Bride to Be Guest Blogger Kelsey: All I Do is Plan Plan Plan

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Image: Maggie Gaudean

Andy & I took Evie on a whirlwind trip up to Vermont for one last little slice of summer vacation (and some early Fall temps – I had a HOODIE on you guys!!!!). It’s always such an awesome respite to get up to Vermont and spend some time with family. But the real world is always still here waiting for me when I get back.

I apologize again for how bad I’ve been about blogging — my day job has kicked into a gear I’ve never yet encountered in my adult, working life, and my daughter has recently decided 5am is an acceptable time to wake up … so yeah, things are a bit rough, but I have some AWESOME posts on the calendar, so here’s hoping I can get my butt in gear and get them up for you guys. Let’s start today with another post from our newest bride-to-be guest blogger, Kelsey. We met her a while back and now she’s hear to share how she started planning her wedding. Take it away Kelsey!

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Hey you came back! Or maybe you read this blog daily and happened to get stuck with me today. Hooray!

Now that you know a little bit about me, let’s dive into my epic wedding planning experience. I was originally planning a long engagement. Like 18 months. Then I started getting into this planning thing and realized, I do not want this to consume me for 18 months. I say consume with love, because it is a wonderful experience, but it’s also soul crushing, but like in a ‘there’s cake at the end of this’ kind of way.

So, I went from 18 months to nine months. And no I’m not pregnant. Why is that everyone’s first assumption when you say nine moths? Who gets married that pregnant on purpose? Right. Anyway once you hit the nine-month mark, things start moving quickly. You read everything you can get your hands on, you create an insane amount of spreadsheets that you don’t even need, and you suddenly have opinions about the color sage.

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There are a ton of books out there, I am a spokesperson for none of them, but I can tell you that this one from The Knot was very helpful for me. It kept things organized. I read that cover to cover and then bought this from Bree. Then I created a Google Drive folder that the fiancé and I share.

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Some of you may have a fiancé who just wants to show up on the wedding day. That’s totally cool. That’s not mine. He’s helpful with details and keeping me grounded like, ‘hey honey, don’t put that in the garbage disposal, that will not end well.’ Or ‘can we start a campaign to ban those stupid bamboo chairs from weddings?’ You know, real life stuff.

Now that I had place to dump all of my crazy, I needed to get a handle on what I could tackle and when. Because as awesome as it would be to quit my fulltime job and side hustle and just plan a wedding, it’s not realistic. So I made a timeline. Well I started with four timelines and I combined them into one. I took this one, this one, this one, and one from Bree and made a master timeline by month.

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One thing I knew I wanted was a wedding coordinator. Someone between a ‘I’ll take it from here, just show up’ and ‘hi I’m [fill in the blank], let’s get you married today.’ For me, Capitol Romance was that balance. (Side note: while I’m Bree’s client, I am not being compensated for these posts, and all opinions are my own) So I secured Bree and got to work.

To be continued…

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Let’s Get Personal: Diversity & The Wedding Industry

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Image: The Oberports from Julie & Emory’s H Street NE Engagement Session

When I started this blog, one of the things I was adamant about was showcasing ALL of the different couples that get married in Washington, DC. We are lucky to have such a rich mix of couples in this city and I couldn’t imagine having a website about DC weddings that didn’t mirror that mix. I saw DC-focused magazines and blogs that seemed to show mostly white couples & their weddings and it just felt so off to me.

A few weeks ago I was trolling Instagram on the couch and an image of the upcoming speakers at a local-ish wedding conference showed mostly white, female faces smiling back at me. I showed my husband the image, made some smart-ass comment about the extreme lack of diversity on the screen and thought about writing a post about it.

But I got scared. I knew some of the speakers at the conference and I didn’t want to “rock the boat” too bad, so I moved on and continued blogging about other things. Then my girl Katie at the Plannery shared this blog post over on the Catalyst Wedding Co blog and I instantly felt so many things. I felt ashamed that I didn’t have the cojones to write it myself. I felt angered about the responses the conference creators posted in response to the backlash. I felt gratitude that Catalyst used their platform to post not only about the whole exchange/event that occurred, but about diversity in the wedding space in general.

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Images: Imani Fine Art Images from Grace & Ben’s Richmond Virginia Engagement Session

I loved the point they made that we NEED to talk about this. Go to Pinterest right now and search on Weddings – I scrolled for 5 minutes before I found a picture of a non-white person in an image. This is ridiculous to me – do only white people get married? No? Ok then why the hell does the wedding industry seem to only feature white couples?!

