Enter to Win 5 Custom Label Groomsmen Socks from Cute N Crafty Shop

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Well you might have noticed that things are a BIT different around here today! That’s because for the past MANY months, we have been working with Skleber Design & her husband Ryan to create a new, custom Capitol Romance!!! This week might be a bit rough as I continue to clean up posts, ensure everything is working properly, and hopefully give all you, my readers, an improved experience finding the BEST alternative, offbeat & creative resources for DC weddings!!

So, to kick things off, we are hosting a giveaway!! And then next week, we will be running 1-2 giveaways PER DAY leading up to our final, HUMONGOUS giveaway from KD Creative in celebration of our brandy new blog. Just you wait and see how awesome it is! But first things first, let’s get today’s awesome giveaway from Cute N Crafty up and running!

Enter to Win 5 Custom Label Groomsmen or Father of the Bride/Groom Socks

custom groomsmen socks unique gift[Photo: Kristen Monroe]

From Cute N Crafty Shop:

Every Bride and Groom wants their big day to be unique and memorable. I love that our products give couples a chance to add that “something special” to their day. The “Cold Feet” socks help chase away pre-wedding jitters by putting a smile on the grooms face and the groomsmen socks are a great way to say thank you (and make sure they aren’t wearing gym socks to your wedding). I also know that wedding expenses can add up fast! So getting freebies rocks! I am happy that I can offer that to couples as they embark on this new journey.

So basically these make a PERFECT gift to your groomsmen! Entering is easy, just leave a blog comment and enter via our Rafflecopter widget below! Extra chances to win by liking Capitol Romance and Cute N Crafty on Facebook and by tweeting about the giveaway! Giveaway ends next Wednesday, 1 October 2013.

Giveaway entitles 1 lucky winner to win 5 pairs of black socks, with either a standard “Cold Feet” label, custom groomsmen name labels, or a father of the bride/groom labels – in whatever combination you want! Shipping anywhere in the US is also included!

custom groomsmen socks unique gift

[Photo: Kristen Monroe]

BUT WAIT …. there’s more! Click inside for more AND to enter this awesome giveaway from Cute N Crafty shop!

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Capitol Nontradition: Bouquet & Garter Toss Alternatives

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The more client meetings I have as a wedding coordinator, the more I hear “we don’t want to do that traditional bouquet toss/garter toss stuff”. Personally, that is music to my ears – I for one am not a big fan of doing traditional things, for the sake of tradition. I’d much prefer couples choose meaningful events to happen throughout their wedding day. Plus, as one photographer so eloquently put it, “wedding guest reactions to garter toss are almost always 100% awkward & uncomfortable”. So yeah.

So for today’s post we thought we’d share some ideas and inspiration around some bouquet/garter toss alternatives! These are just suggestions to get your mind going – because as I just stated, you should mostly pick something that works/means something to YOU/your partner/your family and not just do one of these because you saw it on a blog ;)

See what I did there?

Bouquet & Garter Toss Alternatives

1. Throwing something OTHER than a bouquet/garter

So this one involves still tossing SOMETHING to a myriad of your guests, but maybe not your precious bouquet, or that garter you just fetched from under a dress. Take a page out of Emily Porter’s book and throw and angry bird:

[Emily & Bobby's Wedding | Image: Ken Kienow]

Or possibly a gamer-themed “Companion Cube”, like  Jenn did. I mostly loved Jenn’s throwing choice because she shared, “I threw a Companion Cube from the video game Portal 2. It was “for LOVE”, so all women, single and married, would be blessed with more love in their lives.”

[Jenn & Brent's Video Game Infused Wedding | Image: Nancy Anderson Photography]

2. The Anniversary Dance

Instead of forcing your single friends to fight for your bouquet, try honoring the couple that’s been married the longest at your wedding! It’s called the “Anniversary Dance” and it requires your DJ or Band to call all the married couples to the floor. A song plays & then the MC calls out years, and asks that if you have been together shorter than that time frame, you leave the dance floor. You are then left with the couple that has been married the longest. We did this at our wedding – and it was a huge success! I was also pretty impressed to find out that my Aunt & Uncle had been married over 40 years!

