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.


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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.

offbeat dc nerdy groom cufflinks

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.

Washington DC war memorials engagement pictures Washington DC war memorials engagement pictures

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

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

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

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.

LGBT DC wedding commitment ceremony big bear cafe offbeat DC wedding

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.

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

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!

Capitol Video: A Washington, DC Proposal Video at the Capitol Building

So last week I got an email from a groom. He told me he had just found my site and was enjoying it (gosh I LOVE when grooms like my site just as much as brides!). He told me he was a videographer by profession on the political side of the house, so when he proposed to his fiance, he knew he wanted to incorporate a video element somehow.

Well the result was nothing short of amazing.  I literally had tears in my eyes through MOST of this video. Call me a sap, but just the way it was shot and executed, even though I don’t even know these two people, I knew I was witnessing something truly intimate, beautiful and real. Plus the unintentional nod to one of my favorite movie scenes EVER (see if you catch what I mean) only added to the tears. Check it out below (along with some AWESOME pictures captured by some of Caleb’s talented friends) and let me know if you cried like I did :)

Caleb’s Washington, DC Wedding Proposal at the Capitol Building

washington dc proposal at capitolr building

Video: Filmed by Mike Lurie, Edits by Caleb | Images: Bryant Avondoglio, Tim Torres

From Caleb:

I serve as the Digital Comms Director for the Speaker of the House, so that balcony is just a few steps away from my actual office.  And all my photographers/videographers were also house staffers, so they were familiar with the space as well.  It was about 7 months of planning…but the final details really came together in the two weeks prior, and I am very pleased with the final result…she said yes, after all!

The Proposal // Caleb + Jessica from Caleb Smith on Vimeo.

A few other awesome pictures:

washington dc proposal at capitolr building washington dc proposal at capitolr building

Oh and in case you are wondering where there wedding is going to be – it will be at 101 Constituion, overlooking that very balcony where Caleb proposed.

Let’s all collectively sigh and aww together now.

Rachel & Matt’s Surprise Proposal & DC Engagement Pictures

For today we have an adorable surprise proposal – caught on film by Sandra Sitar Photography! A few months ago Sandra received an email from Matt, asking to book and engagement session. Sandra was a bit caught off guard after asking Matt when they got engaged and Matt responded that they weren’t actually engaged yet. But after 6 years of dating (mostly long distance), Matt was ready to ask Rachel to be his wife and he wanted Sandra to catch the proposal and then take some engagement pictures after. Well, of course Sandra said yes and now we get to share the surprise proposal and some adorable DC engagement pictures!

Rachel & Matt’s Surprise Proposal in Washington, DC

DC surprise proposal

Photography: Sandra Sitar Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

The surprise proposal details, all from Matt:

“I came up with the idea a little over a year ago after Rachel and I realized that we would be living together in DC.  We spent almost all of our relationship as long distance, so finally living together was really significant to us.  The photos came from a photo album that Rachel had given me years ago, and that she updated with new pictures every time that she visited me.  By putting all the pictures up in the new apartment, I wanted to bring together all of our favorite memories with what we had been dreaming about for our future.


Pulling off the surprise was really complicated.  So much could have gone wrong, and I was incredibly lucky that nothing did.  I had the apartment complex secretly change our move in date to one day earlier, and convinced them to let a photographer pretend to be an employee of the building.  For the pictures, I bought out the Dollar Store’s supply of black picture frames and used 3M no-damage stickers to hang all the frames quickly.

DC surprise proposal

Finally, in order to make sure Rachel was dressed up, I had one of my best friends plan a fake fancy dinner for us to go to.  I was so nervous right before that I thought I was going to give it away, but thankfully everything came together so well that she didn’t figure it out.  I was just really happy that Rachel loved it and that she felt as special as I hoped it would make her feel.”

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Click inside for the rest of this surprise proposal in Washington, DC!

Stephanie & Kyle’s Washington DC Engagement Session at Eastern Market

We’re back in action this afternoon with a super sweet Washington, DC engagement session courtesy of Carley Rehberg Photography! Carley shared with us the sweet love story of Stephanie & Kyle, and their gorgeous sunrise engagement session in DC, ending at Eastern Market!

Stephanie & Kyle’s love story is quintessential DC – they met at their graduate studies at GW! I love the backdrop of Eastern Market in their engagement pictures and how they ended with their favorite t-shirts in their own neighborhood. Check it all out – including a shot of Stephanie’s gorgeous engagement ring AND their proposal story!

Stephanie & Kyle’s Washington DC Engagement Session at Eastern Market

Washington DC engagement pictures

Photography: Carley Rehberg Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How we met (as told by Kyle):

I first met Stephanie at our very first day of orientation for graduate school at the George Washington University, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration (August 2007). I noticed her signing in at the registration table and taking a seat near the front of the classroom. I was more inclined to sit in the back and took a seat a few rows behind her. Eventually, the classroom was split into two groups and everyone in the back rows was asked to move up to the front, this my chance to make a move! I quickly gave myself a pep talk to build up the nerves, sat down next to her, introduced myself… and was greeted back with a flat, completely uninterested, “I’m Stephanie Stone”, she then turned her head back to the front of the classroom. We didn’t talk or interact for the remainder of the day.

DC farmers market Eastern Market engagement pictures

Needless to say I was not encouraged by this reaction. However, as luck would have it, Stephanie and I would have two classes together throughout the semester. I made sure to sit myself right next to her for one and tried to play it cool by not sitting next to her in another. Our first real social interaction took place after a GW event, after which a group of us met for drinks and food at a nearby bar. I made sure to seat myself directly across from Stephanie and we ended up splitting a basket of onion rings.

As the weeks and months went on we grew as friends and began to go out on the weekends with the same group of graduate school friends. Eventually, we started to interact more and more often alone without the group. Unbeknownst to either of us at the time, we had what we both consider now our first date walking through the DC Cherry Blossoms on a Saturday afternoon in spring 2008. Weeks later, my long campaign was over and we were officially dating.

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Click inside for the rest of Stephanie & Kyle’s DC engagement session at Eastern Market & around the city AND the proposal story!

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