I don’t really know the answer to this – but I will say that 8/10 submissions that I get are of white couples. As a blogger that is committed to showcasing all different types of couples, I admittedly turn down weddings with white couples that I love if I’ve already got a slate of white couples on my editorial calendar, and sometimes publish weddings/features I don’t 100% find a fit for Capitol Romance but accept because the couple is non-white.

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Image: Lissa Ryan Photography from Obi & Amber’s Busboys & Poets Engagement Session

But as the Editor at Catalyst again points out, my attempt at including couples of varying races here on the blog just isn’t enough. “Inclusion requires first valuing diversity (or feeling enough pressure from your audience to rehab your image), and second, action…. because when varying voices, perspectives, talent, and images harmonize to tell a collective story about what it means to live and love in this moment in time, the result is something wholly unique and challenging and real. It’s a little less “perfect,” a lot less pink, and the scariest part is it has the power to shake you to your core. I hope more people in weddings learn to value diversity and inclusion not because it’s expected (which it is and should be) but because it really makes us a better industry and a better, more just world.”

Which brings me to my next article on this topic – one my mom shared with me a few weeks ago: The Culture of the Smug White Liberal. My mom shared it with me moreso on the topic of education/diversity in schools, as someday soon I will need to start thinking about where we are sending Evie to school and DC’s Public School & Public Charter School’s have their own set of diversity issues. (Maybe that blog post another day).

But I couldn’t help to read that article and pull the parallels back into the wedding industry diversity discussion. Mostly because it bluntly forces you to ask yourself some hard questions, similar to what Catalyst focused on above: what are you DOING about diversity. Though I might say “yay! diversity is awesome and needed” what am I doing in my own life (and my business) to really commit to and facilitate diversity?

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While striving to feature couples of many races might look good on paper – I’ll admit it’s too easy. I could do more – I could commit to networking with more vendors across different races or I could strive to find more clients of different races. I love the fact that my coordination team brings varying backgrounds the business, but I’ll admit that I did not actively pursue that – Alesha & Kara (thank freakin-god) fell into my lap!

So let’s have this conversation, shall we? Let’s ask ourselves what are we doing to make the wedding space more diverse or to be more inclusive? How can you reach out and DO instead of sitting back and expecting it to just materialize? I can’t say I know the answers to these questions but I hope this post at least helps to get some thoughts going. I hope my readers feel compelled to respond, maybe write their own posts, and share them with the group and then take it a step further to see how they can invite more diversity into not only the wedding scene but their every day life.

Carolyn & Jon’s Northern Virginia Great Falls Park & Blackfinn Engagement Pictures

View More: http://meganchasephotography.pass.us/carolyn-jon-engagement

Images: Megan Chase Photography

OMG you guys I’ve hit that point. The point in September when I am just READY for Fall. The crisper temperatures this weekend, the start of Football and this Great Falls Park engagement session. But mother nature always does this – gets me excited as I dig out my scarves and boots and then BOOM back to the 90s. We’re escaping to Vermont this weekend for one last mini-vacation and I am hoping to find cooler temperatures up there!

For today we have a beautiful engagement session from Megan Chase and it features our very own bride-to-be blogger, Carolyn!!! Enjoy her gorgeous pictures & insight into their engagement session locations decisions. Happy first day after a long weekend Romancers ;)

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For Jon & I’s engagement session I was torn between two different styles. The casual, more true to how we are on a daily basis and the fancier side of our lives (not as often). So I asked our amazing photographer Megan if it was possible to do 2 different sessions and she said yes!!! I was so excited!

The First session was done in Great Falls Park, which is such a picturesque outdoor setting. Jon loves nature and being outside and I love it in controlled settings. So we chose more casual outfits and woke up super early for a sunrise engagement session. The lighting was gorgeous and this was also the perfect setting to bring the little Pheebster along. We were a little nervous throughout the session because for the shots of just Jon and I she sat off to the side and we noticed that the amount of vultures that were appearing around us started to grow. Thankfully they left her alone. I was freezing by the end of the session, but so happy! I knew the photos were going to be amazing!

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For the second session I thought it would be a blast if we staged it in Blackfinn, which is a bar across the street from where Jon lived at the time. We like to hop on over and grab a drink once in a while just to change things up (aka in between our Netflix binges). They were so welcoming and accommodating for this shoot and it turned out exactly as I had imagined! I got my hair done by Anna Fazio that day, she is so amazing for waking up so early to accommodate me! It contributed to the more put together and sophisticated look I was going for. I love this shoot because it also incorporates our usual drink choices.

View More: http://meganchasephotography.pass.us/carolyn-jon-engagement View More: http://meganchasephotography.pass.us/carolyn-jon-engagement

So between the two sessions the photos captured our variety of personal interest all through photos! So if you and your honey can’t decide which is the perfect setting for your engagement shoot or if you both have different likes; try choosing two different spots to showcase everything you both are about!

