Stephanie & Kyle’s Classically Elegant Mt. Vernon Wedding in Virginia


There are details about Stephanie & Kyle’s wedding that made it a perfect fit for Capitol Romance. Thought it appeared on the more traditional end of the wedding spectrum at first glance, it was the bride’s explanation about their wedding day that really got me. She said, “From the beginning, we knew we wanted our wedding to be full of meaning and to truly represent us together so we focused on “simple” and “true” and tried to check our ideas against these two words.  I know everyone says that but we really put a lot of care into each decision.”

And it’s SO apparent that they did this – from the handmade signs,  to the reception venue selection and down to the importance of having a friend marry them – even if it meant getting married during their first look instead of at the actual ceremony! That’s right! Kyle & Stephanie wanted their friend Scott to marry them, but due to Virginia’s crazy laws, he couldn’t legally marry them at Mt. Vernon Inn – so instead they got married during their intimate first look, right outside the Capitol — it doesn’t get more “Washington DC wedding” than that!

Stephanie & Kyle’s Classically Elegant & Simple DC Wedding at Mt. Vernon Inn

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Photographer: Carley Rehberg Photography | Hair Stylist: Alison Harper & Company, LLC | Event Planner: JEM Events | DJ: Mike Blaufeld | Reception Venue: Mount Vernon Inn | Officiant: Wedding Ceremonies by Jeff | Flowers: DIYed by Mother of Bride | Bride’s Hair: Styled by Step Sister | Chalkboard Signs: Hand drawn by Bride’s Brother | Submitted via Two Bright Lights


It takes a village – Kyle & Stephanie’s family pitched in tenfold to help make their wedding day special & customized:

We are incredibly fortunate to have a whole team of family and friends who rallied around us throughout our relationship but especially during the engagement and wedding planning.  Kyle’s best friend since grade school was our officiant at our first ceremony in DC and helped facilitate part of the ceremony with our pastor in Virginia.  My mother arranged all of the flowers and Kyle’s mom helped us create a lot of the décor elements including handcrafting the gorgeous macramé backdrop for the altar.

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My brother created our beautiful signs, my step mother made gorgeous bows for the aisle way and my step-neice helped ice the cookies I baked for the bags to greet out of town guests.  Our good friends graciously let us store our wedding supplies at their house (which had more space than our apartment) and also helped us with many projects from cutting and staining wooden altar pillars to painting the chalkboard signs.  My father and Kyle’s father ran a million errands the week of the wedding to help pick up supplies for the rehearsal dinner we hosted, pick up our flower order and more.

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My step sister who is an amazing hair stylist in California did my hair!  Most all of our friends and family helped in some way leading up to the big day.  We are truly blessed to have so many talented and gracious people in our lives supporting us without hesitation.

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Click inside for SO MUCH more of this classically elegant & personalized DC wedding from Carly Rehberg Photography!

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Laura & TJ’s Casual, Fall Park Engagement Session in Virginia


Back this afternoon with a lovely Virginia engagement session from Chris Ferenzi Photography. I feel like Fall came and went entirely too fast this year, and I barely got to enjoy the fall foliage. Luckily for me (well and you!), Chris’ engagement feature is full of gorgeous fall foliage. It also features an adorable couple, Laura & TJ who shared an awesome his and hers love story write-up – including how their relationship, and consequently their proposal, was based on their love of bikes. Oh I also ADORE Laura’s yellow dress in these pictures. What a great color and a perfect compliment to the natural beauty of the park they had their engagement session in. Enjoy!

TJ & Laura’s Casual, Fall Park Engagement Pictures in Virginia

casual fall park Virginia engagement pictures

Photography: Chris Ferenzi Photography

How they met (from Laura’s perspective):

We were pseudo-set up but a mutual friend of ours who knew of our mutual love for bikes. This friend claims that she had been telling me about TJ for months and that I eventually came to my senses and decided to go out with him, but I only remember her telling me the once. Our first 10 or so “dates” were bike rides in Philadelphia, with the occasional stop for good food and beer.

On one of our first we went to an annual professional bike race that goes all throughout the City of Philadelphia. There was a little boy sitting in front of us where we were watching who kept trying to play with us with a toy that he had. He would not give up and it was honestly quite annoying to me. TJ, on the other hand, was so interested in playing with him the whole time and never got frustrated by him once. I knew immediately what a kind and patient person he was, and was in love pretty much from day one.

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Click inside for the rest of TJ & Laura’s beautiful Fall engagement session and proposal story!

Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck: “Ends of the Earth”

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You can thank a Christmas Zales commercial for today’s Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck post. Which is slightly ironic, but after listening a few times to this song, I decided that I’ve heard it before, I just can’t for the life of me, remember where! Any ideas!?

Today’s wedding song is Lord Huron‘s “Ends of the Earth”. It reminds me of Of Monsters and Men and I feel like it belongs in everyone of those Wes Anderson movies.


To the ends of the earth, would you follow me
There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see
To the ends of the earth, would you follow me

I feel like this would make a KILLER processional (or recessional) song choice or easily fit into your wedding ceremony song lineup. At the very least, use it for your cocktail hour playlist OR just listen to it on repeat today at your desk, like I plan to do.

Happy Monday Romancers! We’ll be back shortly with an engagement feature!

Modern GQ-Inspired Groom Portait Session


Keeping it short & simple today as I am nursing quite the hangover from a holiday party last night. I may or may not have drank my weight in white wine ;) Lucky for me, today’s post does not require much explanation – it’s just a bunch of total, groom, eye-candy. Brandilynn Aines Photography (whose website I am totally digging BTW) submitted this GQ-inspired Groom portrait session and I couldn’t say no! I feel like there are a million Bridal portrait sessions, but not many for the grooms — so let’s change that! Happy Friday to all!

A Modern, GQ-Inspired Groom Portrait Sessionmodern gq groom portrait pictures

Photography: Brandilynn Aines Photography | Groom’s Suit: Men’s Warehouse | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Brandilynn shares the inspiration for her shoot and some details on the location & styling:

I had thought about all the Bridal sessions that we see, but we never see anything for the grooms. So I came up with the idea of doing a GQ Inspired Groom Session. My lovely model Brad was awesome, the truck in the images is his grandfathers award winning restored 67 Chevy.

We did the shoot on location at an abandoned warehouse in Manassas, VA. We rented the tux through Men’s Warehouse, and Brad even brought along an awesome pocket watch his grandmother got for him!

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Click inside for the rest of the images from this modern, GQ Groom portrait session!

Rob & Libby’s DIY Fat Cat Farm Wedding in Charlottesville, VA


Brace yourselves Romancers, we’ve got a stunning Charlottesville, Virginia wedding to share today thanks to one of my FAVS, Porter Watkins Photography! Rob & Libby used the beautiful natural setting of their wedding venue, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, as the inspiration for the theme and overall wedding design. They wanted “simple nature” to be their influence and didn’t confine themselves to a specific color scheme, instead, “decided that [they] would not let [themselves] get too caught up in being overly concerned about matching colors, as [they] began to decide on certain elements [they] really liked, the color palette sort of began to reveal itself.” The casual, calm & collected approach to their stunning Virginia farm wedding, is so apparent through Porter’s images.

I love a wedding that really focuses on the couple’s true loves & inspiration – throw in some beer, barbeque, live music, and really awesome handmade details (like the bride’s sister making the bridesmaids dresses!!) and well, you’ve got a perfect wedding blog feature! Enjoy! (*Warning, this one is picture heavy! I could NOT narrow it down!*)

Rob & Libby’s Rustic Elegance, Virginia Farm Wedding in Charlottesville

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Photography: Porter Watkins Photography | Venue: Fat Cat Farm | Flowers & Decor: Beehive Events | Food: BBQ Connection | Music: Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun | Beer: Locally brewed by a friend | Bridesmaids Dresses: Handmade by bride’s sister | Favors: BBQ Sauce from caterer | Wedding Cake & Cupcakes: Sweethaus

Check out their awesome & unique engagement and wedding rings:

Tavia Brown of taviametal in Charlottesville, VA is the genius behind the design of our rings. Rob made his proposal to me a complete surprise, and he went through Tavia to design my engagement ring without my knowledge.  We naturally went back to her to ask her to create the compliment to the work of art I am lucky enough to call my ring, and since Rob surprised me with mine we decided that I was going to take over the design of his. Tavia and I worked together to infuse the concept behind my ring into Rob’s, and I surprised him with it for the first time at the altar.

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Details on the wedding:

The Blue Ridge Parkway, arguably the most beautiful scenic drive in America, was the major source of inspiration behind the greater details of our wedding. We’re slight fanatics of it, and good portion of our relationship has been spent exploring it in depth, so the inspiration was really embedded within us from the start. Being in close proximity of the Parkway was also one of the key factors in the reason we chose our venue, although it happened to be pure coincidence that we found a connection to this perfect farm through a friend.

