Jasmine & Devin’s Capitol Hill, DC Neighborhood & Home Engagement Pictures

at home relaxed alternative washington dc engagement pictures2

Images: Bowtie Photo

Another Monday, here we go! I LOVE love love at-home/neighborhood lifestyle engagement sessions. Really they are SO much more inspiring to me! Jasmine & Devin told their photographer that the most important places to them were their home, fav coffee shop & their neighborhood – so naturally that’s where they had their engagement session! The beautiful sunshine and dazzling smiles don’t hurt either. Happy Monday Romancers!

at home relaxed alternative washington dc engagement pictures1 at home relaxed alternative washington dc engagement pictures3

How they met:

 

at home relaxed alternative washington dc engagement pictures4 at home relaxed alternative washington dc engagement pictures5 at home relaxed alternative washington dc engagement pictures6

How he proposed:

We had planned to hike the Billy Goat Trail on our anniversary. When we woke up, it was cold and windy and I was a total grump about going. But Devin insisted, rather uncharacteristically, that we go. We got to the top of a big rock overlooking the Potomac and stood for a moment. I was ready to move on but Devin stopped me and said “I like this rock.” I was totally weirded out and wondering how long we were going to stand there for when he asked me if I wanted my anniversary present and got down on one knee. The best part? We got photos of the whole thing! Devin had contacted my former roommate and close friend, a freelance photographer, to have him “stalk” us as we hiked so he could capture the big moment. We celebrated afterwards with bubbly at Old Angler’s Inn, where we held our engagement party later that year.

at home relaxed alternative washington dc engagement pictures7 at home relaxed alternative washington dc engagement pictures8 at home relaxed alternative washington dc engagement pictures9

Pin It

Rebecca & Craig’s Super Fun, TV-Themed Wedding Outside Virginia

fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding16

Images: Jessica Latos Photography

I always get a little over-excited when fellow wedding industry peeps share their wedding with me/this blog! Craig & Rebecca’s awesome, TV-themed wedding is no exception. I have to absolute pleasure of knowing Rebecca as a fellow wedding planner/coordinator in the area. She is an absolute bundle of joy & SUCH a helpful resource for my/my biz. Her wedding to Craig is so insanely reflective of the two of them, you’re all going to LOVE it. So here it goes:

fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding9 fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding10

Craig and I had been discussing getting engaged when two friends went on a weekend trip to Capon Springs. When they got back, they both emailed me separately and told me that we MUST get married there. Craig and I made a trip to visit on the final weekend that they were open for the year and absolutely fell in love with it, and booked our wedding right then and there. We loved EVERYTHING about it — the owners (the same family has owned and operated Capon Springs for generations) were just about the most lovely people you could ever meet, the setting was ABSOLUTELY stunning, and the food was exactly what we had always wanted — delicious, plentiful, and appropriately casual for our very non-fancy families! We booked the venue, got engaged a couple of months later (officially), and started on a year and a half of planning.

fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding1 fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding37

It was important to us to have as many friends and family members involved in the wedding as possible. Because we’re a little older, a large number of these people have children, and since we love them ALL, we knew we had to have a wedding with kids…we just didn’t realize that this would lead to there being over 70 children on the guest list, most of whom were under the age of 8!

fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding2 fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding38

Because our venue was at least 2 hours away for pretty much everyone, nearly all of our guests stayed on site, so we wanted to make our welcome bags really special. One of my former brides, Trish Willard, is a graphic designer, so as our wedding gift, she designed the logo for our welcome bags (which I then ironed on cotton tote bags) and water bottles. They included the phrase “I love you and I like you” from Ben and Leslie’s vows on Parks and Recreation — a theme we carried throughout our wedding, both on a banner at the reception and in our own vows.

fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding14 fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding15 fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding17

We wanted to involve the kids closest to us in the ceremony, so we planned on a little “parade” to kick off the processional with the kids carrying a banner (made by one of my former brides) and waving ribbon wands (made by the bride and groom!).

fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding3 fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding21

For our first Christmas together, I gave Craig a copy of the book “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton, so as one of our readings we had our friend Meghan read it to the kids — I dyed a drop cloth and we set it out for the kids to come sit on so they could hear better and look at the pictures while she read — everyone loved it! We also had a reading done by Craig’s mom’s best friend (Craig’s mom passed away before we met) from Justice Kennedy’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage throughout the country.

fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding4 fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding22 fun stylish tv-themed parks and rec virginia camp wedding23

READ MORE FOR THE REST OF REBECCA & CRAIG’S SUPER FUN, TV-THEMED WEDDING!

