Melanie & Adam’s Romantic, Greenery, & Industrial DC Wedding at Longview Gallery

romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (24)

Images: Taylor & Ben

There doesn’t seem to be much of a wedding season anymore in Washington, DC. I closed out my 2016 season in December, with this GORGEOUS wedding I am about to drop on you today. And I am gearing up for my first two weddings of 2017, in February (!). Just crazy! But winter weddings have always (maybe not-so-secretly) been some of my favorites to blog and now, work. Winter is romantic to me and the mix of cool temperatures & the industrial design of Longview Gallery, against the greenery & warm glow of candles showcased this perfectly.

Andy & I are headed North tonight for a weekend with family. I’ll be spending Friday off the social media grid as much as I can muster, but look forward to seeing all the videos, pictures, and social media posts from the march on Saturday! My heart, soul & spirit will be with all of you marching in DC. I hope to get to the sister march in Hartford while I am in CT. But for now, back to romance:

romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (7) romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (11) romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (8) romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (23)

We chose a very natural color scheme that paired well with winter and the coming holiday season – and then added gold (because who doesn’t love that?). The flowers that Sweet Root Village put together were absolutely perfect and were exactly what we had only imagined up to the wedding day.

2017-01-18_0002 romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (12) romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (14) romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (13) romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (15) romantic industrial longview gallery wedding in washington dc (17)

Read More

Pin It

Let’s Get Personal: A Reminder of the Importance of Selflessness & Reflection

View More: http://mathyshootspeople.pass.us/rybackfamilymini

Image: Mathy Shoots People

I‘ve found a lot more inspiration lately for writing more personal posts, so I hope you guys don’t mind it too much. Maybe all the post-election insanity has caused me to be more introspective, or maybe I’ve been reading so many op-eds and think pieces lately, craving explanation for what the heck is happening in our country (and world) that it’s opened up more introspective thoughts & thus, posts. Whatever the reason, they’re always therapeutic for me, and so I’ll continue to write them until someone tells me to stop ;-p.

Today’s post came by way of Facebook – a friend of mine from High School posted a status update after the new year about her life as a military wife & mom of two, dealing with being only halfway through her husband’s current deployment. I asked Kelsey if I could share her words here, and she thankfully agreed to let me. Here were her words:

We are a little over half way finished with Andy’s current deployment. I’m sitting in my warm and quiet house reflecting on the past few months. When Andy first deployed a few months ago I had so many emotions; sadness, loneliness and anger. I would look at families in restaurants and stores and be jealous of their togetherness and happiness. I would quickly scroll past family photos on Facebook and wished I could post pictures of my family together also. I would tear up when I received beautiful family Christmas cards in the mail. As time passed I’ve let those emotions go as I have learned so much about myself and my capabilities as a mother and a woman. I’ve learned that I can and will handle all situations that come up. Military wives learn to expect the strangest things to come up while their husbands are gone. Things in the house break at the most inconvenient time, there seems to be less sleep and long nights, kids get sick more than ever before with more ER visits and so on.

Daily routines and traditions need to be consistent even though Dad is away. I have no choice but to take on the rolls of husband and father. Kids need “rough housing,” they need their Christmas toys that take 6 hours to be put together; they need discipline and so forth. The cars need to have the oil changed and bills need to be paid, and lawns need to be mowed and raked, driveways need to be shoveled and garbage needs to be taken out. Before I did all of this with resentment and always felt a little sorry for myself. I’m over that. I’ve realized the time apart from Andy has allowed me to mature and has made me be thankful for our health and love that our family has for each other and for those who have supported us along the way. I’ve learned to let the small things go and to focus on the things that really matter.

In reading this post again, I am once more moved to tears and in awe of her strength, self-reflection, and honesty. I must also admit that her post could not have come at a better time for me. Andy has been traveling a lot more for work lately than he ever has, and I’ll admit that I don’t ever take the news well when he tells me he has to jet off somewhere new. Yes I understand it’s for his job, and yes I know that he doesn’t want to leave me hanging to take care of Evie alone, but that didn’t seem to help my mood.

