Unique Wedding Venue: Barrel Oak Winery

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The sister of a friend of my sister (did you follow that?) had emailed me a couple weeks ago about some of the vendors she used for her wedding last year. One of them was the lovely Barrel Oak Winery. She had her bridal shower here!

Rachel told me that the winery made for an awesome, fun, and different shower location. It was laid back and both kid AND dog friendly! She also said they had great outdoor areas, reserved picnic tables and because they brought their own sandwiches & cupcakes, the only cost was that they paid for guests to do a tasting.

I know winery weddings are a big thing in Virgina – why shouldn’t they be? They are absolutely gorgeous and rustic and have such a laid-back feel to them.  Barrel Oak Winery can be rented for weddings or perhaps a great alternative for a couple looking to have a co-ed “shower”. For weddings the winery offers multiple locations on the site for your big day and offers hay ride “shuttles” between sites! (I love this!) There are also a ton of Bed & Breakfasts nearby for guests to stay at!

You can find more information on rental spaces and fees here. There are a ton of beautiful pictures on their website, but I couldn’t help myself with re-posting a few here…(thanks to Rachel for sharing!).

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Introducing a new guest blogger: Emma the DIY DC Bride

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We have a new guest blogger joining Capitol Romance. Her name is Emma and she is one half of a kick-ass DIY DC Duo.

I met Emma via Wedding Bee. I had posted in the forum during my usual quests to find awesome, unconventional, and DIY brides in the DC Area and shortly after received an email from Emma.

Along with her hubs-to-be Claude, Emma is doing a TON of DIY stuff for her wedding and they are doing it rather quickly as their wedding is set for this April … with the cherry blossoms … outside … at the Jefferson memorial … !!! I cannot wait to see how it all comes together for them!

In the meantime, because of the awesome number of things the duo are doing their own way, I have asked Emma to do a weekly guest post on Capitol Romance to share with us all the cool stuff they are making and all the planning they have accomplished so far! From here on out, Emma will be known as the DIY DC Bride and her regular posting series will be called “The Tales of a DIY DC Duo”. I simply adore how on board Claude is with everyone, as I constantly love to get on my soap box and exclaim … “Grooms are getting married too!”.

Look out later this afternoon for Emma’s first post introducing the duo, their plans, and chatting a bit about their engagement!

Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck: Prince “Let’s Go Crazy”

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I hear this song at the gym a good amount and it’s certainly one of those “let’s get dancing” sort of songs.  That being said – I also love how it opens with a very church-like beginning with the the organ and lyrics starting with “dearly beloved … “.

I would love to see someone use this song either to walk down the aisle to or if that is a bit too bold, I think it would make a great reception entrance song. It would certainly set a certain tone for your reception!

So enjoy this Holiday Monday (especially if you are stuck at work like me!) with some Prince.

Real Capitol Romance: Alex & Dave


Friday is my favorite and now it’ll be yours too.

Today, we have an amazing Love Shoot to share to make your Friday THAT much better. Amber of Live It Out Photo shared with us Maggie & Ian’s amazing Mansion on O St. wedding last week, and now she has once again so graciously allowed us to feature a shoot she did back in August of her cousin Alex and Alex’s adorable mate, Dave.

This makes me happy for a number of reasons:

  1. August shoots make me think of warm, sunny goodness
  2. Amber’s pictures are always incredible so they are always fun to look at
  3. Alex & Dave are too cute for words
  4. A Marilyn Monroe mural and Eastern Market are two VERY unique and unconventional spots for a Washington, DC love shoot

I don’t really need to blather on further … I’ll let the magical prints speak for themselves…

Alex & Dave then made their way to Eastern Market for some more love and photos

Capitol Vendor Spotlight: Jewel Hair Design


Googling “Wedding Hair Stylist Washington, DC” is not the way to find a good, affordable hair stylist for your wedding.

Attention DC Metro Area Brides looking for an outstanding Wedding Hair Stylist that is friendly, fabulous, affordable, and above all – insanely talented.  I present to you Julie of Jewel Hair Design.

I had the unfortunate experience of having NO idea where to go for a wedding hair stylist for myself, mom, sisters, and bridesmaids. Google was getting me no-where and most stylists I found were just too expensive for my budget or were associated with salons, so they wouldn’t come to my condo. By SOME stroke of genius, I found myself upon Julie’s website and shortly after emailing with her, I knew that I had gotten seriously lucky.

Julie was an absolute pleasure to work with. She portrays excellent communication and customer service, but as I have already said, what make’s Julie such a find is her talent. I am rather finnicky when it comes to my hair and I knew some of my bridesmaids are too – but EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of us were thrilled with how our hair came out. I have never felt so beautiful in my life and Julie didn’t stop until each one of us was 100% satisfied with our hair. In one morning Julie made 5 bridesmaids, my mom, and I the happiest ladies in the world.

Ok, I am going to stop raving about Julie now and let everyone meet her/see some of her work! If you want more opinions, check out her weddingwire reviews here.

Capitol Romance (CR): How did you get into the Hair Styling business?

Julie: I have loved to do hair since I was very young.   When I was 12 I started doing updo’s and playing around with my friend’s hair, and as the years went by I would do updo’s for homecomings and proms. My senior year in high school I started studying at Chantilly Cosmetology Academy.  I graduated from my class two years later with perfect grades and the “most outstanding student” award.  The year after I graduated I started my own business called Jewel Hair Design.   I specialize in updo’s and finishing work for special occasions and commercial work. My business has been open for almost 2 years now and is flourishing.  We just received The Brides Choice Award 2010 from Wedding Wire!

CR: What is your favorite thing about doing wedding party hair?

