Enter to win a #CapRoLove design Pillow from the CapRoShop!

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Day 1 of giveaways from our brand new online store begins today! We’re giving away our #CapRoLove design pillow (18’x18′) which is gorgeous on its on, but would also make a rad alternative guestbook idea! Have your guests sign the back of the pillow with fabric markers, and keep it in your home after your DC wedding to remember your big day.

All giveaways this week will end on Sunday, November 6th. You can enter by using the rafflecopter widgets on each blog post and there are extra chances to win by tweeting about the giveaways AND signing up for our newsblasts!

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Introducing the Brand New #CapRoShop – Rad Things for Your Big Day & Life Together

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After over a year of planning, designing, building, editing, waiting, coding, & more, the Capitol Romance Online Store is finally a reality. Guys – I am so so insanely excited to officially introduce: The #CapRoShop ~ Rad things for your big day & life together!

First, here’s our launch video:

Second, there are SO MANY people that made this possible, that I need to thank them here. First, Carrie Radford, for creating these beautiful designs, without much direction or input from me. Second, my IT-savior, Steve, for helping me get the new website up and running & answering all my frantic emails about code & payments (and the list goes on). Third, Kara, for helping me actually get my butt in gear with the site & products, helping me put a marketing plan in place, and helping me to actually cross the finish line to launch. Fourth, my brother for making this AWESOME promo video for the launch. Fifth, Lauren Louise Photography for taking the amazing pictures featured in the video and on the site. Sixth, Alesha for agreeing to model the products alongside Kara (and Sadie). And last (but not least) my husband for the continuous support & encouragement to get this thing actually off the ground.

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So now that the thanks are done, I’d like to spend a quick second sharing an amazing, local charity with you: The Homeless Chilren’s Playtime Project ~ an amazing service founded in Washington, DC, built on the idea that every child deserves the right to succeed. Their mission is to nurture healthy child development and reduct the effects of trauma among children living in temporary housing programs in Washington, DC. They seek to create a city that provides every opportunity for children in homeless families so that they can succeed by ensuring playing and learning, support services, and the advocation of affordable housing & safe shelter. 0% of all proceeds from items purchased with our #CapRoLove design, will be donated to this wonderful program. It’s a small way for me to use my brand & new online store, to give back to the people of the city I live in, and spread the love to those that need it.

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All week on the blog we will be celebrating the launch with giveaways of some of our new products! So be sure to come back each day this week for a chance to win something new. And if you just can’t wait to find out if you’ve won, or you’ve already started thinking about holiday gift giving, or you really just want to spread the love with a #CapRoLove tank, well then:

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Alysha & Jermaine’s Modern, Lilac Turf Valley Resort Wedding in Maryland

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Images:  Anthony Sekellick Photography

Not only is this week at its end – so is the entire month of October. It will be November on Tuesday and I don’t think that’s fully settled in my mind. I’m headed into a little calm before the storm that is next week/weekend with the election coming up, my day job going through a major deployment, my 2nd to last wedding of 2016, Andy traveling for almost an entire week, and oh yeah … trying to launch the CapRoShop. So you know, relaxing.

If you want to hear about the shop launch first AND get your hands on a coupon code – please sign up for our newsblasts! We’ll be sharing all the fun details on Monday via our newsblast as we prep for an exciting week of giveaways to celebrate the launch. But for today I have a super sweet Maryland wedding featuring an ADORABLE couple that hand-made all the ceramic mug favors for their guests (how sweet!). Check out Alysha & Jermaine’s wedding on the blog today!

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Alysha and Jermaine were the sweetest couple. They met in college at Frostburg University and have been together ever since. Today they are both teachers in the Baltimore area.

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Groom’s sister was his “best-woman,” which I think speaks volumes about him. Their relationship is so inspiring. We had the mother and father of the groom come down the aisle at the ceremony right before the bride and her parents- we wanted a special moment for both our parents as they place such a huge role in our relationship and marriage.

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Jermaine and I fell in love with Turf Valleys “Garden” (where our ceremony was held). The willow trees are stunning, the scenery is perfect. We loved that everything was all in one location, because having a lot of our guests come from out of town (bride originally from NY) it meant a lot to us to have everyone together and be comfortable. So going right from the ceremony to the cocktail hour, to the reception, and then the ability to hit the elevator and go up to your hotel room after was so appealing to us. Not too mention the beautiful golf course that our family took big advantage of.

