Kim & Walter’s Washington DC Anniversary Pictures & Marriage Advice

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Images: Red October Photography

What a weekend Romancers. We visited with ALL the family, had an AMAZING family photoshoot with one of my favorite DC photographers, Maggie Gaudean (Winters) and then closed out our 2015 DIY Workshops with a bang. I’ll, of course, be sharing the shoot with Maggie soon – it was to celebrate Evie turning 6 months and Andy & I celebrating 5 years of marital bliss this upcoming weekend. I cannot WAIT to share the gorgeousness.

Now for today we’re starting the week with love (like we always do) but this time we have another lovely couple celebrating their 5 year anniversary too! I’ve been trying to get more couples to share their anniversary pictures and marriage advice, but it’s been tougher than you think. So when Red October Photography sent this one my way, I jumped at the chance. The images are pretty quintessential DC, but I love love love the marriage advice that the couple shared, so be sure to read on through. Happy Monday Romancers.

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From the photographer:

We started off at the Lincoln Memorial, toasting to their 5 years and capturing it through photos. Then we moved to the Jefferson Memorial, where Kimberly put on her wedding dress, ran and twirled through the field, finishing the morning with spraying champagne everywhere as a “cheers” to many more years to come.

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From Kim:
It was fun to think back to five years ago and all the memories of that day. The best thing about being married: is always having my best friend by my side to share life with, the good times and the bad.

The hardest thing to learn after getting married: To always forgive!

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Any advice to couples that are getting married: Slow down to just enjoy each other! And don’t get too hung up on the wedding planning details; it is only one day!

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Our biggest regret from our wedding day: Not doing first look photos. Every time I see some after I regret not doing them to this day. Such an intimate time on your wedding day. Wish we got to take that time for ourselves and have those moments captured on camera.

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If we got married all over, we would have done nothing differently. We loved our venue, our vendors and we love each other!


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Let’s Get Personal: My Rather Lofty 2016 Business Goals & Strategy


Image: This Rad Love

Romancers, it’s time. It’s time to throw caution to the wind, take that HUGE leap (hoping the net will appear) and state my (rather lofty) business goals for 2016. Things are changing over here at Capitol Romance HQ with the birth of my first kid this year and the changing waves of running a local wedding blog. Earlier this year I dropped the news about my pregnancy and the changes coming to the blog and my wedding coordination business. I was SO apprehensive as for the first time, there were SO many things out of my control.

But I am happy to say that I am still standing at the end of 2015. Though blogging has gone from daily to typically 3 posts a week, I am happy to report that that hasn’t slowed our growth. In fact, I would say that blogging less has enabled me to put out stronger content and less fluff and my views have continued to grow as a result.

I am also beyond thrilled at the year my wedding coordination business had with Alesha officially joining the team. We took on more weddings than 2013, Alesha KILLED IT with her own weddings and seamlessly took the ones I couldn’t work once Evie arrived. I am so insanely grateful, every day, that Alesha joined the team.

So let’s talk about next year. Because, well, I have HUGE goals and plans for next year guys. Like ridiculously big goals. I don’t even care how scary or risky or insane they might be. I am done playing it safe and I am ready to take on some big things. So let’s start with the ultimate goal. I am just going to lay this out here:

For 2016, it is my goal to make Capitol Romance THE #1, Ultimate Resource for Planning a DC Wedding

So what does that mean? That means a lot of things …. like:

re-designing the blog to accomplish this goal

better consolidating all the graphics, logos and branded items I have created since 2011

launching an online STORE (that’s right. ecommerce baby) of Capitol Romance branded items

creating SERIOUS resources that you can download, purchase, and use to plan your DC area wedding (whether you hire someone from our wedding coordination team or not)

upping our marketing game with a monthly newsletter, better advertising outreach, and more

expanding our wedding coordination team to bring on at LEAST 1 more coordinator for 2016

….. insane right? But it just feels right. For the first time since starting Capitol Romance in 2011, I feel like I finally have a clear goal, a finish line. It’s more of a marathon distance away then a 5K, but I can see it so clearly now, that I am wondering what took me so long.

So that’s it. My 2016 goals laid out for you to see. I can’t wait for you to tell me what you think…

Laurie & Ryan’s DIY Maryland Barn Wedding at Rocklands Farm

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Images: Cassidy DuHon Photography

You’re going to LOVE this one Romancers. DIY details galore, a stunning Maryland barn wedding venue, sunflowers, rainbow streamers, AND SO MUCH MORE. This stunner was planned by one of my favs, Rebecca with Blue Canary Events and it was captured beautifully by Cassidy DuHon. Enjoy.

