Capitol Advice: Tips & Advice for Planning a Wedding with Divorced Parents

photography by anna clark

Image: Photography by Anna Clark

Let me start off by saying that I don’t have divorced parents, so I cannot really speak from first hand knowledge on this wedding advice post. I have, however, been a wedding coordinator for many couples that have divorced parents and have family members with spouses that have divorced parents, so while it isn’t directly affecting me, it’s something I felt compelled to write about.

I felt compelled to write about this because I thought some of my past clients could help other engaged couples navigate the somewhat tricky territory of planning a wedding with divorced parents. And let’s be honest, a lot of these pieces of advice are useful for dealing with family members and wedding planning in general (listen! be patient! be communicative! etc).

As always, I have to thank my amazing readers and Facebook Fans that came out in droves with responses to my call for help on writing this piece. You guys are rockstars. So here goes…

Tips & Advice for Planning a Wedding with Divorced Parents

To make this a bit easier, I thought I would break it down into a few sections with different topics. Within each topic are advice and experiences from REAL couples in the DC area that planned a wedding with divorced parents.

“Quickly we learned that we weren’t going to please everyone and that at some point I was going to be the middle man to hear the concerns from both sides. I always tried to have understanding in the back of my mind.” – a recent Groom

#1. Consider Foregoing Traditions

ben and sophia photography

Image: Ben & Sophia Photography

Certain wedding traditions can make for awkward situations when you have divorced parents. The father-bride dance, who walks who down the aisle, the “parents table”, and so on. To help alleviate potential stress or hurt feelings here, consider foregoing any of these traditions and just doing ones that make sense for you.

“I had always loved the idea of incorporating photos from parents’ and grandparents’ weddings into the decor. However, we decided to nix this idea in order to avoid any awkwardness. As for logistics — the groom’s dad walked his wife (groom’s step mom) down the aisle and the groom’s Stepdad walked the groom’s mom down the aisle during the processional. We made sure to list both sets of parents in the program & mention them in all speeches.”

“If certain traditions are not important to you, and make it easier – skip them!  We skipped announcing the parents when we entered the reception and did the bridal party only because we didn’t want to worry about order, name announcing, etc.”

#2. Take Seating Arrangements into Consideration

Love Life Images

Image: Love Life Images

Even adults need space sometimes and even the simple act of seating divorced parents with a “buffer” could help during the reception.

“We were originally going to have a “Parents Table” but we ultimately decided to have each set of parents (both of the groom’s parents are remarried) sit at their own table, surrounded by extended family/friends. We put my parents in the middle table – between the groom’s parents – as an extra buffer to avoid unnecessary drama.”



Image: Sarah Gormley Photography

Listening is one of those things that is crucial to wedding planning no matter the status of your parents. This is important for dealing with vendors, your soon to be spouse, your friends, your wedding party AND your parents.

“Listen to their concerns. Listen to their ideas. Listen to them vent about the other side. I think I realized that the majority of the time, they just wanted to be heard. Make some of your ideas their own if they really have to have a say. We didn’t realize until way too late that one parent wanted to have something to call their own – the ability to say “I planned that part of their wedding, wasn’t it great?” It would’ve been a lot easier if we had talked about it with both sides early on, so that we wouldn’t have been so caught off guard.”

#4. Plan Ahead & Communicate

lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012)

Image: Sarah Bradshaw Photography

Again, another one that fits universally for wedding planning advice – the earlier you and your spouse can sit down and be on the same page with regards to a “plan”, the better. As a recent groom explained, planning helped to limit surprised and possible hurt feelings.

“Planning helps a lot. It helps to limit surprise interactions and possible hurt feelings. We knew where each parent would sit, how they would be introduced, and the order of family photos among other things. When either side would try to insert themselves differently, we could fall back to “the wedding plan.” Talk to each parent early on in the process to find out their expectations. Be prepared with your plan, but also listen to what they had been thinking, and try to incorporate at least a little of that into your plan.”

Another recent bride in the area found an ally in her brother and found help with talking to him ahead of time to help her guide conversations with her parents.

“Anyway, finding an ally in a sibling is helpful! And framing the conversation to be about family (meeting the new family, reconnecting with other family members) outlines the importance of the wedding weekend: it is not just a party, it is about a life commitment and joining families together.”

And in the end, remember that though it can be stressful and difficult at times, the end goal is marrying the love of your life!