Wedding Planning Advice: Logistics Are More Important Than Decorations

MaggieGaudaen-BreeRyback-MJW_2205

Image: Capitol Romance Wedding Planner by Maggie Gaudean

Let me start off by saying that this might be a pretty unpopular post – in that a lot of bloggers, websites, and even my readers may not agree with me here. But after having worked/attended over 50 weddings in the past 5 years, I can’t help but share something I feel needs to be said. I think it’s critical for those of you planning a wedding to hear, and I think it’s the #1 most useful piece of advice for engaged couples to use for their wedding planning journey.

Logistics are more important than decorations.

There, I said it. I already feel better. Don’t you? The issue with attending weddings as a guest these days is that it’s almost impossible to completely remove my coordinator hat. I find myself thinking (ok, let’s be honest, mostly whispering to my husband), “if they had only moved this … if they had only accounted for that … if they had just put a little more time in for X …. this wedding would be SO much better”. Just like Hillary sweats the details of policy, I sweat the details of logistics on a wedding day, because to me, a well planned/coordinated day, that takes travel times, guest flow, and maximizing dance time, into consideration, always results in a fantastic wedding, with extremely happy guests, families & couples.

Blogs tend to focus only on details: look at how cool this chalkboard menu is, look at the intricacies of this hanging altar backdrop, check out the tri-color foliage of this bouquet … and while yes, details like this are gorgeous, they are not critical to the overall enjoyment of your guests. Think about the last wedding you went too – what do you remember? The centerpieces or how long it took to get your food? The color of the bridesmaids dresses or that there was no time left to dance?

Now before you get too mad at me – you’re looking at someone that POURED over the details of our wedding. I made my mom painstakingly hand-make each of our tulle & christmas ornament bouquets, and I fretted over each shade of pink we used and I counted out each number of pieces of the centerpieces. The details were important to me (and yes, they can be important to you too) but what I don’t want you to do is to focus entirely on the details and forget about the logistics & timing of the day.

When my team and I meet with our clients to build out the custom day-of timeline for their day, our #1 concern is ensuring that there is a flow to the day, room for some lateness, and most importantly, maximizing the time for guests to enjoy the reception. I can think of nothing worse than wasted time on a wedding day – because I know how much that wasted time costs (to the couple and/or their family). I’ve attended a wedding that looked straight out of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, but dinner was an hour late, and the 12 piece band literally watched us eat dinner (instead of playing) because things were so delayed. By the time we got to dancing – we only got to groove for 45 minutes. I attended another wedding where the toasts were given before any food was served. We all waited (not so patiently … hungry guests are not happy guests) for what seemed like forever, for the toasts to end … only to have to wait AGAIN for the salads to show up.

Consider pre-plated salads (woo hoo instant food when guests sit down and one less thing for servers to have to serve/cutting into your reception time) and doing your toasts while people are finishing up dinner – just a few simple ideas we propose to our clients when building the day of timeline. (If you’d like more consider hiring us to ensure your wedding day runs super smooth & effectively or buying our planning binder to help you manage it yourself!).

Regardless of the planning option you pursue, I urge all of you to take a step back from the seemingly stressful decisions of picking between ivory and champagne, or deciding on the perfect shade of blue, and remember not to let the logistics & timing of your day slip. Build a timeline or plan for your wedding day that considers your guests expectations, builds in buffers for travel or tardiness, takes the flow of your evening into consider, and maximizes your time having fun with the people you paid A LOT of money to celebrate with!  Put your logistics over your decorations and I guarantee you and your guests will have the most satisfying and smooth wedding day possible!

