Introducing the “DIY” Capitol Romance Wedding Planner – Download, Print, Plan


Holy Moly am I excited to be dropping this news today. This one has been in the works for weeks (ok, months) and I am SO STOKED to finally get this off my to-do list and out into the world.

Today we are OFFICIALLY making the Capitol Romance Wedding Planner accessible to even more couples – by setting up a PDF printable version so that you can purchase, download, and print at home, to make your own customized wedding planning binder, with all the goods that our planner includes.

Boom. Wedding Planning Made Easy.

Just visit our online store, select the “DIY” Wedding Planner Download (only $15!):


We’ll get your order and send you the PDF:


You can pick any of the current cover options in Hot Pink:


cover options

Then you just print at home:


3-hole punch your print out:


And boom – you’ve got your very own Capitol Romance Wedding Planner, ready to rock your wedding planning and start saving money AND sanity.


We can’t wait to see your DIY planners – be sure to tag us (@capitolromance) in any pictures you take of it!

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Upcoming Event: Ask the Newlyweds with GayWeddings

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Join GayWeddings and a Panel of just-married couples at the WeddingWire HQ to hear first-hand what they learned from planning their wedding! “Ask the Newlyweds” will feature three, super cool same-sex newlywed couples that plan to have a laid-back, real-talk chat about what it’s REALLY like to plan a wedding, share some advice, and be free to answer questions.

The event is open to ALL couples (plus their crew!) but space is limited and RSVPing is required.

RSVP here!

The event will feature cocktails, the MOST delicious treats from Buttercream Bakeshop (seriously, the best) and tunes by DJ Tezrah. For more information check out the website. Hope to see you there!

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Image: Mathy Shoots People

Vol 7: The Real Life of a Momprenuer: Real Life is Not Full of White Backgrounds


I follow some other fellow moms and a general mom lifestyle account on Instagram and these past few weeks I can’t help but get frustrated at the images they post. Staged, polished, perfected, and (my biggest grudge) full of eternal white backgrounds.

White walls, white bed sheets, white onesies, white everything.

Why does this irritate me so, you might ask? Because anyone with a kid (or let’s be honest here, anyone that has ever even just met a kid), knows that kids are insanely messy. Putting Evie on a white comforter would give me heartburn as I know it would be only a matter of seconds until she did something to stain it.


But I am going to take this one step further and say that to me, these endless white backgrounds and staged photos give the impression that these women’s lives are pristine, clean, and perfect. But that is not real life. Real life is messy. Real life is dirty. And real life is unpredictable. And having a kid only augments those things. I see these pictures and I get funny images of the reality behind it … “no wait, we can’t take a picture until we find a white wall!”.

And seeing endless images of perfectly clean and staged images of kids is not inspiring to me, it’s exhausting. Because my life most certainly does not look like that (it looks much more like the image above – messy hair on my head, attempting to keep Evie from my laptop, and no white backgrounds in sight), and I can’t imagine that in reality, anyone else’s life is really like that either.

So why do we put these images on social media? If this isn’t reality, then what’s their point? I really don’t know. But I can guarantee you that you probably won’t ever see pictures like this on my social accounts, because in all honesty, as a mompreneur, I don’t have the time to stage my images, or spend extra time searching for that perfect white background. I am much too preoccupied with my perfectly messy, dirty, & unstaged life.

Bride to Be Guest Blog: DIY Serving Tray Tutorial Using Frames

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Carolyn is back today for a super sweet DIY Serving Tray tutorial using thrifted frames, tiles & plywood. She made these to use for her centerpieces for her wedding, but these could EASILY serve (hah! punny!) so many purposes outside of a wedding centerpiece. Andy & I LOVE using serving trays as decor in our home. We have a bright yellow one on our bar with bottles & barware in it, and a silver one on our coffee table for remotes & things. We even have a clear one that we use for storing Evie’s toys. No joke. We love these trays! So check out Carolyn’s step by step DIY tutorial below!

DIY Wood Serving Tray Centerpiece Tutorial | by Carolyn Thomb

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I absolutely love little vintage or modern looking trays. Not only are they practical, but they can add just the right decorative element to any space. That is why I decided to set out to make some for the wedding and then of course keep a few for our place (hello all those gorgeous future Instagram posts!).

Awhile back I found some random frames at a thrift store I went to, which is where the concept first came to fruition. This was over a year ago and finally this winter during the crazy snow I set to getting these babies started.

