Let’s Get Personal: 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started This Blog

Last week on Twitter I saw Lacie from A Thousand Threads post this article: 5 things I wish I knew when I started blogging. I told her on Twitter what a great post it was – and she urged me to do my own. So here I am, attempting to sum up SO MANY THINGS that I have learned since starting Capitol Romance in 2011. I’ll try to stick to just 5, and keep it to the biggies – things that I wish I had known (not necessarily all the things I’ve learned).

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started This Wedding Blog

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1. Step Away From the Computer

I think the #1 thing I wish I had known and done sooner, was engage with the wedding community and its vendors. I hid behind my computer for way too long, opting to reach out to people via email or other more impersonal channels. It wasn’t until I did my first wedding show, and then starting actually meeting vendors IN PERSON through laid-back channels, that my business was really able to grow. I wish I had reached out to people and engaged in person, sooner.

2. You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

My very first WordPress template makes me cringe – it was so, so bad. It was also F-R-double-E, free. This isn’t an earth-shattering piece of advice (it’s actually a very common, famous one) but I wish I had realized this sooner. I wish I had pumped some money into things like a logo, a decent WordPress template, and some other add-ons for my site. First impressions are everything after all, and I am sure I lost vendors and readers early on with my embarrassingly bad (free) logo and template. The only excuse I’ll give myself is that I never really dreamed back in 2011 that CapRo would be a real business – it was a hobby first.

3. Just Say No

It’s OK to say ‘No’. This is a lesson I am STILL trying to exercise. When I started, I was young and naive – I was shocked when anyone read my blog, let alone, sent content to me to share. Looking back, I should have said no to crappy content (bad images, content that didn’t fit my brand). No content would have been better than crappy content.

4. How Much Time Blogging Takes

Back to that young and naive – sometimes I wish I had known just how much TIME running a blog takes. Not that it might have caused me to do anything differently, but man was I unprepared for the total time commitment that is, running a wedding blog.

5. Join Twitter ASAP

I fought Twitter for way too long. Looking back – I don’t even really know why (other than the inane “I don’t know how to use it”). I wrote a blog post on this a while ago, but it’s still something I wish I had done sooner. I wish I had known just how valuable this social media tool could be. Always makes me wonder if I could have been further along in my business than I am right now.

Your turn – what have you learned since you started your business?

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DIY Tutorial: How to Make a Bowtie from a Fabric Napkin

We’re back with Ribbons & Bluebirds and Part 2 of our DIY Tutorial series – 1 Napkin, 3 DIY Projects (Part 1: How to make a DIY bouquet wrap is here). Today we are bringing the second project – how to make a DIY bowtie! If you’ll remember, first you need to cut your initial fabric napkin like so:

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DIY Tutorial: How to Make a DIY Fabric Bowtie

These bowties are SUPER easy, fun to make, and look sharp! I love how choosing different fabrics totally changes the feel of the bowtie, but they all start with the same formula.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 fabric napkin, at least 16×16” square
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Hot glue gun (low heat if you’re like me and end up touching the glue a lot!)

DIY bowtie tutorial


Step 1. Cut a rectangle of fabric for your bowtie: standard bowties want a rectangle 4.5 x9”, but you can use any dimensions you want as long as you keep the ratio of width to height 1:2. For my larger bowtie (so you can see it when my super furry dog is wearing it) I went with a 6.5×13” rectangle.

*When you’re cutting the napkin up, save the hemmed edges to use as the center wrap (or be prepared to do some extra ironing with scrap fabric.)

Step 2. Start by folding your napkin length-wise, so that the outside edges will meet in the center. This means your folds are at the ¼ marks in from each edge – for a standard bowtie, this means 1 1/8” in from the edges. Iron those folds nice and flat.

Then do the same thing in the short direction – fold the edges inwards so they meet in the center. For a standard bowtie, this means you’re folding at 2 1/4” from the edges. Iron these folds flat too.