[My parents dancing at my wedding | Image: Live It Out Photography]

3. Bouquet Passing & Honoring

At my cousin-in-law’s (is that a thing?) wedding, the bride decided to pass her bouquet to the lady at the wedding that was next in line to get married. I’ve seen this a few other times before and I really like it – it’s a great way to recognize the next wedding instead of just embarrassing your single friends.

bouquet alternatives

And then there is Allison & Jay that decided to pass/honor their grandmother with the bride’s bouquet! Alison shares, “There are certain wedding traditions that just didn’t really make sense to us so we either opted out entirely or changed them to suit us. We didn’t do a garter toss at all but when it came to the bouquet I just thought that giving it to someone to honor them would have more meaning than tossing it at one of our two single lady friends. :)

My grandparents have now been married for 64 years and their relationship has always been an inspiration to me. They still hold hands when they walk together. I wore my grandmother’s wedding ring during the ceremony and afterwards when I gave it back she told me there were “63 years of love in that ring.” So for the bouquet I presented it to my grandmother and talked a little but about how much of an inspiration they were and then the DJ played their wedding song: “Believe” by Perry Como.

[Allison & Jay's Wedding | Image: Leo Druker Photography]

And Heidi & Jason passed the bouquet to their grandparents as well – in honor of their 65th wedding anniversary! So, basically an anniversary dance, without the dance. ;)

bouquet toss alternatives

[Amber Wilkie Photography]

4. And last but not least, you could always just do the Dollar Dance!

Recent bride, Jennifer shared, “Instead of doing the garter/bouquet toss, we did a money dance. I know it sounds so corny and outdated, but it was awesome. Everyone was really into doing it with us and we were given enough money to pay for all our meals on our honeymoon:) Basically the best man and maid of honor wear aprons and collect money when someone comes up to dance with the bride or the groom as long as one really fun and fast song still plays. Its supposed to be a race to make the most money of course and its a lot of fun.

bouquet toss alternatives

[Image: Eric Shaughnessy]

OK Romancers – that rounds up what we found – but I KNOW we missed other equally awesome ideas! Please share any rad ones you might have and we will work to keep this post updated as they come in! Happy Friday!

Diggy & David’s Relaxed, Outdoor Tent Maryland Wedding at Snow Hill Manor

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Not a lot of details for today’s Maryland wedding feature from Sarah Gormley Photography – but not that there is any thing wrong with that. Sometimes we love dialing it back from the overly planned, overly styled weddings, and giving you all just plain & gorgeous images that show the real, raw love and happiness of a wedding day.

Diggy & David are a super relaxed couple, that self describe themselves as “photo avoiders” (meaning they don’t like to have their photos taken). They didn’t want their pictures to come across “posey” or fake. And so they hired a photographer that could capture their true emotions, at ease. Couples that are wedding planning – I can’t stress enough just how important this is! If you are camera-shy or don’t like having your pictures taken, then you really must find a photographer that can work with that!!

Diggy & David planned a beautiful & relaxing “family reunion style” wedding on the grounds of Stone Hill Manor in Maryland. It included a tent, BBQ-style catering, and some seriously rad decor from DIYva Designs (just wait until you see the tassel backdrop from their ceremony!).

Diggy & David’s Casual Outdoor Maryland Wedding at Snow Hill Manor

snow hill manor maryland wedding

Vendors:

Photography: Sarah Gormley Photography | Venue: Snow Hill Manor | Coordinator: DIYva Designs, LLC | Catering: Rocklands BBQ | Rentals: A Grand Event Rentals | Cake and Cupcakes: Sweets By E | Photobooth: Bash Booths | Hair: Alison Harper & Co | Makeup: Faces by Stephanie

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Now THIS is a “reaction to seeing the bride” shot!

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outdoor wedding decorations

Click inside for the rest of Diggy & David’s casual, outdoor Maryland wedding at Snow Hill Manor

Let’s Get Personal: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of Running Your Own Twitter

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Let me start of by admitting that I am not 100% sure where I want to go with this blog post. I have some thoughts (and obviously opinions) around wedding vendors running their own social media, particularly Twitter – but I am not sure whether this post will take on more of an op-ed formula or a rant. Hopefully I haven’t scared you off already.

Anyway, since I am mostly ingrained in the wedding vendor world on Twitter and because my account is part personal and part wedding-vendor related, I will specifically focus this post on those two aspects. So let’s get this going then, shall we?