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[Our colors were] gray and Iris- we felt they complimented each other so well and were a perfect look for a summer evening wedding.

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Let’s Get Personal: In the Company Of Women Recap & So Much Damn Inspiration

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Last night I had the pleasure of attending Design Sponge‘s In the Company of Women book tour at Dock5 at Union Market. The evening consisted of a room FULL of women, listening to 5 women business owners answer a Q&A by Design Sponge CEO & In the Company of Women author, Grace Bonney.

It was, to say the least, downright inspiring. We heard from 5 different women (which included DC locals, the 2 owners of Gordy’s Pickle Jar & the founder of Salt & Sundry) from different backgrounds, all hustling as the owners of their own businesses. They talked about the meaning of success (and how none of them actually felt wholly successful), the trials and tribulations of being not only a business owner – but a WOMAN business owner (yes it’s different), and how they find time for themselves. It’s always refreshing to witness women at different levels of businesses (either by size of business or years in business) mention feeling the same way I do – that there’s ALWAYS work to be done, that you never feel like you’re fully on top of things, that you struggle to be SO MANY things all at once …. and the list goes on.

There were two parts of the night that REALLY stuck with me (well, other than thinking that panelist & author, Ashley Ford deserves her own TV show). The first came when the panelists were talking about the barriers they face purely because they are women business owners – and Grace explained that it often results from the fact that women are expected to be SO MANY THINGS at the same damn time. We need to be nice, but commanding, we have to direct but not be bossy, we need to smile (always) but not too much, and so on and so forth. At my day job recently I was on a call with my team and things were not going well. The men on my team were not listening to me, and after 40 minutes of back and forth, we ended up finally agreeing on the direction I put forth within the first 5 minutes of the call. Besides the fact that I was irritated that no one seemed to listen to me and the 40 minutes seemed wasted because had they just listened at first, we could have had that time back … a male colleague in my workspace commented, “wow, I’ve never heard you yell at your team before”.

I was slightly taken back – I am a loud person by nature, but nothing I thought I was doing on the phone call constituted “yelling”. I was firm (because I believed my direction was the right one) and I was persistent (because the others on the call kept pushing back) and yes I was loud (because I always am), but it sort of bothered me that that equated to “yelling”. I’ve heard men in my office use commanding voices before and no one tells them they are yelling at their team ….

So yeah, the never ending cycle of contradictions that women are expected to be as leaders and business owners, is very real to me and it was comforting to hear the panelists last night that us talking about it, is what will help effect the change.

The second part of the evening that continues to swim in my head, was when Grace shared that she is not actually a creative person – though her blog features the work of talented creatives & makers – she is not one of them. And because of that, she sometimes feels less than, when she is in a room or in the company of creatives & makers.

This is how I feel – ALL THE TIME. I’ve had the privilege of meeting SO MANY amazing business owners in DC (men & women) that are creating and making the things they sell in their businesses. I am in awe of their talent and I wish I had the skills some of them do, to be able to MAKE or CREATE products. I am not a coder, a graphic designer, a leather maker, or really a creator AT ALL and that often leaves me feeling somewhat inferior to the DC makers I meet.

When I got my book signed, I told Grace that her quote really resonated with me, and she told me straight up that though we might not be makers or creators, we have skills (like bringing people together) that are just as awesome and we are all still better together as a community with the different skills we bring to the group.

What an evening, I won’t be forgetting any time soon and I cannot wait to dive into the book. Happy Wednesday Romancers.

Bride to Be Guest Blogger Kelsey: Picking Your DC Caterer for Your Wedding

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Guess who’s back? Back again? … Kelsey’s back … ok I’ll stop now. But really we do have our fabulous bride-to-be guest blogger, Kelsey, back on the blog today sharing her thoughts on picking your wedding caterer and attempting to navigate the DC catering scene.

Or as she called it: “Food, Glorious Food”. Ahhh a fellow musical lover :) Take it away Kelsey.