I almost always get sulky and grumpy, building up how tough and exhausting it’s going to be (or is) when he’s gone and the child care routine is on me, as I still try to keep the CapRo lights on and functioning at my day job. It’s stressful for sure, but it wasn’t until Kelsey’s post (and our quick chat after she wrote it) that made me realize two things. 1 – there are so many parents that bear this burden of single-parenting (military deployments, or other circumstances) for so much longer than the few days a month Andy travels, and 2- I was making this situation entirely about me.

Every time Andy told me had to travel, I immediately thought of myself and how hard it would be for ME only. I didn’t think about how he might feel being away and I didn’t think about Evie missing Andy/wondering where he might be. Andy’s work trips pale in comparison to Kelsey’s situation (and others’ like her) where her partner is gone for MONTHS. Surely if Kelsey can see the good in this situation, I can find a way to react better and think of others more, and of myself & own pity, less.

So let this post serve as a reminder to you, especially as we set out on a new year, that there may be times where you could think of your self a little less, and of others a little more. I know I am certainly going to try much harder to do this, starting today.

Ashley & Brian’s Casual Alexandria Virginia Engagement Pictures

quirky fun casual alexandria virginia engagement pictures3

Images: Stephen Gosling Photography

It’s a Federal Holiday for me today, so I am off to spend the morning with my sister & Evie, getting some indoor playtime in. I wanted to do a service event with her for MLK day, but it’s impossible to find 1-off projects, especially ones that would let me bring a 20 month old! Maybe next year (or if you know of any, please let me know!). I’m planning on blogging for most the week, but it’s going to be a weird one as we head out of town Thursday evening for a weekend with family. I will try and keep the week/blog as positive as possible, with as many messages and reminders of love as I possibly can. I hope you’ll join me in that venture. Happy Monday & sending you all vibes of strength, hope, & love on a day meant to remember someone that embodied all of those things.

So let’s officially start the week with love ~ Ashley & Brian’s engagement session is on the blog.

quirky fun casual alexandria virginia engagement pictures1

How they met:

Ashley decided to move from Columbus, OH to San Diego, CA in April of 2014 for a new adventure and change of pace… it was only going to be temporary. While living with a friend, she started going to a local church and noticed Brian on Sunday mornings. Two different friends asked Ashley what she thought of Brian, not knowing that she had secretly been eyeing him for weeks. One of those same friends mentioned to Brian that she thought Ashley and Brian would “get along” and Brian (having secretly noticed Ashley as well, unbeknownst to her) decided to introduce himself in mid July 2014. They soon started dating after that and what was originally meant to be temporary became a permanent adventure.

quirky fun casual alexandria virginia engagement pictures4 quirky fun casual alexandria virginia engagement pictures5

The Proposal story:

On Brian’s birthday, June 22, 2015 Ashley had the novel idea to throw a surprise party on the beach for Brian with a bunch of their friends. Little did she know that one of those friends had tipped Brian off about the surprise, when they found out he was going to propose. Ashley drove Brian blindfolded to the beach while all the while Brian had the engagement ring hidden in his coat pocket. When they got to the beach, Ashley told Brian to leave his coat in the car, he definitely didn’t need it at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on the beach. He insisted that he bring it. When they got there, Ashley took the blindfold off and yelled surprise!

quirky fun casual alexandria virginia engagement pictures2

Brian nodded and started greeting everyone (secretly telling all of their friends to circle up because he was about to propose). Brian began a speech in front of their friends saying how blessed he was but something was missing and it “wasn’t quite perfect.” Ashley panicked a bit thinking she had not thrown the perfect birthday party surprise and pulled out his gift, which was a brand new iPad. He opened it and said “well I wasn’t expecting that!” He then got down on one knee and said “Ashley, I love you, will you marry me and make this moment perfect?” And no, we hadn’t planned to coordinate our outfits that day.