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Running Your Own Twitter Handle

how to use twitter

[Image: Val & Sarah]

When I first joined Twitter I made a decision that I wouldn’t have both a personal “bree” account AND a “capitol romance” account. I wanted my twitter handle to be a mix of business and pleasure (hey-o) and I wanted people to follow me for more reasons other than that I was a wedding blogger. Also, I was downright lazy and the thought of running TWO Twitter accounts just didn’t sound appealing to me. I initially connected only with other wedding vendors, but soon I started to connect with local businesses in my neighborhood and even some of my own neighbors! I learned the ins and outs of twitter and loved spending half the time posting personal items and the other half sharing links from the blog and eventually insight into my wedding coordination business.

The Good: So far, for me personally, this has worked fantastically. I made a business decision to have my ‘brand’ include ME and I don’t regret that at all. In fact, I like it so much that I tend to find I only enjoy following other wedding vendors that do the same. Since I am no longer planning my wedding, I really have no desire to read tweets from a vendor that are solely about their services. And nothing irritates me more when a handle tweets literally the same thing over and over, every few hours (probably via hoot-suite). Am I alone on this? Am I off-base because those vendors aren’t targeting me any way, they are targeting couples that are in the wedding-planning zone? Those accounts just feel so in-authentic to me. So flavorless.

Personally, I feel like if you aren’t connecting with others on Twitter at a more personal level, then you aren’t really making a lasting impact. You are just a 140-character line item that someone whizzes past on their touch screen, never looking to actually interact with you – which to me is the KEY to Twitter. The interactions. Thanks to twitter interactions, I’ve met countless vendors, found answers to questions I have had, got invited to sweet restaurant openings in my neighborhood, and even won an AWESOME dinner for 2 giveaway! All because I decided to connect with my followers and those I follow on a more personal level.

using twitter for your business

[Image: Val & Sarah]

The Bad: Now, though I prefer handles that are a bit on the personal side, I can also understand why some wedding vendors chose to keep their business handles free of personal tweets, and then have a personal handle for … well, more personal things. Your tweets are a reflection of you – and when you are tweeting your thoughts and opinions, you are creating an opportunity to alienate people, or worse, offend people! I know I am guilty of this – and every time I retweet politically or socially charged tweets and articles, I am rolling the dice, possibly alienating a potential client or blog reader. It’s a fine line to walk, choosing just HOW personal I want to get on my Twitter account. I want to be authentic and myself, but I don’t want to be mean or hurt people’s feelings. And what’s worse is that what I thought was once a “good” thing (letting people see the more personal side and connecting that with my business) could end up hurting my brand instead.

The Ugly: Do I really need to define this? The Ugly side of running your own Twitter is two-fold. First, it’s what happens when “The Bad” comes true – people start to dislike your brand, because of the things you put on Social Media/Twitter. I have unfollowed other wedding vendors and local business accounts that I once followed because their social and political views did not match mine. I try hard to keep an open mind – but sometimes (I feel) their balance is off, and their account is becoming a bit TOO personal/opinionated and that personal side is not something I care to be a part of (or read about).

The second is the time-suck involved in keeping up a robust Twitter account; remaining active, interacting, and authentic! <- this is easier said than done. I’ve gotten so ingrained in my account that I am probably classifiable as “addicted” to Twitter. It’s the first thing I check when I wake up in the morning, it’s pretty much open on my computer all day (hello distractions) and I have some insane anxiety over not catching everything that came up on my newsfeed. I am literally scared I might have missed some sort of information or tweet that was interesting or useful.

So at this point, I think I will wrap this up and ask the crowd your thoughts: Do you like following wedding vendors that use their Twitter for BOTH personal and professional tweets? And if you are a business owner, and you choose to be “Strictly Business” on your handle, I’d love to know why! Sound off below.

Alice & Chad’s DIY Purple Maryland Barn Wedding at Linganore Winecellers

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It’s with a heavy heart (and a big sigh) that I start today’s blog post. I have written the “struggling to blog post XXX tragedy” before, and I don’t want to write it again. But I can’t ignore the fact that yesterday the city I love, the city I live and work in, was struck by terrible tragedy. I am still trying to make sense of how someone could do what was done yesterday.

But as a wedding blogger & coordinator, I think I need to consider myself lucky – in that so much of my life and days are filled with stories and images of love & happiness, not hate & sorrow. And so, though yesterday was tragic and will continue to be for all those families that were affected, there is a duty in each of us to continue on with strength and messages of love. It is the only way we can attempt to move on from such horrific events.