Almost all the couples I talked to mentioned that while it wasn’t easy to plan a wedding with divorced parents, in the end, everyone was happy and enjoyed themselves on the wedding day.

“It seems like the end of the world at the time, but in the end, that is not the part they are going to remember.  We had our share of issues, and when I think back to our wedding, all I really remember are the happy parts…”

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Kate & Patrick’s Quintessential Washington DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

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Images: Michael Munoz Photography

I‘m not going to lie, it was Kate’s perfect black & White striped dress that first caught my eye with this engagement session. Coupled with Michael Munoz Photography’s beautiful images and SO many smiles, I thought this would make a perfect DC engagement session feature.

This week is a busy one with our first 2015 Fuel DC event on Tuesday and my finally getting to go to a “The Hour” Gluten Free Happy Hour on Wednesday, so I was happy to have some time this past weekend to catch up on emails and mostly relax. Andy spent the weekend hard at work trying to finish the office floors & starting our bedroom floors (which now has us temporarily sleeping in the #CapRoHQ office) AND two of our good friends got engaged Saturday night AND I watched Harry Potter 7 (Parts 1 and 2) this weekend. so all in all, a great weekend.

So let’s get Kate & Patrick to help us kick off the week!

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How they met:

Kate and Patrick first met on a sunny summer day in our nation’s capital. It was Kate’s second day of work at a local university. She stopped for coffee in the student center café when Patrick walked through the door wearing mesh shorts, earbuds and a backward baseball cap- most likely Yankees. A co-worker introduced them and Kate learned that Patrick also worked at the university, was training for a half marathon and shared her affinity for television science fiction dramas. Kate thought Patrick was handsome and charming. Patrick thought Kate had a beautiful smile.

After seeing her during several summer orientation sessions and campus projects, Patrick sent Kate a riddle that led her to their first date at the National Zoo. A few dates later- including a choose-your-own-adventure date, an epic eight-hour date, most of the Smithsonian museums and gelato on the Waterfront, Patrick knew he found the one!

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The proposal story:

Patrick selected the engagement ring on his birthday. He wanted to remember the moment when he found the perfect one and he knew Kate wouldn’t suspect he was shopping for her that day. Although he had been plotting elaborate proposal schemes, including a fake fall during a run downtown, Patrick decided to pop the question at one of the couple’s favorite places– Georgetown Waterfront Park. The couple held their engagement photo session at the same location. “Kate and Patrick told me that their favorite D.C. locations were in the old part of town, including some contemporary locations along Georgetown Waterfront Park and some archetypal locations such as the old Aqueduct Bridge.

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Kate and Patrick are set to tie the knot on June 21, 2014 in downtown D.C.

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Capitol Inspiration: DIY Alternative Snow Inspired Bridal Shoot

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Images: Amber Wilkie Photography

It was the first real snow fall in the DC area a few weeks ago (before our bigger storm this past week) and an impromtu shoot formed over Facebook for some local DC wedding vendors to get together and have some fun. Once I saw the result, I knew I had to share it here. I love the contrast between the snow and the darker, glam styled models. Plus that vintage candelabra is everything. Happy Friday Romancers, stay warm!!

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More from the shoot coordinator, Simply Breathe Events:

During our first “snow” of the year in the DMV, Amber Wilkie Photography reached out via Facebook to coordinate a last minute styled shoot. Although we all thought she was joking at first (even herself), a bunch of really cool vendors stepped in at the opportunity and I’m sure Amber never would have expected for it to come out as awesome as it did!

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Nothing was purchased for this shoot! Everything was selected from past photo shoots, or knick knacks from around our homes. That’s what made everything that much more eclectic and “vintage-glam”. The dark features of the shoot were completely unplanned. When Liz from Studio DBI offered her amazingly cool candelabra and the black candles, we knew we had to run with it.To achieve this look on your own, get ready to be adventurous. Think outside of the box! Shop at vintage and thrift stores. Anything goes!

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Click inside for the rest of this fun, dramatic snow filled bridal inspiration shoot!

Vendor Spotlight: Just For The Day Wedding Coordination with Jasmine Smith

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JFD Wedding Logo

Sometimes you meet people and its uncanny how many similarities you have with them right off the bat. This is exactly what happened when I started emailing with Jasmine, owner of Just for the Day, a DC-based wedding coordination business. Jasmine started her wedding business on the side while working a full-time consulting job (like me!), runs an awesome side business that helps small business owners on PR & marketing (like me!), and is focused mainly on providing coordination services over full wedding planning to her clients. I am so excited to get to share more with you guys today about Jasmine & Just For The Day Weddings – and if you are in need of a wedding coordinator, please check her out!