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I read in some wedding planning book that you should get married somewhere that feels like home to you.

Rocklands Farm was the first venue we looked at, but the moment we set foot there, the sense of home knocked us backwards. Open green land, dogs and cats and sheep running around, wildflowers everywhere, the beautiful old barn. It felt so much like us. And once we picked the venue, so many details fell naturally into place around that first choice. We’d use wildflowers that grew on the farm (beautifully arranged by Anna Glenn, who lives there), the wine would come from their vineyard, we’d have a bluegrass/swing/jazz band and end the night with s’mores around the fire pit.

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We chose to have lawn games at cocktail hour because that so perfectly fit the casual, rustic vibe of the farm. And we were able to use tons of materials they already had at the farm for the smaller details: we hung the escort cards on twine between two ladders; we set up the favors on stacks of old crates. The atmosphere of the farm even helped me pick my dress; I couldn’t imagine wearing anything but the vintage, dreamy Vivienne gown from BHLDN fitting at this location.

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Ryan’s best friend since 3rd grade, Alex London, wrote the ceremony and officiated the wedding. He’s a YA author and does a ton of public speaking to promote his books, so he was absolutely perfect for it. We had three friends from different facets of our lives do the readings (excerpts from Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses), and our niece carried the rings. We also had an awesome group of friends and family who helped with the DIY elements.

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>>Click inside for the rest of this gorgeous DIY Maryland Barn Wedding! <<<

Let’s Get Personal: Speaking to AWP DC Members on Boosting Your Biz with Social Media

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Images: Jon Fleming Photography

On Tuesday I got the chance to speak to a room full of fellow wedding vendors about my 5 tips for using social media to boost your business. After speaking at the Wedding Wire World Panel earlier this year, Karen from AWP DC reached out to me asking if I would be interested in speaking at an AWP DC event. I was honored to be asked and excited to get the chance to flex my speaking muscles some more, so I immediately said yes.

And then Evie arrived and everything got nuts and I was a little nervous about committing to something like this with everything going on in my life. Would I be able to put together a compelling, interesting, and HELPFUL presentation? Would the room be engaged? I was NERVOUS.

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I worked for a while on putting together a Prezi (so much more visually appealing than PowerPoint) that I thought was a good mix of information, quotes, funny jokes, a video, and got to work sharing my own experiences of how social media boosted my blog from a little known hobby site, to a full blown blog that sees over 3K views a day.

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Tara, the president of AWP DC, gave me the warmest welcome and nicest introduction. And off I went!

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I had taken the time to write out everything I wanted to say, but once I got up there, I decided to just ditch my notes and TALK. Talk about my experiences, attempt to engage the room, and ask them about their own experience with their company and social media.

I had a BLAST. And my insanely amazing wedding coordinator, Alesha, filmed the WHOLE thing for me on Periscope. And we had 75 people tune in total (25 started live). If you want to watch the video (not the best quality, sorry!) you can here:

Otherwise, I am going to be breaking down the Top 5 Tips for Boosting Your Business with Social Media over the next few weeks on the blog :) So be on the lookout for those!

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AND if you or someone you know is looking for speakers for an event, I would love to throw my name in the hat. I had a blast (as evidenced by the picture above) and can really speak to a wide range of topics, as I’ve learned A TON being a blogger, wedding vendor, and business owner, (and now a #momprenuer too!) over these past 4+ years since starting Capitol Romance. So give me a ring!

That view though …. love this damn city! Have a FANTASTIC weekend Romancers. And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Christine & Richard’s Vintage, Quintessential Washington DC Wedding at the Hay Adams

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Images: Mike Morby Photography

Sometimes the name of the game is simplicity. Christine & Richard captured this perfectly with their stunning, quintessential DC wedding at the Hay Adams Hotel. Now, while the details (and venue) of this wedding are not ones traditionally found on my blog, I couldn’t help but be drawn to how the couple so perfectly executed the vintage DC wedding vibe. These details are classic. The simple white flowers with greenery, the black lace bridesmaids dresses, and the groomsmen in tuxes. It’s quintessential DC and it’s still gorgeous, if not overly offbeat. I still think you guys will enjoy the beauty and the love story in this real DC wedding feature. Enjoy.


