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

puetro rico honeymoon anniversary vacation review

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!

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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!

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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

Vendors:

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

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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.

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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

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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

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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?

Complacency.

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!

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“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!

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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

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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

Vendors:

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.

Super Easy Wedding Invitation Timeline Download from The Peacock Press

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Back in February we attended The Mix Event (I swear I will have a recap and images from the show up at SOME point) and got to meet a few new, awesome wedding vendors – including our booth neighbors, The Peacock Press. Lauren and her husband’s booth were SUPER rad, but so were some of their handouts. One in particular caught my eye, and I couldn’t help but ask Lauren if I could share it on the blog.

A Super Easy Wedding Invitation Timeline Download from The Peacock Press

ThePeacockPressWeddingStationeryTimeLine

^awesome design. awesome wedding advice. and awesome company – what’s not to love? Go download and print your own copy of this essential wedding planning tool on Peacock Press now!

Happy Friday Romancers! Have a great weekend – and stay dry!

Chuck & Marcia’s Renaissance Fair, Handfasting Ceremony in Maryland

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Lately I’ve found myself in a few situations where the topics of wedding themes have come up and those around me have been super judgey about couples doing something “tacky” “nerdy” or “weird” for their wedding. I really don’t understand why people feel the need to judge someone else’s wedding. It’s not your wedding – so it really doesn’t matter what you think. I’ve always taken the mindset that as long as the couple is making meaningful decisions (and not decisions based soley on ‘how can I get my wedding on a blog?!?!?!’), then really, that’s all that matters.

It’s YOUR wedding day. Do what makes you and your partner happy – and that’s exactly what Chuck and Marcia did. Thanks to Douglas Pettway for sharing his images of this offbeat Maryland wedding ceremony to us!

Chuck & Marcia’s Handfasting Ceremony at a Maryland Renaissance Fair

maryland renaissance fair handfasting ceremony

We met through match.com. At the time my dad’s health was declining, and I had decided to sign off for a while since most guys I was meeting didn’t understand. The night I was going to sign off, I was sent some new matches for the week and he was among them. His profile included some photos of him at Renaissance events. I had been attending Renaissance fairs for a few years and really loved them, so I figured I would go ahead and email him. He emailed back and the rest is history!

In addition to our common interest in Renaissance festivals, we discovered a shared love of the outdoors, camping, family, and interest in our Celtic heritages.

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Click inside for the rest of Marcia & Chuck’s Maryland Renaissance Fair handfasting ceremony!

Let’s Get Personal: The Importance of Thinking Local & the DC Wedding Industry

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When I started to think about what 2014 would look like for Capitol Romance, I tried to focus on my differentiators. What makes me different from other wedding blogs in and outside of DC; why would someone continue to read my blog over others? My mission is simple but too easily overlapped by other blogs and so I did a bit of soul searching to try and find my special sauce. I thought, if I could find this thing and really focus on it, then Capitol Romance could really thrive and grow in 2014.

Let’s Get Personal: The Importance of Thinking Local (and How it Pertains to the Wedding Industry)

offbeat alternative dc wedding blog

I heard a few rumblings of it with my 2013 clients, but it was my 2014 clients that REALLY started to utter the same phrase over and over. We want our wedding to be “local”; we want “local” vendors; we want our DC wedding to have a “local” feel. There it was, my special sauce – thinking (and focusing on) local! This was something I had started from the first week of blogging (if you saw my #1 blogging tip article, then you saw my editorial calendar which had “Local Finds” as one of my initial blog topics) and something that I always internally focused on – I just didn’t really make it so widely known here, or associate it strongly with my business.

But that is changing.

Thinking locally is important to me, both as a citizen of Washington, DC AND as a small business owner. I believe that our city and the people in it, only have good things to gain if we all focus locally on the people, places, and things that live, work, and create here. I believe this SO much that I recently applied to be a part of Think Local First DC – an entire organization that is dedicated to driving sustainable economic development in DC through working with independent businesses, consumers, and policymakers.

Yes We're Local

I was THRILLED to be accepted (see my handy Made in DC Certified Local stamp of approval on my sidebar) and this organization has already opened me up to a world of other businesses that could help Capitol Romance and my readers. Through Think Local First DC I found some of my sponsors for my upcoming DIY wedding workshops and I was also connected to the DC MEETMarket & Fenton Street Market (2 places that would be a GREAT stop to find local wedding vendors) and currently drool over Trohv.

So how am I living the local pledge? Well, for starters I’ll be at opening day of the DC MEETMarket on April 5th to promote my workshops and the awesome vendors & sponsors that are making them possible. Please stop on by and check us out, as well as all the other amazing vendors that will be participating:

DC local market wedding vendors

I’m also teaming up with the ladies behind Fenton Street Market to help them with their launch of Indie Bridal Party - a wedding show that exclusively focuses on local DC area wedding vendors! It’s on April 17th at the Darlington House – and you should DEF go to this too! We’ll be on hand to facilitate a DIY crafting station and showcase our DIY wedding workshops a bit more (are you sensing a theme here?).

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So this will be one of my main 2014 business goals – to truly focus Capitol Romance and the DC wedding industry on “thinking local”. I’ll be doing this through the blog and outside of the blog (ya know, in real life), attending events and workshops, meeting other small business owners, shopping local, eating local, promoting local to my clients and even taking the scary step of hosting my own workshops to further connect engaged couples with amazing local wedding vendors.

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We’ll see how this goes :)

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