quirky fun casual alexandria virginia engagement pictures6

Stevie & Sean’s Quirky, Dramatic Virginia Wedding at Lorien Hotel

quirky rad alternative virginia wedding lorien hotel8

Images: Love Life Images

We’ve made it to another Friday Romancers and boy do we have a great wedding for you, to close out the week and help get you to your weekend. The weather was crazy and the news is becoming unreadable, but at least we have rad couples & their amazing weddings to read about. From the photographer: “Sean and Stevie did it their own way, and it was pretty awesome. And that also describes them both as people. Their style was a peek into who they are: inviting, quirky, dramatic, intriguing (and easily intrigued).” Check it out and have a great weekend!

quirky rad alternative virginia wedding lorien hotel1 quirky rad alternative virginia wedding lorien hotel7

We loved Stevie’s glittering gown and Sean payed homage to his paternal family’s Irish heritage in his attire. Their wardrobe was almost entirely handmade- including Stevie knitting Sean’s socks.

quirky rad alternative virginia wedding lorien hotel6

Stevie’s “Handbook for the Recently Deceased” handbag was a nod to a favorite movie, “Bettlejuice”. Their wedding at the Lorien Hotel began with an intimate rooftop ceremony that included a ring warming ceremony. The diamonds in Stevie’s band came from her Nana’s wedding ring, who she is named after.

quirky rad alternative virginia wedding lorien hotel2 quirky rad alternative virginia wedding lorien hotel9 quirky rad alternative virginia wedding lorien hotel11 quirky rad alternative virginia wedding lorien hotel12

Read More

DIY Workshop: Potato Printing on Tea Towels Workshop ~ Feb 12th!

potato-printing_colorful-mess

The next District Bliss DIY Workshop is a go, and they’re taking things to a whole new level of crafting: potato printing on tea towels with Jodi of the Neighborgoods. How freakin’ cool?! Using legit potatoes to create a custom tea towel for your home!

potato-printing_blue-moons

Join District Bliss & The Neighborgoods on February 12th at West Elm in Logan Circle in DC from 10am to 12pm. The workshop ticket will include all the tools & items you need to learn how to carve potatoes to print on your own tea towel or tote bag.

You’ll also get 15% off West Elm all day, sips & treats, gifts & some surprises. Oh and fun. This is definitely going to be fun.

 

potato-printing_silver-on-tote-bag pototo-printing-samples

Get your tickets now —> click here and scroll to the bottom!

Personal Post: My 2017 Business Goals & Plans

View More: http://mathyshootspeople.pass.us/rybackfamilymini

Image: Mathy Shoots People

I already feel behind on my business plans for 2017, how is that even possible?! Last year was a transition year for my business – we did a lot more work behind the scenes to understand what works and what doesn’t, where spending our time makes sense and where it doesn’t, and working on launching new things. I was happy to see the overall revenue of the LLC as a whole increase, but felt like there was SO MUCH MORE I wanted (needed) to do in 2016.

But hey, that’s the beauty of owning a small business, there are always new goals to set and new things to learn, and new roads to try and travel. So for 2017, I hope to refocus and work on honing and growing some of our core offerings: blogging, wedding coordination, & ecommerce.