So for today I am sharing an extra special Maryland wedding – one that was originally planned for later in my editorial calendar, but I thought it was just TOO full of love and happiness, to not share today. It features an adorable couple (Alice & Chad) that are just SO happy and in love on their wedding day, that it’s down right contagious. And isn’t that something we’d all like to catch today? Without further ado:

Alice & Chad’s DIY Maryland Barn Wedding at Linganore Winecellers

DIY purple sunflowers maryland barn wedding

Vendors:

Photography: Photography by Brea | Venue: Linganore Winecellers | Flowers: Local Color Flowers | DJ: Do Justice to Music | Cupcakes: Jessica Kerin | Caterer: Fine Cuisine Catering | Hair and Makeup: Victoria Budosh | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jersey Maid | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

 From the photographer:

#chalicewedding happened at Linganore Winecellars on August 24th. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and a stunning location to provide the backdrop as these two amazing people committed their lives to each other. Their simple but stunning details were the perfect fit as well! There was a lot of heart that went into this wedding and I just love their cute DIY centerpieces and details! Even the flowers that were provided were freshly picked wild flowers!

DIY maryland wedding

What? I LOVE Alice’s yellow engagement ring!!! So unique!

unique yellow engagement ring

From the bride:

I was never that girl that dreamed of having a fairytale wedding one day, until I met Chad. Chad and I were acquaintances for a few years before we started dating, but soon after that first date, I found myself with a new best friend for life.

My mother-in-law likes to call us “the ying-yang couple” and you can see it right off the bat. Chad with his super blonde hair and my super black hair paired us up looking like “how is this possible?”. Yet, here we are, married & happily living together.

wild flower bouquet

offbeat hipster groomsmen

DIY maryland wedding

Click inside for SO MUCH more of Alice & Chad’s DIY Maryland barn wedding!

Artistic, Music Festival Inspired Wedding Based on “You and Me” Song

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I have a love hate relationship with styled shoots recently. I feel like the wedding blogging scene has become a BIT inundated with them and I also feel like EVERY vendor and their brother is now getting together to do a “styled shoot” that only end up resulting in neither new nor inspiring images. The over-abundance of styled shoots almost instantly kill “trends” before they even really become trends (and we all know how I feel about that word, trend). But enough ranting about styled shoots, since my whole point was to introduce today’s blog post which is … you guessed it … a styled shoot! (oh the irony)

But here’s the catch – this one is actually different! It’s truly unique and the details are exquisite and the theme is concise (but not forced) and the best part is that it actually makes sense. The vendors took a theme and applied it to a styled shoot that could ACTUALLY work for a real wedding! The theme incorporated a song (Dave Matthews Band’s “You & Me” – a fab wedding song) AND the couple’s love story, to create a styled shoot that was yes, styled, but also inspiring and applicable to a real wedding. They also created details that the couple could actually re-use as art in their home after the wedding! What a novel idea!

Ok, enough from me, let’s get to this awesome inspiration from  Lovato Images221 by Viv {Wedding & Event Design} and a whole other bunch of awesome vendors below!

Artistic, Music Festival Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot Based on “You & Me” Song

artistic wedding based on song music

Vendors:

Photographer:  Lovato Images | Event Designer: 221 by Viv {Wedding & Event Design} | Heirlooms and extras: Commemory Fine Art | Makeup Artist:Courtney Nicolle Hair & Makeup | Equipment Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals | Personal Stylist: Mcgregorgirl Vintage Fashion | Cinema and Video: Mission Visual | Bakery: Pearly Sweets | Floral Designer: The Pink Daffodil | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

From the photographer:

Last year several [very talented] wedding artists and professionals got together to create. We started with a simple idea, a music festival inspired wedding, and it blossomed beautifully from there. Each artist contributed their own perception of the vision and together we created a dreamy love story with personal symbolism, vintage texture, soft and muted spring colors and layers of all kinds of energy. I think it’s important to collaborate with other artists to engage and develop one’s own creativity. I know I could have never come up with this amazingness on my own. It was a team effort in every sense of the term.

blue orange artistic wedding invitation suite

On the musical festival, turned wedding song theme:

So many couples have an emotional connection to music and the bands and songs they share in common with their own love story. This styled shoot is inspired by the Dave Matthews Band album ‘Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King.’ On the album is the song ‘You & Me,’ a romantic song that many couples choose as the first dance at their wedding.

