Annie & Jeff’s Washington DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

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While my fingers are a bit cold as I type away at my keyboard this morning, it was SO NICE to wake up to the sun this morning. Now, don’t talk to me later tonight when it’s dark at 5, but for now I’ll be happy with the DST changes. This past weekend we closed out our 2013 wedding coordination season – our first official year of coordinating weddings! Pretty insane. I can’t believe I survived. I learned SO MUCH and met SO many amazing people, I will write an entire reflection post on its own sometime soon, but in case you haven’t seen the sneak peak of our last wedding, it’s over on our Facebook page!

For today we have a really cute, relaxed & casual engagement session in Georgetown from Eastport Photography. I just love Annie & Jeff’s laid-back vibe, style and they met in the Peace Corps in West Africa — how freakin’ cool is THAT?! Happy Monday Romancers, let’s get the love going this week.

Annie and Jeff’s Georgetown Engagement Session in Washington DC

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Photographer: Eastport Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How the couple met, from Annie:

Jeff and I met in the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa. He arrived a year before me and we met at a party celebrating my group officially becoming volunteers after 2 months of training. We liked each other so much he ended up staying an extra year. We lived about six hours away from each other, and visits meant waking up at the crack of dawn to catch a minibus and arriving covered in orange dust. We liked it. We finished our service at the end of 2010 and traveled to Morocco, Spain, and France.

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How Jeff proposed:

We moved back to Washington DC at the beginning of 2011. On Columbus Day last year we went for a hike. It was really cold but pretty with the leaves changing. Jeff proposed at the top of a mountain. I bawled and of course said yes. Then it started to hail. We ran back down the mountain and took a short-cut that was actually a long-cut. We arrived at the car cold, tired, and happy.

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Congratulations Annie & Jeff! Thanks again to Eastport Photography for submitting this awesome DC engagement session via Two Bright Lights!

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Capitol Inspiration: 5 Icebreakers to Help Your Guests Mingle

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We have a little guest post for you guys today. A few weeks ago I got an email from a reader that told me she enjoyed reading the blog not as a bride to be, but as a maid of honor in her sister’s upcoming wedding! She said she had learned so much from helping to plan her sister’s wedding, that she’d love to share some of what she learned on the blog. So for today, we have Morgan sharing some ideas for getting your guests to mingle at your wedding.

Andy & I were fortunate in the fact that our families and friends mostly knew each other, since we had been together since high school – they had already met a few times before. But I’d venture to guess that more often than not, that is not always the case. I’d think most families (or at least extended families) might be meeting for the first time at a wedding, and to make sure everyone is a bit more laid back and open to mingling, I think Morgan’s got some really great suggestions. Take it Morgan!

From a Maid of Honor: 5 Icebreakers to Help Your Guests Mingle

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[Image found here | Credit: John Hope Photography]

Weddings are beautiful, magical events, but they aren’t without their awkward and sometimes uncomfortable situations. As my sister’s recently appointed maid of honor, I’ve quickly learned that it’s your job to help your bride with whatever she needs. That could be anything from helping her pick out flowers to handling day-of logistics–anything to make sure the process is as stress-free as possible, so she can enjoy herself without worry. That includes alleviating any potential awkwardness throughout her blissful day. Here are a few tips I’ve thought up to help make the bride’s wedding day or night virtually free of those less-than-perfect situations.

Table Games

[Dianne & William's Pi Day DC Wedding | Image: Maggie Winters Photography]

When helping your bride plan out her seating arrangements, remember that a lot of her guests may not know each other. There might be a few tables filled with friends who all went to high school or college together, but odds are that many tables will be composed of acquaintances at best if not complete strangers. It’s undoubtedly awkward to sit at a table with a group of people you don’t know, but as maid of honor, you can help ensure that your bride’s guests will feel comfortable and at ease. While browsing my sister’s wedding gift page, I came across the idea of having a conversation table topics game, which allow guests to get to know each other through various thoughtful and fun questions. Advise your bride to have a game or two, whether a board game or something else, at each table for guests to play between dance numbers and during meal courses.

Line Dances That Everyone Can Follow Along To

Many people are initially uncomfortable on the dance floor and need the DJ to call out a warmup or two to get the blood flowing. Movement naturally puts people at ease. Well-known dances include the Electric Slide, the Bunny Hop, the Wiggle and the Charleston. As cheesy as many popular line dances are, that’s the point–they give everyone a chance to be a little ridiculous together. The steps are easy and everyone either knows them already or can follow directions called by the DJ, and when everyone gets to be a little vulnerable together, it becomes easier to relate to one another.

