Let’s Get Personal: Happy 3 Year Blogaversary to Me

graffiti art capitol romance

So officially my 3-year blogaversary was on January 21st. For some reason I had always thought that I officially launched in February 2011, but the date stamp on my very first blog post tells me otherwise. I cannot believe it’s been 3 whole years since I started Capitol Romance. I don’t think I ever imagined it would last this long, or grow into what it has become. I can tell you though, it’s the people I have met since that very first post, that have made my journey worth it. Who knew that starting a blog, something so singular and sometimes siloed from personal interactions, could create such a plethora of connections. I’ve met SO MANY people through this thing – wedding vendors, small business owners, big business owners, DC Techies, artists, neighbors, creators, engaged couples, and more, all because I decided to start a blog. I’ve made friends, a few enemies, and met some truly amazing & inspiring couples. It’s slightly hard to even comprehend sometimes, but again, I am so very thankful for each and everyone one I’ve met. Even the crazies (yes, even them).

So for my 3-yeary blogaversary, in addition to reminding you & inviting you all (seriously ANY ONE!) to my meetup tonight (yes I know there’s a possibility of snow … but there’s also going to be wine … and cupcakes soo…..) I thought it might be fun to take a little jog down memory lane. Here we go:

  • My first WordPress template was this ugly thing called Elegant Grunge. I was so punk rock back then. Also, it was free.
  • My first logo was something I made myself. In Powerpoint. Using a free font & one of my wedding pictures.


  • I had 2 comments on my first blog post. One was from my sister, and one was a trackback.
  • I attended my first wedding show in April of 2011. It was called the Nonconforming Bridal Affair & one of the attendees told me “she read my blog” and I nearly died.


  • I did my first styled shoot with Abby Grace Photography, based on our mutual love of Harry Potter & it was amazingly featured on Green Wedding Shoes – I STILL get hits from that post. Harry Potter lovers are everywhere.
  • I could have never done ANY of this blog without my friend Steve, who I met my Sophomore year of college at Penn State. 3 years later, and he still answers all my IT help pleas, questions, and is somehow still my friend.
  • Since starting the blog, I’ve had to learn how to form an LLC, register as a business in DC, and pay taxes (awesome!)
  • I’ve learned how to use WordPress, Twitter, Google+, StatCounter, Google Analytics, Domain transfers, basic HTML & CSS, Blogstomp, and so many other IT applications.
  • I’ve forced my husband to model in more than 1 photoshoot and been fortunate enough to have my picture taken by Gabe Aceves, Val & Sarah, Tim Riddick Photography, Live It Out Photography, Stephen Gosling Photography, & more.


  • I’ve been asked to contribute to articles and was even interviewed/filmed for a project about DC relationships!
  • I’ve emailed with tons of couples in the DC area about their weddings, challenges, thoughts, hopes, and feedback on this site.
  • I’ve grown, but stayed true to my initial mission from 3 years ago: to create a resource for the Washington, DC area that focuses on alternative, creative, and nontraditional & budget-friendly weddings. To find REAL couples from all different backgrounds to show a true representation of the DC wedding scene.

I cannot thank all of you (my readers!) enough for being here with me. A blog could be a pretty lonely thing without readers, so for you, I am eternally grateful. Here’s to another 3 years? (eep! that thought is terrifying!)


xo, Bree


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Jadene & Freddy’s Offbeat, Black & White Virginia Wedding at Rosemont Manor

And now for something completely different … a bride in a stunning black gown and her bridesmaids in white! We love to keep you guys on your toes here at Capitol Romance, trying to keep our features as varied and possible to show the REAL side of DC weddings for the majority of us that live in and around the metro area. Such is the case with Jadene and Freddy – married at Rosemont Manor in Virginia and completely turning tradition on its head. Photographer, Andrew Morrell shares, “Jadene wore a shimmering black dress, contrasted by her three bridesmaids, all in white. This devilish switch-up was the cornerstone of the day’s bewitching charm – the groom’s ironic top hat, the traditional and the playfully clear skies all made this a day to remember.

 Jadene & Freddy’s Offbeat, Black & White Virginia Wedding at Rosemont Manor

offbeat virginia wedding black wedding dress


So many fun details from the bride!

I had so much fun planning our wedding!  Everything started with the dress, I wanted black and I wanted my husband in a top hat.  I purchased my dress from Curvy Girl Bridal, which I am sad to say has gone out of business.  They were truly the only dress shop that I went to that was excited that I wanted a black dress.  I love damask print so that is why I tied in white but I still felt that something was missing.  The problem with black and white in the fall every color either looks like Halloween or Thanksgiving.

offbeat virginia wedding white bridsmaids dresses

I was wandering Michaels looking for ideas and I saw this wreath made out of peacock feathers and I starting thinking…I could not only add a peacock blue/teal but a peacock feather element as well…I felt that the feathers softened the hardness of the black and damask print. We didn’t want our wedding to be about “what you are suppose to do.”  As I was talking to my husband about the damask and feather idea, he started laughing and said it was perfect because the damask reminded him of his personality and the peacock feather of mine.  Totally different but somehow work together.

