Let’s Get Personal: The Importance of Thinking Local & the DC Wedding Industry

When I started to think about what 2014 would look like for Capitol Romance, I tried to focus on my differentiators. What makes me different from other wedding blogs in and outside of DC; why would someone continue to read my blog over others? My mission is simple but too easily overlapped by other blogs and so I did a bit of soul searching to try and find my special sauce. I thought, if I could find this thing and really focus on it, then Capitol Romance could really thrive and grow in 2014.

Let’s Get Personal: The Importance of Thinking Local (and How it Pertains to the Wedding Industry)

offbeat alternative dc wedding blog

I heard a few rumblings of it with my 2013 clients, but it was my 2014 clients that REALLY started to utter the same phrase over and over. We want our wedding to be “local”; we want “local” vendors; we want our DC wedding to have a “local” feel. There it was, my special sauce – thinking (and focusing on) local! This was something I had started from the first week of blogging (if you saw my #1 blogging tip article, then you saw my editorial calendar which had “Local Finds” as one of my initial blog topics) and something that I always internally focused on – I just didn’t really make it so widely known here, or associate it strongly with my business.

But that is changing.

Thinking locally is important to me, both as a citizen of Washington, DC AND as a small business owner. I believe that our city and the people in it, only have good things to gain if we all focus locally on the people, places, and things that live, work, and create here. I believe this SO much that I recently applied to be a part of Think Local First DC – an entire organization that is dedicated to driving sustainable economic development in DC through working with independent businesses, consumers, and policymakers.

Yes We're Local

I was THRILLED to be accepted (see my handy Made in DC Certified Local stamp of approval on my sidebar) and this organization has already opened me up to a world of other businesses that could help Capitol Romance and my readers. Through Think Local First DC I found some of my sponsors for my upcoming DIY wedding workshops and I was also connected to the DC MEETMarket & Fenton Street Market (2 places that would be a GREAT stop to find local wedding vendors) and currently drool over Trohv.

So how am I living the local pledge? Well, for starters I’ll be at opening day of the DC MEETMarket on April 5th to promote my workshops and the awesome vendors & sponsors that are making them possible. Please stop on by and check us out, as well as all the other amazing vendors that will be participating:

DC local market wedding vendors

I’m also teaming up with the ladies behind Fenton Street Market to help them with their launch of Indie Bridal Party - a wedding show that exclusively focuses on local DC area wedding vendors! It’s on April 17th at the Darlington House – and you should DEF go to this too! We’ll be on hand to facilitate a DIY crafting station and showcase our DIY wedding workshops a bit more (are you sensing a theme here?).

indie bridal party logo

So this will be one of my main 2014 business goals – to truly focus Capitol Romance and the DC wedding industry on “thinking local”. I’ll be doing this through the blog and outside of the blog (ya know, in real life), attending events and workshops, meeting other small business owners, shopping local, eating local, promoting local to my clients and even taking the scary step of hosting my own workshops to further connect engaged couples with amazing local wedding vendors.

Main DIY Workshop Header

We’ll see how this goes :)

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Dori & Geoff’s Intimate DC War Memorial Wedding in Washington, DC

This intimate Washington, DC wedding at the DC War Memorial is the PERFECT example of how, just because you are having a small, low-key wedding, doesn’t mean you have to skimp on details! Dori & Geoff had a TON of awesome details in their DC wedding – a custom wedding dress, an intimate ceremony performed by the groom’s uncle and the coolest crest that they had a graphic designer create that represented their union. They used the crest on paper products and decor throughout the wedding and reception and the result was SO awesome! Check out their entire wedding from Love Life Images below.

Dori & Geoff’s Intimate, Modern DC Wedding at the DC War Memorial & Hanks Oyster Bar

intimate modern Washington DC wedding

Vendors:

Photographer: Love Life Images | Ceremony Location: DC War Memorial | Reception Location: Hank’s Oyster Bar | Wedding Coordinator: Events by Sofia | Bride’s Dress: Original design by Coren Moore | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Makeup Artist: Jan Scott | Groom’s Tux: Bonobos | Florist: Jackie Kanatzar | Cupcakes: Baked and Wired | Transportation: Corporate Chauffeured Services | Officiant: Groom’s Uncle | Ceremony Music: Pamela Ferguson | Invitations: Hannah Learner, Illustrator and Caroline Friedman at Paper Becomes You.

Love Life Images adorable ring bearers

We both wanted a small, intimate, family gathering. Geoff’s uncle is performing the ceremony. We also wanted the dinner to be relaxed and a lot of fun.

intimate modern Washington DC wedding intimate modern Washington DC wedding ceremony DC war memorial

The ring bearer is the Bride’s nephew and godson. Geoff’s goddaughter, Charlotte is our flower girl and my godson, Henry is the ring bearer; both of these kiddos are very special to us.

intimate modern Washington DC wedding ceremony DC war memorial intimate modern Washington DC wedding ceremony DC war memorial

Click inside for the rest of Dori & Geoff’s intimate Washington DC wedding!