Step 3. Now comes the glue-up! I like to pre-pinch the bowtie, to get the fabric used to folding the right way before I add hot glue since you need to work fast for maximum stickiness. Once you’ve got a shape you like, start by adding two lines of glue in the center of the back, and pinch the middle of the bowtie while it dries. Then, glue each top flap down (glue goes on the front.) When you’re finished this step, the bowtie should hold its shape even when you put it down.

Step 4. To finish, glue one end of your saved hemmed edge (or a ribbon, or a piece of scrap that you’ve ironed the raw edges inward…or whatever you want!) onto the back of the tie. Wrap it around the front, back to the back, trim, and glue the end in place. If you want to make a loop (like if you bowtie is for a dog collar) then instead of trimming, wrap your finishing fabric around one more time, and glue on the underside.


You’re all done! If you wanted this bowtie to have a clip, you can glue one right onto the back with your hot glue so it’s ready to wear.

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Wasn’t that EASY?! A perfect way to match your bouquet to your four-legged friend! Especially if he or she is going to be a part of your wedding day. A special thanks again to Ribbons & Bluebirds for sharing yet another, super awesome DIY tutorial with us!

Gillian & John’s Washington DC Brunch Wedding at Sequoia in Georgetown

I love brunch. I also love weddings. So obviously I REALLY love brunch weddings (sometimes I wonder why the heck I didn’t have one myself). I am also considering specializing in only brunch weddings for my wedding coordination business (I kid – but seriously, getting home at 5pm is awesome). But other than the food, the thing I think I love about brunch weddings is how relaxed they are. Other than the super early wake-up time, brunch weddings have a different vibe to them – one that is more focused on enjoying a casual setting with your guests and one that is less focused on crazy “blog-worthy” details.

All of this is apparent in Gillian & John’s DC Brunch wedding today. They kept things light, cool, and easy, but still personalized and fun, by hosting a crazy cool rehearsal at the Mansion on O, and then throwing a brunch wedding the next morning and an afterparty later in the evening. They kept things local with DC wedding details and super awesome wedding vendors. Everything was planned to a T by Rebecca Dick with Blue Canary Events & captured beautifully by Procopio Photography. Check it all about below!

Gillian & John’s Washington DC Brunch Wedding at Sequoia

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Photographer: Procopio Photography | Wedding Planner: Rebecca Dick, Blue Canary Events | Wedding Rehearsal Venue: The Mansion on O | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Sequoia, Georgetown | Band at Reception: The Winn Brother’s Band | After Party: Bar George | After Party Band: 90’s cover band “White Ford Bronco” | Hair Stylist: Alison Harper & Co. | Makeup Artist: Blend | Floral Design: B Floral Event & Design | Photobooth: Majestic Photo Booth

From the photographer:

Their rehearsal was at this crazy cool old mansion called The Mansion on O. You can have dinner on the main floor and then explore the rest of the mansion. This place is covered from head to toe with chotchkies and music memorabilia. It has secret doors and passageways that will really get you lost! Guests found and put on vintage hats as they meandered about. It was not only unique but a great ice breaker for folks that didn’t know each other prior to the wedding.

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From the bride:

Basically- our goal was to have our friends all become friends. Having the wedding on a holiday weekend, we knew people would be foregoing time with their families, so we wanted to make it worth while. Our main focus was the music, even with a brunch wedding, we wanted people to dance – and they did! John grew up in DC proper, and I grew up in Fairfax county, so we are both local -which is rare in DC!

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Click inside for the rest of Gillian & John’s Washington DC brunch wedding reception at Sequoia!

Victoria & Jacqueline’s Vintage-loving Glen Echo Park Anniversary Session

Writing more about marriage has been a goal of mine since Day 1 of starting Capitol Romance. It was one of the reasons I left “weddings” out of my brand name, wanting to focus more on the love of a wedding and less of the details/fabrications.  But other then talking about my OWN marriage, I’ve had a hard time getting other people to share their thoughts, advice, and musings. I made it a more firm goal for 2014 though, and think I might have found a way to do it – through accepting Anniversary Sessions! I tried to hound couples that had their wedding featured here, to share a “1-year later” type post – but it went literally no-where (though I’d still accept those!! email me!). And I did get ONE bride to share a “post-wedding lessons learned” blog on her own, but that’s it.