Love Jadene’s origami flower bouquet!~

origami teal wedding bouquet

I had to have makeup that stood up to the black birdcage veil I was wearing and added color to my bridesmaids white dresses.  So we had more of a vintage/pinup make up done.  My girls with a bright red lip and heavy liner.  For their hair I found peacock feather flowers.  They were made to be Christmas tree decorations but I turned them into hair clips.  As for my makeup  we went more for the eyes.  Heavy lashes and more of a smokey shadow.   A lot darker then most would do for wedding makeup.  The makeup artist was recommended by Rosemont (KLH) and I’m glad they did.  She understood what I was looking for outgoing and non traditional yet classy and sophisticated.  I was scared at the trial that I was going to end up looked to Vampy or Gothic but she did neither.  As for my hair I went with pin curls to add that touch of vintage to it.  When hair and make up were done I could not believe how pretty I looked.

groom in chucks bride black birdcage veil white bridesmaids dresses

As for the white bridesmaid dressed, I had to add something to them besides make up and feathers.   The dresses had this lace detail that I fell in love with, so I added black lace gloves and black heels to off set the white.

offbeat virginia wedding black wedding dress

Click inside for more of Jadene & Freddy’s stunning, offbeat Fall wedding at Rosemont Manor in Virginia!

Ronalyn & Chris’ Old Town Alexandria Engagement Pictures in Virginia

We’re back this afternoon with a sweet little engagement session from Jeffrey Ocampo Photography. Jeff explained that Ronalyn & Chris love living and working in Old Town Alexandria, and so they are using it as the backdrop for their entire wedding theme. They met in college and their friendship eventually blossomed into more. I’m pretty much in love with Ronalyn’s style (that mustard hat, the top bun) and who can say no to an engagement session that features an adorable Corgi too !?  Check out their entire engagement session and love story (including a fun family BBQ proposal) below!

Chris & Ronalyn’s Old Town Alexandria, Virginia Engagement Pictures

old town alexandria alternative engagement pictures

“How we met” told from Ronalyn:

Ronalyn and Chris met at Virginia Commonwealth University 10 years ago.  At a party one evening, Ronalyn engaged in an unusual conversation with mutual friends — the subject?  Her bed.  Apparently, it’s too small to be a Queen, but too big to be a Full.  Chris rudely interrupted and said, “well, then it must be Princess-sized.”  *Wink wink*

Their friendship blossomed shortly after, but when Chris revealed his true feelings, Ronalyn freaked out and ignored him for about a month and now they’re set to marry on November 2014.  They live in Old Town Alexandria with their corgi, Kirby.

old town alexandria alternative engagement pictures old town alexandria alternative engagement pictures old town alexandria alternative engagement pictures old town alexandria alternative engagement pictures

Click inside for the rest of Ronalyn & Chris’ adorable Old Town Alexandria, VA engagement pictures & proposal story.

Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck: Brett Dennen’s “Sweet Persuasion”

wedding music that doesn't suck graphic

Last weekend Andy & I drove up to NJ to visit my parents and see my mom in a local production of Annie. These NJ roadtrips always give Andy & I time to catch-up on all the tunes he has downloaded, that haven’t yet made it to my ipod ;) Brett Dennen’s most recent album, Smoke & Mirrors, was one of the albums we listened to and I was immediately taken with the first track, “Sweet Persuasion”.

My mind, as it always does, went right to a wedding reception. A sweet couple dancing to this upbeat, modern first dance song, singing the words to each other.

I know you got my number
And I know your spell I’m under
I won’t break this
I got something on you

You know me
And my weakness
And you know my little secret
Still I think that I got something on you

Please tell me that I’m not the only one that visualizes imaginary peoples’ weddings…

Happy Monday Romancers. We’ll be back this afternoon with a sweet engagement session (it’s Monday after all).

Breaking Bridal Trends: Behind the Trial & Wedding Appropriate Ponys!

We are so pumped to announce yet another brand-new partnership on Capitol Romance for 2014! You’ve already seen our awesome free printables & DIY tutorials coming from Ribbons & Bluebirds and now we’ve teamed up with The Makeup Chic  to offer some alternative bridal makeup & hair inspiration for all you brides out there, looking for styling outside of the same old side chignon and cat eye liner.