Each decor element was carefully selected, drawing from the illustrative design of the album cover and each vignette communicates meaningful messages. The floral design is simply stunning and the furniture and rentals play a huge part of the story telling as well. Artist Beth Thomas of Commemory Art painted many of the wedding details that are keepsakes for the couple to take home and use in their home decor. I’m a collector, so that’s totally my kinda event design!

polka dot birdcage veil

orange tie groom

unique alternative wedding dress

I love love love the combos of oranges and blues in this shoot!

eclectic blue orange funky wedding

Click inside to see SO MUCH MORE from this musical festival styled shoot! Including an ombre wedding cake, a dessert spread in a wheelbarrow, and a ‘behind the scenes’ video from Mission Visual!

Chris & Misato’s Handmade Virginia Wedding at a Coffee Shop

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Remember this adorable couple? Well they’ve since gone and got married and their wedding is just AMAZING. Completely handmade, one of a kind, and set in a super awesome offbeat Northern Virginia wedding venue – a coffee shop!! Clarendon dwellers and other NoVa folk alike will instantly recognize their venue – it’s Northside Social, but all readers will be able to appreciate the time and thought this couple put into their wedding day! It was really no wonder that Green Wedding Shoes picked it up first, and we are happy to share it again with you all.

Thanks to Love By Serena and the lovely couple, we have a TON of details and information to share on this truly unique wedding and make sure you make it to the end to see their seriously rad wedding highlight video from Caravan. It’s one of the BEST highlight reels I have seen. Like ever.

Chris & Misato’s Handmade, Creative Virginia Wedding at a Coffee Shop

handmade alternative northern virginia wedding

Vendors:

Photography: Love By Serena | Bride’s Gown: LM Collection at Bloomingdales | Bridesmaids Dresses: Anthropologie | Catering: Northside Social | Cake: Sophie Camp with Northside Social | Favors/Centerpieces/Decorations: DIY | Flowers: Potomac Floral Wholesale & DIY | Hair: Keiko Goto from Ozuki Salon | Makeup: Akea from Sephora | Jewelry: Anthropologie | Men’s Attire: Banana Republic, Express & Topman | Music: DIY Playlist | Shoes: Nine West | Stationery: DIY | Wedding Rings: Designed by Bride, handmade for each other | Videography: Caravan | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Misato is originally from Japan and has been in living in the U.S. for the past 10 years. She has background in Fine Arts (focus: metal working and jewelry making). She currently works as a Display Coordinator for Anthropologie. Chris grew up in the Northern Virginia area and currently works in the culinary field at a delicious restaurant in Arlington, VA (Lyon Hall). Misato and Chris had their wedding celebration this past August, but were officially married for about 2 years before the celebration (her entire family flew in from Japan for the event).

handmade creative alternative northern virginia wedding

From Misato, the bride:

As many couples do, we went through lots and lots of wedding website and pictures trying to come up with ideas, but we realized that we wanted the wedding to be simple and easy going, just like who we are (and we were running out of time!).  We love blue, yellow, green, rustic neutral, and animals so we used that as our theme.

handmade bride groom wedding rings

I LOVE this detail about their handmade wedding rings ^

Our wedding bands are made by each other with the casting of Red string. In some Asian countries, it is believed that people who are meant to be together are connected by red string. So when we got married summer of 2010, we tied a red string on each others ring finger. We used that string to make our wedding bands to be connected by red string forever.

DIY virginia wedding

But before the dress, decor, music, guest list, flower and so on, our first priority was the food! Northside Social and its sister restaurant Lyon Hall and Liberty Tavern make cheeses, sausages, and charcuteries in house and they are one of our favorite restaurant in the DC area.

alternative northern virginia wedding

handmade creative alternative northern virginia wedding

offbeat alternative virginia wedding

Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of this super awesome, alternative & handmade Virginia wedding!

We Decided to Put Social Pressures Aside to Plan a “True to Us” Wedding

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As I mentioned last Wednesday, we are trying our hardest to re-focus our content a bit on some more advice-driven pieces that share real, first-hand accounts of wedding planning in and outside of the Washington, DC area. Last week we had a real bride share some post wedding planning reflections (re: regrets) and this week we have a bride to be that is sharing a super personal post on how her and her fiance found themselves planning a wedding they didn’t actually want to have.

I met Laura through my wedding coordination biz – she originally reached out to me for an inquiry into my services. A few weeks later though, her plans had changed and I was really interested in learning why. Not because I no longer had a potential client on my hands (though I did love the sound of her wedding! hah), but because I thought her story and reflection with her fiance was totally worth sharing.

