Capitol Video: A Washington, DC Proposal Video at the Capitol Building

So last week I got an email from a groom. He told me he had just found my site and was enjoying it (gosh I LOVE when grooms like my site just as much as brides!). He told me he was a videographer by profession on the political side of the house, so when he proposed to his fiance, he knew he wanted to incorporate a video element somehow.

Well the result was nothing short of amazing.  I literally had tears in my eyes through MOST of this video. Call me a sap, but just the way it was shot and executed, even though I don’t even know these two people, I knew I was witnessing something truly intimate, beautiful and real. Plus the unintentional nod to one of my favorite movie scenes EVER (see if you catch what I mean) only added to the tears. Check it out below (along with some AWESOME pictures captured by some of Caleb’s talented friends) and let me know if you cried like I did :)

Caleb’s Washington, DC Wedding Proposal at the Capitol Building

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Video: Filmed by Mike Lurie, Edits by Caleb | Images: Bryant Avondoglio, Tim Torres

From Caleb:

I serve as the Digital Comms Director for the Speaker of the House, so that balcony is just a few steps away from my actual office.  And all my photographers/videographers were also house staffers, so they were familiar with the space as well.  It was about 7 months of planning…but the final details really came together in the two weeks prior, and I am very pleased with the final result…she said yes, after all!

The Proposal // Caleb + Jessica from Caleb Smith on Vimeo.

A few other awesome pictures:

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Oh and in case you are wondering where there wedding is going to be – it will be at 101 Constituion, overlooking that very balcony where Caleb proposed.

Let’s all collectively sigh and aww together now.

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Rachel & Matt’s Surprise Proposal & DC Engagement Pictures

For today we have an adorable surprise proposal – caught on film by Sandra Sitar Photography! A few months ago Sandra received an email from Matt, asking to book and engagement session. Sandra was a bit caught off guard after asking Matt when they got engaged and Matt responded that they weren’t actually engaged yet. But after 6 years of dating (mostly long distance), Matt was ready to ask Rachel to be his wife and he wanted Sandra to catch the proposal and then take some engagement pictures after. Well, of course Sandra said yes and now we get to share the surprise proposal and some adorable DC engagement pictures!

Rachel & Matt’s Surprise Proposal in Washington, DC

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Photography: Sandra Sitar Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

The surprise proposal details, all from Matt:

“I came up with the idea a little over a year ago after Rachel and I realized that we would be living together in DC.  We spent almost all of our relationship as long distance, so finally living together was really significant to us.  The photos came from a photo album that Rachel had given me years ago, and that she updated with new pictures every time that she visited me.  By putting all the pictures up in the new apartment, I wanted to bring together all of our favorite memories with what we had been dreaming about for our future.


Pulling off the surprise was really complicated.  So much could have gone wrong, and I was incredibly lucky that nothing did.  I had the apartment complex secretly change our move in date to one day earlier, and convinced them to let a photographer pretend to be an employee of the building.  For the pictures, I bought out the Dollar Store’s supply of black picture frames and used 3M no-damage stickers to hang all the frames quickly.

DC surprise proposal

Finally, in order to make sure Rachel was dressed up, I had one of my best friends plan a fake fancy dinner for us to go to.  I was so nervous right before that I thought I was going to give it away, but thankfully everything came together so well that she didn’t figure it out.  I was just really happy that Rachel loved it and that she felt as special as I hoped it would make her feel.”

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Click inside for the rest of this surprise proposal in Washington, DC!

Stephanie & Kyle’s Washington DC Engagement Session at Eastern Market

We’re back in action this afternoon with a super sweet Washington, DC engagement session courtesy of Carley Rehberg Photography! Carley shared with us the sweet love story of Stephanie & Kyle, and their gorgeous sunrise engagement session in DC, ending at Eastern Market!

Stephanie & Kyle’s love story is quintessential DC – they met at their graduate studies at GW! I love the backdrop of Eastern Market in their engagement pictures and how they ended with their favorite t-shirts in their own neighborhood. Check it all out – including a shot of Stephanie’s gorgeous engagement ring AND their proposal story!

Stephanie & Kyle’s Washington DC Engagement Session at Eastern Market

Washington DC engagement pictures

Photography: Carley Rehberg Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How we met (as told by Kyle):

I first met Stephanie at our very first day of orientation for graduate school at the George Washington University, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration (August 2007). I noticed her signing in at the registration table and taking a seat near the front of the classroom. I was more inclined to sit in the back and took a seat a few rows behind her. Eventually, the classroom was split into two groups and everyone in the back rows was asked to move up to the front, this my chance to make a move! I quickly gave myself a pep talk to build up the nerves, sat down next to her, introduced myself… and was greeted back with a flat, completely uninterested, “I’m Stephanie Stone”, she then turned her head back to the front of the classroom. We didn’t talk or interact for the remainder of the day.

