Capitol Advice: The F Word Revisited | Friends as Wedding Vendors – The Good, Bad & Ugly

This topic is no where close to new in the wedding industry. Time and time again, vendors & bloggers tackle the “heinous crime” of having your friend serve the duty of a wedding vendor on your wedding day. Now these posts always bugged me because they never seemed to show more than just the side of the one vendor posting the article. What about the times where a friend was exactly what was needed and things worked out perfectly because it was done right? I always wondered if other people got turned off a bit, like I did, when you read a vendor telling you to hire them instead of hiring someone else. Well DUH they want you to hire them!

Now, before the entirety of the wedding blogosphere storms my house and tries to burn me at the stake, don’t mistake what I am saying here. I will 100% advocate (just like I did with my post on DIYing your wedding flowers) that a professional vendor is and always will be the best and safest choice for your wedding. Wedding Professionals know the intricacies and complexities that wedding days require and they will ALWAYS be the best choice for your wedding day vendors. You cannot compare a professional vendor’s services and outputs to that of a friend/novice. This is also a reason why you should work with experienced professionals and not “I have an iPhone so I can shoot your wedding” photographers – but that is a whole other blog I will someday write.

But what about all the countless couples (including yours truly) that have asked friends to serve as wedding vendors for their big day – and it worked out just fine? What if you just don’t have the budget to hire a professional for EVERY aspect of your wedding day? Well then, let us share some real insight, from REAL couples that used a friend as a wedding vendor so that you guys can see ALL sides of this argument, not just one.

Hiring Friends as Wedding Vendors – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

friend as wedding vendor

[My friend Dorothy on the left, helping my sister with the processional | Image: Live It Out Photography]

First let’s start with a note of caution. The all-important warning that just because hiring a friend worked for me and some others, it DOES NOT MEAN it will work for you. This is not an all encompassing post. This is a reflection of a handful of real couples that used friends as vendors to help YOU decide if it MIGHT be right for you and your partner too!

The [Cautionary] Good: It Worked For Someone Else [But that Does NOT Mean It Will Work For You]

Recent DC area bride, Ashley, hired her friend to serve as her day-of coordinator. For Ashley, this decision worked out perfectly! She shared:

“One of the hallmarks of our wedding was the way that our friends and family were so much a part of it. I had never considered a traditional coordinator (and frankly, felt that I would be more stressed out by one), so to have a friend that was willing to take this on was a gift indeed. She helped me feel confident about any decisions I second-guessed, she asked questions I didn’t think to, she handled some rather upsetting vendor issues effortlessly. ” – Ashley

Another former bride, Rachel explained that they also had success with hiring friends. She attributes her success to mainly 3 things. 1, that she was a fairly laid-back bride, 2, she was also highly organized, and 3, her friends that were involved were also pretty experienced at what she was asking them to do!

“I was laid back in that I was up for anything, but in general I was more so highly organized with checklists and timelines and charts (such as: “who is driving in what cars to which parts of the wedding” WITH pictures all neatly tacked up on the food cabinet… I got a lot of flack for that haha). I don’t recall setting out to have friends so involved in my day, but a few offered and we ended up reaching out to a couple others and it just happened that way! The friends that I involved in the day were already very experienced and very talented in what I asked them to do.” – Rachel

hiring friends as wedding vendors

I would second Ashley & Rachel’s sentiments. Personally, I asked a friend to help coordinate our wedding – she helped us make favors, decorations, and served as a day-of coordinator for us. Dorothy had a professional background in design and managing bands – two key items that lent itself to making her a great wedding coordinator. The other two things that set us up for success were:

1- Just like Rachel I was HIGHLY organized bride (is anyone surprised by this?). I had binders, budget spreadsheets, a calendar view schedule, and I even had a weekly meeting with Andy … including agendas that we had created (hah, I wish I was kidding). I was really hands-on and involved in my own wedding planning, so I did not feel I required the full-scale help/assistance that a planner might want to give me & Andy.

2- My catering company also provided us with a day-of coordinator that had worked with us from the minute we hired them to ensure our linens, tablescapes, escort cards, and decorations were all laid out properly. I do not think this is normal – but I could not say enough about what Catering By Uptown‘s Jeff did for our wedding day. He seamlessly decorated and setup a lot of our DIY details and decor – something that Dorothy might have had to do if not for them!