Blogging: I took a big step back from the blog after I had Evie – some because of time/priorities changing and some because my business priorities shifted. I spent 2016 launching the wedding planner & finally getting the shop up and running. However, what I learned is that my blog is still one of the corner stones, and frankly most successful, parts of this business. It helps my SEO, it feed my wedding coordination clients, and (I hope) it will drive traffic to our online store as well. I’ve changed advertising up a bit, and I reallllly hope to re-design the blog this year, to simply the design and some of the functionality we don’t keep up with. We’ll see :)

Wedding Coordination: While I took a step back from taking more than 8-9 clients in 2016 (and I don’t really see that changing in 2017), our wedding coordination business is BOOMING. With Kara joining the team last year, we took on 26 clients and I am SUPER PUMPED to share that we will have a new coordinator joining the Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination team for 2017, Amanda!! Amanda will be “interning” with Alesha, Kara & I for our early weddings and will start to take on her own clients in the second half of 2017. We are barely two weeks into this year and we already have 20 weddings booked and have 4 consults in the pipeline and seem to be getting new inquiries every day! I am SO excited about this – but it also means it’s time for this arm of my business to mature a bit in terms of how we do our inquiries, payments, & bookings. I will be looking to sign-up with HoneyBook or some sort of online service to help us better manage our inquiries, deposits, and contracts. I think it’s finally time.

eCommerce: My goal for the CapRoShop in 2016 was simple: just launch the damn thing. It took SO MUCH LONGER than I ever expected to get that thing up and running. But now it’s finally there, and Kara & I are figuring it out, and for 2017 I hope to spend more time on marketing our products and looking for ways to wholesale our products. I am hoping to find vendors that might use our products as client gifts, or stores in DC that might be interested in selling our apparel. The skies the limit here and I am excited to see how we can grow the shop in 2017.

Email Marketing: In 2016 I made a personal goal to get better about sending at least a monthly newsletter. I’ve done pretty well at sticking to this, but in 2017 I am hoping to kick our emails into another level. With the varying arms of our business and varying interest levels of our readers/followers, I plan to get better at creating more specific lists of recipients – those that are in the throws of wedding planning, those that are already married and want more on events/business happenings, and those only interested in the shop. I will be honest, I have NO IDEA how I am going to do this … but I look forward to trying to figure it out :)

Speaking Engagements: In 2017 I would LOVE to get into more business/entrepreneur spaces to serve on panels, give talks, be a keynote at conferences, etc. I am not exactly sure how to do this either, other than planning on adding a page to the blog that says “Hey! I’m fun! Let me talk at your event!”, but maybe writing it here will help. Last year we got to be on a podcast (man was that fun!!!) and we co-held a workshop at The Lemon Bowl and our own for Cherry Blossom Creative’s Maker Series, but I want MORE in 2017! I am looking forward to what opportunities might present themselves in this area and am super excited to share that I’m being interviewed on Friday for a local DC entrepreneur podcast (more details coming!). So if you’re planning a conference or event and need a speaker, or panel member, that can talk about the wedding industry, starting a business, managing a side hustle, or being a hustling mompreneur, I am your woman.

Alright, I think we’ll wrap it up here! It feels awesome just to get these goals out into the world and I hope to hear from anyone that might have ideas, insight, or even just words of encouragement on these topics. Stay hungry Romancers!

Ellis & Peggi’s Great Falls Engagement Pictures Outside Washington, DC

modern-bright-natural-great-falls-virginia-engagement-pictures5

Images: Porter Watkins Photography

Hope you guys had a great weekend! It felt so nice to actually have a weekend without holiday madness or travel. I ran in the snow, treated myself to a massage, helped my little sis celebrate her birthday (and then paid for it yesterday ~ ouch), got a new hairdo & launched new products in the CapRoShop (check it out!!). We’re kicking off the week with LOVE from Porter Watkins Photography with a darling Great Falls engagement session that makes us a bit nostalgic for Fall.

modern-bright-natural-great-falls-virginia-engagement-pictures9

We are renting a little house in Arlington, VA (close to east falls church metro) with our fuzzy kitty-son Billy. Ellis is a consultant at Evolent Health – Healthcare economics research and modeling. Peggi is a geospatial analyst at Digital Globe – satellite imagery for days! We met playing coed recreational soccer in DC for DC metro sports league.

modern-bright-natural-great-falls-virginia-engagement-pictures1 modern-bright-natural-great-falls-virginia-engagement-pictures6 modern-bright-natural-great-falls-virginia-engagement-pictures3

