Introducing: Basic Invite ~ Customizable Online Wedding Invites, Save the Dates & More

*sponsored post*


Images: Basic Invite

Back when I was planning my wedding, the invitation scene was glum. There were no online options and the designers I knew of made invites/styles that did not fit our wedding’s aesthetic. We were set on making them ourselves, but MAN I wish there were options like the ones that exist today! We had to piece-meal ours together with invites from one source, colorful envelopes from another, card stock from a third, and then DIYed some ribbon on top. This took work – and TIME, time I know not every couple has. So enter Basic Invite.


Basic Invite is an online shop where couples can beautifully customize their wedding invitations, save the dates, wedding shower invitations, birth announcements, and more! What really got me about this company though was the number of color options available – over 160 different colors. Basic Invite calls is “almost unlimited” and it’s true – once you select a design from their site, you can change the color of each element on the cards (with instant previews online to see how it looks), which gives you much more of a custom feel.


If you’ve seen my house you know I LOVE color, and our wedding was no exception as we used hot pink throughout our design and decor. Finding the right shade of hot pink from all the different places we sourced was a challenge though (the pink envelopes were more raspberry and the font on the invites was more fuchsia). It would have been awesome to have something like Basic Invite around back then where I could have designed my whole suite with the same shade of pink.


The envelopes are just as colorful too – with over 40 color options there. And the peel and seal closings help save your tongues from having to lick 50+ envelopes shut.


Basic Invite provides custom samples for their customers – which allows you to print 1 invitation set before you have to print 200. That way you can see exactly how the invitation suite will come together, before you place that larger order! Their “Love It Guarantee” also ensures you won’t be left with hundreds of incorrect or poorly printed invites. I’ve printed Holiday cards at other big box printing places before and had issues with random smudges and streaks through some of the cards — not cool.


With over 200 wedding invite sets to chose from, you are sure to find one that matches the vibe & design of your wedding. And the sets include EVERYTHING: invites, enclosure cards, even menus and programs, all keeping your wedding paper products consistent.

While you know we love our local DC designers, it’s nice to have online options too and if not for your wedding invitations, I’ll certainly be checking them out for future birthday & life even announcements. You can find them on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter too! Hopefully you guys found this as useful as I did!


*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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Grace and Brian’s Casual, DC Neighborhood Engagement Pictures


Images: Sarah Gormley Photography

Fall weather is officially here in Washington, DC and I couldn’t be happier. The air conditioning is off, and the boots are out. I can’t wait to rock my scarves and knit hats SO SOON. We had a really nice weekend in DC, biking down to (attempt to see) the opening of the African American History Museum (we did get to see Obama’s motorcade drive by literally in front of us … and then we saw Oprah!), watching some (miserable) football games (dammit Penn State & Giants), and spending time with family & friends. We’ve got plans for a jam packed week on the blog this week though, so here’s hoping I can stick to my calendar and get it all blogged for you guys!

We’re kicking off the week with a super sweet DC engagement session from one of my favs, Sarah Gormley Photography. These two kids dated briefly in high school but broke up after they drifted apart on separate paths … fast forward a few years and they both landed in Washington, DC and ended up being invited to the same evening out by mutual friends. I just LOVE the coincidence in this love story and the DC neighborhood engagement pictures are just AWESOME. Enjoy!


We were actually both born in Washington, DC and then mainly grew up in the District and in Montgomery County. We ended up in the same high school magnet program in Montgomery County. We dated in high school throughout a summer (during which we exchanged actual handwritten letters–these were pre-text days) but drifted apart. Brian was very caught up in football, and I was a school newspaper nerd. We then both went on to different colleges and drifted apart.

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Funnily enough, we both moved back to DC at nearly exactly the same time after college. Brian had been in Teach For America and I had been in the Peace Corps. A mutual friend asked each of us separately if we’d like to go to Ethiopian and we both (separately!) gave an enthusiastic YES since we each had missed DC’s strong Ethiopian game while we were away. It was a total surprise when we saw each other again, and I believe I was even wearing a sweatshirt with huge holes in it because I had given away all of my clothes upon finishing Peace Corps. Super attractive! I was not planning on meeting my future husband that night.