Click inside for The Bad & The Ugly …. and advice if you are still going to do this any way ;)

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Introducing: Capitol Romance Classifieds – An Easy Way to Buy & Sell Wedding Goods, Locally

We mentioned a few weeks back that 2014 was going to be a GOOD year. Personally, professionally, creatively — you name it, this year is going to have it! Already this year we’ve ramped up on taking advertisements, signed up for the Blogcademy, worked our first 2014 Wedding, & started training for another half-marathon (which let me tell you, in this weather has been BRUTAL). And in addition to all those things (and so many more coming your way!) we’ve finally launched something that has been in the works for a few months: Capitol Romance Classifieds!

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We’ve had a few emails drop in our inbox, asking us to post individual items for sale, as blog posts, so we thought, “why not create an entire platform where ANYONE could buy & sell used wedding items in the DC area easily and simply?”. Personally, I used Wedding Bee’s classifieds section for my own wedding and often tell friends/clients to check that out – but the big bummer with that (other than the fact that people TROLL that thing all day and you have to be pretty vigilant on it or you miss what you need) is the shipping costs!! We bought globe lights for our reception and had to pay a pretty penny to get them shipped.

Wouldn’t it have been better to just drive to Arlington and pick them up? Oh hell yeah it would have been!

So this is what we are trying to promote with the new classifieds section: buying, selling & saving for your DC wedding, all locally!

used dc wedding decorations for sale

Any way we can help metro DC couples plan their wedding on a budget, while also promoting the recycling & reuse of wedding goods in the area? I mean, why not?! So if you or a friend/family member you know has some wedding appropriate things around their house, get on the classifieds and sell those DC wedding items! OR if you are planning a practical DC wedding, then check out what we have for sale!

It’s easy, simple, helpful, and continues to promote the fun, affordable DC weddings that we love to showcase here on Capitol Romance!

So what do you think guys?! Are you as in love with our brandy new Capitol Romance Classifieds platform as we are?! We can’t wait to help you buy & sell your used DC wedding items here!



Katy & Shamena’s Intimate, Dupont Circle Elopement in Washington, DC

I always love throwing a good old Washington, DC elopement in to the mix ~ especially when the couple getting married decided to come all the way to DC from the UK! As their photographer, eKate Photography told me, “they came to DC because they didn’t just want a civil union; they wanted to be married.” On one hand, I LOVE that DC is a place where all and any couples can come to get legally married – but on the other hand, it pains me that couples even have to travel outside their home towns to legally profess their love to each other. I am proud of my city, but hopeful that someday soon couples won’t have to make the journey here to get married (though my blog will be sad to see their awesome elopements go!).

Katy & Shamena’s Intimate, Dupont Circle Elopement in Washington, DC

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Photographer: eKate Photography | Officiant: Tiffany Newman | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

They each wore a red dress of their choosing and had a short and intimate ceremony in Dupont Circle, officiated by Tiffany Newman of Marriage D.C. It was simple, gorgeous, and serene inside during the ceremony. Outside, it was the worst rainstorm we’d had in a long time, We were still determined to get some photos outside, though, so while people were leaving work and roads were being closed because of flooding, we waded through and got the shots that we could. The two of them were smiling and laughing the entire time and it was one of the most enjoyable weddings I’ve been a part of.

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Congratulations Katy & Shamena! Thank you for sharing your beautiful, intimate Washington DC wedding elopement with us! A special thanks again to eKate Photography as well for sharing her images with us!

Michelle & Adam’s Meridian Hill Park & Constitution Gardens DC Engagement Session

Back this afternoon with an adorable engagement session that will make us all pine for Fall. Ok – maybe just me then? Everyone else reading this probably just wants SUMMER already! Amiright? This DC engagement session features Michelle & Adam and their DIY Jones Soda Bottles – which fit perfectly since it’s their soon to be shared last name! They took some pictures aounr Meridian Hill Park and then the Constitution Gardens. Some gorgeous weeping willows also made an appearance! Thanks to Chantal Lavine Photography for sharing the images for the feature!

Michelle & Adam’s Meridian Hill Park & Constitution Gardens, Washington DC Engagement Session

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How they met:

We met over six years ago quite serendipitously during a study abroad trip to Jordan. We spent the summer as bioarchaeologists excavating tombs and falling in love. We kept our romance alive through two years of long distance (Adam went to school in NC and Michelle in MA) before moving to Charlotte, NC and finally relocating to the DC area for grad school and our current careers in the government.

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Click inside for the rest of Michelle & Adam’s DC engagement pictures and proposal story!

The Mix Event: Wedding Show & Ticket Giveaway!


OH HEY THAT’S US!!! In case you guys missed all my social media posts (and our handy new sidebar ad for the event), there is an AWESOME new wedding show happening in Baltimore at the end of February and we are so excited to be a part of it!