Ellis proposed at home, somewhat unplanned… We had just returned from playing our first 18 holes of golf together and I caught him moving the ring out of his golf bag. I was rounding the corner from the kitchen with my mouth full of a snack and still managed to say yes while crying and chewing. It was awkward but perfect.

modern-bright-natural-great-falls-virginia-engagement-pictures7 modern-bright-natural-great-falls-virginia-engagement-pictures8

We wanted our photo session to be somewhere outdoorsy so we could capture the fall colors which we both love! Porter suggested Great Falls and it was a no-brainer :)

modern-bright-natural-great-falls-virginia-engagement-pictures2

Colorful Indian Wedding at Bolling Hawall House in Richmond Virginia

Dragon Studio, Virginia Weddings, Virginia Beach Weddings, Hampton Roads Weddings, Norfolk Weddings, Destination Weddings, Wedding Photography

Images: Dragon Studio via Two Bright Lights

Friday got me like whoa. Looking forward to a weekend without an insane amount of holiday prep or wedding consults to do! Going to attempt a mini “Treat Yo Self” weekend with a massage, much overdue hair cut & color, and sneaking in a 6.5 mile run of course! Hope you all have a great weekend Romancers ~ here’s some stunning, rich green infused Indian wedding inspiration to help get you to the weekend!

modern-indian-wedding-richmond-virginia-venue-inspiration-colors1 Dragon Studio, Virginia Weddings, Virginia Beach Weddings, Hampton Roads Weddings, Norfolk Weddings, Destination Weddings, Wedding Photography Dragon Studio, Virginia Weddings, Virginia Beach Weddings, Hampton Roads Weddings, Norfolk Weddings, Destination Weddings, Wedding Photography Dragon Studio, Virginia Weddings, Virginia Beach Weddings, Hampton Roads Weddings, Norfolk Weddings, Destination Weddings, Wedding Photography Dragon Studio, Virginia Weddings, Virginia Beach Weddings, Hampton Roads Weddings, Norfolk Weddings, Destination Weddings, Wedding Photography modern-indian-wedding-richmond-virginia-venue-inspiration-colors8 Dragon Studio, Virginia Weddings, Virginia Beach Weddings, Hampton Roads Weddings, Norfolk Weddings, Destination Weddings, Wedding Photography modern-indian-wedding-richmond-virginia-venue-inspiration-colors2 modern-indian-wedding-richmond-virginia-venue-inspiration-colors3

Read More

Bridget & Matt’s Green, Rainy Day Music Fest Themed DC Wedding

alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center10

Images: Sarah Culver Photography

Between my team and I – we’ve worked a TON of weddings at Josephine Butler Parks Center – it’s hands down one of our favorite venues in the city for so many reasons. But one is the versatility in the space. Every wedding I work or showcase here always looks unique and just freakin’ gorgeous. Bridget & Matt’s wedding is no exception and they had their ceremony in the MOST UNIQUE setup within the space! These two incorporated a ton of greenery, grasses, and natural decor into the space and did not let the super rainy day bring them down. So many details from planner Simply Breathe Events & gorgeous images from Sarah Culver. Check it out!

alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center2 alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center3 alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center13

They originally chose Josephine Butler Parks center because it reflected a natural, yet romantic feel and they appreciated the history behind the DC mansion. The Wedding colors they chose (green & pink) enhanced this, and the mixed metals gave their wedding a more urban feel.

alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center17 alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center18

This spring our area was plagued with rainy weather for about two months, so when it came time for their wedding we had to execute their rain plan for an indoor affair. Bridget was absolutely in love with JBPC’s french doors so it was a no brainer to have their ceremony repositioned under the chandelier as the rain came down.

2017-01-04_0006 alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center21 alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center11 alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center12 alternative-dc-wedding-pictures-josephine-butler-parks-center14

Read More

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