Mabyn Ludke Photo

[Image Credit: Mabyn Ludke Photography]

Wedding Bingo

A bit of preparation is required for great wedding bingo. When you send out invitations, ask each guest to provide one interesting fact about themselves or their experiences. Some of the most interesting examples I’ve heard from our guests are “has hiked 400 miles of the Appalachian Trail” and “has a therapy horse named Jeopardy who has helped many children with autism connect for the first time.” Beautiful bingo cards including all the guests’ interesting facts can be printed and prizes can be awarded to those who match a fact with the correct guest.


The Mexican tradition of a beautifully constructed piñata filled with candy or other fun prizes can be great fun at weddings. Standing in a circle around the hanging piñata, everyone gets a turn to wear the blindfold and take a hit at it. You can make up consecutively more difficult rules as you go around the circle, like “must be standing on one foot” or “must hit using left hand only.”

[Image via 100 Layer Cake | Credit: Gavin Farrington & Grace H]

The Bag Game and Other Circle Games

Many games can be played with ten to twenty guests standing in a circle. Since we have about eighty guests coming to my sister’s wedding, we’ll have several circles. Place a large brown grocery bag in the center of the circle and have a pair of scissors on hand for each circle. Each player stands on one leg, leans over and picks the bag up by the edge between their teeth. Anyone who topples over is out. After each time around the circle, cut about an inch of the top of the bag so players are required to get lower and lower to pick up the bag. The last person left in the game wins.

The fun ways to invite interaction between guests are truly endless!

What do you think Romancers? Any other ideas from your wedding that helped your guests to mingle, relax, and get to know one another better? I think our photobooth accomplished that pretty nicely!

About the Author:

Morgan Gray is a writer from NY with a fetish for stationery. Her Maid of Honor title has inspired her to reach out to the Capitol Romance community. She hopes that her experience will help others in similar ‘dresses’!

John & Aleza’s Modern, Teal Washington DC Wedding

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The groom in today’s real DC wedding feature and I actually have a funny “how we met” story. What feels like a million years ago, John and I actually met at a sushi restaurant, as my co-worker at the time, was our mutual friend. We met a few other times through this mutual friend, then learning that we actually worked at the same day job. And then John started a Groom blog [The Outspoken Groom - check it out!] and we connected a bit more over blogging. And then John proposed to his girlfriend Aleza, and so our emails turned more towards vendor recommendation. John collaborated with us on our John & Abigail Adams Love Story Styled Shoot and found their florist through it and I was happy to send a few other suggestions their way.

The result was a beautiful, modern DC wedding with so much of their awesome personalities tied in. They chose teal for their color and used it perfectly throughout their wedding details. Studio DBI nailed it with the flowers, and I am on the edge of my seat waiting for Border Row Productions‘ wedding video :) But I think my favorite detail of John & Aleza’s wedding is their ever-present laughter. You can see just how happy and good-natured these two love birds are in almost every, single, picture from their wedding. Thanks to Ken Pak Photography for the images.

John & Aleza’s Modern, Teal Washington DC Wedding

modern teal Washington DC wedding Westin Georgetown


Photographer: Ken Pak Photography | Videographer: Border Row Productions | Venue: Westin Georgetown | Flowers: Studio DBI | Cake: Alexandria Pastry Shop | Band: SLY45 | Hair Stylist: Jewel Hair Design | Makeup: Audrey Lee

modern DC bride modern DC bridal bouquet modern vintage DC bride birdcage veil

On their DC wedding venue selection:

We love gallivanting around DC on weekends, exploring new coffee shops, bars and markets. So as soon as we got engaged we both agreed a DC wedding is the only option for us. This was also around the same time I started the and she started a new job, so I tried to help out planning as much as possible (where I could, ha). We first visited historical homes and museums around the city thinking that was the best way we could incorporate DC-aspects, but as soon as we visited the Westin in Georgetown we fell in love with the venue, and realized we can be as creative with the space as possible.

modern dc groom teal

I love the pops of teal that John got into the groomsmen’s getups. Those teal tie clips?! LOVE

While we didn’t plan for it at all (even though we’re huge fans), several of our guests were telling us we looked like something out of Mad Men. Looking back at pictures though, custom fit groomsmen suits with skinny ties and her lace wedding dress with the fishnet veil probably gives off that vibe. We’re not complaining! It was impossible to find ties that matched the bridesmaid peacock teal dress color though, so instead all the groomsmen wore teal tie bars, polka dot teal socks and I added the little extra with teal shoe laces. All about the subtle things.

modern dc groom boutonniere

Before the ceremony, we went to Meridian Hill Park for pictures with the wedding party.