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We had an unusually great time catching up and within the week, we had our first date. At the same time, we were both waiting for acceptances to post-grad schools, so we had a fun spring of running around to different campuses all over the East Coast. In the end, we chose to stay in DC (he to Georgetown Law and me to Johns Hopkins).

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After almost exactly two years together, we went to Istanbul for a long weekend. I had lived in Turkey before and Brian told me that he just wanted to experience it while we had a brief break in our studies. It turned out that he had actually been plotting for months about this supposed “spontaneous” trip. He proposed on our balcony with a ring that I had said months before that I really liked. I was pretty shocked. He had to ask me twice to marry him because I was so confused (and jetlagged). It was pretty wonderful! I believe we each gained 5 pounds on that trip from all the chocolate souffle we ate in celebration.

So now we’re getting married this coming October in DC!

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Introducing {Un}convention – A Must Attend Event for Wedding Disrupters

Sunday, November 13th | {Un}convention | Quirk Hotel in Richmond, VA

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Happy Friday Romancers! This one felt especially long and I am not only looking forward to a (hopefully) relaxing weekend but some actual FALL TEMPS! Today on the blog we are sharing the details on an a REALLY RAD event for wedding professionals, {un}convention. It’s a jam-packed day full of strengthening your business and the progressive wedding community, including professional headshots all for $150!

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As the website shares (register there!), {un}convention is a place to grow your brand and find new friends: {un}convention returns home to Richmond for this jam-packed day of community building with industry leaders, a fashion show, brand critiques, professional headshots, a collaborative styled shoot, and one stellar cocktail party. It’s like a conference, only better.

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{un}convention is for…

-Wedding professionals who crave more from our industry: more diversity, more inclusion, more dialogue, more meaningful media, and more real emotions.

-Photographers who want to improve their portfolios by participating in a live shoot with a rad couple, while also growing their business by exchanging ideas with fellow photographers.


-Entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to refresh and grow their companies through one-on-one critiques and meeting with the Catalyst Team for advice on how to get their work seen.

-New business owners who don’t know where to start but know that getting professional headshots and meeting website designers and brand strategists who share their progressive sensibilities will absolutely help.

Our event is limited to 50 attendees to ensure a relaxed environment where we can all build real connections and collaborations.

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For the schedule & list of speakers, check out the website!


{un}convention RVA 2014: photos by Betty Clicker except for group photo, Carly Romeo & Co.)

Bride to Be Guest Blogger Kelsey: The 1st Thing You Need to Do When You Start Planning a Wedding


Kelsey is back for more guest blogging as she plans her wedding! Check out her post today about picking your wedding venue and the FIRST THING you need to do when planning a wedding!

The first thing that you need to do when you start wedding planning is panic. Go ahead. Take a moment or two, let it out. I have the time, just look at this picture of my dog.

I know! Norman is the best. Ok, are we back? Awesome. Welcome back. The important thing to know is that it’s going to be fine and even after all of your spreadsheets you’re going to be married at the end of this, and that is what matters.

Now, first things first. The where. You know that what – marriage. You know the who – your fiancé. You know the when – well, if you don’t you will really soon. So that where. You may get pulled in 16 different directions in attempting to answer this question.  Family, friends, Sandals resorts, or all of the above may sway you. Whatever your reasoning, make sure you’re happy. For us, it was DC. Weirdly we both grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania.


But we met as semi-adults in DC at The George Washington University and the rest is history. We grew into who the pretty fantastic people we are today in DC, it’s where we paid our first rent check, and took our first Uber, it’s home. Once we knew DC was the place, we had to pick the actual where.