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Long before we ever set a date for our wedding we were determined to spend our honeymoon traveling the entire 469 mile scenic highway through the Blue Ridge Mountains, taking our time and stopping to camp and hike along the way. So just short of having the ceremony on the parkway itself, we chose a destination as close as possible. And ultimately – beer, barbeque, and live music were the main components we wanted our wedding to have, and so the farm was the perfect venue for all of that to take place.

Oh man do I love these next two frames: the bride seeing her father for the first time, and the father seeing his daughter as a bride. TEAR.

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The talent we had within our reach did not stop at the beer – my sister got the chance to show off her amazing self-taught seamstress skills to make both of the bridesmaid dresses and they were so perfect there’s no way we could have come across the same thing in any store. The two of them decided on a fabric they both loved, and she used similar patterns for both dresses but designed each to be unique.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of this gorgeous, handmade farm wedding from Porter Watkins Photography!! You will LOVE the ceremony details, backdrop & reception design!

DIY Inspiration: Furniture Thrifting Tips for Brides & Grooms

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Another hump day, means another DIY feature from our editorial partner, Divinity with LoveBuggs Weddings. Today Divinity is sharing some awesome bargain hunting tips for thrifting and upcycling furniture for your wedding. Couples use vintage and thrifted furniture to adorn their ceremony space, use instead of tables in the reception place, OR just have around the house (sans wedding related all together!). We love a good thrifted piece of furniture (my house is full of them) as much as the next bargain hunter, so I really enjoy Divinity’s guest post today! Take it away girl…

Bargain Hunting Tips: Thrifted Furniture for Brides & Grooms

One thing my friends know about me is that I am a thriftoholic! I love a good sale and can’t resist a great bargain.   I will let you in on one of my biggest wedding day secret.  Mostly all of the items that I used for my wedding I purchased from Craigslist or the thrift store.   If you are a budget friendly bride and have not made a trip to the thrift store yet, you have no idea what you are missing out on.

You know those amazing mixed matched plates that are totally in?  Well I found tons of dinner and dessert plates, on multiple visits to the store of course, for a steal! In addition to the plates I found vintage glassware and decanters.

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If you see something that you like but the color isn’t right, PAINT IT!  This is a great way to add personality to your wedding by adding a monogram or a cool design! Natty By Design has a great tutorial on painting old furniture with milk paint.

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Craigslist and the thrift store carry tons of very unique and vintage pieces.  You never know what hidden gems you might find.  So make sure to visit any of your local thrift stores or travel to other areas for some great deals!  Would love to hear what great items you find!

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What’s your favorite thrift store find?! Andy & I scored an AWESOME tanker desk & metal barrister bookcase, both from Craigslist. But I think my favorite might be the steel vintage vanity desk I scored (that coincidentally was being sold on CL by Andy’s co-worker – small world!). Happy Hump Day!

Josh & Maureen’s Proposal Video & DC Engagement Pictures


I get some seriously awesome submissions you guys. This is one of them. We’ve shared rad proposal videos before and now we get to share another. Josh sent in the awesome proposal video that he made for his then-girlfriend, Maureen to watch, in the theater where they first met. From the video, he appeared to proposed and had Traci J Brooks Photography on hand to capture some sneaky images during the proposal and a few after. After it all, Mauren (the bride to be!) blogged about the entire proposal on her blog, so we have LOTS of details to share from that!

So grab those tissues and be prepared, because this one is sure to put a big old smile on your face (and possibly some tears in your eyes!).

Josh & Maureen’s Proposal Video & Engagement Pictures

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Photography: Traci J. Brooks Photography

First, the video Josh made for Maureen to watch:

The Gift – The Engagement Story of Maureen and Josh from 22nd Street Imaging on Vimeo.

And now, all the details from Maureen’s account! First, how they met:

About a month or so ago, Josh and I got letters in the mail from The Little Theatre of Alexandria (LTA). I’ve done three shows with LTA and this is where Josh and I met while doing a production of Oliver! in October 2010.

The letter was from our friend Rachel, who produced Oliver! and heads the marketing department at the theatre. Let’s just say the letter made me super excited – LTA was doing a focus group on the evening of November 10th with a few select participants to discuss the direction of the theatre next season. The gist was, they wanted me to come to the theatre, have a catered dinner, and discuss what shows LTA should do in the coming years to ensure it was staying current and artistically sound. It was right up my alley. I RSVP’d yes, crossed it off my to-do list, put it on my calendar, and threw out the letter.

A month went by and I didn’t think much of the focus group event. Josh brought it up a couple of times but it was always in passing. I continued to go about my life, go to work and eat delicious food. Business as usual.