It’s called The Mix Event, and it’s an eclectic wedding show, for couples in love. Why is it different than the typical, boring and 1-note wedding shows you typically see around the DC area? Well … let them tell you:

The Mix Event was born from the idea that no two couples are alike, and neither are any two weddings. The coming together of two people mixes cultures, families, ideas, and loves, and just like the mixing of blue and yellow makes green, a marriage creates something new and beautiful.

We invite you to a wedding show unlike any other – not too big, not too small, but just right. The Mix Event happens on a Saturday night, so make it a date night out with your sweetie! We’ll have a live band, a cash bar with our signature cocktail/mocktail, and plenty of the areas’ absolute best vendors to meet & greet.

Live band? Bar? A room full of non-stuffy, creative wedding vendors? What more could you want in a show? Need more…then check out the AWESOME promo video that was put together for the event by ClickSpark:

The Mix Event – Self expression from Clickspark on Vimeo.

There are some seriously awesome vendors signed up – and Andy & I will be there too, rep-ing Capitol Romance :) So come hang out with us, grab a drink, dance to Burnt Sienna, and maybe find some of your wedding vendors! You can buy tickets here OR you can enter to win 2 tickets through us by the raffle copter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Capitol Inspiration: Romantic, Berry & Burgundy, Rembrandt Winery Wedding Inspiration

Some romantic, wine-inspired wedding inspiration today coming to you from a shoot put together by Bridal Bellhop! Bridal Bellhop is a DC-based wedding vendor search tool focused on simplifying the vendor search game for DC area wedding planning couples! Grace, the owner, assembled a team of talented vendors from her own site to plan a gorgeous styled wedding at The Winery at Bull Run. Using descriptors like “stark moodiness” and “quiet elegance” they use a Rembrandt painting and fine wine as the theme for the shoot. I am IN LOVE with the deep, rich berry and burgundy colors they used (right down to the bride’s burgundy lipstick – love). They topped it off with a touch of luxe by throwing in cascading flowers and gold too! As Grace explained, they wanted to showcase a winery wedding beyond the typical rustic burlap and lace – which I think they pulled off quite successfully!

We have an exclusive sampling of images from this gorgeous shoot but be on the lookout for the Spring 2014 Winery Weddings Magazine to have another set! Happy Friday Romancers – I think I might need to go fill a cup of some mulled wine after blogging this ….

Romantic, Elegant Berry & Burgundy Winery Wedding Details & Inspiration

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PhotographyBonnie Sen Creative Photography | Venue - The Winery at Bull Run | Wedding PlannerPure Whimsy Events | Wedding DressEllie’s Bridal | Makeup/HairCarolyn Thombs Makeup Artistry & Consulting | Floral DesignEightTreeStreet | CateringAmphora Catering | Rentals -Vintage Affairs | Stella & DotTyler Fitzhugh | Cake + DessertsFresh Bakes | InvitationsRibbon & Ink | Vendor MatchingBridal Bellhop

Expert wedding vendor curators, Bridal Bellhop, sourced vendors for this styled shoot based on the vision of a romantic Rembrandt winery wedding and used their unique matching system to bring the vision to life. Each wedding vendor was carefully selected to ensure that the products and services captured in this styled shoot reflect Bridal Bellhop’s standard of excellence for selecting vendors to join their wedding maven community, which makes the company stand out from other wedding resource services.

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The bride’s romantic Rembrandt look was achieved through a combination of dark berry lips and gold eye makeup, softened with loosely pinned curls. The high lace neckline of the wedding gown added a touch of romance to the overall look, while matte black nails, a cascading bouquet, and gold accessories added a sultry twist.

deep red burgundy lipstick bride gold purple unique metallic escort cards

The cocktail hour display was rich in flavor, color, and edible details. Savory appetizers such as pomegranate bruschetta and red wine caramelized goat cheese tartlets were scattered across wine barrels and accessorized with heart shaped figs and a fruit basket-inspired floral arrangement. Gold foiled wedding invitations laid in a drawer of a beautifully worn hutch to display the ornate quatrefoil pattern and merlot color scheme.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE wedding inspiration from this elegant & romantic winery wedding styled shoot!