So, long story short (too late!) I am thrilled to have not only a kick-ass portrait session from Maggie Winters Photography to share today, but some awesome marriage and post-wedding advice from the beautiful ladies in the shoot. Victoria & Jacqueline had an AWESOME wedding (you can see it over here on Offbeat Bride) so naturally, their anniversary session was just as awesome, at Glen Echo Park.

Victoria & Jacqueline’s Vintage Loving Glen Echo Park Anniversary Portraits & Marriage Advice

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Photography: Maggie Winters | Location: Glen Echo Park

The best thing about being married:

Post-wedding, what’s really been awesome has been the sense of adventure and purpose. We’re exploring this whole wide world (figuratively, for the most part, since we don’t have the travel budget we want!), and we know we’ll be doing it together, forever. There’s a sense of security in that, which in turn makes life super exciting.

Honestly, not a lot changed for us when we got married; since we were happy together before the wedding, we’re glad that’s continued! We began as best friends, and then college roommates, before finding ourselves in love with each other. So, we’ve just greatly prolonged the “roommates” situation. Except everything is way more legitimate. Like, “Of course she’s coming home with me at Christmas. We’re married.”

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For us, our marriage was a proclamation of our love. We already knew that we were going to be together for the rest of our lives, living with each other, being an integral part of the other’s life. Our marriage was simply a public announcement of what we already knew, and a chance to celebrate that with our dearest friends.

Also, since we’re a same-sex couple, the tax benefits and legal recognition of our marriage are only now starting to become a reality, which is a cause for celebration all over again.

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The hardest thing to learn after getting married:

One thing that seven years of being friends (three of them married) has taught us is the critical importance of communicating. Staying connected to your spouse, knowing what they’re feeling and thinking, is the best way to stop any potential disagreement or conflict in its tracks. We’ve said, more than once, that if you’re scared to say something, that’s a good place to start talking: a simple “I’m really scared of how you’ll react if I tell you what I’m thinking” is a vulnerable place to be, but one that lets your spouse respond out of love and care, instead of anger or frustration.

It’s not always easy to keep up this sort of connection, but for the two of us, it’s absolutely vital. We feel it when we aren’t in sync, and when we are (which, thankfully, is most of the time), there’s an enveloping sense of love and trust in our relationship.

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Click inside for more marriage advice & awesome Anniversary Portraits from Jacqueline & Victoria at Glen Echo Park!

Capitol Inspiration: The Most Rad Bride & Groom Portrait Session. Ever.

Words cannot express the excitement I feel when I get emails telling me Amy Cloud Photography has submitted a feature for my blog. You might remember that INSANE, punk rock bride portrait session she sent my way a few weeks back. The chevron top? The purple hair? The tattoos & piercings? I was in love. Well, lucky for us all, things are going to be just as awesome this Friday on Capitol Romance, because we have the MOST rad bride & groom portrait session ever.

I’m talking tattoos, dreadlocks, gauges, and the sickest maroon suit. Ever. Why don’t more grooms rock a maroon suit? Seriously! There is also a seriously stunning bouquet, made by Soil and Stem. Less from me, more from Amy Cloud.

The Most Rad Bride & Groom Portrait Session. Ever.

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Photography: Amy Cloud Photography | Florals: Soil & Stem | Bride’s Dress: Gateway Bridal | Groom’s jacket: Decades (a rad thrift store in Salt Lake City) | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Amy shared,

I am submitting one of the rad-dest bridal shoots in the history of my career to you. I had never even heard of bridal shoots until I moved to Utah. But all brides here do them. Sometimes though they want to bring their groom along and in this case they call it a groomal session or formal session. With that being said, this is Taylor and Morgan’s formal session.

In talking we had originally planned on an outdoor location that was more industrial and grunge. However on the day of the shoot, it was horrid cold outside but we had to go on because the flowers were bought and ready to go. We opted to shoot in my natural light studio and ran outside really quick to this quirky little alley way for some shots at the end. These two had the most amazing style and were so easy to work with.

Yes, yes they do. SO in love.