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Hair in the bar shoot was done by Anna Fazio.  Huge thanks to Blackfinn in Merrifield for letting us use their space!!

View More: http://meganchasephotography.pass.us/carolyn-jon-engagement

Introducing Our Newest Bride to Be Guest Poster: Kelsey!

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Our dear Carolyn is getting married SO SOON and she will no longer be a “bride-to-be” and so I thought it’d be fun to bring another voice onto this blog to share another perspective of the crazy roller coaster that is planning your wedding. Enter: Kelsey! Kelsey and Phil are clients of mine and they are awesome. I mean, how could they not be when they ask you to be their wedding coordinator like this? So meet Kelsey & enjoy her hilarious wit for your Friday before a long weekend (woo hoo!).

First posts are always the worst. Will you like me? What do you want to know? Do I have something in my teeth? Let’s get all of these really important questions out of the way at the get go.

I’m Kelsey. I’m a ten-year and counting DC resident, and I’m getting married in February. Will you like me? Man, I hope so. Maybe not Michelle Obama’s arms like me, but definitely you stumbled on your favorite rerun of Friends like me. I’m going to share my wedding planning journey with you from start to finish. We have a bit of catching up to do because I got engaged in April but I figure it’s important to start at the beginning, so let’s do this.

I’ve been dating the fiancé for eight years. So all you ladies who are planning an ultimatum for your two-year relationship, just relax. I know this isn’t a relationship/engagement blog, but let me tell you that you need to know your best self before you give it to someone else. So enjoy this time. Live together if you want, go on vacations, get in fights and then figure out how to resolve them. Just make each other better.

Ok, fast forward to April. Long story short, the fiancé proposed the evening I thought I was throwing him a surprise 30th birthday party.

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Yay! Love! Fun fact though, approximately 47 minutes after you get engaged someone asks you when you’re getting married. And that’s when it begins. Buckle up, kids, it’s about to get real. Whether you’re planning a long engagement, eloping, city nuptials, or middle of nowhere fete, this is your new normal. When, how many, where, what to wear, what to eat, the list of questions goes on.

Through the next few posts I’m going to share my advice as I go through this as well as hopefully answer any of your questions. My first and guiding piece of advice that has helped me through this process of an infinite number of decisions that need to be made: pick the top three things that are most important to you for your wedding. Just three. And have your fiancé do the same. There is no wrong answer. You can choose: food, band, and bridesmaids or venue, budget, and colors or Supreme Court justice officiant, cake, and sparklers, it doesn’t matter. But figuring out those three things will help everything else feel more digestible, because things can get super overwhelming and sometimes you need to remember what three things are most important to you.

Wanna know mine? Venue, band, food. I want a location that wows, I want people dancing all night, and I want them to talk about the food for years after the wedding. I hope you enjoy my advice and stories over the next few months. Please feel free to ask me any questions, I promise to answer honestly and maybe with a gif.

Introducing The Business Studio: A Community for Planners on the Business Side of the Wedding Industry

*sponsored post*

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED! STAY TUNED FOR UPDATED DATE!

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I am so excited to share this new business venture from the crazy fabulous Jasmine of Jasmine Smith & Co Events. I get emails ALL THE TIME from people that want to jump into the wedding planning/coordination space and just want me to share some tips & tricks with them or any advice I have. My advice? Attend a workshop like this one to fully understand the business of working weddings in the wedding industry.

Wedding planning and/or coordination is a WHOLE heck of a lot harder than I think people understand. There’s finding your brand, the type of planner you even want to be, what sort of services you should offer, and how to execute this all successfully so that you can deliver on what you are selling. Enter: The Business Studio and their inaugural Business of Weddings Workshop.

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The Business Studio is a community for planners looking to better understand the business side of working in the wedding industry and registration is now open for “The Business of Weddings” – a workshop hosted by @thebusinessstudio.

Who is this workshop for? This workshop has been created for new and experienced planners looking to better understand the business side of working in the wedding industry.

What will this workshop include? During this 2 hour workshop you’ll learn: Why you should understand business and how it impacts your service, How to create a business model that fits your personality, How to find and define your niche, How to create a wedding business brand and, Tips on how to impress EVERYONE involved on wedding day. Plus, attendees get a catered lunch + a FREE 30 minute accountability call.

Where and when is the workshop? The workshop is on 10.30.16 at the Loft at 600F. Space is limited — so register today to ensure your spot! And while you wait for this amazing event to take place, follow along with Jasmine & The Business Studio on Instagram!

*this is a sponsored post as part of our event promotion advertising package. 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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