DC farmers market Eastern Market engagement pictures

Needless to say I was not encouraged by this reaction. However, as luck would have it, Stephanie and I would have two classes together throughout the semester. I made sure to sit myself right next to her for one and tried to play it cool by not sitting next to her in another. Our first real social interaction took place after a GW event, after which a group of us met for drinks and food at a nearby bar. I made sure to seat myself directly across from Stephanie and we ended up splitting a basket of onion rings.

As the weeks and months went on we grew as friends and began to go out on the weekends with the same group of graduate school friends. Eventually, we started to interact more and more often alone without the group. Unbeknownst to either of us at the time, we had what we both consider now our first date walking through the DC Cherry Blossoms on a Saturday afternoon in spring 2008. Weeks later, my long campaign was over and we were officially dating.

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Click inside for the rest of Stephanie & Kyle’s DC engagement session at Eastern Market & around the city AND the proposal story!

Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck: “All or Nothing” by Frank Hamilton

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Happy Monday Romancers! Another weekend come and gone, and I almost can’t believe that my crazy month of October Weddings is at an end. I have just one left for my 2013 season. I can’t believe I survived my first year of wedding coordination. I think I’ll blog a “first year in wedding coordination” post at another time – but here are a few things I learned from my wedding this past weekend:

  • Wedding Crashers are a real thing! We had a group of people invite themselves into my wedding Saturday night. Walked right into the venue (it was in Adams Morgan after all), help themselves to drinks, and then started getting nutso on the dance floor! I can’t believe people actually do this. I have to admit though, I did feel pretty pumped after getting to kick them out!
  • Wear a t-shirt and sneakers for setup. For the budding wedding planner/coordinators out there. I finally learned to wear sneakers and a t-shirt while lugging boxes up 3 flights of stairs, and running around the venue getting everything decorated. I can’t believe I didn’t do this before. Previously I did setup in my “work” attire – which left my blouse a sweaty mess and my feet already barking before the wedding even started.
  • Guests suck at taking favors. This is more of a lesson learned for you wedding planning couples out there. Don’t kill yourselves over favors. They are a nice gesture, but at the end of the day, I can’t tell you how many get left at the venue. My couple this weekend got custom etched mason jars for everyone to drink from AND take home. Guess how many were leftover at the end of the night — causing yours truly and my husband to re-pack and re-lug them back down stairs and into our car. Keep your favors easy, simple, or make it even better and just go the donation route!

So onto today’s wedding music song suggestion. This one comes to us from Frank Hamilton and it’s called “All or Nothing”. It’s a cute little indie song that would be perfect for your cocktail hour playlist or for a wedding slideshow or your wedding video.


And when the days fall short and nights get cold
Growing up’s like growing old
We both need something real to hold
So lets make do

And I want you
While there’s air in my lungs and feet in my shoes
I want you
I want you

Let’s get this week started! Check back this afternoon for an awesome DC engagement session!

Capitol Video: Brian & Kim’s High School Love Story Wedding Video

Short, sweet, and right to the point with today’s blog post. Today we are sharing a beautiful love story wedding video from Movntain, a Maryland based videography company (that serves DC!). Movntain produces documentary and narrative style wedding films. Not sure what that means? Well then let’s have them explain:

We know that different people have different stories to tell, making them all unique and original. Movntain wants to take those stories and mold them into creative films. We offer quality, timeless films to provide nostalgia for you and loved ones for such instances as weddings, memorials, anniversaries, or anything else you wish to salvage and watch for years to come.

Movntain is a collective made up of friends and family. We believe in quality products that viewers can be moved by.

For today, we have a beautiful video they filmed, capturing the love story of Brian and Kim. The two met in high school and their love story continued through moves and stretches away from each other (Brian joined the Air Force). Check it all out below and have a fantastic weekend Romancers!

Brian & Kim’s High School Love Story Wedding Video

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The story of Brian and Kim started in 2007 when they met in high school. Brian had just moved to the area and couldn’t help but notice Kim in his neighborhood. After a few weeks of hanging out together, they began dating. Five exciting years passed of growing together and really getting to know one another when Brian proposed to Kim. The next year, Brian graduated from college and was commissioned into the Air Force. Soon after these big accomplishments in his life, he would marry his best friend of six years.

This is their story.

Rose, Bud, Thorn – Short Version from Movntain on Vimeo.

