Jess & Kim’s Locally DC Sourced, Personalized DIY Wedding at Murray Hill

And we’re back this afternoon with Jess & Kim’s amazing, locally sourced DC area wedding.Their gorgeous, chic barn wedding was one part rustic, one part DIY, and ALL parts personalized, as they depended on a TON of local Washington, DC area vendors to make their wedding day happen. I really loved how they found their vendors mostly through their local U Street Farmers market! The couple explained, “We really love the DC area – having lived here for a combined 12 years – and are committed locavores, so we made a concerted effort to choose local whenever we could. Not only did we get amazing quality for much more affordable prices, but we got to support some of our favorite local businesses.”

Locavores + weddings = my FAVORITE DC wedding features! I know you guys are going to LOVE Jess & Kim’s rustic chic Virginia wedding!

 Jess & Kim’s Locally Sourced, Personalized DIY Wedding at Murray Hill

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Photographer: Jordan Baker Photography | Venue: Murray Hill | Catering: Hill Country (with Turkey’s provided locally by Harvey’s Butchers) | Cake & Pies: Whisked DC | Flowers: Plantmasters | Wine & Spirits: Union Market’s Cordial | Decorations: DIY | Bouquets & Boutonnieres: DIY | Wedding Coordinator: Nikki Rap

On their overall theme and feel of their wedding:

 The wedding elements were picked based around a rustic chic theme, since we love this style and it alludes to our hometowns (Texas for Jess, and growing up across the street from a horse farm for Kim). A lot of our choices were also based on the season we were married in, so there were a lot of oranges and reds and yellows, and all of our flowers were what was fresh at the time like zinnias, mums, and proteas.

LOVE these hand-written designed wedding invitations!

amazing whimsical handwritten wedding invite

We tried to make the wedding as personalized as possible. For us, that meant including friends and family whenever we could. Kim’s sister, a graphic designer, made our chalkboard-style invitations, menus, and programs.

We also included the three sets of grandparents who couldn’t join us that day in small ways: the engagement ring was made from an earring Kim’s maternal grandmother brought with her when she fled Saigon after the Vietnam War; the wedding rings were provided by Kim’s paternal grandparents.

initials engraved wedding ring

Jess also had a number of family pieces for her attire: she wore pearls that belonged to her paternal grandmother, her mother’s veil, and used extra lace from shortening the veil to make a detachable illusion neckline for her dress.

orange bridesmaids dress wildflower bouquet rustic orange bouquet boutonniere

We also picked Murray Hill as a venue for this very reason: it’s an estate right on the banks of the Potomac, so our ceremony had the beautiful changing treeline over the river as a backdrop. The barn also really sold us on the venue: a converted llama stable with wonderful high rafters and old chandeliers that we used for our reception.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of this awesome, locally sourced Washington, DC area wedding at Murray Hill in Leesburg!

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Jess & Kim’s How I Met Your Mother, Cherry Blossom Engagement Pictures

Is it too early for a Cherry Blossom engagement feature? I think not! I am SO ready for some warmer temps and this is totally getting me in the mood. Plus, Jess & Kim are also huge How I Met Your Mother Fans (me too!) so that iconic yellow umbrella made an appearance in their adorable engagement pictures at the Jefferson Memorial. I can’t get over how much FUN they seem to be having during the engagement pictures. It’s always so refreshing to see a couple’s personality like this, instead of just a bunch of awkwardly posed photos for engagement features. Thanks to Jordan Baker Photography for the images!

Jess & Kim emailed me their engagement AND wedding – so we’ll be back this afternoon with their awesome, personalized real wedding too!

Jess & Kim’s How I Met Your Mother & Cherry Blossoms Engagement Pictures

how i met your mother engagement pictures

Photographer: Jordan Baker Photography

How they met:

We met at a backyard barbecue on Memorial Day Weekend in 2011. Jess had spent a year and a half living in Zambia where she worked with a girl named Sara, who would go on to sit next to Kim at work. Meanwhile, when Jess came back to the U.S., Sara convinced her to move to D.C. When a few coworkers put together a last minute barbecue, Sara invited Jess to introduce her to some of her friends in D.C. Kim almost blew it when, in an effort to chat her up more, he asked her to be on his team for cornhole… forgetting that that means you stand on opposite sides. Luckily for us, Jess gave him a second chance.

offbeat fun DC engagement pictures cherry blossoms offbeat fun DC engagement pictures cherry blossoms how i met your mother engagement pictures

Click inside for the rest of Jess & Kim’s adorable DC engagement session & proposal story!

