeks and I was back at another one TWO WEEKS after giving birth. I’m not even proud to write that – I was insane. I was focusing so much on being the perfect wife, perfect mom, perfect wedding planner that I was totally forgetting about being ME. It took me three years since having my first kid to realize that was the most important thing to focus on. I was lost in the haze of running a successful business as a mom.

This fall, I made a drastic change in how I’m “doing it all.” Being a mompreneur now has a totally different meaning for me. It means I need to slow the hell down. And it’s changed my priorities. I think twice about how full I want my calendar to be. I don’t do as many coffee dates or styled shoots. It’s made me learn to say no – which is hard! Our slogan at TBE is “Authentic Love. Awesome Weddings” – I had to make sure I was continuously living that.

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Image: Jennifer Rotz

The biggest change is that I’ve narrowed my focus and figured out the ideal client for me. I still want to rock at weddings and rock at being a mom – but now I make a conscious effort to fill those wedding weekends with couples who inspire me and push me creatively. It also means I’ve started doing what no one ever tells you to do as a business owner – I turn clients away. I tell them we aren’t a good fit. It feels wrong as a business woman but it feels exactly right as a mom. It’s what I want to teach my kids – be honest to others, but first, be honest with yourself. Chase your dreams and work with people who make you better.

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I’ve never half-assed a wedding. I don’t ever intend to. Choosing to work with only those who I really vibe with will keep me on this path. I want to give each couple 100% of me as a planner – it’s what they deserve.

I wish I could have learned that a few years ago. But I guess being a business owner is a lot like being a mom – sometimes you really don’t know what you’re doing and hindsight is 20/20. Just know that you can have it all. When I look at my husband and my two wonderful kids, I realize that I do. The weddings are the icing on the cake.

DIY Tutorial: How to Make DIY Ribbon Wands for Flower Girls

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Image: Mathy Shoots People

Happy DIY Wednesday Romancers! We’re here today to share another DIY Wedding Tutorial from our guest blogger, Kara. Kara’s ADORABLE flower girls rocked hot pink & orange tutus, flower crows, and waved adorable DIY Ribbon Wands. These wands are SO simple and easy to make – and much more practical than handing little kids a bouquet first thing in the wedding day (spoiler alert, it won’t look pretty by the wedding ceremony). Take it away Kara!

DIY Ribbon Wands Tutorial | by Kara Britanik

Having kids in your wedding, especially toddlers, can be a bit stressful since you never quite know what kind of mood they’ll be in on the day of your wedding. My cousins’ daughters were our flower girls, and at 3 years old, I wasn’t sure if they’d be really excited or if they’d throw a tantrum. Since both of them are obsessed with princesses, I wanted to try and make the experience as fun as possible for them and let them pretend they were princesses for the day, in hopes it would make things go smoothly. I made them DIY no-sew tutus, they wore flower crowns, and I made them ribbon wands. I thought the wands would be a lot easier for them to carry, rather than trying to get them to toss flower petals down the aisle. The wands were a big hit, and they couldn’t have been easier to make!


Wooden dowels

– Ribbon and or crepe paper

– Small finishing nail (one per wand; the skinnier the better)


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Step 1. Start by hammering your nail into the end of the wooden dowel. You’ll want to hammer it about ¾ of the way in.

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Step 2. Determine how long you want your ribbons to be, double the length, and cut. I recommend having varying lengths of ribbon/crepe paper. It helps add some visual interest to the wands. If you do use a mix of crepe paper and ribbon, you should cut the crepe paper so it is a similar width as your ribbon. For me, that meant cutting it into 4ths.

Step 3. Once you have all of your ribbons cut, you can start stacking them on your nail. Remove your nail from the wooden dowel. Fold your ribbon in half so you can find the middle, and put your nail through the middle of your ribbon. Continue with each ribbon until they’re all on the nail.

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Step 4. Place your nail back into your wooden down, into the hole you already created. You should be able to push the nail most of the way in. At this point, you can spread out your ribbons so they’re evenly distributed around the dowel. Then hammer your nail the rest of the way in.