Kim & Brandon’s DIY, Intimate Maryland Wedding at Woodlawn Manor

Today’s real Maryland wedding has everything I look for in submissions: a personalized ceremony and reception, a bride in chucks, DIY details made by the bride’s mom, mismatched bridesmaids, and so many fun, original details all based on things that were meaningful to the couple. Kim & Brandon picked a venue, color scheme, and details all based on decisions that were dear to their hearts and personalities. Add all this to the gorgeous weather they had at their completely outdoor wedding (no tent! gutsy.) and you’ll see why I had so much trouble narrowing down today’s wedding feature to under 35 pictures! Thanks to Voula Trip Photography for the images!

Kim & Brandon’s DIY Maryland wedding at Woodlawn Manor

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Photographer:  Voula Trip Photography | Linens and Coverings: Gaithersburg Party Rental | Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Officiant: Seneca Creek Community Church | Photo Booth: Silly Shotz | Makeup Artist: Blend Event | Cake Designer: Caked Up | DJ: DJ Tim Dogg | Event Planner: Weddings By Tanzi | Venue: Woodlawn Manor | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How they met:

Kim and Brandon met at a church youth event. Kim was in the kitchen helping with clean-up when she was introduced to Brandon. We didn’t make a big deal of it then but we eventually became friends. It was an accidental “date” for movies and froyo (our friends blew us off because of other plans) that we realized we had something worth exploring further. A few months later, over Pho, Brandon told Kim about his growing feelings for her. We decided to put our all in discovering the potential of our relationship and the rest is history! We quickly discovered each other’s passions, strengths, weaknesses, and faith and quickly become inseparable.

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The proposal:

The day Brandon got the ring, Kim was stopping by his place for dinner. He made a delicious meal and could hardly wait for her to finish it to pop the question! Despite being in the privacy of his home, he was still very nervous. Kim said “yes! of course!”. She really appreciated the moment being just between them two since she’s not a big fan of being the center of attention when sharing intimate moments like this.

DIY offbeat paper flower bouquet offbeat groom custom van sneakers DIY paper flower boutonniere

Kim and Brandon were all smiles throughout the whole day. They were so excited to get married to each other that their joy just shines through in their images.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of Kim & Brandon’s intimate, DIY Maryland wedding at Woodlawn Manor.

Capitol Advice: Videographers Matter Too

This afternoon was have a guest post from our friends at Border Row Productions (one of our Capitol Romance approved DC wedding vendors!) sharing some insight on how to plan for a wedding videographer and why you shouldn’t leave it until the last minute to hire one! They also offer up some great knowledge about the changing landscape of wedding videos – and how they aren’t just the 2-hour long, video on a tri-pod, recap of a wedding day! Take it away guys!

Wedding Advice: Wedding Videography Matters Too!

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Imagine this…

The scenario:  It’s a month out from your wedding.  Your Facebook friend just shared the cutest video of her wedding day.  You didn’t think you wanted a video, but after seeing how cool your friend’s video was, you’ve changed your mind.

The problem:  You’ve already spent the majority of your budget or gone over budget.  Since video wasn’t something you wanted from the beginning you paid top dollar making sure you had the best photographers you could get.  Now, in your last minute search for video, you are shocked at the quotes you are receiving from the videographers you want to work with.

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When working in the wedding industry, this is a scenario every videographer has experienced.  To most couples, video is an afterthought, something they can just ask Uncle Bert to do with his camcorder from the 80s.  Couples willingly seem to spend thousands of dollars on photography without blinking an eye, but then scoff at the idea of spending more than a couple hundred dollars on a video.

Wedding videos are changing.  They are no longer hour-long play by plays of your entire wedding day.  They are no longer something you will watch once, fast-forward through most of and then toss to the side never to be watched again.  They are productions; they are short-films about who you are as a couple, how you came to fall in love, and how monumental this day is. You are going to want a video.

So, on behalf of wedding videographers everywhere, I am asking you to plan for it. A quality wedding video requires work.  Here’s what goes into creating the type of wedding short-films that Border Row Productions delivers:

  • Two pre-production meetings with our clients to go over the details of your wedding day, to learn about you as a couple, to know who needs screen time, etc.
  • Two camera people on your wedding day for up to 10 hours of coverage from getting ready to the last dance at the reception.  As well as, interviews with you, with your parents, and with your guests.
  • Purchasing music licenses (about $100 per song… the good ones at least) to make sure you can share your video online with all of your friends without YouTube banning it or worse a record-label suing you or us.  30+ hours of editing your video, crafting your story, designing DVD labels and menus, and more.

Consider what ALL of that might cost and then what it’s worth to you!