Noel Guestbook table Punam Bean Photography

First, a bit more about Jasmine:

Jasmine is the owner of Just For the Day (JFD), a D.C. based day of wedding coordinating business. JFD works primarily with DIY couples who enjoy the planning process but need help pulling it all 2015-02-18_0002together and seeing all of the couples plans through on the wedding day. Jasmine has an extensive event management  background that includes producing televised events and exclusive high profile award shows. She has coordinated weddings all around the D.C. metro area for the past eight years and lives for making things  happen! Follow Just For the Day on Twitter or Instagram!

 Second, here’s a bit about her ideal clients:

A couple that has enjoyed wedding planning but wants to make sure all of the loose ends are tightened and  that the wedding day goes according to plan perfectly (yes, I said perfect). And if something comes up  unexpectedly, they don’t worry but defer to our team.

How her booking schedule works:

We’ve had couples to book us as early as 1 year out and as late as 1 month before the wedding. Either way,  we can make it work.

Her wedding coordination experience:

We’ve coordinated weddings at hotels, private homes, county properties, parks, and international banquet halls. (Check out one of her weddings featured on United with Love!)

We help our clients build out their day of timeline, coordinate the wedding rehearsal, arrive a few hours before the wedding to ensure the vendors have arrived and oversee set up, manage the wedding ceremony and reception, and make sure the reception flows nicely. Occasionally, we will help with special decor needs like laying out the place cards and wedding favors, setting out centerpieces, and hanging paper flower pomanders.

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Remember, although most wedding venues have coordinators, their coordinators are responsible for the venue (planning and logistics). A day-of coordinator, is there to be responsible for the wedding party, guests, the actually wedding and reception coordination (we cue the music and tell folks when to walk) and we ensure the wedding vendors adhere to their contractual and service obligations.

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So if you are in need of a day-of wedding coordinator, be sure to consider Jasmine with Just for the Day Weddings!

*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*

Learn How To Make Your Own DIY Personalized, Custom Canvas Print


March 8th | DIY Custom Canvas Prints Workshop | 2pm to 4pm

Buy Tickets

It’s finally here! The very first DIY #CapRoWorkshop of 2015 is officially launched and tickets are on sale now. I am SO pumped to welcome back DIY Maven Jenn Heller of Ribbons & Bluebirds to host the first DIY Workshop of 2015. Last year Jenn closed out our workshops with a fabulous DIY Watercolors Workshop and this year she is tackling custom canvas art!

As I mentioned before, this year we will be offering workshops and projects that are a bit expanded outside of just the wedding world – however, we will still ensure that each project could be used in a wedding too! At our first workshop, Jenn will be teaching attendees how to create a custom canvas print using paint, negative space blocking & some pre-printed icons.


Your personalized canvas print is completely versatile and can be made for a multitude of functions. Here are some of the ideas that Jenn came up with:

A DIY Wedding Guest Book (your guests could sign this at your wedding and then you could hang it in your home):


DIY Chair Back Signs:


DIY Art for Your Office:


or An Adorable Custom Canvas Print for your Nursery:


We are so excited to be hosting the workshops this year at The Hill Center at Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill! There is PLENTY of free street parking and it’s metro accessible through Eastern Market metro stop. As with last year’s DIY Workshops, ticket prices will include all materials you need to create the craft, beverages & snacks from local DC sponsors, and an edible favor! We will have just 8 early bird tickets available for this workshop at $25 a piece and the remaining tickets will be $35.

For more information, please visit the event website! I hope to see you there at our first DIY Workshop of 2015!!

Cait & Bill’s Black & Gold, Washington DC Wedding at Carnegie Institution for Science

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Images: Stephen Gosling Photography

You might remember this super adorable couple from their chilly (how appropriate for today) DC engagement pictures. Cait & Bill have some killer style & a love for DC and both of those things were SO apparent in their gorgeous DC wedding. I LOVE their gold & black color palette (with a hint of vintage, art deco flair) and how all their details came together. Cait & Bill are a self proclaimed casual couple, and they really wanted their wedding to be a reflection of them (well you all know how I feel about that).