For today we have a bit of a two-parter. Suzanne, owner and lead makeup artist of The Makeup Chic, shares the behind the scenes of pre-wedding trials (which she calls a balancing act) and then shares some fresh looks for a more casual bride: wedding appropriate pony tails & orange shaded lip color! Take it away Suz!

Breaking Bridal Trends: Behind the Trial and Wedding Appropriate Pony Tails & Orange Lip Colors!

alternative bridal hairstyles makeup 2014


Makeup: Suzanne, The Makeup Chic | Hair: Ky, Richie Beauty | Photography: Alison with Sugarfarm Weddings | Hair Accessories: Petal Pushers Hair | Venue: Wrabyn Boutique | Clothing and Jewelry: Wrabyn Boutique

“During a pre-wedding makeup and hair trial,” Suzanne explains, “[hair & makeup artists] have to stay true to our art and make sure to give our brides what they want, all the while, working with each brides individual style and features.”

The Makeup Chic notes, “Often brides get stuck in what they think is trending or a certain bridal look that everyone is doing and lots of times brides want the exact replica of something that they see on Pinterest and they forget that there is so much creativity out there for them in the makeup and hair department.”

So when Suzanne’s newly engaged friend Sam called to book her makeup and hair trial for her 2014 wedding, Suzanne thought, what a perfect way to have a little fun!


Bride to be Sam was open and willing to explore some different looks for her upcoming wedding and for this pre-wedding day makeup and hair trial- Suzanne called one of her favorite bridal hair stylists, Ky Washington, and the duo got to take full rein in the makeup and hair studio!

“What bride ever asks for orange lipstick and a pony tail? In fact, I haven’t ever been asked by a bride for orange lips and Ky never gets asked to do a ponytail, not even a sleek and chic one. However; brides may surprised to hear that in the fashion world right now- orange is the new red and the ponytail has been seen all over the spring 2014 runways! In this beauty post, our mission is to show Capitol Romance readers that they can venture out from the “bridal norm” and do something a little different and still look pretty,” shares Suzanne

alternative bridal hairstyles makeup 2014

The first lipcolor Suzanne chose in the orange family is a soft coral shade called, Flatter by Artistry. A sheer coat is natural and demure and when layered, Flatter has a beautiful coral sheen.

alternative bridal hairstyles makeup 2014

Bride to be Sam, checking out her long and sleek ponytail by Ky.

breaking bridal trends

The second shade of orange lipstick Suzanne chose is the hottest color on all the spring runways- Neon Orange. A soft shade of this neon color can look very boho-chic and is perfect for an outdoor wedding! The color used for this look is Party Starter by Bareminerals.

alternative bridal hairstyles makeup 2014

There are many variations of the classic ponytail. For instance; this variation is a modern twist on boho-chic.

alternative bridal hairstyles makeup 2014

Sam looked fashion forward in this bold Mandarin lip color by Smashbox- perfect for a evening wedding and chic enough for daytime nuptials!

“I love this Mandarine orange lip color because its less fierce than the ‘pin-up’ red lipstick, but it still makes a statement”, describes Suzanne

alternative bridal hairstyles makeup 2014

Sam looked stunning in all the bridal looks from her pre-wedding day makeup and hair trial. Her favorite lip color was the soft coral shade in, Flatter.

alternative bridal makeup orange lipcolor 2014

Congrats Sam on your upcoming wedding and thanks for letting us go behind the scenes of your beauty trial!

*Sam’s real bridal look is not photographed for this blog post so that she can keep it a surprise from her fiance and wedding guests… shhhh!

So what do you think Romancers?! Would you rock the orange shades of lip color, or a pony tail for your wedding!? We’d love to know what you think in the comments below!

Alexa & Tucker’s Whimsical, Boho Fall Wedding at Bluemont Vineyard in Virginia

“Our Bluemont wedding was organic in the sense that every detail represented Tucker and myself, our relationship, our family, our friends, our happiness, and our love.”

Well come on guys – you have to know by this point that these are the weddings I LIVE for. The personalized, handmade weddings that couples took the time to pour themselves into (no matter what the result, number of details, color scheme, themed, etc – you get the point!). Funny story about this one though, turns out I went to high school with the groom! When the bride, Alexa & I were emailing about their wedding day details, she mentioned the name of the friend that introduced them. Funnily enough I went to HS with a girl by the same name …. turns out, it was the SAME girl! We live in SUCH a small world.

But anyway, Tucker & Alexa’s Virginia wedding is gorgeous. Gorgeous in SO many ways. The beautiful (handmade) flower crown atop the bride’s head, the fall wedding details, the outdoor ceremony at Bluemont Vineyard, the completely completely personalized wedding ceremony, bridesmaids in rainboots (!) … and SO much more! I know you guys are going to love Tucker & Alexa’s whimsical, Fall Virginia wedding as much as I do! A special thanks to Kristen Gardner Photography for sharing her images!