The main materials you need to achieve these trays are:

  • Empty frames – can find them anywhere – thrift stores are where you will get the best deals
  • Tiles from Home Depot or a hardware store- again not super expensive and a lot of different styles and colors
  • Handles from Home Depot (I found they had the best selection) not super expensive
  • Liquid nails from the hardware store (find someone with a caulking gun to use this)
  • Plywood (if you get this from Home Depot they will cut it for you there- small fee after a few pieces)
  • Paint or Spray Paint and liquid gold leaf (in gold and silver) – I got this from Michael’s and Home Depot
  • Tile cutter
  • Caulking (only need this for one tray to fill in between the tiles)
  • Electric Drill
  • Screw driver
  • Felt squares for the backs of each tray

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I did this project over a few weeks when I could find the time. So for those of you who like to start things and then get side-tracked easily, this is the project for you!

Step 1. Collect your frames

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Step 2. Paint the frames

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Step 3. Measure frames for plywood

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Step 4. Get the plywood for the backs of the frames

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Step 5. Paint or spray paint plywood- not necessary, I just did it to be thorough

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Heran & Jeremy’s Laid Back, Baltimore Engagement Pictures

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Images: Bombs Over Betty Photography via Two Bright Lights

Well another weekend has come and gone. Andy & I survived a trip to IKEA yesterday and it was nice to kind of just “be” around DC this weekend. We watched Spotlight on Friday and then Saturday night we enjoyed dinner & some beers on our deck … even with an uninvited guest hanging out. Yesterday I made Andy takes some promo snaps of the new additions to our online store – more Capitol Romance Wedding Planners, but this time in Purple & Teal! We are first completing our VERY FIRST wholesale agreement (!!) with the new colors and will then have the additional binders up in the shop, ASAP. I can’t wait for you to see them!

For today we have an adorable, laid-back Baltimore, MD engagement session. I love the smiles & laughter in this shoot and just how comfortable the two are with each other and in front of the camera. Plus the bride to be is a Harry Potter fanatic. Need a I say more? Just what I needed to get this week going.

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How they met:

Jeremy and I grew up 5 minutes from each in Edison, NJ. Whenever I tell people that they seem surprised we weren’t high school sweetheart or something – easy explanation. We didn’t really roll with the same crowds! He was a jock and I loved math. Jeremy swears I must have knew who he was as “he was kind of a big deal” but honestly, I just really loved math, hated sports and wasn’t even allowed to date in high school!

It wasn’t until my sophomore year at Rutgers University when a mutual friend introduced us, I’ll never forget the first night we met in the basement of a gross Rutgers fraternity. We bonded over our foreign parents and loveeee for 1/2 priced appetizers at Applebee’s.

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A few weeks later after collecting all of our quarters we had our first date at approximately 10:01pm. We shared 8 appetizers and 2 waters. Jeremy recently told my friends he knew he had met the love of his life when I ordered 4 apps on a first date. #FOODISLIFE

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Read more for the rest of this adorable Maryland engagement session, love story & proposal details!

Therese & Ryan’s Perfectly Spring Virginia Wedding at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

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Images: David Abel Weddings via Two Bright Lights

It’s FRIYAY! Another week, and another MONTH gone. There are so many things I have and want to do but I feel like 2016 is already escaping me (am I crazy for thinking this way?!)! This weekend I will have an ELEVEN MONTH OLD, and I will be headed full steam into wedding season. I know I need to get a CapRo Meetup together soon, and let’s not even talk about all those pretty designs I have just WAITING to be printed onto goodies to add to the shop.

But alas, I digress, and have a beautiful romantic garden wedding to share today that took place at the beautiful Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Sometimes simple weddings this like really get me – nothing too flashy or unique, but two people very much effusing genuine love for one another. From the beautiful pink & teal touches to the Darth Vader cufflinks – you’ll love this one!

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We were inspired by a garden style romantic feel for our wedding. Our venue (The Atrium at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA) was the perfect backdrop for a very romantic (think bubbling brook running through our reception area, flowing mint bridesmaid dresses, pink accent tables and beautiful flower arrangements for our centerpieces). We wanted our wedding to exude the love we feel for each other and we feel this was accomplished.

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[I] bought him Darth Vader cufflinks, which of course made Ryan’s day! Ryan is such an awesome guy too, quick to laugh and make others laugh he doesn’t take life too seriously. Ryan even practiced writing his note to me several times before sending it up before the wedding.

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My dress was from BHLDN Anthropologie. I loved that the whole dress was made of lace and I finished it off with a lace overlay that I wore during the ceremony and removed during the reception. It allowed for a wardrobe change and the guests thinking I had changed entirely, but it was the same dress! It was a mermaid style dress.

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Brookhill Florist did our flowers and we were thrilled with them! We wanted pale pinks and for them to be very romantic.

