Guest Post: How to Be Different in the Wedding Trend Spectrum

Image: Kristi Odom Photography | Megan & Alan’s Rad DC Wedding

Hey guys – it’s me, Bree, remember me? I used to be a regular blogger, keeping this site up to date and sharing rad wedding things with you … and then life got in the way (as it usually does) and I’ve been MIA. If you follow my social media, then you know it’s mostly due to the fact that we officially moved out of our rowhouse in DC. We close on Friday but are mostly settled in our new, tiny, digs for the short-term. It feels good to have one move down (though we’re still waiting for internet….) but I am sure things are about to heat up with decisions for the renovation, so things aren’t exactly quieting down. I’ll try my best to post when I can, but continued warnings that life is CRAZY so I won’t promise you more than 2-3 posts/week going forward.

For today, we have an advice piece from Wendy at Outreach Mamma. She’s sharing her advice & tips for keeping your wedding fresh & unique! Take it away Wendy.

How to Be Different in the Wedding Scene | By: Wendy Dessler

Cell phone cameras and social media have made our world so very small. We share wedding photos real time, and every moment of nearly every wedding is documented and hash tagged for all to see. Once something goes viral, it quickly feels like every couple is copying the idea, and while copying is a form of flattery, not everyone wants a cookie-cutter wedding. Here’s some ideas to help you have a unique, but MEANINGFUL wedding that is true to you!

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Sarah & Jaimee’s Epic, Personalized Metallic DC Wedding at Josephine Butler Parks Center

Images: DuHon Photography | DJ: Les Talusan | Florals: Convention Floral

Sometimes I go to my initial consults, and after what seems like no times at all, I realized I’ve been there well past my allotted 1-hour time frame. Sometimes it’s strictly business (and that is great) and other times it unwinds into avenues of topics like DC real estate, home decor, small business ownership and more. This was the case with Sarah & Jaimee. When they suggested I come meet them at their newly purchased rowhome for our consult, I knew this couple was going to be one of those couples – one that would go a little beyond the wedding coordinator-client relationship.

Sarah & Jaimee are two of the most kind souls – a couple so truly perfect for each other and so full of life and happiness – a true dream wedding for me. I was so thrilled to get their amazing pictures from Cassidy & even more thrilled to have them share some insight into their wedding day, so I could selfishly relive it again. Though their day was just a few short days before the 2016 election, I am choosing to focus on the LOVE and AMAZINGESS that occurred on this day and will continue to occur no matter who is in our White House.

Happy Pride Week/end You guys <3

Early on in the planning process, we agreed that what we wanted our wedding to be, more than anything else, was a fun party, an opportunity get everyone we loved in a room together and to celebrate our love for one another.  We also wanted it to be in D.C., the city where we met and that we call home.

Josephine Butler Parks Center was always our frontrunner.  It’s a beautiful space in a terrific location, and one of the few places in D.C. proper that worked within our budget.  However, our guest list was 200 people and Josephine Butler Parks Center couldn’t accommodate that many guests for a seated meal.  It was important to us to include all the folks on our guest list, so we checked out other venues with larger capacity.  But nothing else quite worked for us.  They were either outside of D.C., outside of our price range, or were so big they felt like airplane hangars.  So, we decided to skip the seated dinner and do a cocktail style reception at Josephine Butler Parks Center.  This allowed us to have the party feeling we were going for in the venue we wanted.

Let’s Get Personal: If You Build It, They Might Not Come – Lessons Learned From Starting an eCommerce Arm

Image: CapRoStore via Lauren Louise Photography

This post has been brewing in my mind for a while. I don’t necessarily have some grand message to convey with it, but wanted to share the ‘status’ of the Capitol Romance Store – and everything I’ve learned to this point about it all.

When I was thinking about starting an ecommerce branch of the Capitol Romance brand, I was swept up in the usual “how hard could this be?” and the whirlwind of passive income. I had multiple people tell me “it was such a good idea” and I had an awesome new email from someone looking to get into the wedding business, that had product design experience. The signs were all there!!

So I went through rounds and rounds of design creation, and then started on the “it can’t be so hard to set-up a wordpress site” journey. Turns out (shocker) it’s not that easy to just set-up an online store. I got the domain, and started tinkering with WooCommerce … but then came the PayPal integration, the SSL to ensure payments were secure, the selection of which ecommerce company I was going to use to print/ship the items.

Then came picking which designs, on which items, writing product descriptions, setting up appropriate shipping options & ensuring taxes were in order, writing pages on the site about how I would handle returns …. and the list goes on. Wow it was SO MUCH MORE than I thought would be required to get this up and running, and quite honestly it would have NEVER happened without Kara taking over the reigns. But finally, last Fall, the shop was officially launched and I was THRILLED.