Capitol Advice: The Number One Tip for Blogging

I’ve been asked a few times how the heck I manage to blog (almost) every day. People give me credit or say “I don’t know how you do it” or complain that they hate blogging. I’ve even had someone ask me to blog for them! I can’t say that I am an expert blogger, but I have learned a few things that have worked for me since starting Capitol Romance in 2011 and I figured it couldn’t hurt to share my #1 tip. It’s so easy and simple and honestly I did it without even thinking twice back in 2011. Are you ready for it?

Capitol Advice: The Number One Tip for Blogging

offbeat dc wedding blog

Create an editorial calendar.

That’s it – I’m serious, it’s that simple. And you don’t even need anything fancy! Mine is in Google Docs (excel!) and literally just has the days of the week across the top and the beginning date of the week on the left. When I first started blogging I gave each day of the week a topic, so that I could plan out a few weeks in advance, what I would blog about. Mondays used to be “Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck” days, Tuesdays were Local Finds & Venues, Wednesdays were DIY, Thursdays were Real Capitol Weddings, and Fridays were Vendor Spotlights.

I don’t keep to that topic per day structure anymore (based on submissions, a lack of music song suggestions, and the work that goes into vendor spotlights and venue posts), but funny enough, they still sit at the top of the calendar days in my editorial calendar. Proof? Here’s a screen shot of my editorial calendar – from the very first few months that I ever blogged!

Editorial Calendar

I probably plan posts out anywhere from 1-3+ weeks in advance, but nothing is ever concrete. Sometimes I am awaiting details from a photographer or other times a giveaway pops in my inbox that shifts my schedule around, but at any rate, when I get an idea or a submission in my inbox, I go right to my editorial calendar and plan a date to blog about the topic.

I cannot express how easy this single document makes my life. It keeps me organized and is literally the #1 thing that makes blogging easier for me. If you are just starting out, and you don’t have content coming in like I do, then try to blog just 2-3 days a week and have some generic topics for each of your blogging days. It can be simple: inspirational quotes Monday, what I am wearing Tuesday, vendors who inspire me Wednesday …. and so on and so forth!

I hope this tip helps you guys like it helped (and continues to help me!). Now go get blogging!

 

 

DC LGBT Wedding Show: Say I Do! is Back in DC on June 1st

Romancers! Save the date for one of our favorite DC wedding shows, Say I Do!. We’ve been so fortunate to be involved with this amazing show in previous years and are excited to be involved again this year. Say I Do! returns to DC this year on June 1st at the Hotel Palomar in Dupont Circle. We’ll have a ticket giveaway happening in the next few weeks, but for now, check out their website and Facebook page and look for more here on ways to interact with DC’s best LGBT-wedding expo.

say i do

The Best Nontraditional & Nonreligious Wedding Ceremony Readings

Trying to Google “non-religious wedding readings” or “alternative wedding readings” brings you to a BUNCH of different websites, with no real, concise display of options. A million years ago I did this search myself, and landed on a SUPER LONG thread over on Offbeat Bride - but I just knew there had to be an easier way (or place) to list these. So when my co-worker asked me last week for some suggestions on nonreligious and alternative wedding readings, I knew just where to go – Facebook. Thanks to my amazing fans, I have a GREAT roundup of alternative wedding readings from literature, poems, songs, movies, and MORE. Check out the list we have (and leave us comments to continue adding to this post!).

The Best Nontraditional & Nonreligious Wedding Ceremony Readings

offbeat alternative wedding readings

[Anne & Jessica’s Summer Garden Wedding by Photo Lady Love]

 

From Literature:

William Shakespeare: Sonnet 116

The Irrational Season By Madeleine L’Engle

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton

To Love Is Not To Possess by James Kavanaugh

Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

To Keep Your Marriage Brimming – Ogden Nash

From Poetry:

On Friendship by Roy Croft

How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog by Taylor Mali

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

I’ll Always Belong to Myself by Rex X

The Master Speed by Robert Frost (originally written by him for his own daughter’s wedding!)

From Quotes:

Love Is… by Captain Corellis Mandolin

Instructions For Life In The New Millennium – by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

From Movies:

I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness, to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed, and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree about red velvet cake, to live within the warmth of your heart, and always call it home – from THE VOW

 

Ok  – keep adding! What did I miss!?