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Sunday, November 10th came and it seemed like any other day. We went to church, ran some errands, I got the new iPhone, and we watched some TV while we ate a late breakfast. I had a bunch of things to do in the afternoon and evening and Josh was going to watch football with his dad, so he left and I rushed to get ready. I’m usually behind and Sunday was no exception.

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As I was deep into the closet, my box phone started ringing (it was Josh). As I balanced on the chair, I took the box out of my purse, took the lid off the box and put the box with the phone (on speaker) sitting in it on the shelf in the closet while I continued to rummage.

The conversation went a little like this (note: I am fussy and Josh is super sweet in this conversation:

  • M: Hi. What is it? I’m running late and I can’t talk right now.
  • J: Hi honey, I just got a text from Rachel and she said since LTA is catering dinner tonight that we probably shouldn’t wear jeans.
  • M: What? Are you freaking kidding me?
  • J: It’s ok just we–
  • M: (interrupting) Honey, no. I’m already wearing jeans. This is ridiculous. I can’t believe how unprofessional this is. They didn’t put anything about a dress code in the letter.
  • J: Take a deep breath. I know you’re stressed. Can you just grab a dress and you can change later?
  • M: I don’t want to wear a dress!

I eventually I grabbed a dress, got in the car, and called Josh to apologize for being so upset at him when he didn’t do anything wrong.  That afternoon, dress in tow, I went to see my mom, went to see my Grandpa (where I put on the rando dress I grabbed and my make-up), and went to have drinks with my friend Maria before the meeting at LTA. After we finished dinner / drinks and I walked back to my car to put my leftovers in it (I had only eaten half a sandwich because I knew LTA was catering dinner) and then continued walking the few blocks to the theatre.

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Click inside for the rest of Maureen & Josh’s proposal story!

Pete & Kelly’s Laid Back, Maymont Park Engagement in Richmond, VA

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It’s Monday. Are you looking forward to tackling another week? I can’t lie, I really enjoyed the winter weather we had yesterday. It really gave me that final push into the holiday season. I baked some [paleo] Christmas cookies, hosted a Friendsgivingmus and attacked some of my client gifts. Andy built us some shelves in the kitchen yesterday too – so all in all, a pretty productive weekend here at the Rybacks :)

Today’s engagement session comes to us from the wonderful Wolfcrest Photography, who you might remember from Catherine & Kevin’s intimate Fall Virginia wedding that we featured last week. We have an adorable, laid-back couple that met through Friends and decided to get married 6 years later in their relationship. Enjoy!

Pete & Kelly’s Laid Back, Maymont Park Engagement Pictures in Richmond, VA

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Photography: Wolfcrest Photography

How they met:

We’re Pete and Kelly Cathell. We met six years ago while we were out and about with friends at the Bank restaurant. And as we were talking and getting to know each other Pete told me he was going to marry me one day to which I told him he was a little crazy. So we dated for a few months but went our separate ways when the summer was over. We spent about four years apart but both of us kept thinking of each other. One random Saturday afternoon in October, Pete found me and sent me a message over facebook and we started talking just like old times again. I immediately knew that this time was it and we would end up getting married.

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Click inside for the rest of Pete & Kelly’s Richmond, VA engagement session, the proposal story & a shot of the stunning engagement ring!

Capitol Inspiration: A Modern, Winter Jewish Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot

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We’re closing down the week with a really bright & modern styled wedding shoot from B. Mingled Weddings & Events and Rachel Lowe Photography (and a ton of other awesome, local DC wedding vendors). The vendors wanted to take a modern, urban space like Long View Gallery and give it a splash of glam, all mixed together with an overall, Jewish theme. I LOVE when people mix genres and themes and this styled shoot certainly does that! Check it all out below and hopefully it gives you the inspiration you need to kick this gloomy weather and push through to the weekend. Have a good one Romancers!

A Modern & Bright, Jewish Inspired Wedding Shoot

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Photography: Rachel Lowe Photography | Venue: Long View Gallery | Floral Design: EightTree Street | Planning, Design & Decor: B. Mingled Weddings & Events | Makeup: Julie Page Makeup | Models: Rialand Jones & Esther Servais | Stationery: B. Mingled Weddings & Events

The inspiration behind the shoot:

Think Urban, Modern, and Glam. Our styled shoot had an inspiration of taking elements from a traditional Jewish wedding with an added urban flair during one of the most celebrated seasons in the Jewish community. The decor combined traditional blue and silver colors, with an added “pop” of pink accents. The centerpiece of the head table displayed a modern-made menorah—> branches dotted with small clusters of pretty flowers and 9 hanging glass orbs with tea lights representing the traditional 9 candles.

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Click inside for the rest of the images from this styled Winter Jewish wedding shoot & more details!

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