Tucker & Alexa’s Whimsical, Boho-Inspired Fall Wedding at Bluemont Vineyard in Virginia

whimsical boho fall weding bluemont vineyard virginia


Photographer:  Kristen Gardner Photography | Venue: Bluemont Vineyard | Caterer: Savoire Fare | Bakery: Sweets by E | Flowers: DIYed by Mother of Bride | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How they met:

We met about four and half years ago at James Madison University during my 5th year of school. My friend Katy came down to visit me from NJ and her friend Tucker decided to join her. We became friends instantly. I knew from the moment I first talked to him that I wanted to be with someone like him and after going to NJ a few months later for Katy’s birthday I discovered that it was him who I wanted. I am so lucky that he wanted me too! Our relationship was long distance for two and a half years and then Tucker finally moved down to Virginia.

red bridal shoes rustic boho bride flower crown

Tucker proposed to me in August 2012. We were on a 10 day vacation visiting his friend Jake and hiking and camping in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park. We are outdoorsy people so it was the perfect proposal even though Tucker forgot to open the box when he asked me.

rustic groom grey suit rustic whimsical boho wedding bouquets

We got married on October 13th, 2013 at Bluemont Vineyard. Our ceremony was beautiful. It had been raining all weekend and even though we had the option to have our wedding in the stable where our reception would be held I always hoped our wedding would be outside with the amazing view behind us. Tucker and I had visited Bluemont for the first time when it was pouring rain and decided it was perfect for us. We said if we loved it in the rain we would love it in the sun so we booked it right away. It was the first venue we looked at.

whimsical boho bride and groom

Click inside for SO much more of Alexa & Tucker’s beautiful, rustic boho Virginia wedding at Bluemont Vineyard!

Giveaway: Calligraphy Gift Set & Custom Return Address Stamp from Cozy Cashmere

We are super pumped to announce a new giveaway on the blog: we’re helping Cozy Cashmere celebrate their new wedding design business venture, offering wedding design services and products (calligraphy, invitations, wedding branding, graphic design, custom chalkboard lettering, and even custom woodwork)! Owner, Sara, has been in the wedding industry for a while as a photographer, but has recently decided to take her creative talents in a new direction, by launching Cozy Cashmere. To help celebrate her new brand and offerings, Sara is giving away a HUGE prize (a $250 value!!) to one lucky winner! One part DIY-calligraphy and one-part custom return address stamp, there’s a TON of stuff to love in this giveaway ~ so check out all the details below!

DIY Calligraphy Gift Set & Custom Designed Return Address Stamp Giveawaycustom calligraphy DIY set return address stamp giveaway

So who’s the best target for this giveaway you might ask? Well, exactly our audience: newly engaged couples who are on a budget, but want the luxury of calligraphy for envelope addressing, escort cards, and other wedding details by learning to do-it-themselves.

The giveaway includes:

  1. 2 of Sara’s favorite nibs (1 Nikko G: $1.55 retail & 1 Brause Steno Nib aka: the Blue Pumpkin: $1.56 retail) Test two of her favorite nibs and see which you like better.
  2. A pot of Manuscript Bottled Black Ink: A smooth-flowing ink that’s great for beginners ($6.75 value)
  3. A straight nib-holder with a cork grip ($5.60 value)
  4. Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy by Eleanor Winters (includes practice sheets to make copies on inkjet paper which is perfect for practicing – $12 value)
  5. Custom calligraphy return address rubber stamp designed by Cozy Cashmere ($65 value)

Sara is also including a $150 gift certificate for the winner to be used on any of her wedding branding packages. Packages start at $650 and include the following:

  • Wedding Logo with custom calligraphy (can be used for gobo lighting, DIY programs, wedding website, etc)
  • Custom Invitation and RSVP Card design with calligraphy for names

Bringing the total value of this giveaway to just under $250!!


[Eric Llanes Phtography]

Sara is a true jack of all trades in the wedding industry and in addition to launching Cozy Cashmere, she is going to start offering Skillshare classes in Northern Virginia sometime soon! So be on the lookout for that Romancers! Check out Sara doing her thing:


[Eric Llanes Photography]

Ok so are you ready to get entered in this amazing giveaway?! Well, you know the drill: use the Rafflecopter widget below! Leave a blog post comment, follow Cozy Cashmere & Capitol Romance on Twitter, or follow us on Instagram to be entered (and get some extra chances to win!).

Giveaway ends: Friday, February 14th 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

personalzed local dc weddings murray hill


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.

personalzed local dc weddings murray hill personalzed local dc weddings murray hill

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

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!

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