Chris & Mandy’s Laid-Back Washington DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

We’re back this afternoon for an adorable DC engagement session in Georgetown from Mathy Shoots People. The rain outside is a bit of a downer (though it will be much easier to go for a run tonight in this, than multiple inches of snow…) but between our awesome DIY Scratch-Off Valentines Day cards & tutorial this morning, and now this laid-back engagement session feature, I really can’t complain. Hope you guys had a great weekend – we have LOTS in store this week.

Chris & Mandy’s Laid-Back Washington DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

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Photographer: Mathy Shoots People | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

 How they met:

We met in 2009 in a Communications class at Christopher Newport University. We both had significant others at the time so we were friends for over a year before we began dating. Chris and I both believe that our fabulous relationship today is the result of our strong foundation as best friends.

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The proposal story:

Chris and I got engaged on December 29th 2012 on a cruise to the Caribbean. We were taking a New Years cruise with my family, and my best friend and MOH Katie, her boyfriend and her family. We flew to Miami the day before and Chris almost exposed the ring during a security check at the airport but I was oblivious to this (of course!). Chris proposed the  second night of the cruise in our cabin with just the two of us. It was a beautiful, intimate moment. Everyone we were with knew he was going to propose sometime on the cruise but they didn’t know when. Actually, even he didn’t know when exactly he was going to ask but said that moment that night felt right. I was so excited and thankful he didn’t propose in front of a trillion people (I’m easily embarrassed!)

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Happy Monday Romancers! Thanks again to Mathy Shoots People & Two Bright Lights for sharing Chris & Mandy’s adorable DC engagement session. Have a great week!

DIY Tutorial: How to Make DIY Scratch Off Valentines Day Cards

Kicking off the week with an awesome DIY tutorial from Ribbons & Bluebirds that is just PERFECT for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday! Introducing: Scratch Off Valentines! These adorable, easy to make cards are a fun little way to show your loved ones you care with a homemade card. The scratch-off is simple and quick and can obviously be used for fun Save the Dates or RSVP cards in your wedding invitations too! Take it away Ribbons & Bluebirds!

DIY Tutorial: How To Make DIY Scratch-Off Valentines Day Cards

DIY scratch off tutorial step by step valentines save the dates

Supplies you will need:

DIY scratch off tutorial step by step valentines save the dates

  • White cardstock, 8.5×11 (letter) size sheets
  • Coloured cardstock, any colour
  • Paper trimmer (or utility knife + ruler)
  • Printer
  • Clear contact paper OR clear packing tape
  • Paint – I used Martha Stewart Metallic Craft Paint (in Rose Gold)
  • Liquid soap
  • Small dish for paint + art paintbrush
  • Glue tape or similar (I used Scotch GlueDots)
  • A2 size envelopes (optional)

Step by Step Directions:

Step 1. Download the card template available at Ribbons & Bluebird’s blog.

Step 2. Print your cards! The templates are laid out on 8.5×11 sheets, ready for your printer, and include crop marks. Make sure you have the print set to Do Not Scale, otherwise your printer may try and reduce the size of the cards. The front and the back of the card will print on the same sheet.

DIY scratch off tutorial step by step valentines save the dates

 Step 3. Next, trim the cards and the backer paper. The crop marks on the cards show you where to cut, but the finished size should be 5.25” wide by 4” tall (in case you trim off the crop marks by cutting across the sheet.) Next, cut a rectangle out of your coloured cardstock that is 5.5” wide by 4.25” tall.

Step 4. Mount the front and back onto the coloured backer paper using the glue tape. Center the card before pressing down, and remember when you mount the back to check and make sure the same side is “up” on both front and back ☺

DIY scratch off tutorial step by step valentines save the dates

Step 5. Now it’s time for the fun part! Cut a rectangle of contact paper tall enough to cover the center icons, and wide enough to span from one side of the “slots” to the other. Close is close enough here! Peel the backing off the contact paper, and stick it down over the center icons.

DIY scratch off tutorial step by step valentines save the datesDIY scratch off tutorial step by step valentines save the dates

Click inside for the rest of our step by step, DIY tutorial for Scratch-off Valentines Day Cards from Ribbons & Bluebirds!

Pantone Violet Tulip Color Wedding Inspiration Board

Sending you all off on the weekend with a dreamy wedding color palette inspiration board designed by LoveBuggs Weddings, based on Pantone’s Violet Tulip. Much like our Pantone Placid Blue Wedding Inspiration Board, Violet Tulip is a PERFECT springtime wedding color and design palette! Check out some of the gorgeous ideas Divinity pulled together if you are thinking of using this spring color for your wedding!