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With vintage-inspired wedding invitations; an antique phonograph playing classic Cole Porter music; a rehearsal dinner at The Tabard Inn with a claw-foot bathtub; ceremony at the historic St John’s Church of the Presidents; and a reception where guests viewed President Obama landing in Marine One during dinner from The Hay-Adams’ balcony, Christine and Richard gave their guests an event to remember.

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Christine first spoke to Richard on Christmas day.  From the moment they met, Christine felt as though they had known each other their whole lives. “From the moment I saw her on our first date, I knew I wanted to marry her,” says Richard.

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He took Christine out to dinner at Il Bucco—a cozy, little Italian restaurant in New York City where they first met and Christine was pursuing her career as a Broadway actor—from there their relationship blossomed. They decided to take the next step and move to DC together. Richard surprised Christine for her birthday with a trip to The Inn At Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, Maryland.  That evening, Richard asked her to go for a moonlit walk on the waterfront to see the sailboats.  “He played Moon River on his IPhone and asked me to dance with him on the dock of the bay while the sun was setting. I was totally swept off my feet,” says Christine.  While they were dancing, Richard asked if she could see a sailboat in the distance and when she turned around he was on one knee with the ring he had been keeping in his coat pocket, asking her to marry him.

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They celebrated a classic Washington wedding on July 18, 2015 with vintage-inspired touches—photos on the balcony of The Hay-Adams, the President’s landing on the lawn of the White House visible in the distance, hanging votive candles, and elegant blush garden roses with floral gardenia foliage running down long tables of their historic venue. At the end of their ceremony, Christine’s father treated each guest to a special glass of vintage port he had been saving for Christine’s wedding day since she was born so all could join in toasting their new life together.

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To bring in a bit of Washingtonian flair, Christine wrapped juniper berries in vintage maps of Washington DC she hand-painted herself with rose colored ribbon. “We knew we wanted to marry each other because we make each other better people,” says Christine.  “I am excited to start a life with the man of my dreams and there is no place I would rather celebrate this special time of my life in than my home, Washington DC.”

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Vendors ~> Photographer: Mike Morby | Venue: The Hay-Adams | Bride’s Gown: Monique L’huillier | Makeup Artist: Matthew Ray Makeup, NYC | Hair:  Elle Alise | Event Coordinator: Whitney Vaillancourt, The Hay-Adams | Cake: Kendall’s Cakes |Florist: The Ociana Group | Caterer: The Hay-Adams

The DIY Wedding Conference: Learn to DIY Your Wedding at an All Day Event in DC

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November 15, 2015 | The DIY Wedding Conference | The Loft at 600F

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You’re invited to the DIY Wedding Conference on November 15th! 

The DIY Wedding Conference is happening in Washington, DC on November 15th at the beautiful Loft at 600F. A hands-on type of wedding show that focuses more on helping couples learn to plan their wedding and create essential parts of their wedding day. At this all day event, you will hear tips and create DIY projects in workshops lead by local wedding experts.

Buy Tickets

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You will be inspired and ready to plan your wedding after hearing from the local business owners highlighted in each session, sharing their expertise and giving you their industry tips and resources. Creatives will get to ask the experts questions and learn budget friendly tips. Tutorials and DIY projects throughout the day will help you decide what elements you want to DIY and personalize at your wedding. Take home your decor and floral design creations!

The conference will feature the follow sessions and workshops:

  • Wedding Planning 101
  • Design Your Wedding Reception Menu
  • Hair and Makeup Tutorial
  • Design and Décor Workshop
  • Floral Design Workshop
  • Wedding Cake and Wine Tasting
  • Check out these rad business owners on the speakers

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The conference is hosted by Monique Smaby, local business owner of Sweet Thymes, she wanted to bring together talented DMV wedding professionals and offer a day for couples to learn, create, and get inspired to plan their wedding. The Loft at 600F will be hosting the conference in their industrial vibe venue that feels just like home.

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Tickets are on sale now! You can register here. Capitol Romance readers get 10% off their tickets using the code ROMANCE at checkout! For more information, check out Sweet Thymes’ website:

*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*

Robert & Samantha’s Gorgeous, Golden Light Lakeside Engagement Pictures in Maryland

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Images: LA Birdie Photography

Here we are, another Monday. I was riding the high of Friday’s blog post ALL weekend. So many awesome Instagram comments and the post has reached over 3,700 on Facebook (which is crazy considering I only have 1500 fans). We’re gearing up for our LAST DIY workshop on Sunday November 8th (come join us! tickets still available) AND tomorrow I am actually speaking at the AWP Monthly Event about bringing greater awareness to your brand/business using social media. I’ll be Periscoping the talk tomorrow night (at around 7:00pm!) so make sure to get on Twitter around that time :)

And now to kick off your week, as usual, let’s start it with some LOVE. We have Rob & Sam’s DREAMY Maryland engagement pictures and love story to share with you! Here we go…

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How they met:

Robert and I are admittedly high school sweethearts, we met when we were 17 because we both participated in a vocational program that required us to travel to another school. We were on the bus for an hour total every day, and we became friends immediately, and have been dating ever since! We have had the opportunity to truly grow together and have been able to support each other through all the changes life has thrown our way.