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Click inside for the rest of this amazing, punk rock bride & groom portrait session.

DIY Tutorial: 1 Napkin, 3 DIY Wedding Projects

We’re back with another amazing DIY tutorial thanks to Ribbons & Bluebirds. If you haven’t yet checked out her awesome DIY scratch-off tutorial OR her custom, FREE wedding party invitation printables, do that first. Then come right back here, because we have an awesome 3-in-1 for you today!

Introducing: 1 Napkin, 3 DIY Wedding Projects!


Up first for today, the DIY Bouquet Wrap. Find the DIY Fabric Bowtie tutorial here and the DIY Ring Bearer Pillow tutorial here.

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What you’ll need:

  •  1 fabric napkin, at least 16×16” square
  •  Iron & ironing board
  •  Hem tape (optional)
  •  Ribbon, pin, or twine for finishing
  • Some pretty flowers!

napkin bouquet wrap DIY

This one is nice and easy, and is a perfect way to polish up your bouquet if you’re DIYing your own flowers. The trick is to let the napkin hems do the hard work for you, and just use your iron to keep the other raw edges neat.

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Cut a square out of one corner of the napkin, keeping a hem on two sides. If you look at the fabric as a diamond shape with the hemmed edges as the “bottom”, cut off the top, left, and right points of the diamond. The result will look just like a baseball home plate.

Use your iron to fold over the top raw edge and press to create an open hem. Pick your left or right raw edge to be your “finished” edge, and fold over and press a small hem there too. Clip the corner where the two pressed seams overlap to avoid a bulky fabric mess and to help everything lay flat. If you like, you can finish the side hem with no-sew hem tape to make sure it won’t unravel during some intense bouquet-throwing wedding day action.

To wrap your bouquet, lay the bouquet on top of the wrap and fold in the sides, starting with the edge you left unfinished. Wrap the finished edge over and secure with your choice of ribbon, twice, or a pretty pin.

DIY napkin bouquet wrap

Easy – and SO awesome right!? Totally going to be using this DIY tutorial for future styled shoots & passing along to all my clients doing DIY flowers! Check back next week for Part 2 of this series!


Let’s Get Personal: Knowing Your Self Worth

 Last week I shared one of my most personal posts to date. I talked about that dreaded thing called comparison and wondered if you could be too nice to run a business. The response I got was more than I could have imagined. Comments, emails, Facebook messages, and Twitter messages – my heart was so full! I didn’t write the post for that sort of self-indulging response, but it’s always nice to hear things like “you are doing the right thing” and other forms of assurance. I also got another response that wasn’t like the others, but was probably even more important than the rest. One that was brutally honest, (in a good way!!) with one key message: “You are worth every bit of what you deserve. We all are.”

Let’s Get Personal: Knowing Your Self Worth

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The emailer was zeroing in on the point I made about not needing to make financially based decisions because of the crutch of having a full-time salary through my day job. She said:

I walked that line a few years ago of having income that meant I didn’t need to “rely” on that money and I made poor business choices financially (like charging $750 for day-of services and thinking that was enough). Ultimately, I wasn’t respecting myself or my business enough to charge what I was worth and I would hate for you to be doing the same. But you deserve more than “SOME” compensation for your time. You deserve full compensation for your time, your expertise, your personality, your brand and overall what you bring to the table.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a very hard time knowing what I am worth. As a blogger, you are behind a computer screen, so cut off from your readers (that only show up as hit counts & views in an analytics tracker). Sure I get emails from readers that express their gratitude for the resources & information I am sharing, but it’s difficult to truly calculate or know what my “services” are worth! I do know a few things though: I know that I spend A LOT of time on this blog. It takes HOURS, every day, to answer emails, gather content, lay it out properly in WordPress, insert all the necessary hyperlinks, tags & categories, and eventually hit publish. It then takes even more time (probably double the publishing time) to market my posts. Facebook albums, twitter, Google+, Pinning every image, and uploading to a few other websites. This takes up a significant amount of my time, and my time is worth being compensated, and not at only a partial rate.