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Click inside for the rest of John & Aleza’s modern, teal Washington DC wedding at the Westin in Georgetown.

Let’s Get Personal: Committing 100% to Being LGBT Friendly


offbeat alternative dc wedding blog

[image: Val & Sarah]

A few weeks ago I made the decision to practice what I preach and go a bit further with keeping Capitol Romance a place that is open, accepting, and resourceful for ANY couple in the Washington, DC metro area. It was always a goal of mine to feature couples of all ages, shapes, sizes, and sexual preferences, but it wasn’t until a late night conversation over pizza with a fellow wedding vendor, where I realized that just featuring diverse couples only goes so far. What about the vendors they see in the blog posts? What happens if a same-sex couple loves the style of a photographer I am in essence promoting by accepting to feature their work, only to find out after an inquiry, that the photographer does not have an LGBT-friendly business.

That is not ok here. Call me naive – but I guess until that late night conversation, I assumed that vendors submitting to this blog were down with my view points. I thought I made my views known enough. I figured, why would a non-LGBT friendly vendor even want to be on Capitol Romance when we so clearly preach love for all? But then I went to the Say I Do Expo this past spring and one of the attendees mentioned how a photographer I was running a discount with, was not open to her and her partner.

I was embarrassed. I stuttered out an apology, mortified, and was a bit mystified at what to do next. But, I knew I had to do something.

So then came that late night pizza conversation, where among other constructive criticism, I finally learned that it was better to have content on this site that 100% reflected my vision, beliefs, and goals for this blog, then to just have enough content to be able to blog every day.

This has been tough. I used to have enough content to plan out my posts 2-3 weeks out, now I am lucky if I have enough posts for a week out. Sometimes I am still thinking of, or finding content for the day before. Now that I am committed to vetting every submitting vendor, the process is slower, and the submissions are thinner. I have had some awkward email conversations with non-LGBT friendly vendors and I am sure my blog has losts some readers too. Blog posts have been a bit late on certain days, and some days there is no content at all.

But so what? Who cares? I don’t. This blog was never started so that I could have a well-oiled wedding blog machine, with overflowing content planned months out. This blog was started to HELP people … ALL people and help change the notion of the DC wedding scene.

So while content might be a bit thinner and my submitting vendors pool might have shrunk. I don’t care. I am committed to making this blog a place for all couples to get inspiration and resources to plan the DC wedding they want to have, no matter their beliefs or sexual preferences.


Dianne & William’s Offbeat, Pi Day DC Wedding at Hillyer Art Space


Guys you are going to LOVE today’s DC wedding! It is a perfect mix of geeky and DIY and perfectly shows how to take a theme and turn it into a wedding! Dianne & William are both self-proclaimed geeks, as Dianne put it, “William loves math, and I love bad puns, we both love food. That led us to having a Pi day. April 13th is pi backwards 4.13″ And, Pi is really pie – so boom, pi/pie theme is born. Everything was perfectly captured by one of our favorite DC wedding photographers, Maggie Winters Photography and just wait until you see all the other DIY details below!

Oh and warning, this wedding feature will most likely make you HUNGRY. The shots of pizza and pie are making me salivate and it’s not even 10am!

Dianne & William’s Offbeat, Pi Day Themed DC Wedding at Hillyer Art Space

offbeat geeky DC wedding pi day theme hillyer art space


Photographer: Maggie Winters | Venue: Hillyer Art Space | Catering: Pizza from Home Made Pizza Co in Del Ray! | Banners: DIY | Beer: Home brewed | Invitations: Maggie Winters

How they met:

[His side] I didn’t know what I wanted. I was surfing from couch to couch, playing as many board games and RPG’s as possible. I had a newly printed masters degree, and didn’t want to work anymore. I’d been from California to New York, and DC was right after those two. I was staying with family, Aunt Rebecca and Uncle John. Good people — didn’t kick me out even after three months.

The next step would have been North Carolina, but I met this girl. This life changing, wonderful, beautiful, kick ass, amazing, totally ridiculously competitive and challenging girl. Which girl? Dianne. Of course.

offbeat geeky bride dc

I met this girl, and everything was different. I didn’t buy the next train ticket; I told my friends I wouldn’t be coming to NC. Instead, I explored a city — art, spy, and newseums — with a girl. I found a job; I got an apartment. I gave up my peripatetic lifestyle and settled down.

Because of Dianne. We met over boardgames and fell in love on King Street.


[Um a metro and map origami flower bouquet?! YES!]