They shared, “Our goal was for family and friends to feel like they were at a party or dinner at our place (in this case a really special party!). This was our approach to the whole wedding, and it extended from the large details (getting married by our closest friend) to the small ones (the bar selection). It may have felt like a fancier dinner at our place with a lot more people, but in the end, the wedding was a reflection of us and our relationship.”

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On their wedding venue, the Carnegie Institution for Science:

The Carnegie Institution for Science was one of wedding planning’s easiest decisions. We knew from our first tour that it was the place we wanted to be married–it’s so beautiful without being overdone. Honestly, we didn’t look anywhere else. I liked the idea of having separate rooms for the ceremony, dinner, and reception, but at the same time the venue flows together seamlessly. I have to mention how working with Becky was the cherry on top of the whole experience at the Carnegie. She’s the absolute best.

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The Carnegie is so classic that you don’t need to go over the top with color or decor. I felt like we could do a lot with black and gold, and it made DIYs especially easy for color selection. If you ask Bill, the colors are because black and gold are his elementary school colors, and he’s a nostalgic guy. Go Brookside Bulldogs!

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Bill purchased my engagement ring from the local jeweler at home where my step-dad purchased my mom’s. When it came time to purchase our bands, it was no question that we would get them from Finkle’s. I love the tradition of it.

What made our wedding so special to us was the involvement of our family and friends. From our invites that were beautifully addressed by our friend Kathryn to the beer that was crafted by close friends, very few details weren’t touched by someone we loved.

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Love this sequence of the first look!!

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Click inside for SO MUCH more of Cait & Bill’s adorable black & gold DC wedding – including a look at our DIY Chalkboard Signs workshop working in real life!!

DIY Video Makeup Lipstick Tutorial: Get the Perfect Valentine’s Day Pout

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Guys! GUYS! I am SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED to get to share one of our newest collaborations for 2015: DIY Makeup Tutorial Videos with The Makeup Chic, Suzanne Eden (created by CreativeIdeation). And we are launching the series with a perfectly timed DIY lipstick tutorial to get that perfect red pout for Valentine’s Day. Up your x-factor for your dinner plans or paint a bold pink for a night on the town with the girls using our DIY Video Tutorial: How to Get The Perfect Pout for Valentine’s Day, below. Check it out!!!

Makeup & Tools you will need:

materials needed

Now let’s learn how to get that gorgeous Valentine’s Day Pout! This innovative mix of pink and red will create the perfect Valentine lip for all skin tones and coloring. Use the step by step instructions here or watch the DIY makeup tutorial video!

Step by step instructions:

  1. Identify best shade of red for your coloring. I used a universally flattering shade of red called, Scarlett that everyone should have on hand. I call it my party lip!
  2. Apply Lip Stain to lips and let dry (30 seconds).
  3. Swipe Delux lip brush in red lipstick.
  4. Apply red lipstick to lips using Delux lip brush. *(Start on bottom mid-lip and working your way out to both sides. Start on top mid lip working your way out to both sides.)
  5. Swipe Small Precision Brush in the red lipstick.
  6. Line the out-line of lips using Small Precision Brush.
  7. Lightly line lips with red liner to seal the deal.
  8. Blow kisses!

DIY Makeup Tutorial Video:

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers from The Makeup Chic:

Why a lip stain first?

The beauty of wearing a lip stain under your favorite red lip allows you to eat, drink, and be merry without losing your perfectly puckered pout! And Wearing a pink lip stain under your red lipstick adds a unique and subtle layer of pop to your lips!

How can I clean up a my lips if they start to smudge and smear?

The best way that I’ve found to clean up an uneven pout is by using a baby wipe and a precision ended Q-tip. Cover one end of the Q-tip with a baby wipe and gently clean up by swiping the out-line of your lips. Re-line your lips if needed and you are ready for a Valentine’s night out!

A very special thanks again to the amazing Makeup Chic, Suzanne Eden & CreativeIdeation for making this DIY makeup tutorial video happen!

Capitol Inspiration: A Valentine’s Day Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot

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Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Andy and I usually celebrate the anniversary of when we first started dating (12 years ago! OMG!) by ditching the packed & over-priced restaurants with some pizza from &Pizza and pie from Dangerously Delicious pies. We will be joined this year by my parents – making it extra romantic ;) (I kid I kid!). I leave you today with some GORGEOUS Valentine’s Day Wedding Inspiration from Intrigue Designs & Natalie Franke Photography AND some link love. Hope you guys have a fantastic weekend!