To put it another way (thanks to our email responder):

If you went to a restaurant and was constantly only being charged for “some” of the meal, initially you might be excited but after a few visits, you might start to wonder what’s wrong with it. Was it being dropped on the floor and they weren’t telling you? Maybe it was old moldy vegetables? You’d start to think something was up, right?

This is such a true statement, and I really love the way it was laid out. But what does that mean for me and for Capitol Romance (moreso the blog in this instance than my coordination business)? Well, it means that I need to do some serious soul searching and find out how to better compensate myself for the time, effort, and resources I am providing. Which means, yes, there are going to be some changes to Capitol Romance soon (hopefully for the better) and hopefully my readers will understand. And if they don’t? Well, that’s just something I am willing to sacrifice to realize my true self worth :)

Margaret & Justin’s Vintage Carnival Themed Wedding at Union Mills

Love this simple Maryland wedding feature today! It features a TON of DIY and the most adorable vintage carnival theme! Margaret & Justin got married at Union Mills Homestead and wanted something rustic and vintage. So once they decided upon the historic mill as their venue, the vintage carnival theme fell right into place. They shared, “It allowed us to play up both of our tastes. I love everything vintage and Justin likes the rustic look, so it was the perfect compromise. The theme came together beautifully and was perfect for our venue.”

Thanks to Brenda Murphy Photography for sharing this one with us!

Margaret & Justin’s Vintage Carnival Themed Wedding at Union Mills in Maryland

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Photographer:  Brenda Murphy Photography | Flowers: Blossoms & Baskets | Catering: Kountry Kafe Katering | Bridesmaids Shoes: Blowfish Shoes | Bride’s Shoes: Chinese Laundry | Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal | Groom & Groomsmen Attire: JCPenney | Bridesmaids Dresses: Old Navy | DJ: Shewsical | Hair & Makeup: Bladerunner | Bride’s Jewelry: Antique Stores | Event Venue: Union Mills Homestead Foundation, Inc. | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

simple maryland farm wedding dress bouquet blue patterened bridesmaids dresses groomsmen in brown pants and vests

All paper ware (like the place cards and table numbers) my husband made and we printed at Kinkos. My brother made the cut out face board and we borrowed the popcorn machine. Basically we made pretty much everything ourselves.

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Click inside for the rest of Margaret & Justin’s vintage carnival themed wedding at Union Mills in Maryland.

Kate & Scott’s Laid Back Engagement Pictures in Virginia

I am WIPED OUT. This weekend was awesome – but it totally kicked my ass. On Friday I met with Sarah to talk about some collaborative workshops that we are planning to host with The Ulysess Room – I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am about this. So much more to come on those. Then we hit up Union Kitchen’s 1-year anniversary party and checked out the AWESOME new restaurant at Union Market, Bidwell. And then Saturday we made the drive up to Baltimore to hang out with some rad wedding vendors & couples at The Mix Event. We got to see some of our favorite vendors and meet some new ones too. We also got to rock out to the amazingness that is Burnt Sienna – seriously guys, if you need a band for your wedding, hire them … and then let me come to your reception too ;) Then the weekend closed with a lovely 8 mile run and a walk to a park on Capitol Hill to get to enjoy the beautiful weather. All in all a great (but busy!) weekend.

And it’s not like any rest is in site, as we have our first Fuel DC event on Wednesday (are you coming?!) and my bestest friends from Pittsburgh are coming Thursday night to visit for the weekend!! So while not much rest is in my future, I am thoroughly looking forward to this week and weekend. Now if only this stupid cold will go away….

So for today’s post I am sharing a beautiful laid-back engagement session from IYQ Photography. Not a lot of details in this one, just two beautiful people, totally in love & full of smiles. I mean, what else could you want for a Monday? Let’s get it going ….

Kate & Scott’s Laid Back Engagement Pictures in Virginia

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Photographer: IYQ Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

I always love when couples are un-posed and candid in their engagement pictures. It feels so much more natural and is much more engaging to look at (and blog!). Kimie also shared that Kate & Scott found her through my blog – so I just had to share that extra little detail :) Happy Monday Romancers.

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Thanks again to IYQ Photography for sharing this adorable Virginia engagement session with us!

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