[Her side] I was just deciding to make a life in DC. I had my first real job, thanks in part to my brother and sister. As I was starting to make a life for myself, a coworker, friend and office mate, Janna, convinced me to try out “meetup”. She had tried out a board game meetup, later to be called the AARGGH. I went, and there I found an amazing group of people. And my William.

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We flirted over our first game together, Settlers of Catan. Before leaving, he made sure to get my email address. He emailed me the next day, and it was a week before we saw each other again.

Over the next few weeks and months we went on dates. These were often poorly planned — our first date was at the Portrait Gallery when the spy museum was sold out — but somehow, each date worked out.

offbeat light blue engagement ring

Uh I LOVE Dianne’s nontraditional engagement ring!!

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The touching vows? According to William they were finished the DAY of the wedding!

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Click inside for so much more of Dianne & William’s offbeat, Pi Day themed DC wedding at Hillyer Art Space!

Tobias & Morgan’s DC War Memorial Engagement Pictures


Wow guys – blogging after 1pm?! This is a new low for me on the lateness scale. I was gone ALL weekend at my sister in laws bridal shower/bachelorette weekend and it took a bigger toll on me than I thought! Not only am I still digging out of my inbox, but I am just so mentally exhausted, it’s taking me 3 times longer than usual to do anything today! Am I allowed to use the “I’m getting old” excuse?!!? ;)

This should have been up way earlier, but it’s a gorgeous session nonetheless. Julie Napear Photography shares with us, a chic engagement session at the DC War Memorial. Now we’ve all seen sessions at the monuments & memorials (I get a TON submitted to me), but I loved that this couple decided to dress up with a bit of formality. Tobias (the groom to be) said that they wanted to do something a bit different with their DC engagement shoot – they wanted to match the formality of the monuments with their attire. I thought that was pretty cool. So enjoy Tobias & Morgan’s chic engagement shoot!

Tobias & Morgan’s Chic DC War Memorial Engagement Session

Washington DC war memorials engagement pictures

Photographer: Julie Napear Phgotography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How they met:

We met in law school in Boston in 2007. We sat next to each other in class every day, and one day Morgan just turned to me and asked me what my name was. We quickly became friends, but we didn’t start dating until several months later. Our first real date was at a seafood restaurant near the law school campus; there was a ton of snow on the ground, and we didn’t have a reservation so we had to wait for an hour and a half to be seated. Even though we were starving, the time passed quickly since we were enjoying chatting with each other. Five years later — to the day — we got engaged.

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The proposal story:

I actually had an elaborate surprise engagement planned, including dinner at the same restaurant and then a night in a hotel suite, but Winter Storm Nemo hit Boston that morning, and dumped historic amounts of snow on the city. The subway shut down, then the restaurant closed, and then the governor ordered a driving ban. So we went to a nearby deli, loaded up on essentials (i.e., steak and wine) and made dinner at home while the snow piled up outside. At the end of dinner, I pulled out the ring and popped the question. Morgan never thought she’d get engaged while wearing sweatpants and an old sweater, but she said yes anyway.

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Congratulations Morgan & Tobias! Thank you for sharing your love story with us. A special thanks again to Julie Napear Photography for sharing this DC engagement session with us via Two Bright Lights.

Sponsor Roundup: Friday October 25, 2014

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We will be starting a new recurring post called “Sponsor Round-up” that shares some awesome inspiration, giveaways, deals, and real weddings on our AWESOME sponsors’ websites! Here is what we got for today’s Sponsor Roundup:

Amber Wilkie Photography shared a GORGEOUS wedding at the Newseum in downtown Washington, DC, check it out here!

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Looking to go BOLD with your eye makeup for your wedding? Check out these bold, purple eyes from Suz The Makeup Chic

Everissta Jewelry is donating a portion of their proceeds from some of their bracelets to support the fight against breast cancer! Check out these awesome pink emmie bracelets here!

Looking to get a head start on your holiday cards this year? Then why not check out Typecase Industries‘ Art Print with Wood Type workshop and learn to make your own, custom letterpress cards? Check out all the details on this workshop here.




Capitol Video: Sophia & Nuvon’s Maryland Wedding Video

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Romancers! I am in the beautiful land of New Jersey today and through the weekend! So not a lot of social media from me, but I did want to leave you with something for your Friday. Today we have a wedding video from Jon Key Photography. Submitted by the bride, Sophia, today’s post also features some more insight into why Sophia & her husband Nuvon chose to have this kind of wedding video to capture their day. Now I know we’ve covered the “you should hire a videographer” topic ad nauseum. But, that won’t stop me from continuing to share real couples’ inputs and perspectives on this aspect of the wedding planning, and the vendors they chose. It’s all good, useful (and educational) information for when the time comes for YOU to decide whether or not you will hire a videographer.