Now things get tricky. Know what you want. But more importantly, know what you don’t want. Things I did not want: a hotel ballroom, Virginia, and that’s about it. Sorry Virginia. I’m not sorry. Ruling out a hotel actually helped a lot. It left us with museums, historical places, parks, and some random restaurants.

Now, what kind of vibe do you want for your wedding? Is it modern, shabby chic, formal, rustic, or something in between? Let that guide your venue selection. Look at their website, then instagram the venue. How does it make you feel? For me, this process was more emotional than the wedding dress fitting (more on that later). When I walked into the venue I wanted a certain feeling. Like, remember when you visited colleges and everyone told you to ‘go with your gut’ and you were all, ‘what does that even mean?’ Do that here. Visit your top five venues. Talk with the event person. Ask them a ton of questions.


What are the reception layout options? How many people does this space hold for dinner and dancing? What time do we have to be out of the space? What time can we load in? Is there an extra charge for the load in? What’s your favorite color? Do you have vendor restrictions? Can I have a confetti cannon, if so how many? Twelve max? Book it.

What I am trying to say is when you walk into your venue I want you to feel comfortable, wow, and happily ever after. Imagine your first dance, imagine your tipsy Aunt Peg, and imagine your pictures. This place is it. It’s the foundation for the rest of your planning. It’s like the very best dough for the best pizza ever. And this pizza is your wedding.


Ok, ok I’ll tell you. I picked the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It had the formal wow factor that I was looking for. I want drama and glamour. This venue did that and more. Now I just need to bring in everything else, because fun fact about museums, they don’t have chairs and tables and silverware, because they’re a museum.

Mana & Mathew’s Surprise Proposal on the Steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC


Images: Kir2Ben Photography

I‘ll admit I am not at all ready for this week guys. Last Friday destroyed me (2, two-hour meetings at the day job and I worked from 7:30 to after 6 … ouch) and then Evie decided that once again, 5:15am was an appropriate time Saturday AND Sunday to wake up (insert painful emoji). We did get to enjoy some H Street Fest, but the lack of sleep isn’t ideal, especially as Andy heads out of town for the next few days.

The struggle is real. But at least this adorable surprise proposal on the steps of the Supreme Court is full of smiles, laughs, adorable dogs, and a gorgeous engagement ring. Hoping it helps brighten your week like I’m hoping it will mine. Happy Monday Romancers.

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From the photographer:

When Mat decided that he was going to propose to Mana, he knew that it had to be on the Supreme Court steps. The two met in law school and this building had a huge significance to them in their relationship. Mat also knew that, however he proposed, he would have to incorporate “the boys” into the proposal. I was shocked to find out that “the boys” meant their two small doggies Mario & Luigi!

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This was the best planned out proposal I have ever seen or been a part of. Mat contacted me a few weeks prior to photograph the proposal and I did not expect the planning that followed. Mat not only had code names for all participants involved but he also had a definitive timeline as well as an elaborate, fake backstory concocted so a mutual friend to escort Mana to the steps without becoming suspicious. He even arranged for another one of their pals to be playing violin when he got down on one knee. If that wasn’t enough, their dogs were standing by to celebrate with them once the surprise was completed.


He effortlessly coordinated 4 people, 2 animals, a musician and a photographer all to show his commitment to the woman he loves. How romantic is that?! Truthfully, the whole proposal went off without a hitch! I have never seen a woman so surprised in my entire life. The well-dressed Mat knelt down on one knee on the Supreme Court steps as classical violin serenaded the two sweethearts. Through tears of shock and joy, Mana said yes and jumped into the arms of her now future husband.

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By then, crowds of tourists had gathered and applauded the two as they embraced and exchanged the most romantic kiss. I felt like I was watching a movie through my camera lens. I was lucky enough to capture a few portraits with the newly engaged pair after Mana said yes. Their laughter and sheer joy was contagious. We had the best time taking pictures in the surrounding park with their two pups in tow. Hats off to Mat for pulling off the most epic proposal of all time and a massive congratulations to the future Mr. & Mrs. Rommel.


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