Laura emailed me to let me know things had changed after a lot of soul searching. They decided that their original plan didn’t actually reflect who they were. They scraped the traditional, 200+ wedding and are doing a low-key, chapel ceremony with just immediate family instead.  I thought Laura & her fiance were insanely brave to do this – and even braver still was Laura when she agreed to share the soul searching they did here. I hope you guys read this and share this (if you want), as I think it’s a CRUCIAL part of the wedding planning process. Before you fall head over heels into planning, take some time to really think about AND discuss with your partner what you want for your wedding day … and why.

How We Decided to Put Social Pressures Aside to Plan a Wedding That was True to Who We Are

I’m not much of a writer, but when Bree asked me to write about my recent soul searching with my wedding plans, I couldn’t say no.  I had invested so much time and energy into this process that I thought it would be therapeutic to put it down in words. 

First and foremost, I love weddings.  I love being apart of such a time of love and unity.  I love having such a wonderful excuse to get together with friends and family to celebrate, reminisce, and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s basically a big family reunion.  I love it.

dc courthouse wedding intimate[A DC Courthouse Wedding via Sarah Gormley Photography]

My now-fiancé and I have known each other for some time.  We have been in each other’s lives in some way, shape, or form for over 12 years.  In the last couple of years we realized we were ready for each other and a future together.  We began to talk more openly about getting married.  It became a matter of when, not if. 

As Pinterest began to take over, I got caught up in all its glory.  And as a wedding seemed more and more likely in my future I couldn’t resist browsing the ‘wedding’ category.  Oh was I in trouble.  Gorgeous pin after gorgeous pin; I couldn’t stop!  But I decided to take a step back until I was officially engaged.  Fast forward a few months later and while hiking one of our favorite trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains, my boyfriend (now fiancé) popped the question.  It was perfect!  We spent the recent of our mini-vacation basking in our love and excitement.  It was crazy how nothing had really changed, but everything had changed.  It was wonderful!

[Kirsten & Christian's Small Budget VA Wedding via Porter Watkins Photography]

Then the reality of wedding planning set in.  Those wonderful photos I had pinned on Pinterest were no longer gorgeous, but daunting.  How do I actually make these ideas happen?  How do I get this fabulous relaxed backyard wedding?  Everyone seems so happy and calm… doubtful!  The more I looked into these ideas, the more I realized they weren’t going to happen.  Not on our budget.  And not on how much time and energy we were willing to put into this event.  Don’t get me wrong.  We want it to be the best day of our lives, and it will be, but it took a lot of soul searching to realize we don’t need to put our (or our family’s) life savings into this one day to make it special.  It’s special because we love each other and we get to show the world how much.  It’s special because we get to have our favorite people in the world around us all at the same time!

So back to the soul searching. And first a few things you need to know about us – our families are HUGE (looking at easily 175 for just aunts, uncles, and first cousins) and we have both lived all over and have some friends that go back to when we were babies.  When all said and done, we had a list of 250 people on our “essential persons” list for the wedding!  We are also both pretty private people and having a traditional ceremony and reception felt a little too overwhelming to us. 

[Ben & Jen's Super Local, Offbeat DC Wedding via Leslie Maron Photography]

Even knowing this about ourselves, we still began to look for very traditional options: big church ceremony and reception to follow (making each guest on our list suddenly seem very costly).  Simply put, we really couldn’t afford (or didn’t feel comfortable affording) a wedding that fit this bill while still seeming somewhat unique enough to feel true to us as a couple.  But over and over we tried to find a solution.  The love and excitement of the engagement was quickly overtaken by the stress and pressure of creating this wedding that didn’t even seem to match us.  We tried and tried to fit a square peg into a round hole.  We tried to compromise on location, guest list, food, date, cost… but no matter what “solution” we came to, it never sat right with us.  After many a stressful night (and yes some tears), we always came back to the same thing: we just want to be married to each other.  Eloping was making a lot more sense to us as time passed, but that didn’t sit right either.

So back to the drawing board; one night we sat down and made a short list of things that were most important to us about our wedding.  Top things on the list were inclusivity (having all essential persons there), laid back and outdoor celebration, having part or all of it in our neighborhood, making it as convenient as possible to guests, and having an old family friend (a priest) officiate.  Again, not easy to meet this set of criteria either. 