LoveBuggs Header_Pantone Violet TulipPantone Violet Tulip Wedding Inspiration Details Pictures

Image Credits:

Bridesmaids Dresses - image by Deirdre Lynn Photography | Lilac & Glasses Tablescape – image by KT Merry Photography via Dreamy Whites Blog | Boutonniere – image by Paige & Blake Green via Wedding ChicksDIY Ombre Favor Bags – image by Kelli Murray via 100 Layer Cake | InvitationWedding Paper Divas | MacaroonsLove Chocolate & Weddings

 Want more Wedding Inspiration? Check out all of our inspired wedding posts here!

Becky & Greg’s Chic Washington, DC Winter Wedding Video at Carnegie Institution for Science

Weddings like Becky & Greg’s and Christian & Margaret’s are easily making winter weddings in DC my new favorite kind of DC weddings. There will be more to come on Becky & Greg’s beautiful winter wedding (shot by the fabulous Leo Druker Photography) but for today we have their AWESOME wedding video! If you remember from their DC engagement session and Save the Date video, Greg has a background in video production & editing. So their wedding video was actually something he edited after it was filmed by the wonderful Craig Schattner!

The details of Becky & Greg’s wedding are so beautifully captured in this video (I am OBSESSED with the green lace bridesmaids dresses) and so is their absolute love for each other. I totally cried watching this. Ok, let’s be honest, when DON’T I cry watching DC wedding videos? (Answer: never). Happy Friday Romancers! We will be back a little later today with some Pantone Lilac Purple wedding inspiration from LoveBuggs Weddings. So be sure to stop by later!

Becky & Greg’s Chic Washington, DC Winter Wedding Video at Carnegie Institution for Science

modern washington dc wedding video


Photography: Leo Druker | Videography: Shot by Craig Schattner, Edited by Greg | Venue: Carnegie Institution for Science

First, a few sneak peak stills from their GORGEOUS wedding:

chic winter DC wedding carnegie library chic winter DC wedding carnegie library chic winter DC wedding carnegie library chic winter DC wedding carnegie library

And now, the AWESOME wedding video:

Greg & Becky’s Wedding from Greg Hudson on Vimeo.

Anita & Geoffrey’s Offbeat Meets Traditional, Multicultural Wedding at Top of the Town

I love multicultural weddings – especially when the two cultures are SO different. Marcella Treybig Photography dropped this one in our Two Bright Lights inbox, and though the details and overall look of the wedding is pretty traditional – it’s the couples’ backgrounds and cultures that are SO different and I just loved that. As Marcella said, “a great blend of how two worlds come together and how opposites really can attract”. He works in physical therapy and competes in physique competitions and she’s a soon-to-be lawyer.  He’s White, Black, and Asian, and she’s Latina and Indian.. The other thing I really loved about this wedding was the insane number of awesome GROOMSMEN portraits! I could not get enough of them! This is not usually the case with wedding submissions, so I was super excited to get to open up today’s real Virginia wedding with something a bit different …

Anita & Geoff’s Multicultural, Intimate Northern Virginia Wedding at Top of the Town

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Photographer:  Marcella Treybig Photography | DJ: Chris Styles DJs | Cupcakes: Georgetown Cupcake | Dress Store: Global Bridal Gallery | Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Venue: Top of the Town | Flowers: DIYed by Bridesmaid | Hair & Makeup: Done by Bridesmaids | Favors: Handmade lace bags by Bride’s Aunt with Penguin gummies inside! | Caterer: Zaika | Submitted via Two Bright Light

This wedding was a small wedding that was planned with having FUN in mind! The groom is a body builder and totally didn’t mind showing off for the camera. Even though both them and their families backgrounds were SO very different (culturally, religiously, education and ethnically) you could feel the love and dedication for making a strong family.

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From the bride:

Both Geoff and I have grown up in the Northern Virginia/D.C. area our whole lives so were surprised by the breathtaking view we saw from Top of the Town. Despite living in area our whole lives, neither of us had ever seen our city in this way–we could not wait to share the amazing view with our friends and family.

I took the non-traditional route and let my bridesmaids pick out their own dresses within a light pink and gray color scheme. I felt that they each knew what looked best on them, and I wanted to let them have the freedom to buy a dress they liked within their budget. I thought they looked stunning!

multicultural northern virginia wedding at top of the town simple spring bridal bouquet

After several disappointing hair and makeup trials, I trusted my bridesmaids to do my hair and makeup and I was so happy with the result!

multicultural northern virginia wedding at top of the town mistmatched spring bridesmaids dresses

Groom/Groomsmen portraits do not have to be boring. – AMEN!

Geoff made a last minute decision to switch the photo location for the groomsmen (thank goodness for our awesome photographer!). The groomsmen photos were shot with a graffiti background near Georgetown – these photos really reflect Geoff’s creative and unique personality. Geoff definitely did not want cookie-cutter photos!

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Click inside for the rest of the images from Anita & Geoff’s Multicultural, Top of the Town Wedding in Virginia.

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 ;)

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!



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