Vol 3: The Real Life of a Momprenuer – 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.

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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

Anniversary Gift Guide: First Year Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

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We’re talking Anniversary Gifts on the blog today! Thanks to guest blogger, Kara, we’ve got a round-up of rad ideas for your first wedding anniversary gift. Tradition says the gift should be Paper focused (and a Carnation if you’re giving flowers and Mother of Pearl if there is a gemstone involved) but we’re just focusing on the paper aspect today. We’ve got some ideas from local DC vendors and small biz Etsy vendors. Check it out and let us know what we missed!

#1. Custom illustrated family portrait Custom Family Portrait

Get a custom illustrated picture (on paper!) of your family or you and your partner and hang it on your wall. These are TOO CUTE.

#2. City & Neighborhood Prints

You could pick the city you live in, where you got married, or where you visited for your honeymoon, regardless of the place, City Prints makes awesome paper prints of locations. Or, shop local with our girls at Cherry Blossom Creative and get a DC Neighborhood Print. We proudly hang our H Street print at the bottom of our stairs :)

#3. Cute Anniversary Cards

Maybe your gift isn’t paper, but your Anniversary Card certainly can be. We love these anniversary cards from Aisle Always Love (and also their entire shop has great anniversary & wedding gift ideas!).

#4. Letterpress Workshops!

Instead of buying something on paper … how about you and your partner spend your first anniversary MAKING SOMETHING (on paper). Attend one of Typecase Industries’ letterpress workshops and make your own artwork or sign to hang in your home!

#5. Vintage Book Frames

Frame a wedding picture or honeymoon picture or really any other picture in one of these super cool, vintage book turned picture frames from Vintage Book Frame. Especially perfect if you or your partner is a book worm!

Guest Post: Post Break-Up Reflection, Two Months Later


Image: This Rad Love

We’re back today with a follow-on, update post to Laura’s raw, personal account of still living with someone you’ve broken up with and the 3 things she learned from going through it. I can’t thank her enough for being so awesome and letting us re-share her story here. I hope posts like this are helpful to my readers that aren’t yet in the engagement or wedding planning stage of their lives. And I’d like to continually remind you all out there that if you have your own experience, whether it’s about being single & reading wedding blogs, or struggles with a relationship, or success stories of wedding planning or really ANYTHING along those lines, I’d love to share it here. There is sooooo much more that goes into a healthy, committed relationship, above the wedding that, that I’d really like to share more about that end of things too! But back to Laura for today :)

Follow-Up | By Laura with The Sobriety Collective

It’s almost been two months since I wrote my heart’s contents.   I’ve had, and god, it sounds so cliché, but a roller-coaster of emotional ups and downs.  Crying, oh the crying.  And then happy days.  And then some that were definitely in between, sort of a bittersweet seesaw.  We moved out of our shared place and helped each other into our new spaces.  We’ve talked every day; seen each other a few times.  I wish there was a(n ironic) listicle for this kind of a relationship; Top Ten Ways to Navigate a Romantic Relationship Turned Friendship Without Having to Buy Stock in Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix.  That kind of thing.  Because I feel like a pioneer, at least in my own life.  I’ve never had a breakup go this, well, WELL.  There is no hatred or resentment; no slung insults or screaming matches.  We still care deeply about each other.  But we’re learning new boundaries now.  How to stay friends while respecting a) our past relationship, b) our future relationships, and c) ourselves.

It’s not easy.  But it’s so totally worth it.

Kristen & Dale’s DIY, Rustic Virginia Wedding at the Barns at Wolftrap

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Images: Kathleen Hertel Photography

So normally I would be insanely excited about the impending snow storm. I love snow and it will be Evie’s FIRST snow. But 7-10 inches sounds a bit crazy (we know DC can’t handle 2 inches) and Andy is headed out of town so being snowed in, alone, with Evie sounds a bit intimidating. Here’s hoping we just get a few pretty inches! In the meantime, we have a GORGEOUS DIY wedding to share with you today – one that our girl Alesha coordinated oh-so-perfectly. Kristen & Dale’s wedding was so full of love, community, and handmade goodness. You guys are going to love it. Let’s get to it.

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How we met: Dale and I met in middle school! We were both in a middle school production of Annie, I played Annie, Dale played the butler Drake! We didn’t really become close friends until later on in high school, and we started dating my senior year. We are high school sweethearts!

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How he proposed:I had just finished up an Indiegogo campaign to help fund my life coach training and certification, and to celebrate this big next step, Dale took me out to dinner. That night there was a super moon, and after dinner we stopped to star gaze and look at the giant moon in the sky, and he proposed right then and there. We got engaged over the summer and had a trip to Disney World planned in October – and I thought for sure it was gonna happen in Florida later that Fall! When he pulled out the ring, he said, “I know you’re probably expecting this a little later – but it’s happening now!” We took another big step forward that night :)

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Our close friends sang, played cello, read, and officiated our ceremony we created ourselves, my Uncle designed our flowers and my brother helped bring it all together, and my brother’s girlfriend hand-painted a number of beautiful signs that were all over the Barns. It meant so much to us that our incredibly talented and creative community shared their gifts with us! It made the day even more special.

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Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck: “Easy to Love” by Ivan & Alyosha

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Happy Monday Romancers. We’re couch surfing today as I have the day off from the day-job, trying to catch up on some relaxing after a whirlwind weekend of TRAVEL. We were in NJ Thursday to Saturday. Connecticut for the day on Saturday and then the long drive back to DC yesterday. HELLOW CAR RIDES. It’ll be nice to have the “short” work week but Andy leaves me Wednesday for a little less than a week to go work Sundance Film Festival. Let’s not even talk about how jealous I am that he’s headed to Sundance!! For today just a light wedding music that doesn’t suck post (it’s been FOREVER since I did one of these! eep!).

We’ve got Ivan & Alyosha’s “Easy to Love” – a perfect little indie rock song that would make a gorgeous first dance song, or ceremony music option. Have a great week Romancers!

The sky turns black
We know it will from time to time
And we’ve been through that
And we came out on top because
You’re really easy to love

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