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When to Hire a “Day Of Wedding Coordinator (Hint: It’s earlier than you think)

me at Joel and Christine's wedding

Image: Elizabeth Fogarty Photography

I get inquired as a day-of coordinator at all different times in a couples’ wedding planning journey. Sometimes I get inquiries for weddings that are well over a year away and other times an inquiry pops in my inbox for a wedding that is just a few weeks away. And while there is no simple, one-size-fits-all, answer to when the right time to hire a day-of coordinator is, I can offer at least some guidance around it to help you make the best decision for you.

But before we get to timing, the very first step would be to decide whether you need a full-scale wedding planner or a wedding coordinator. Not sure what you need? Check out the podcast I did with Put A Ring On It to help you decide! Simply put, if you need a lot of hand-holding, want someone to make & drive your decisions, and do a lot of the actual PLANNING on your behalf, chances are you need a wedding planner. If you are down with making decisions, going to meetings & talking to vendors yourself, but need some help & guidance and someone to tie it together on your wedding day, a wedding coordinator would probably be the best for you.

So now that you’ve decided between the two, and landed on the coordinator option, my advice to you would be to book him/her as soon as you can. And here is why:

> Coordinators, even if their main focus is just your wedding day, book out just like other vendors – 6 months to a year in advance (maybe more for your popular months like April/May and September/October), so if you wait, chances are the coordinator you want, might not be available!

> Coordinators can help you with SO MUCH MORE than just your wedding day. I love to give vendor recommendations, and advice on issues my couples come across as they are planning – it saves them time & sanity, and enables me to help them create a stress-free day.

> Coordinators can actually help you save money! So while some couples wait until the end of their wedding planning, to see if they have enough room leftover in their budget for a coordinator, it might make more sense for you to find that room in the budget early for a coordinator, and then let them help you cut costs in other places that you haven’t even thought about!

There are probably a lot more reasons – and I will let my readers and fellow vendors sound off in the comments below with them, but the main moral of this blog post story is that just because we have the phrase “day-of” in front of our title, does not mean that we work only on the “day-of” your wedding day. The earlier you can hire a day-of coordinator, the earlier you can start reaping the benefits of having a trusted, experienced, knowledgeable wedding pro at your side to help you through the wedding planning process!

Chet & Elisabeth’s Riverside Engagement Pictures in Charlottesville Virginia

Charlottesville, VA - 11/03/15 Elisabeth and Chet engagement photo session at Downtown Mall and Darden Towe Park. Credit: Amanda Maglione

Images: Amanda Maglione Photography via Two Bright Lights

Who had a great weekend? I hope you did! We left bright and early Friday morning for NJ and had an excellent weekend with family. Evie met the Easter Bunny (and actually smiled!) and got her first pair of shoes thanks to her grandparents. Saturday we had Easter Eve brunch in the morning with all of my family (egg hunts, donuts, the works!). That afternoon we traveled to Andy’s sister’s to celebrate our nephew’s first birthday. I can’t believe we will be doing the same with Evie in just over a month. Then yesterday we relaxed (what is that?!) a bit, grabbing brunch with friends and walking around Brookland. Can’t say I am thrilled it’s Monday, but at least this darling engagement session is helping. Two beautiful people, in love, having fun in a river for their engagement pictures. Let’s get this week started, shall we?

Charlottesville, VA - 11/03/15 Elisabeth and Chet engagement photo session at Downtown Mall and Darden Towe Park. Credit: Amanda Maglione

How they met:

On March 8, 2015, I was going out for drinks with a girl friend and we decided to try a new spot in Charlottesville called Yearbook Taco. We had heard about their Sundayspecial, BOGO margaritas, and who wouldn’t oblige to that?! After a while, these two guys walked in and sat diagonal from us at the bar. I locked eyes with Chet and immediately fell for him. I turned to my friend Mollie and said, “Oh my gosh, that is the hottest guy I’ve ever seen in my life…” Chet and I spent about thirty minutes exchanging shy glances from across the bar, and, little did we know, both trying to muster up the courage to say something. He beat me to the punch, and came over to talk to us. He looked at me and said, “Hi, my name is Chet. I never do stuff like this, but I wanted to tell you that you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and, if I left here without talking to you, I would regret it for the rest of my life.” Obviously, I was speechless. How do you even respond to that?! I probably turned bright red, because all I could manage was a handshake, and said, “my name is Elisabeth…”

Charlottesville, VA - 11/03/15 Elisabeth and Chet engagement photo session at Downtown Mall and Darden Towe Park. Credit: Amanda Maglione

Charlottesville, VA - 11/03/15 Elisabeth and Chet engagement photo session at Downtown Mall and Darden Towe Park. Credit: Amanda Maglione

We fumbled through some small talk, both of us just confused by this connection we felt, and exchanged numbers before Mollie and I left. My phone was dead, and I waited for what felt the longest four hours of my life for that first text. The rest is history!