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We love our job.  We love to tell stories, to capture memories, to touch people’s hearts, and to show the rest of the world that bitterness is foolish and true love exists.  In my opinion, there isn’t a price tag you can put on that.  But, we have to start somewhere. So if you are just starting to plan your wedding, repeat after me, “Videographers matter too”.

This isn’t the first time we have urged our readers to consider a wedding video! We wrote our own “Important of Wedding Videography” post a few weeks back and still stand by those sentiments! What do you think Romancers – did you realize ALL that goes into a wedding video?

Marie & Alex’s Non-traditional DC Wedding Reception at Policy

Often when I meet with couples for initial consultations for my wedding coordination services, I hear them say “we really just want a fun party”. This is usually my sign that we are going to get along, however, that easy/fun party almost always turns into some form of a more traditional reception construct. This is not the case with Marie & Alex – today’s Washington DC wedding feature from Sandra Sitar Photography.

Marie and Alex wanted “just a fun party” – and that is exactly what they had. After the beautiful ceremony (including a 1920s gown, dried flowers, and heartfelt vows) the two opted to have their friends and family meet them at a bar on 14th street in lieu of a typical reception. Without the standard reception formula, the couple and their closest friends and family were free to kick back, enjoy some Kanye glasses & beads, and really just have one hell of a party.

Marie & Alex’s Offbeat Washington DC Wedding Reception at Policy

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Photography: Sandra Sitar Photography | Venue: Policy | Pie: Dangerously Delicious Pies | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How did Alex & Marie end up at a bar on 14th Street for their wedding reception? Well we have the answer for you from the bride herself:

“This is not at all what we envisioned when we started the planning process! We started out using the standard ceremony + cocktail hour + dinner + dancing formula. We aren’t formal people at all, but it seemed to work for everyone else, and it could accomplish our priority list: have all of our friends and family there for the ceremony, spend time with people, and have a kick ass party. Unfortunately, when we started doing the math, we realized that even the most basic standard-format wedding would essentially wipe out both of our savings accounts. And MAYBE that would have been okay, had the plans been adding up to exactly what we wanted, but it wasn’t even close. The thought of spending that much money on one day made us feel sick, and we weren’t excited about it AT ALL. You shouldn’t feel like your wedding is ruining your future, and you shouldn’t wish you didn’t have to have one – and that was exactly how we were starting to feel.

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A friend suggested we drop the meal and do a dessert reception, but that would have made the day really short (to avoid meal times) and we were afraid it wouldn’t have much of a party vibe. Once we had the idea of a bar, it all came together.

So immediately after our ceremony ended at the Katzen Arts Center at American University, we had desserts, apps, and drinks, but we skipped all the traditional reception stuff – no dancing, no flower tossing. I wore a fancy dress and our wedding party was still fully suited up. Then after a three-hour break for guests to go have dinner, we had the after party.

offbeat washington dc wedding reception

Everyone was invited to the party (which was a private open bar until 10 PM, when the bar opened to the public and we moved into a VIP section), but 90% of the older guests felt the afternoon was enough for them. Our families each organized a dinner for their respective relatives and friends immediately after the afternoon reception, which gave the older folks an extended celebration and served as our parents’ contributions to the wedding. It was hard at first letting go of the idea that people wanted a meal, but it turned out no one really cared, and the family dinners that took place appeased any of our more traditional family members who might have had complaints about the lack of proper meal. It was also awesome to have the party go until people were done instead of when the vendor contracts were up – so many weddings are just getting started when the evening ends!

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Click inside for more from Alex & Marie’s Nontraditional Washington DC Wedding Reception at Policy!

Hanna & Jamison’s Washington DC Engagement at Union Market

I am probably a bit biased about today’s DC engagement session. For one, the photographer, Porter Watkins Photography, is one of our hand-picked photography vendors in our DC wedding vendor guide. For two, the couple chose my own neighborhood as the location of their engagement session – Northeast DC’s Union Market!

But, bias aside – this engagement session is kickass. Porter got some seriously awesome shots of Hanna & Jamison around both the newer and older parts of the market. And Hanna & Jamison are just a super rad couple. Check out their DC engagement session and short & sweet love story below!

Hanna & Jamison’s Alternative Northeast DC Engagement Session at Union Market

union market alternative washington DC engagement pictures

How they met:

We met through friends in 2007 and fell in love over music, cooking, exploring DC, and traveling the world. We love to bike, hike, hit up local farmers’ markets, and watch Law & Order with our awesome cat, Sputnik.

I really hope that cat name is a wink to Salute Your Shorts.

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Click inside for the rest of Hanna & Jamison’s rad DC engagement session at Union Market by Porter Watkins Photography.

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