Christine & Phillip’s Spring DIY Wedding at Top of the Town in Arlington, VA

This Spring Northern Virginia wedding at Top of the Town is REALLY getting me in the mood for pastel colors and sunshine. I LOVE the mix of teal and pink in their color design and the couple kept things eclectic with a mix of understated vintage details. Plus they did their first dance to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song – how awesome is that? Check out Christine & Phillip’s DIY Spring Wedding feature. Thanks to Kirsten Marie Photography for submitting this one to us – a perfect Spring wedding to celebrate the first day of Spring!

Christine & Phillip’s DIY Spring Northern Virginia Wedding at Top of the Town

vintage spring wedding dress northern virginia

Photographer:  Kirsten Marie Photography | Cake Designer: Dama Pastry | Invitation Designer: Mayla Studios | Floral Designer: MelleFleur | Reception Venue: Top of the Town | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

teal bride heels pink bouquet washington dc wedding invitations

We included pastel colors everywhere to deliver a vintage kaleidoscope effect , an eclectic mix of glassware for the fingers to touch, which we’ve also recently noticed to be popular in trendy speakeasies, and pink up lighting that bridged classic ambiance with views of a global city.

vintage spring wedding dress northern virginia simple bridal hairstyle 2014 vintage spring wedding dress northern virginiavintage spring Northern Virginia wedding

Click inside for SO MUCH more from Christine & Phillip’s Spring DIY wedding at Top of the Town

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a DIY Ring Bearer Pillow

Happy DIY Wednesday Romancers! I am in a fog of lack of sleep after a bachelorette party weekend in AC and then a quick 2 day trip to Florida to visit Andy’s grandpa. So please excuse my grumpiness, typos, and other sleep-deprived nuances. Today we are sharing the last of our 1 Napkin, 3 Projects DIY tutorial series from Ribbons & Bluebirds. We already covered an adorable DIY Bouquet Wrap and a DIY Fabric Bowtie and for today we have a DIY Ring Bearer Pillow!

Our last project is the ring pillow – the final DIY project to tie together some wedding details. Check out the step-by-step tutorial.

How To Make a DIY Ring Bearer Pillow

DIY ring bearer pillow tutorial

What you’ll need:

  • 1 fabric napkin, at least 16×16” square
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Hot glue gun (low heat if you’re like me and end up touching the glue a lot!)
  • Hem tape
  • Ribbon or twine for finishing
  • Cotton batting for stuffing, like you would use for quilting or upholstery.  (If you know you will never use cotton batting again, use jumbo cotton balls instead.)

The last of our napkin DIYs is just as simple as the first two – a ring pillow you can make in half an hour using your iron and hot glue gun!  This is a low key project with lots of ways for you to personalize – add a buttons or appliques, extra ribbons or a band of lace, or just keep it plain and start with a great fabric for personality.

DIY ring bearer pillow tutorial

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1. Start with a corner of your napkin (you may want to refer to your cutting diagram if you’re making all 3 projects) and cut a square keeping the two hemmed edges.

Iron a ¼” fold from the raw edges onto the back of the napkin to create a flap to cover the hem tape.  You may also want to clip the corner to help keep it neat and flat.

DIY ring bearer pillow tutorial

Step 2. Cut your hem tape to fit the length of each raw side, and set it under the ironed ¼” fold.  Use your iron to set the hem tape – refer to the hem tape instructions for exactly how long you should keep your iron over the tape, but when you’re done it will be a secure bond and you will now have 4 finished edges of your square.

Step 3. Starting with the finished corner you just made with the hem tape as the “bottom,” fold the bottom and side flaps towards the middle like you’re making an envelope.  The bottom flap edges want to be slightly overlapped by the two side flaps, as this will help you glue.

Step 4. Starting in the corner with a little extra glue, apply a thin band of hot glue to the bottom flap’s edges one side at a time. Press the side flap over the glue band but be careful not to glue the whole thing to the back of the pouch – you want to make sure the middle stays open to receive stuffing. Repeat this with the other side.

Step 5. Cut a strip of batting that is just narrower than the pouch, and about 2 or 3x as long.  Fold this over on itself a few times, and slide it into the pouch.

Step 6. Fold the top flap down, and secure with hot glue if you would like.

DIY ring bearer pillow tutorial

Finish the pillow with ribbons or twine to hold the rings, and you’re all set!

What do you think!?

DIY ring bearer pillow tutorial

We can’t thank Ribbons & Bluebirds enough for sharing this awesome DIY wedding tutorial series! Let us know if you use them and make your own DIY bowtie, DIY ring bearer pillow or DIY bouquet wrap for your wedding!