Charlottesville, VA - 11/03/15 Elisabeth and Chet engagement photo session at Downtown Mall and Darden Towe Park. Credit: Amanda Maglione

The engagement story:

Chet took me to Washington D.C. for the fourth of July weekend of 2016. We got a hotel room with a great view just a couple blocks off the National Mall, and had a weekend full of fun plans! In retrospect, my parents were extra sweet about making sure I had everything I needed for that trip, because Chet had asked both of them for their blessings prior to our trip! I LOVE museums and galleries, so he had planned for us to go to all of my favorites. Little did I know, that wasn’t all he had planned! After a long, hot day at the National Zoo, we went back to our room to shower and change clothes for dinner. Chet asked me to go find the ice machine on our hall, so I left the room and wandered the halls until I found it (always more difficult than it should be). When I returned to our room, I opened the door to find Chet on one knee, little velvet box in hand, with tears in his eyes.

Charlottesville, VA - 11/03/15 Elisabeth and Chet engagement photo session at Downtown Mall and Darden Towe Park. Credit: Amanda Maglione

I immediately fell to the floor and started crying tears of pure joy. He started laughing and said, “um, I kind of need you to stand up for this part.” We laughed together, and I managed to pull myself to my feet. Chet proposed to me with his grandmother’s diamond solitaire, and had a custom guard with a stone on either side to surround it. He wanted to preserve her original ring and be able to add his own touch for me. It’s perfect. Of course, I said yes, and we celebrated all night! We went to an amazing dinner at the Blue Duck Tavern in DC, and came back to a lovely gift basket and champagne from our hotel! It was a wonderfully intimate proposal, which is definitely my style. We had only known each other 4 months, but if there’s anything we knew, it was that we were ready for forever together.

Charlottesville, VA - 11/03/15 Elisabeth and Chet engagement photo session at Downtown Mall and Darden Towe Park. Credit: Amanda Maglione

Knieriem Designs – Custom Wedding Dresses & Accessories in DC!

2015 KD Vistaprint postcard front Monika

*Sponsored Post*

I get emails from new vendors from time to time – ones just starting their business in DC or ones that just recently moved to DC from another area and are trying to get into the DC wedding scene. I love getting these emails, but one that came in a few weeks ago literally had me smiling at my laptop screen. Every single word of Christina’s email had me thinking so much YASS. We were both so equally excited to find each other, and now I am really excited to share her with you. Because I have a feeling she won’t stay a secret for long.

Custom wedding dresses & accessories, meant to be worn again post wedding, focusing on reusing & recycling, and with budgets in mind – all of these things SCREAM Capitol Romance and all of these things are the cornerstone of Knieriem Designs. So let’s learn more about the owner, her amazing custom wedding dress & accessories design business, and how she got started!


Knieriem Designs officially started in 2013, unofficially it began around age 5 or so, when I began begging my grandmother for sewing lessons and raiding her scrap fabric collection. I’ll be the first to admit that some of those early creations were more avant-garde than I tend to go now, but they were fun! I turned that passion into a career after attending design school and studying abroad in Paris.

From those early days I started to create things that were my own. I liked the feeling of having something that no one else had and loved being able to customize my clothing to be exactly what I wanted.


At Knieriem Designs, I love to create gowns and accessories with personality. The joy of making custom clothing is that it can be anything you want it to be, and for a wedding that is the perfect touch. Weddings are about celebrating the couple and the lives they are creating together, and there is no reason that clothing can’t be a part of that. The most fun I have with clients usually starts with someone saying “I don’t know if it’s possible but I’d like…”. I don’t believe in sticking to any “rules” when it comes to weddings except this one: do what feels right for you and your partner, the rest will follow.


In addition to wedding gowns, I also design custom looks for bridesmaids, flower girls or any other guest who might be looking for that perfect something to wear. My clients get to be involved in the entire design process, from the first sketch to the finished gown. I apply my expertise to their vision to create something that is beyond what they imagined. I like to work with clients 8 months to one year out for a wedding dress, but I do make occasional exceptions. In fact, one of my first brides was an elopement that was completed in just over 24 hours!”


Guysssssssssssssss are you as excited as I am yet!?!?! Well I can happily tell you this isn’t the last of Knieriem Designs you will see here. Christina and I have SO MUCH brainstorming going on behind the scenes on other ways we can collaborate to bring the awesome to DC couples, just you wait and see.

And in the meantime, find Knieriem Designs on ALL of the internets & social media spaces:
instagram: @knidesigns
twitter: @knidesigns
pinterest: @knieriemdesigns
direct email:

*this is a sponsored post. this vendor paid to have this content shared on our blog, however, it was verified that this event was confirmed to meet our requirements and mission*

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