Elisha & Josh’s Eclectic and Offbeat, Nautical-Themed Maryland Wedding

Today’s real Maryland wedding feature encompasses so many things I love! A couple took a sometimes cliched theme (nautical) and made it their own! They embraced local culture, included special and handmade details, and instead of sticking to a strict color palette, the bride answered, “Meh I’m not putting myself in a box.” HAH! I love it! The result was an eclectic, offbeat nautical-themed Maryland wedding that was mostly just jam packed with FUN. My favorite detail might be the totally NOT-bridesmaids dresses that the bride had her maid’s wear (adorable, off the rack seersucker dresses) but the mini pumpkins in the bouquet are a close second! Hold on to your hats Romancers because we have a long post for you today with images from Sugar Farms Weddings!

Elisha & Josh’s Eclectic, Offbeat Nautical Themed Maryland Wedding

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Photography: Sugar Farms Weddings | Venue: Herrington on the Bay | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jessica Simpson | Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Custom, Made to Measure suits by David Hart | Cake: Made by Groom’s Mother | Groomsmen Anchor Pocket Squares: Gap | Groomsmen Whale Tie Clips: J. Crew | Yarmulkes: Handmade | Bride’s Shoes: Ted Baker  | Bride’s Jewelry: Anthropologie | Chuppah: Handmade (from Target linens!) | Invitations: Etsy | Programs: DIY by Bride | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

While having a nautical-themed wedding in Maryland can be cliche, the bride, Elisha, is from Knoxville, Tenn., originally. Knowing that many guests would be coming from out of town and seeing the Chesapeake Bay for the first time, the couple decided to just go ahead and embrace the local culture and style for their nuptials. They wanted a lot of special details, so the wedding was chocked full of handmade touches. The color scheme came together rather organically. Instead of picking the pallet first, Elisha and Josh found the vintage nautical invitations and let them serve as the inspiration.  After finding a bridesmaid dress evocative of the invitations, everything else – the groomsmen clothing, yarmulkes and flowers – all just started to fall in place. There were no strict rules about what was or wasn’t in the scheme; everything just had to sort of “go.” It drove some people crazy when they asked the bride what her color scheme was and for the first few months, her answer was “Meh, I’m not putting myself in a box.”

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Instead of typical bridesmaids’ dresses, Elisha chose an off-the-rack Jessica Simpson seersucker dress for her friends that could be reworn for other occasions. (They were $80!) It had a fun blue-and-white stripe with triangle back cutout and tomato red piping. They wore blue nautical knot earrings (gift), their own red pumps and little gold anchor necklaces with lapis stones (gift). Full disclosure: The bride liked the dress so much, she bought one for herself, too, to wear to the next Preakness!

groom yellow nautical tie

Josh, the fathers, Elisha’s “bride’s man” (her brother) and Josh’s groomsmen wore custom-made suits and ties designed by Josh’s friend, menswear designer David Hart. Hart is originally from Severna Park, Md., and is now making his own clothing line in NY. The suits were one-of-a-kind, which David kindly made at cost for the guys.

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Elisha’s favorite DIY detail was the nearly 90 yarmulkes her mother handmade (enough for each man) for the ceremony. Elisha got the idea that she wanted quirky, nautical yarmulkes for her Jewish wedding. After searching the Internet and not finding what she was looking for, she realized her mother Megan, who is a sewing wiz, could make them. Elisha bought an assortment of coordinating nautical fabrics online and shipped them to her mom in Tennessee. She also had a custom-made rubber stamp made with the wedding details (names, date, location) and some fabric ink pads and sent them to her mom. She found a free yarmulke pattern online. Even FOB Isidor helped with the process by cutting fabric and ironing! Strips of the leftover fabric were used to wrap the bridesmaids’ bouquets.

The chupah – or wedding canopy – was one of the most romantic easy-breezy ones this biased bride has ever seen! Learning that Jewish canopies can be hundreds of dollars to buy or rent, the bride brainstormed a cheaper solution. After explaining over and over to people that the fabric she was looking for would be similar to the sheer linen curtains in her living room, she decided: Why not use them? She bought five panels at Target for about $70 total and the groomsmen stapled them to the pergola making a canopy.

handmade DIY yarmulkes chuppah

Click inside for the rest of Elisha & Josh’s eclectic, handmade Nautical Maryland wedding in Annapolis!

Giveaway: Game Time Stadium Nacho Cheese Party Pack Giveaway!

Something fun and not entirely wedding related (though the owner DID serve this at his own wedding as a late night snack!) for the afternoon. A fun little giveaway in celebration of next week’s big game (the Superbowl … in case you didn’t get that)! DJ Brad McCormick has launched a separate side biz selling nacho cheese party packs, called Game Time Stadium Nacho Cheese. Now this cheese isn’t just your regular Kraft variety – it’s the kind they actually serve in the stadiums at major sports events made by Gehl’s!