Abby Grace Photography shares the 411 on buying sparklers and executing a proper sparkler exit

Pretty Entertaining shares a round-up of Temporary Tattoo Wedding Favors

December isn’t the only month/holiday where you can send your vendor friends some love & promote your business, Skelber Design shares some offbeat holidays you could send a card out on. (Love these!)

Don’t forget! The first Fuel DC event of 2015 is on the 24th of Feb and tickets are on sale now! Learn how to up your social media game by taking better, styled pictures on your phone.

The Say I Do & Out RVA Virginia Wedding Giveaway winners have been announced! Check them out.

And now we bring you the LOVE.

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Photography: Natalie Franke | Styling & Design: Sara Metzger | Hair & Makeup: Behind the Veil, LLC | Florist: Intrigue Designs | Paper: Sara Metzger | Dress: Bagdley Mischka from Rent the Runway | Cake: Hanna Zimmer | Necklace: JCrew | Models: Caitlin Kellagher & Caleb Holt

Introducing: Winter Floral Workshops with Petal’s Edge

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Introducing: Winter Floral Workshops with Petal’s Edge


Join Petal’s Edge Floral Design for 3 different floral workshops happening over the next few weeks (with the first on Monday, Feb 16th!). Workshops will include Sugar Shack doughnuts, refreshments, and music! Don’t miss out on any of these fabulous workshop topics, you can reserve your spot by email or phone (703-518-8488 or!

Here are the details on each workshop AND be sure to ask about a deal on purchasing tickets to ALL THREE when inquiring!

TERRARIUM WORKSHOP | Monday, February 16th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

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Create your own miniature eco system to liven up your space during the cold winter months with our Terrarium Workshop! In this first edition of our series of three Winter Workshops, we’ll instruct you on how to build living, breathing, plantscapes in a class that combines science with clean, green, and chic. Whether you love sleek, modern lines with a minimalist edge, English garden charm, or fairy garden fancifulness, you’ll find plants, containers, and a variety of terrarium décor to suit your style.

With all materials provided, participants will be able to choose from a selection of small containers (One per student, with the option of bringing an additional container from home.) and choose from an array of either moisture-loving or succulent (dry-weather) plants, as well as small adornment elements like shells or stones to populate their terrariums. Participants will then be instructed on how to prepare materials for, built, and care for their terrariums. Participants can enjoy wine and other beverages, hors-d’oeuvres, and music to get their creative juices flowing!

Adults: $50.oo | Students and Seniors: $42.oo

DESIGN 101 WORKSHOP | Monday, March 2nd from 5:00pm to 8:00pm

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Thinking of picking up a new hobby? This workshop is sure to be a wonderfully informative way to familiarize yourself with all the basics of floral design. Through combining the of basic principles of design with the tools and mediums of floral arranging, participants will learn a variety of techniques based on vase, foam, and in-hand arranging. Participants will be able to take their arrangements home for their own enjoyment, though they also make perfect gifts!

With all materials included, the participants can choose from a selection of containers and flowers for their arrangements and can also bring a favorite vase or container from home. The price of this workshop includes a supply bag containing a few floral design essentials. Participants can enjoy refreshments and music to get their creative juices flowing!

Adults: $95.oo | Students and Seniors: $85.oo | Children*: $48.oo (*Must be accompanied by an adult)

FLOWER CROWN WORKSHOP | Monday, March 16th from 6:30PM to 8:30PM

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Learn how to create effortlessly beautiful wearable works of art with this fun workshop! Learn the basics of flower wiring, an invaluable skill in floral design, while creating a stunning crown in the process! Flower headpieces are incredibly popular in lieu of a bouquet or a corsage for your wedding, prom, or other honorary occasion and are sure to turn heads with their breathtaking whimsy and natural elegance. They also a make a wonderful treat for the little princess in your life, no special occasion needed!

With all materials provided, participants will learn how to properly wire flowers and greenery to create their own flower crowns. Information on the best flower types, as well as what flower types to avoid will also be provided. . Participants can enjoy refreshments and music to get their creative juices flowing!

Adults: $35.oo | Students and Seniors: $30.oo | Children*: $15.oo (*Must be accompanied by an adult)


*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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