And then came another smack of reality – just because you built it, doesn’t mean they will come. Meaning, just because I spent all this time with Kara, pouring over designs and products and descriptions and getting promo photos & a marketing video DOES NOT EQUAL actual sales. And therein lies the biggest thing I’ve learned so far with eCommerce: how the hell to market this online store & turn it into sales.

And I don’t have that solution yet – the truth is I am learning and trying and struggling to figure that out. But I have learned so far that holy crap, ecommerce success requires so. much. marketing. And marketing isn’t exactly my strong point. Our plans for 2017/2018 are to push our CapRo products into wholesaling spaces & try and get our stuff in local shops – but like marketing, I am not exactly sure how to do that, other than some old fashioned cold emailing (which as of yet, has gotten us exactly no where). So if you have suggestions, articles, online courses, advice to share – I am all ears and open to all kinds of learning and attempting right now.

And so while the online store hasn’t been this huge, instant success, I am not close to giving up on it yet, because I really love my designs and still believe the shop can be a successful part of Capitol Romance LLC – I just need to figure out how :)

Reaffirming Our Commitment to the LGBTQ Community & A Giveaway to Celebrate PRIDE!

Image: Two Grooms Mug on the CapRoStore by Lauren Louise Photography

When I started Capitol Romance ~ way back in 2011, I was adamant that this space (and whatever it might grow to be) would be a place for EVERY couple. Not just the affluent ones, not just the traditional ones, not just the religious ones, and not just ‘magazine-worthy’ ones. I wanted Capitol Romance to be reflective of the true fabric of Washington, DC and place where couples of all budgets, religions, races, and sexual preferences, could find help & inspiration to plan their DC area wedding.

One way I set to accomplish this was through actively seeking to publish same-sex weddings on this blog – a pretty obvious way to convey our stance and support of the LGBTQ community. Another was that we confirm that ANY vendors that get featured here, apply to be in our Vendor Guide, or advertise with us, confirm that they are LGBTQ-friendly. Finally, which I find to be one of the most important, we strive to use entirely INCLUSIVE language here on the blog and throughout our other business arms .. which means no bride-specific or ‘Mr & Mrs’ or Husband/Wife only speak here. We try to use inclusive language wherever and whenever possible.

But, I know we could do more – and I think now more than ever, we need to do more. It’s on us to attempt to combat the gross amount of hate, vitriol & divisiveness that seems to be rising in our country. So I am all ears for how we can do more – but I also might need your help in the ways of submissions & guest posts, that further the message of love & inclusiveness & support of the LGBTQ community. So send them on over (bree [at] capitolromance [dot] com).

And now, in continued celebration of PRIDE month & the upcoming PRIDE DC Parade & Equality March this weekend, we’re hosting a giveaway of our original TWO BRIDES DC FLAG print! (note: the design currently on the store has been tweaked slightly to include different wedding dresses). The print is 11×24 and would make a great Guest Book poster for your wedding or pretty print for your home! Don’t forget that we are giving 10% off the ENTIRE suite of TwoBrides & TwoGrooms designs in the CapRoStore this entire month too.

Enter to win by Monday, June 12th!

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Jeannie & Chris’ Intimate, Beautiful November Wedding at Morrison House in Alexandria, VA

Images: Andrea Rodway

It’s been embarrasingly long since I’ve blogged a real wedding, but I am excited to share Jeannie & Chris’ self-submitted, intimate Alexandria Virginia wedding with you today! With just 65 guests, 6 months to plan, and a $25K budget, Jeannie & Chris threw a beautiful, fun affair that stayed true to their personalities and love of DC. They’ve also shared some AWESOME advice for other couples looking to plan a wedding on the faster side of things, without hiring a planner to execute! Take it away guys!

Why we chose an intimate wedding:

We got engaged in June of 2016 and knew we wanted to get married sooner rather than later.  In the DC area, larger wedding venues often have waitlists over a year long.  As much as we would have loved to have a large wedding, it would be too expensive in the DC area and we would have to wait a long time to reserve a venue.  We considered a Caribbean destination wedding but realized many of our relatives could not travel that distance and many of our close friends would not come because of Zika virus.  We had to prioritize; the most important thing to us was to celebrate our day with our closest friends and family.  Most of our families would need to travel so we wanted a location that was convenient and could also double as mini-vacation for out of towners.

Why we chose the Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria:

We really wanted our wedding ceremony and reception to be in the same location so that guests could start celebrating immediately after the ceremony.  The Morrison House also offered complete wedding packages that included all catering, an open bar, and even a beautiful cake from Fluffy Thoughts bakery.  We felt like the Morrison décor reflected both of our styles: traditional with elegant and modern accents.   We immediately booked the venue when we saw it was available on Veteran’s Day.  We were fortunate to enjoy a Friday discount on the wedding package.   The Morrison House was the perfect location and size for our small guest list and the all-inclusive wedding package made for stress-free planning.   Our photographer, Andrea Rodway, took us to picture-perfect cobblestone alleys and streets in Old Town for our first look and portraits.

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