Julie: My favorite thing about doing wedding party hair would have to be being able to take part in such a special occasion.   It’s an honor to be chosen to do a brides hair for her wedding and her bridal party member’s hair.   It’s the one day that she needs to look and feel more beautiful than she ever has. I also love to see what styles each bride chooses.  It gives me an opportunity to try new things and to cater to each person, and I never duplicate the same updo.

CR: How do you stay on top of current and upcoming wedding hair trends?

Julie: I stay on top of the most current trends by attending classes when they are available. Also by reading forums that brides write to see what they are looking for. Other ways I also stay on top of things are by watching professional videos and checking out Bride magazines.

DIY Wedding Invitations with Weswen Design: Part 1


Hi everyone! Wendy here from Weswen Design. I am so happy to be a guest blogger on Capitol Romance! Since I’m blogging on DIY Wednesday I thought I’d pass along some helpful hints and tips for you ambitious DIYers out there interested in DIYing your wedding invitations. As a wedding stationery designer with nearly ten years under my belt, I’ve learned many things the hard way. I’m here to ensure your DIY adventure is perfect by sharing some nitty-gritty details that will help keep the process smooth and painless!

The number one thing to remember when doing your own invitations is the TIMELINE. To figure out when you should start your invitations, work backward from your wedding date like so:

Wedding date >> minus 2 months (since invitations should be in the mail about eight weeks out) >> minus 1 week for addressing envelopes/stuffing (more time if your having calligraphy) >> minus 2 weeks for printing and/or assembly >> minus 1 month for purchasing materials/brainstorming/design = the date you should start!

Sound confusing? Check out this calendar example with a wedding date of June 4th. Note the tasks that should be completed within each month and circled targeted dates.

If you think you can get everything done in a month, give yourself two. The last thing you want is to be stressed over getting the invitations in the mail in time and then doing a sub-par job. This is, after all, like the Queen Mother of invitation jobs. Plan accordingly and take your time!

The next most important thing you need to determine is the SIZE OF YOUR INVITATION. This might seem like a detail that doesn’t need to be thought out so soon, but trust me, it does. Here’s why: you have to make sure you’re creating your invitation to a standard envelope size. In all actuality, you might even want to pick out your envelope FIRST, and then work backward from there with invitation sizing. No point in designing your invitation to match perfectly with a shimmery A7, only to find it won’t be available when you need it.

Keep in mind, the standard invitation size is 5 x 7. Thus, the corresponding envelope you would need would be an A7. But standard-schmandard…. feel free to get creative and do something out of the box! Just remember, out of the box often = more money at the post office (this coming from the designer who paid $1.17 for each wedding invitation we mailed. It’s okay, it was worth it!)

To keep things super simple (that’s what I’m here for, right!?) here’s a handy dandy size chart:

And, when in doubt, read up on current mail regulations on the USPS website. All sorts of sizing information is available here.

Finally, for today, consider your POSTAGE when picking your invitation size. Remember that:

  • Square envelopes cost more to mail (refer to chart above)
  • Anything not machinable and will cost more to mail
  • Don’t forget to add postage to those RSVP envelopes! Or,
  • Postcards stamps cost: $.28 and could be a good way to cut corners for the RSVP card.

And always always ALWAYS take one completed invitation—envelope(s) and all—to the post office before you mail to have the correct amount of postage verified. I literally had nightmares that I would open my mailbox a few days after sending out all our wedding invitations, only to find them all returned to me for some silly reason. NOT fun when you’re supposed to be getting your beauty sleep.

Next time, we will talk about different printing techniques available and which one would be best for you and your budget. Plus, what are the common information cards that accompany the invitation and which one(s) do you need….. hope to see you next time!

In the meantime, if you’re a DIYer and have a question you’d like answered, please email me at: wendy@weswendesign.com.

Introducing: DIY Invitation Series with Wendy from Weswen Design


Today I have some exciting news for anyone looking for help with their DIY wedding invitations. Wendy from Weswen Design has so graciously agreed to do a series of guest posts on my DIY Wednesdays to help couples that are curious or committed to DIYing their wedding invitations!

Wendy is one cool lady. I was informally introduced to her through the lovely Julie of Julie Napear Photography and we instantly hit it off. I fell in love with her amazing website (you could say we share a love of similar colors) and she enjoyed my ‘extreme need to use my hands when I talk’.  We then both became equally smitten over our shared adoration of Harry Potter.

To make things even more fantastic, Wendy is an insaaaaanely talented graphic designer.  Her tips, tricks, and insights into DIY Wedding Invitations will make for some fabulous blog posts that will prove to help ANY couple looking to take the plunge into one of the biggest wedding DIY projects.


Capitol Ideas: Nontraditional Wedding Program Alternative


Wedding Programs are a pain in the butt.

They’re one of those things at a wedding, where it’s great to have them because you get to write some heartfelt thank yous and point out all the special members of your family and wedding party. But. They can also be difficult to write, expensive to print, and completely non-eco friendly with all the paper that is wasted in printing them.

I was on the fence about programs for my own wedding, mainly leaning towards not doing them at all. I had seen some other AWESOME unconventional ideas online, but bottom line was that it was a few weeks before the wedding and I just didn’t have the time or the energy to be too creative.  We ended up making two programs, blowing them up to poster size (thanks Vistaprint!) and hanging them on the church doors so guests could read them as they entered the church.

At some point I had a crazy idea though – that I hope someone out there might be interested in using. PowerPoint. I have seen plenty of couples take ‘nerd chic’ to the next level for their weddings, but a PowerPoint presentation (via a projector onto a wall at the ceremony) has got to be one of the easiest, cheapest, most eco-friendly, and AWESOMELY NERDY wedding program alternatives that I have ever seen.

I am currently attempting to convince my friends (that aren’t even engaged yet!) to use this idea … but I just know there has to be someone as rad (crazy?) as me to think this is a good idea.

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