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The Proposal!

My mother, my sister and I had never been to New York City during the holidays. My mom’s friend was organizing a trip and she asked my sister and I to join her to have a girls trip to see the lights and all the holiday bustle. We spent the day exploring and being touristy, and we decided to finish our trip off at Rockefeller Center to see the tree lit up at night. Fighting through the crowds, I followed my sister to a slightly cleared out section. I looked up and there was Robert, along with my whole family. He was dressed to the nines (he even wore a bow-tie!) got down on one knee and proposed! I said yes and cried, of course. We hugged and everyone near us began to clap and congratulate us. We finished the evening just aimlessly wandering New York City as an engaged couple with all of our loved ones.

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Let’s Get Personal: 1 Crucial Piece of Business Owner Advice from a Stranger

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Image: This Rad Love

Last Friday I had my last wedding rehearsal of 2015! While I was waiting for everyone to arrive, a woman at the venue struck up a conversation with me, asking me if I was there for the tour. I explained that I was a wedding coordinator, and was actually there to rehearse for a wedding I was working tomorrow.

Besides being a terrible business owner and not having business cards on hand (*makes mental note to stuff more cards in ALL my bags & wallet*), we had a great small talk convo (her daughter was planning on getting married at the venue next year) about DC weddings and the venue itself and went our separate ways.

A few minutes later, the woman returned and said, “I hope you don’t mind me giving you some business owner feedback, but I am actually a life coach/mentor by profession and I just thought I would share something with you. When you introduce yourself, give your first AND your last name. Men tend to do this automatically, for some reason, women don’t.”


First, I NEVER say no to free advice. You don’t have to take it, but in this case, what an awesome point this woman made. She explained, if we left our meeting, and all she could remember was my first name, Bree, and she Googled it….how far would she get? Talk about a missed business opportunity. Or if she met someone at a bigger company, like Mary at Macys, and placed a phone call to Macys and they asked which Mary she talked to, they would have no idea which Mary she met without a last name.

Second, damn. I never even thought about it but it was SO true. I almost ALWAYS just introduce myself as only Bree, no last name. Along with never having business cards, I also terribly don’t often mention my business name after I say my name. Why not?! Where did that even start?

Well thanks to this stranger’s sage advice. I can now add this to the short list of big impact changes I’ve made as a business owner this year. Along with no longer saying just, I will now be Bree Ryback, of Capitol Romance, to any new person I meet.

Own it – your name and your business. Why shouldn’t I?

Happy Friday Romancers ~ have a great weekend!

Guest Post: Choosing Your Wedding Party


Image: George Street Photo

We’re back today with another guest post from our bride-to-be blogger, Carolyn.

Choosing your wedding party | By Carolyn Thombs

What things do you need to take into account when you choose those few or many special people for your wedding party? Eenie meenie minny moe! Luckily for me I have 3 sisters, so they obviously made the cut, not just because we are bonded by blood, but because I actually like them! Next was my cousin who is pretty much like my sister in regards to closeness. After that I decided hey! I actually really like Jon’s sister Raquel so I really want her to be a part of this. The hardest part was deciding who of my friends to choose. Just look at recent friends? Only long time friends can be contenders? Who is expecting me to pop the question? Who is the most important to me and really knows me? All of these are questions that went through my head when deciding which friends to choose, after all I did not want to have a 20 person bridal party (not saying it is wrong, just not for me).

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Image: Aimee Custis Photography

The answer came out to be three of my closest buddies, one from childhood, one from high school – college and then my college roomie! They have all been with me through so many different stages and I couldn’t image not having them as a part of my bridal party. I also know all of the ladies I have chosen will help create a fun, yet stress-free wedding day!

In conclusion, when choosing your wedding party think about the different personalities involved and what their effect is on you. Are they your true biddies that always have your best interest at heart? And last but not least do they know how to have a good time?


Image: Stephen Gosling Photography

I hope this helps all of you out there! How did you decide on your bridal party?



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