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They’re so simple to make in just a matter of minutes! After the wedding, they can be great additions to any kid’s dress-up closet. You could also make a bunch and give them to guests to wave as you walk down the aisle, or when you’re leaving the venue at the end of the night. They’re really versatile, and don’t require any cleanup at the end of the night ;)

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Carrie & Jay’s Modern & Intimate DC Wedding at a Private Home

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Images: Hannah Hudson Photography

Still snowed in over here Romancers. Andy is currently (attempting) digging our car out so we can make a desperately needed food store run. For today I have a gorgeous, modern & intimate DC wedding for you – which I’m not going to lie, is part awesome wedding and part awesome interior design inspiration. This house (the exposed brick! the modern furniture!) is GORGEOUS with it’s open loft feel, and modern/clean aesthetic. For the bride & groom, it was the perfect venue for their 60-person wedding. We’ve got all the deets below! Happy Tuesday.

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We did a very intimate, 60 person wedding and cocktail style reception at an open loft space in Georgetown. We chose this space because it was reflective of our aesthetic: modern and clean. It also paired well with our all neutral palette and provided both indoor and outdoor functionality.

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Jay’s children (Gabby, 15, and Adin, 12,) were our “Best People,” with my sister, Courtney, as the Maid of Honor. I walked down a makeshift aisle to Coldplay. Our ceremony was short and sweet, yet deeply personal, with guests physically encircled around us. The energy was palpable. We wrote our own vows; I went playful, he went sentimental.

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Shervonne & Elliot’s Baltimore City Engagement Pictures in Maryland

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Images: B.O.B. Photography via Two Bright Lights

How are we doing Romancers? Did you survive Jonas? Or are you like me, still attempting to survive? While I LOVE snow, this one has been a challenge with Evie at home and Andy away. I’m feeling ALL of the Cabin Fever feels and attempting to stay positive that Andy’s flight is actually allowed into Reagan tonight. In the meantime, I’ll try and continue to keep myself busy and not think about the fact that I’ve barely left my house since Thursday. Here’s a gorgeous love story, couple & their engagement pictures in Baltimore City to help get you through your work-from-home Monday.

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Elliot and I met 10 years ago via friends who were actually trying to set each of us up with other people! We are a bit of a Ying & Yang – I’m from Baltimore, He’s from Pittsburgh. I’m art & design focused and he’s an engineer by trade. I’m a feminist who enjoys her political debates with a glass of wine, and he can school any NFL coach on their defensive strategy – all while giving bourbon advise. He’s a neat freak, and I’m a clutter queen. On paper we probably don’t make sense, but together in real life we’re very complimentary to each other.

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I picked the engagement pictures locations based on our experiences together at that location, and my love of public art. The Patterson Park Pagoda was where we would go for walks when we first started dating…so that location was near and dear to both of us, and I have admired the Baltimore Love Project for years and wanted to include that in our story.

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Elliot proposed the very same day we bought our first home together, so this past year has been quite a whirlwind of new home ownership, a million questions from family & friends, and the dreaded wedding planning. So I guess the thing I most looked forward to for our engagement session was spending an afternoon with him, and just being close to each other as we created an expression of our love.

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Black & Gold, Marvin Gaye Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot

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Images: Corrine Kensington Photography

WINTER IS COMING. We’ve got food, toilet paper, and ice melt. Evie & I are as ready as we can be for the impending doom blizzard that is coming our way. Hopefully I see you guys on the other side of the weekend…. have fun and be safe out there Romancers! For today we have a REALLY gorgeous and rather cool styled shoot put together by a bunch of local Washington, DC  wedding vendors. They used black & gold colors and the inspiration of the soulful Marvin Gaye to create the shoot.

Everything was shot at the venue Marvin, which is named after the famous crooner and is a newer wedding venue option in Washington, DC up on U Street. I think you’re really going to like the details & design inspiration in this one Romancers, especially if you are planning on having gold and art deco pops to your wedding. Happy Friday!

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From the vendor team:

U street is known for its music and soul and this shoot took inspiration from the soul and classic architecture of the venue and the area. We wanted to capture the elegance, moodiness, and romance of Marvin. We chose the couple to showcase the diversity of the area, which has seen much change in the last decade or so. The majority of the bride and groom portraits were shot at the gorgeous and historic Meridian Hill Park, which is only a short walk from the venue and also a popular location for wedding portraits.

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Photographer:  Corrine Kensington Photography | Event Planner: A Griffin Events | Floral Designer: Designs by Oochay Floral & Event Design | Event Designer: Ivy and Honor | Jewelry: J’Adorn Designs | Calligrapher: Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Reception Venue: Marvin | Hair Stylist: PSC Hair Artistry | Invitation Designer: Ribbon and Ink | Makeup Artist: Valerie Hammer Makeup Artist | Bakery: Zaglios Bakery | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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