But then one day it just all came together.  If what we really want is to be married without all the fuss, then let’s just start there.  Let’s just start with what this is really all about.  So we approached our family and told them our plan:  we wanted to get married in the small chapel in our neighborhood by our family friend with all of them (our parents and siblings) there to witness it.  It just felt right.  For the first time in weeks, I was happy again about the wedding. 

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[Charles & Scott's Offbeat, DC Wedding via Red Shoes Photography]

But we also knew that we would want an opportunity to celebrate our new marriage with those other 250 essential persons.  We figured this would be the chance to still have that laid-back celebration we also wanted; the backyard family reunion style BBQ.  Somehow I happened upon a farm outside of DC that provides just that.  We could have a whole day completely catered of BBQ, booze, lawn games, dancing, and most importantly, quality time with the ones we love most. 

For us, separating these two events was most essential to our happiness.  We could then keep the ceremony intimate and stress-free and truly about the joining of our lives together surrounded by the essential of essentials.  We could also get the most intimate celebration possible with 250 people by having the all-day event at the farm.  This would allow everyone to gather under the pretense of our love and new marriage but wouldn’t completely focus on us the whole time.  Without all the fuss of a traditional reception, we would be able to mix and mingle freely with our guests giving them the quality time they deserved for making the effort to be with us at such an important moment in our lives.  

[Cecelia & Wasim's Modern, Hip DC Wedding via Megan Noonan Photography]

For us, this wedding is less about a day and more about a lifetime.  We want to start our marriage off right.  And for us, it is about being true to ourselves and who we are as a couple.  We are both genuine and private, but completely and utterly thankful that we have so many people that love us.  They understand us enough to know that we will get more from spending a relaxing day on a farm with them rather than a formal evening in a banquet hall.

I can’t thank Laura enough for sharing this personal piece with me and my readers! There is SO MUCH of this post that I wish I could just plaster all over Pinterest, Big Wedding Blogs & Facebook. I hope everyone that is planning a wedding finds something in here that rings true to them. Thanks for reading everyone one!

 

 

Amanda & Blake’s Fun, “Southern Comfort” Washington DC Wedding

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Today’s Washington DC wedding is that perfect mix of “classic DC” and “handmade alternativeness” (yes I just wrote alternativeness. English majors everywhere cringe). Amanda & Blake’s goal for their wedding day was to have FUN and make their guests feel special. They spent a ton of time making sure their guests felt at ease (with welcome bags, flip flops, mad libs, a babysitter at the reception, and more) and they used a theme of “southern comfortable elegance” to set the mood.

They chose the Whittemore House for their venue – a beautiful mansion in the middle of the city. With it’s brick walls and stunning exterior, it really feels like you are mostly at someone’s house, not a wedding venue. And that was exactly what Amanda & Blake wanted! Check out all their gorgeous wedding pictures and details below. They also shared their adorable Save the Date video with us too! A special thanks to Emily Clack Photography for sharing her images.

Amanda & Blake’s Fun, “Southern Elegance” Washington DC Wedding

romantic elegant washington dc wedding whittemore house

Vendors

Photography: Emily Clack Photography | Catering: Occasions Catering | Venue: The Whittemore House | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How they met:

We are the classic story of boy meets girl, girl thinks boy is cute and funny, boy falls madly in love with girl, girl finally gives boy a chance. :-)

The real story is we met through our mutual friends, Janice and Colin Quill, on January 24, 2010 at Clyde’s in Georgetown while Blake was bartending.  Amanda was there with Janice to have brunch with some girlfriends when the Quills decided that Blake should come check out the “cute blonde sitting with Janice”…Amanda was also instructed to check out the “cute bartender with a beard.”  Later that night we all went out so the “cute blonde” and the “cute bartender” could formally meet.  Well, the rest is history.

elegant dc wedding bouquet

On their wedding theme:

Our theme was “southern comfortable elegance.” We wanted everyone to feel special at our wedding, so we hired a catering company that had impeccable service. However, we also wanted everyone to feel comfortable, so for dinner we served a choice of fried chicken or pecan crusted rockfish with shrimp and grits and green beans on the side.

modern wedding dress ruffles

On their color palette of blues, greens, yellows & pops of pink:

The colors were really just inspired by springtime colors, but we mostly used navy and green as a canvas, with pops of pink/coral and yellow. I didn’t want everything to be “matchy matchy”.

modern groom plaid tie billy ball boutonniere

elegant navy blue bridesmaids dc wedding

Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of Amanda & Blake’s gorgeous Washington DC wedding at the Whittemore House.

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