Food Glorious Food – How to Pick Your Wedding Caterer | By Kelsey 

So we booked the venue. Nailed it. Here’s the thing about having a wedding that isn’t at a country club or restaurant, you have to feed people and you have to figure out how. Luckily the DC area is chockfull of caterers and they all want your business. Where do you start? Food is food, right? Wrong. So wrong. You couldn’t be more wrong.

Google ‘DC caterer’, you will come up with 643,000 results. Literally. So there’s some work to be done here. We started with a smaller list than what google provided because our venue had a preferred caterer list. These are companies that the venue trusts and has worked well at the venue in the past. So we started with them and realized wedding food is really fancy and bordering on unrecognizable.

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What happened to normal food? Just delicious, easy, and yummy food. At some point, something terrible happened and caterers decided adding things like avocado foam and essence of arugula was a great idea. I mean what really is frisee? I’ll tell you what it is; it’s a waste of money.

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We decided that we wanted food that we could spell, recognize, and most important was delicious. So when caterers we contacted gave us selections like ‘yuzu ricotta toasts with edamame pesto’ and ‘celery bite with blue cheese mousse’ we pushed back. We told the vendor – here’s what we’re envisioning and here’s what we don’t want. Some replied with ‘of course, yes, how cute!’ and gave us options like ‘honey poached gala apple cup’ and ‘quinoa stuffed peppers’ and one replied and said:

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Well maybe not in those exact words, but she got us. And then the most delicious contract was signed. The moral of this story is stand up for what you want! There will be no spinach straws at my wedding. If you want pear vinaigrette, you shouldn’t come. Find a caterer who understands what you want and can deliver! These people exist. It doesn’t have to be chicken or steak. It can be chicken and waffles or steak sandwiches. You do you, girl.

Once you find your caterer, you will go back and forth to outline the menu for the evening. This includes cocktail hour, dinner, and dessert. Pick and choose what looks delicious. We were provided with some amazing hors d’oeuvres so we asked if we could make them into an entrée. Think outside of the box and ask for items that are some of your favorites. Love pancakes? Do a mini skewer of them during cocktail hour. Are mashed potatoes jam? Try a loaded potato bar for a late night snack.

As you know from my first post, food was on my top three most important things list (technical term), so finding the perfect caterer and then developing the perfect menu was high priority. I was not willing to accept the ordinary.

Want to know what I picked? Sorry, I don’t want to ruin the surprise for everyone, but I’ll give you a hint: there will be tater tots.

Erek & Danielle’s Simple & Fun, Orange Themed Backyard Wedding

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Images: Jake Prater

I‘m currently writing to you with my eyes barely open. It’s been a long week over here in working parent/side hustle land. A week of 5:30 (and sometimes even 4:30) wake-ups, this horrible heat, the day job kicking my butt, and the struggle to keep blogging and get the online shop really ready. The struggle. It’s real.

Oh let’s throw in another emotional political debate and yeah, you could say I am so happy it’s Friday. We’re headed to Philly this weekend to visit my sister and attend this amazing Harry Potter Festival (!!!!) and then hopefully get some rest in on Sunday before another week begins. For today I have an awesome backyard wedding that included SO MANY family members to make the big day happen. They planned it in a month and used the bride’s last name (Orange!) as inspiration. Check it out and have the HAPPIEST of Fridays!

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When Erek and I decided to get married, we talked as if we were planning to tie the knot next year, or the following year. Little did everyone know that the very next week I would call my sister in law, the owner of IDA ROSE EVENTS, and say “Hey, I’m getting married next month!”

I gave IDA ROSE EVENTS two words; “simple” and “fun,” and they took those words and created an unforgettable day… better than my now husband and I could have ever imagined.

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As the bride, I wanted the color orange to be incorporated as much as possible.  Being an Orange (my maiden name) my whole life, it was a big part of who I was.  Not only was my last name Orange, but my favorite color is orange, I was raised in Orange County, Virginia and graduated from Orange County High School. So orange on my wedding day was inevitable.

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District Bliss DIY Workshop: Hand Lettering with Painted Palettes

Nov. 13th | West Elm, Logan Circle | 10am to 12pm

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The District Bliss DIY Workshops are back and better than ever. New workshops, new hosts, and new digs! They’ve teamed up with West Elm in Logan Circle to bring you the next round of crafting fun: hand lettering with Painted Palettes.