Tashana & Howard’s Super Chic Maryland Engagement Pictures

chic maryland engagement pictures3

Images: Mlaw Studios via Two Bright Lights

Another weekend come and gone and Andy is FINALLY done working insane hours. It was so nice to have a “normal” day together yesterday as a family – meeting neighbors at the local park, organizing & cleaning the office, and mostly just spending time together :) We have a great week ahead on the blog and I am looking forward to the not AS ghastly hot temperatures. Here’s a gorgeous engagement session to get your Monday going.

chic maryland engagement pictures4

I remember when I met this lady my now soon to be wife. I had nothing, she had nothing. She was fresh out of college just moved back to Baltimore. I had just lost my apartment due to me losing my job at the time. We exchanged numbers via Twitter. We talked on the phone for about 3 months just getting to know each other before we even went on a date. After the long conversations day in and day out we finally went on our first date. From there we never looked back.

chic maryland engagement pictures5 chic maryland engagement pictures1

We built a friendship than built a relationship. We helped each other find jobs which we both lost and later found careers. It took me no time to realize that this was the woman for me! I thank spoke with her parents and got their blessings. I planned a surprise engagement party which then I proposed as soon as she came through the door, she cried I cried as she said YES! Till this day I still crush! We still build and we still grow! Love! #FrinksToBe

chic maryland engagement pictures2 chic maryland engagement pictures6

 

Leslie & Noah’s SURPRISE Proposal at Nordstrom in Pentagon City, Virginia

northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (2)

Images: Shoot Happens Photography via Two Bright Lights

Here I sit, anxiously awaiting the speech of the FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE and I am so stinking excited guys. I’m also prettttty pumped it’ll be Friday by the time you read this, because I’ve stayed up late the past few watching amazing, inspiring, heartfelt speeches and I am TIRED :) For today’s post I have the MOST adorable surprise proposal that took place at Nordstrom in Pentagon City Mall (you’ll find out why below!). I looooove the smiles in these images but I also love how detailed of write-up the groom to be gave me to share. So thorough! Happy Friday Romancers.

northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (9)

How they met:

We met in high school (Bishop McNamara) in August of 2002 where Leslie was a Freshman and I was a Junior. We knew of each other in high school, but never dated. I was in a young-love serious relationship at the time. I didn’t know much about Leslie in high school except that she danced & played volleyball. I was a captain on varsity boy’s basketball team around that time.

northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (8) northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (10)

The proposal story:

(Back story); Leslie and I had been in a relationship for about a year when in the Summer of 2014 I accepted a position and relocated to Miami, Florida. Leslie stayed behind in Virginia. And about 9-10 months she accepted a position at mega-retail giant Nordstrom. So she moved down to South Florida and everything is going well… Fast-forward about 9 months I decide to plan a surprise proposal! So I hold a conference-call with her best friends who are in Texas, Delaware & Maryland to plan out the proposal and all of it’s fine details. I wanted the proposal to happen in our home state of Maryland so that the majority of our friends & family could share & celebrate the moment too…

The proposal would happen at the Nordstrom at Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia. This location is significant because prior to her re-location to Miami, Leslie worked there under her “favorite” supervisor, Michael. So I thought it would only be fitting & memorable to have it there and to include Michael in the plans. The plan is to get Leslie from Florida to Maryland to pull off an epic proposal!

northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (11) northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (3)

(Proposal plan); The plan is to get Leslie from Miami, FL to the shoe department at the Nordstrom at Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia on a Saturday afternoon without raising any suspicion to propose in front of our closest friends & family with a “ghost-photographer” capturing the candid proposal process. So the conference-call with her best friends had each person conveniently coming home on the selected weekend. The weekend that was selected was March 26, 2016 because it was the Easter holiday weekend & the weekend that her family celebrated her father’s birthday. THIS WAS THE PERFECT EXCUSE TO GET HER UP TO MARYLAND! So we chose that weekend, but 2 weeks prior, I flew up to Maryland “on business”, but it was really to talk to her father (for the sake of formalities & tradition) and to meet with the photographer, Michael & the store General Manager, Stephanie. The 45 minute meeting went great! I found out that on the same weekend, the store would be having a huge internal cosmetic & fashion show, which would be great because it would provide the needed “cover” for our friends & family to blend in unseen while Leslie would make her way to the shoe department. It would also allow me to have access to a DJ so that I could chose 2 songs that would alert our “guests” that the proposal was about to happen…

northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (1) northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (6)

So now the plans are coming together perfectly… After that I purchase the ticket to send her home on the afternoon of March 25 & purchase my ticket to fly home on the evening of March 25th. To avoid the possibility of us crossing paths & ruining the entire event, I send her to Ronald Reagan National Airport while I flew into Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport. So fast forward to March 25th I drop her off at the airport, then I run straight home pack a 3-day overnight bag for her dog, drop the dog off at the dogsitter and finally get back to the airport to catch my red-eye 11pm flight.

northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (4)

On the day of the proposal, I get to the site to meet the DJ and give him the cue songs while blasting a mass text out to the guests giving them the songs to listen out for… Around 11:30 I meet with the photographer to finalize the plans, meet department manager, get a feel for the environment post fashion show and snap some candid shots of the ring (BLING-BLING). Around the same time I’m texting the best friends and they are literally 3 minutes from the mall having lunch. And still Leslie suspects & knows NOTHING. So the time comes, I believe it was 2pm where everything and everyone is in placed. Before my descent, I send out a mass text that it is “SHOWTIME”. So I’m upstairs on the second floor and I can see that the best friends have done a great job getting Leslie into place, all while going un-detected.

northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (7)

So the cue song “Just The Way You Are” begins to play & I start my descent down the escalator. So I get to the bottom of the escalator and I see everyone even the best friends, but Leslie still doesn’t notice ANYTHING. So I walk up behind her with a shoe box full of fresh pink rose pedals with the ring and ask her if she will marry me…! Her first response was NOT to cry or say yes. Her first response was “What are you doing here? Where’s the dog? After I asked again she said yes with sheer joy & surprise once she saw the ring.

northern virginia surprise proposal pictures (5)

Denise & Aidan’s Intimate, Perfectly Blue DC Wedding at Tudor Plaace

View More: http://candiceadelle.pass.us/deniseanda

Images: Candice Adelle Photography

I‘ve been attempting to be the Queen of multitasking this week, as Andy’s job has continued to demand most of him (physically and mentally) and I’ve been mostly consumed by politics and the day job. I’ve promised myself I would be better about blogging though and so here I sit, at just past 10pm with my cellphone streaming the DNC, the baby monitor on, and my fingers typing into WordPress on my laptop. Today’s real DC wedding is beautiful ~ full of the perfect shades of blue (even in the bride’s engagement jewel!) and a dreamy garden ceremony location. It’s nice to have pretty weddings to escape to sometimes when life is crazy or politics can be too much to handle. So enjoy.

View More: http://candiceadelle.pass.us/deniseanda

Aidan and Denise met in Ireland and now live there full time. Aidan is from Ireland while Denise is originally from the Northern VA area. They planned their wedding from across the world at one of the most beautiful venues in DC, The Tudor Place.

Tudor Place Spring DC Wedding Blue Flowers Garden Ceremony (11)

We chose the colour blue to match Denise’s sapphire ring which was chosen to match her eye colour (she didn’t want a diamond). [We chose] white because we felt it complemented the blue well.

View More: http://candiceadelle.pass.us/deniseanda View More: http://candiceadelle.pass.us/deniseanda View More: http://candiceadelle.pass.us/deniseanda

For the venue we were looking for an outdoor venue in a garden. Choose these two venues after seeing them in another couples blog, also we really like going out in the Dupont area.

Tudor Place Spring DC Wedding Blue Flowers Garden Ceremony (12) View More: http://candiceadelle.pass.us/deniseanda

CLICK READ MORE FOR THE REST OF DENISE & AIDAN’S DC WEDDING AT TUDOR PLACE

The Next District Bliss Workshop is on Aug 14th! Make Your Own Earrings with J’Adorn Designs

diy jewelry making class workshop washington dc

We seem to be all about the jewelry this week – with our Beads & Bubbly giveaway yesterday (for a private jewelry making class) and now with the next District Bliss DIY Workshop: Make your own unique jewelry with J’Adorn Designs!

The workshop is not until August 14th, but prices go up THIS WEEK, so get yours before they do!

diy jewelry making class jadorn designs august dc workshop (3)

More about the workshop:

Alison Jefferies of J’Adorn Designs will be teaching our guests all about handcrafted jewelry! Come join us to learn how to make your own pair of beautiful, unique earrings and check out some other wonderful pieces she has to offer!

*Drinks (mimosas), and snacks (Popcorn by Popcorn Queens) provided, as well as all supplies to do the craft!