Wedding Advice: Wedding Invitation “Must Haves” with Little Bird Creative

Today’s Friday Inspiration post comes to us in the form of an educational guest post from Little Bird Creative! Carina, owner of Little Bird Creative, is on hand today to teach us all about wedding invitation “Must Haves”. What does that mean? Well, to put it simply, wedding invitation suites can include a MYRIAD of options. You could get PRETTY carried away when it comes to your wedding invites, but you really don’t have to! I mean, let’s remember here that an invitation, at its core, is mostly a piece of information – a way to provide your guests with the information they need, to properly navigate your wedding weekend. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t include some snazzy envelope liners, or maybe a scratch-off RSVP or maybe even a scratch-n-sniff invitation (man I wish I had a DIY tutorial link for THAT one!), but they aren’t really “Must Haves”. So here’s Carina to break those down for you instead.

Wedding Invitation Must Haves with Little Bird Creative

how to wedding invitations FAQs

[Design & Printing: Little Bird Creative, Letterpress | Image: Sweet Root Village]

Couples often have questions about which stationery items they need for their wedding invitation suite. More and more you see accommodation information, maps, and other cards communicating every detail with guests. Lots of couples enjoy adding envelope liners, folders, etc. You might receive invitations from friends and feel compelled to follow suit, but you really only need a few pieces of elegant stationery to communicate the wedding details to your family and friends.

Here’s a list of “must haves” and what they should communicate. The simplest of wedding invitations should really only require an invite card, a reception card, and an RSVP card!

1. Wedding Invitation Card should be sure to include:

  • the names of the host(s) (either your parents or yourselves)
  • first names of the bride and groom (middle names optional and include your last names if you are also the hosts)
  • date and start time of the wedding
  • wedding ceremony venue name
  • wedding reception venue location (unless it’s the same as the ceremony venue)

how to wedding invitations FAQs

2. Reception Card:

This card is only necessary if the ceremony and reception will be held at different locations. Be sure to include the start time and address of the reception venue (zip code is not required).

how to wedding invitations FAQs

3. RSVP Card:

RSVP cards are the best way to collect the names and attendance numbers as well as the meal choice from guests, if necessary. Traditional suites will include a stamped envelope for guest to return the card, but for more casual weddings couples might use a RSVP postcard.

how to wedding invitations FAQs

It’s also a good rule of thumb to not forget to get Thank You notes too. If you order these with your invites, early on in the wedding planning process, then you will already have them on hand to use after showers and for early gift givers. A good stationery designer or associate will have additional resources to assist you with your specific etiquette needs.
Hard to believe, but that’s really ALL you need when it comes to your wedding invitations! Doesn’t that simplify things a bit!? A special thanks to Little Bird Creative for sharing today’s guest post!

Maureen & Jess’ Intimate DIY Wedding at Bull Run Winery in Northern Virginia

I’m always in awe of couples that plan their wedding from afar. One of the reasons Andy & I opted to get married in DC (instead of in our hometown of NJ) was that I just couldn’t imagine planning from 4+ hours away. I guess I am too hands-on (and let’s face it, just an absolute control freak) to have been able to do that. But for Maureen & Jess, it worked out perfectly. They planned everything from their home in California, DIYing dozens of fabric flowers for the bouquets, bouts, corsages, and decor, and making their own wedding paper products too. Their ceremony was personalized and I love how they got ready in the house that Maureen grew up in. Thanks to Katie Nesbitt Photography for sharing this one, and thanks to Maureen & Jess for sharing personal details and TONS of wedding advice from their Northern Virgina wedding!

Jess & Maureen’s Intimate, DIY Wedding at Bull Run Winery in Northern Virginia

DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

 Vendors:

Photographer:  Katie Nesbitt Photography | Venue: The Winery at Bull Run | Catering: RSVP Catering | Flowers: DIY, by the bride | Paper Products: DIY, by the bride | Officiant: Family Friend | DJ: Marc Augenbaum DJ Services | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

bride purple flats

If you decided to DIY your own paper products (Save The Dates, Invites, RSVP cards, menus, etc), try to figure out whether it would cost you more money and hassle to print at home or to go to Costco or FedEx Office. As it turns out, for all the paper we printed at FedEx Office, we could have bought ourselves a nicer printer and had something to show for it afterward!

DIY wedding invitations

All of the flowers and decorations were DIY’d by us and our families. Making the bouquets was certainly a labor of love that took a lot more time than we had originally anticipated. We never could have finished them had it not been for our amazing bridal party’s help.

DIY fabric flowers bouquet DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

Our favorite part of the day was the First Look, which was on a Civil War-era bridge next door to our wedding venue. I had been nervous since waking up the morning of our wedding day. When I saw Jess I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. It really set the tone for the entire rest of the day.

DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

Click inside for so much more from Maureen & Jess’ DIY Northern Virginia wedding – including a ton of advice from the couple on DIYing their wedding & their biggest wedding regret!

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