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At this workshop, hand lettering pro, Samantha, will teach you to use 5 unique pens, using different strokes and formation techniques to create your own, original framed piece of artwork. She will also teach you how to apply watercolor skills to create a “Make and Take” with a watercolor background and a hand lettered quotation.

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The ticket for the workshop includes:

– A gorgeous, personalized workbook folder
– Hand lettering pen(s)
– A handy workbook to help you keep up your skills
– Watercolor paper
– Small journal for practice
– A ready-to-display work of art that YOU create with your new talent!

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Hop on over to the website now and get your ticket today, while seats last!

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Mariah & Rob’s Laugh-Filled & Casual Washington DC Engagement Pictures

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Images: Stephen Gosling Photography

This weekend we got to be wedding guests. And man I am STILL in recovery. It doesn’t help that Evie seems to be on another sleep strike (UGH) so I am a day behind on everything. We did squeeze in some Fall fun out in the burbs on Sunday though, which almost makes up for this suddenly summer-like weather again (what the heck, I JUST changed my closet over!).  Anyway, I’ve been reading FAR too many political posts these days and these engagement pictures are just the distraction I needed: pure, unobstructed LOVE. I have never seen laughter just pop out of the images, like it’s doing in today’s pics. I needed this. Enjoy.

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They met in song. He a city boy from Trenton. She a girl from the backcountry of Washington State. Each drawn to a concert by an obscure singer at a DC club. He took the last empty seat. It was next to her’s. Their mutual love of music provided the bridge between their lives.

^Coolest “About Us” write-up ever? I think so.

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The proposal came the following year. High on a mountaintop in her native state. He asked her to pause their hike. She demurred, insisting that they had promises elsewhere to keep. He wouldn’t take no for an answer.  When he presented the ring, she burst into uncontrollable laughter. And said yes.

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Lauren & Jesse’s DIY, Old Angler’s Wedding in Potomac, MD

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Images: Captures by Justine

Another super sweet DC area wedding is on the blog today (crushing it this week!). This one features two adorable people and their COMPLETELY DIY wedding in Maryland. They made a ton of their wedding details and poured themselves into the wedding. Check it all out below!

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We met at Jesse’s favorite neighborhood bar Looking Glass Lounge. On our first date, we bonded over Montessori schools, ancient Egpytian culture and the plight of the bees (they’re dying). I skipped Yoga and a dinner date with a friend. The deal was sealed when Jesse correctly answered the question: Who’s a better dancer, Michael Jackson or Fred Astaire (Michael Jackson). A second, third and fourth date ensued.

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Jesse proposed at our home and incorporated my six year old son Emerson. I knew it was coming for awhile, and it was a running joke between us for him to reach behind a pillow on the couch and pretend to pull out a ring. Well one day Emerson came over to me and said “Jesse has something to ask you,” so I wander into the living room, Jesse reaches behind the pillow and actually pulls out a ring this time! He gets down on one knee and proposes. Needless to say I was in shock. The answer was obviously yes!

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Our planning process was a bit of a whirlwind since we both work full time and also have a 6 year old who was getting ready to start first grade right before our wedding. We planned our wedding for our 3 year anniversary. It just so happened to also be Beyonce’s birthday which I was thrilled about. We didn’t have any set wedding colors, just a general garden party wildflowers theme.

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We initially wanted a small wedding that would have been more of an elopement, but wanted to invite more people than we could have doing that plan so we settled on inviting 50 people and having a brunch. Jesse and I walked in together. I loved that he was right there next to me especially since I started ugly crying halfway down the aisle and he was there to squeeze my hand. We wrote our own vows and I have to say his were so much better than mine, they were hilarious and sweet at the same time, he had everyone laughing. We also jumped the broom to honor my African American heritage.

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Having a brunch wedding was such a good idea for us. It was completely laid back which is our vibe. We had an open bar with champagne, mimosas, and bloody mary’s as well as POPSICLES! I stumbled across the idea of having a champagne and popsicle bar on pinterest and everybody really enjoyed putting the popsicles in their champagne as a mixer.

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Rad Things For Your Big Day & Life Together Go Shopping!