Date: August 14th | Time: 1-3pm | Location: Logan Hardware 1734 14th Street NW

View More: http://brittneylivingstonphotography.pass.us/flora-corner-farm-styled-shoot

*Ticket prices raise again ($25/ticket), two weeks out from the event (July 31st). So don’t miss out – get yours TODAY!*

And Learn to make THIS \/

diy earrings jewelry class workshop dc

Giveaway: Enter to Win a Private Beads & Bubbly Party for Up to 5 Guests!

jewelry making class washington dc 2

This is the part of summer where I usually just start counting down until the Fall. I am OVER this heat. I am ready for it to not be an inferno anymore and be able to go running outside again!! In other news though, we have another giveaway this week – this one with Beads & Bubbly – a new company in DC that hosts jewelry making events focused on a creative, fun & locally focused experience. They’re perfect for an alternative bachelorette party or bridal party idea (create your jewelry for the wedding!) and we are pumped to give away a private party for up to 5 guests.

beads and bubbly class

A bit more about the company & the founders behind it:

Beads & Bubbly host social jewelry making event where attendees are given step-by-step instruction to create handmade jewelry designed by local artisans and a complimentary glass of champagne, served by the venue. Each event directly supports local designer through exposure and income opportunities while promoting and teaching the art of jewelry design. Each event includes all materials and instruction to make one-of-a-kind pieces that are designed by local artisans.

jewelry making class washington dc beads and bubbly class dc

The motivation behind our brand is rooted in the owners’ Alysse Bortolotto, Daraja Asili and Dia Karakantas-Ruocco passion to create a business model focused around handcrafted jewelry that provides women, artisans and/or entrepreneurs a way to nationally grow their own jewelry business. Our business model strives to promote the art of jewelry making for the general public, provide a national platform for up-and-coming jewelry designers, flexible income opportunities and organically build a community of creatives and entrepreneurs.

jewelry making class dc jewelry making class

GIVEAWAY ENDS AUGUST 15th!

ENTER HERE —-> http://beadsandbubbly.com/capitol-romance-contest/

Vol 9: The Real Life of a Mompreneur – Not Even Close to “Doing It All”

MaggieGaudaen-Evieis1-MJW_2419

Image: Maggie with Pop! Wed Co

One of the most common things people say to me is, “I just don’t know how you’re doing it all”. I guess my social media life must be showing a slightly altered version of my realty these days, because I couldn’t feel further from successfully “doing it all”. Yes it’s true that I wear many hats, working a full time day job, running this wedding blog & business as my side hustle, and doing the mom thing for just over a year now. And maybe to some of you it looks like I’m “doing it all”, but I am here to tell you today, that I am not. And that it’s likely impossible for anyone to “do it all” without something dropping or your priorities majorly shifting.

A few years ago I watched Shonda Rhimes’ commencement speech at Dartmouth on this very topic. This speech has stuck with me all this time, but I’ve never so fully realized the words she spoke until lately. One of my favorite excerpts is this part:

“Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life.

If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh’s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff.”

Though for me it’s not as grandiose as un-edited TV scripts or missed scenes, it’s empty days on the blog, un-responded to emails, never started home projects, outstanding wedding gifts for friends, or the standing up of the #CapRoShop that I’ve been trying to finalize since January.

I’ve always been a do-er. It’s my type-A nature that has me feeling anxious when things are incomplete or unfinished and I much prefer to just DO something once the item pops up, rather than take a wait & see or “oh I’ll get to it at some point” approach. But when you become a parent, there’s a whole slew of things that get added to your to-do list, that you can’t really account or plan for. And it makes the to-do list so long, that even I can’t seem to completely cross every item off the list.

So my latest challenge has been to accept this. To understand that “doing it all” is truly impossible, and instead of being upset, angry, or depressed about the fact that I am not doing everything I want to do, to take comfort and happiness in the things I AM doing. Though I might not be blogging every single day, I am working hard at my day job to hopefully be promoted this year. Though I might be missing out on wedding vendor networking events, I am seeing Evie learn to feed herself, climb the stairs (and on the coffee table), and work on her talking skills. Though the #CapRoShop is not yet up and running, it will be, some day and it will be awesome when it is.

I’ll close with this awesome quote I saw on Instagram from a fellow DC blogger, Queserasahra, where she said “life’s been less about blogging and more about loving life…”. Loving and living life these days has felt so much more important than attempting to do it all. Sometimes it’s ok to step back from the doing, and just live instead.

Make Wedding Planning Fun Again with the CapRo Wedding Planner Buy the Planner