Sophia & Nuvon’s Maryland Wedding Video at Glenview Mansion

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First, some input from bride, Sophia:

One of the best investments in our wedding wasn’t the beautiful venue, or my dream dress, or even the mouth watering food. It was our wedding video. Hearing and watching our relationship story come to life was truly priceless. During the wedding planning process all of my past bride friends would rave about their florist or caterer, but nobody ever had recommendations for a videographer. Why? Because a videographer is probably one of the most underused and underrated vendors. Even when I mentioned to my husband and mom that I wanted a videographer they laughed and told me I should spend the money elsewhere. Well, they couldn’t have changed their minds more drastically after they saw the “Love Story” and “Wedding Highlight” films that Jon Key created for us.

The breathtaking and vivid images were beautifully edited and every time I watch the video I feel like I’m reliving the most amazing day of my life all over again.  The video captured our true sentiments during the speeches, our priceless reaction during the first look, as well as the fun and excitement on the dance floor. Many years from now when we watch the video with our own children we’ll be able to listen to the heart-warming speeches, laugh while watching my 85 year old grandmother break it down on the dance floor, and smile at the memories created on the day we became husband & wife. Bringing those wedding memories to life through videography is invaluable and irreplaceable. Hiring a wedding videographer was no doubt worth every single penny.

And now the beautiful video!

Sophia + Nuvan (Wedding Highlights) from Jon Key Photography on Vimeo.

Happy Friday Romancers! A special thanks to Sophia, Nuvon, and Jon Key Photography for sharing this fun Maryland wedding video.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Aly & Elroi’s Washington DC Wedding Ceremony at Big Bear Cafe

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Today’s wedding is the epitome of what a wedding really is: two individuals, confessing their love for each other, in front of family & friends that they hold dear. A Practical Wedding (one of the blogs I most look up to and hope to emulate) featured their wedding & story on their blog, so please hop on over there, as Aly (part 1 of the couple) wrote the most beautiful write-up of how she and Elroi ended up in Washington, DC to have a “federally official” wedding ceremony.

The short of it is, they were married in Atlanta in 2007, but came to DC to make it federally official. Thanks to the Government Shutdown, their original plans took some twists and turns, and they ended up with a small civil ceremony at Big Bear Cafe! If you haven’t been to Big Bear Cafe – GO. The entire place is magical, and they very kindly offered their patio space up to make Aly & Elroi’s wedding a special one. Special thanks to Sarah Gormley Photography (one of our hand-picked DC wedding photographers!) for sharing her images and insight into this awesome wedding.

Aly & Elroi’s Washington DC Wedding Ceremony at Big Bear Cafe



Photography: Sarah Gormley Photography | Venue: Big Bear Cafe | Officiant: Maureen Burke | Dress: Dig for Victory

Since APW already has all the touching details from Aly, I thought I would share some really fascinating insight from the photographer’s perspective! Sarah wrote a great reflection of her interactions and experience with this special wedding and I found it too moving not to share.

LGBT DC wedding commitment ceremony big bear cafe

In Sarah’s words:

Aly & Elroi’s wedding was a very different experience for me as a photographer and I’ve been sitting at my desk for the past few hours trying to put that experience into words. It’s perhaps best to start by explaining that I don’t typically photograph weddings by the hour. Instead, I encourage my couples to choose up to twelve hours of coverage, with a minimum of eight. Over the past few years that I’ve been working in the world of wedding photography, I’ve learned that it’s very difficult to take the sort of meaningful, candid images that are at the heart of what I do if I don’t commit enough time to the couple, their family and their friends.

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And while some photographers do a beautiful job with shorter time frames, I’ve held that my key to stronger, more emotional photos lies in this time spent becoming comfortable, and not rushing that process or packing a whole bundle of portraits and group photos into one forced and possibly stressful time slot. Love is calm and steady and warm, and I believe that your wedding day should reflect that as much as possible, as should the photographs you have to remember it by.

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But not every couple has the luxury of eight hours. And to turn those couples away would be to miss out on meeting some beautiful and inspiring people. I met Aly & Elroi for the first time at Big Bear Cafe just moments before they would be wed. Aly & Elroi were married in Atlanta in 2007 but were not given the legal rights that their love and loyalty so clearly affords them. So they came to Washington DC with their two boys and a small gathering of family to make it federally official.

LGBT DC wedding commitment ceremony big bear cafe
LGBT DC wedding commitment ceremony big bear cafe

Click inside for the rest of Aly & Elroi’s beautiful DC wedding ceremony at Big Bear Cafe!

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