To help get his business started, he has offered to giveaway 2 prizes to 2 lucky winners on the blog! The grand prize is a Grand Prize Gift Kit (include a case of cheese, and the gift pack above [shipped separately]) and a runner up will get a nacho cheese 6 pack! Shipping can be anywhere in the country (and can get there in 3 days) but for anyone local, it would take a day to get to you! Perfect timing for your Superbowl party!


Entering is SUPER easy (as always!) just use our Rafflecopter widget below! Don’t forget to check out Brad’s website, Stadium Nacho Cheese, follow him on Twitter, or check out his Facebook page. And in case you aren’t a football fan, don’t forget that you can always serve this as a late night snack at your wedding :



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tell us ~ what would YOU do with your Stadium Nacho Cheese?

Free, Printable Wedding Party Cards! Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Bridesmen, & Groomsladies


GUYS! We are so freakin’ PUMPED for today’s DIY tutorial/free printable from Ribbons & Bluebirds! We’ve been working with Ribbons & Bluebirds to create something extra special, something I have yet to really see out in the wedding blog scene: LGBT-friendly Wedding Party cards!

I know you’ve all see the millions of “will you be my bridesmaid?” or “will you be my groomsmen” cards online. But what I have yet to see are ones that are more inclusive and LGBT-friendly! How about ones that say “Will you join OUR wedding party” and feature two dashing grooms on the card? Or better yet, what about all of you out there asking men to stand on the bride’s side or ladies to join the groomsmen? Well we have those covered too! We’ve got your “Will you be my groomslady?” and “Will you be my bridesman?” downloads too!

OMG are you as excited about this as I am!? And not only did Ribbons & Bluebirds custom make these designs for you guys, she also wrote up the most awesome DIY tutorial to show you how to make these cards into something super special to send to your soon to be wedding party attendees – including some fancy DIY envelope liner step-by-step directions!

DIY Tutorial: Free, Printable LGBT-Friendly Wedding Party Cards & Step by Step Instructions

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These fun cards are a great, modern way to invite your nearest and dearest to be a part of YOUR wedding party!  The downloadable templates prints 2 cards per sheet or 8.5×11” paper, each card 4.25×5.5” with a half fold.

Supplies you will need:

  • Cardstock, 8.5×11 (letter) size sheets
  • Paper trimmer (or utility knife + ruler)
  • Scoring board (or bone folder + ruler)
  • Printer
  • A2 size envelopes (optional)
  • Decorative paper to line envelopes

Step 1. Download one or several of the templates available at Ribbons & Bluebird’s blog. Templates include: “Will you join our wedding party” for a bride + groom, two brides, or two grooms OR “Will you be my”: bridesmaid, groomsman, bridesman, or groomswoman – including a fun set of potential responsibilities for the wedding day.


Step 2. Print your cards!  The templates are laid out on 8.5×11 sheets, ready for your printer.  Make sure you have the print set to Do Not Scale, otherwise your printer may try and reduce the size of the cards (and they will be too small for an envelope.) Because the design goes all the way to the edge of the cards, some printers may not be able to print all the way to the edge, but if you have a “borderless” setting then try it out! (About borderless printing: most printers automatically increase the print size when set to borderless, in an attempt to try and make sure the print really does go all the way to the edge.  You need to remove this setting by setting the enlargement amount to “no enlargement.”)

**To print the inside design**: flip the cardstock over and run it back through your printer to print on the backs.  Not every printer feeds the same, so I can’t give you specifics for the orientation but you may need to print a test sheet to make sure you get the inside message printed on the correct half of the sheet.

will you be my bridesmaid free printable

Step 3. Next, trim the cards.  Each sheet needs one cut, right down the middle.  You can use the edge of the diagonal pattern to line it up perfectly – each piece of paper will then be 5.5 x 8.5”.

DIY free printable be my groomsmen cardfree printable will you be my groomslady bridesman card

Step 4. To score the cards for easy folding, either use a scoring board and score at 4.25” from the short edge (again, right down the middle) OR just use a bone folder and a ruler to score the paper.  Again, you can use the diagonal pattern as a guide.

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Step 5. Fold along the scored edge, and voila! Enjoy the cards :)

LGBT inclusive free wedding party cards downloadsame sex inclusive be in our wedding party cards

Click inside to find out how to make your free cards EXTRA fancy with a DIY envelope liner tutorial!

Need Help Making DIY Projects for Your Wedding? Attend Our Workshops!