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

offbeat maryland wedding bride in chucks


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.

stunning black bride offbeat DIY paper flower bouquet

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.

offbeat intimate woodlawn manor maryland wedding

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

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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!

washington dc wedding videographers videography

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.

washington dc wedding videographers videography

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!

washington dc wedding videographers videography

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

offbeat washington dc wedding reception


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.

offbeat washington dc wedding reception

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!

offbeat washington dc wedding reception offbeat washington dc wedding reception

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.

union market alternative washington DC engagement pictures union market alternative washington DC engagement pictures union market alternative washington DC engagement pictures union market alternative washington DC engagement pictures union market alternative washington DC engagement pictures

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

Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck: “5 Years Time” by Noah & the Whale

wedding music that doesn't suck graphic

Kicking off today with a Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck post courtesy of Noah and the Whale. I just love their song “5 Years Time” and considering the sunshine that I woke up to this morning, it’s a perfect one for the day or I think for a beach wedding – since the song mentions sun a good amount :) I think it’d make a cute first dance song or would be a great addition to your cocktail hour playlist!

Wedding appropriate lyrics:

Oh well I look at you and say
It’s the happiest that I’ve ever been
And I’ll say I no longer feel I have to be James Dean
And she’ll say
“Yah well I feel all pretty happy too”
And I’m always pretty happy when I’m just kicking back with you.

Give it a listen and check back in a few for an AWESOME DC engagement session at Union Market!

Eclectic, Vintage Bridal Shower Luncheon Inspiration Shoot

Something a little different for today’s wedding inspiration post. Today Darian and Dechele Events teamed up with Little Bird Media and a handful of other awesome vendors to put together a bridal shower luncheon shoot! There are a TON of eclectic details for their tablescapes, and it’s the perfect mix of feminine and vintage with a heavy dose of edge (alert: tattooed bride! yes!). Lots of awesome hair and floral headpiece inspiration in this post, a long with some fun, dainty details. Check it all out and HAPPY FRIDAY!

An Edgy, Vintage Bridal Shower Luncheon Inspiration Shoot

edgy eclectic bridal shower inspiration


Photographer:  little bird media | Invitation Designer: bees + henny | Cake: Cakes by Z | Event Planner: Darian and Dechele Events | Dress Store: Formal Envy | Event Venue: Inn at The Old Silk Mill | Favors and Gifts: Revel in Root | Other: Snow Creek Farm | Veils and headpieces: whichgoose | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

The inspiration behind the shoot:

I love the idea of a bride getting together with her girlfriends for lunch to chat about all things wedding! Our inspiration for this styled shoot was a bride getting together with her best friends to ask them to be her bridesmaids and have some girl time. We were inspired by all things dainty and girly: pink, flowers, tea, dress up, gold touches, cake, drinks and sparkles. The use of a vintage style wedding gown paired with handmade ethereal crowns created the exact look we were going for: vintage and feminine with a bit of edge.

edgy eclectic bridal shower inspiration edgy eclectic bridal shower inspiration edgy eclectic bridal shower inspiration edgy eclectic bridal shower inspiration

Click inside for the rest of the details & inspiration from this eclectic bridal shower luncheon!

Jennifer & Shannons Intimate, Fall Maryland Wedding at Brookeville Farms

It’s like non-stop raining up here in NE DC (and I’d imagine everywhere around the Beltway), but it’s hard to get too upset about it because it FINALLY feels like fall. I am mostly happy sitting here in my scarf, hand-knit booties, and oversized cardigan. And to make it even more appropriate, we are sharing a quintessential Fall Maryland wedding thanks to Petruzzo Photography. Jennifer & Shannon decided to get into the fall spirit with a gorgeous outdoor ceremony right outside the farm and dressed their wedding party in deep burgundy. I also love that Jennifer kept her specs on – brides in glasses rule.

This wedding also included a good amount of DIY, hand-made details. The bride made her own jewelry, her family sewed personalized details into her dress, and the bride’s mom made all the floral arrangements! Check out all the beautiful and fall wedding details below!

Jennifer & Shannon’s Intimate, Fall Maryland Wedding at the Inn at Brookeville Farms

DIY fall maryland farm wedding


Photographer: Petruzzo Photography | Cake Designer: Custom Cake Design | Invitation Designer: Melissa Wyatt | Venue: The Inn at Brookeville Farms | Dress Store: TLC Bridal Boutique | DJ:Washington Talent Agency | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Every couple cherishes their wedding day, but Jennifer and Shannon’s autumn wedding in Brookeville, Md. was made all the more special by incredible hand-fashioned details.

fall maryland wedding

Jennifer’s aunt sewed crystals, family heirlooms from a great great great aunt, onto her bridal gown, which Jennifer found at TLC Bridal Boutique. Jennifer made the beautiful jewelry worn by herself, her bridesmaids and her daughter.

burgundy vest groomsman outfit

Her mother crafted the bouquets for Jennifer and her maids — bright roses, which complimented the rich purple color theme — as well as the men’s boutonnieres and the reception centerpieces.

simple fall bride wedding bouquetsingle rose boutonniereDIY fall maryland farm weddingfall maryland wedding

Click inside for the rest of Shannon & Jennifer’s Fall Maryland wedding!

Let’s Get Personal: Love Is About All the Changes You Make, Not Just 3 Small Words

It’s time for a personal post. This time it’s more marriage/love focused and not so much wedding advice, which let’s face it, is more important any way. The whole point of having a wedding is so, ya know, you can be MARRIED to your partner!

I’ve been trying to get previous couples to share their post-wedding reflections, looking back on their weddings and now as a married couple, what advice they would share with other couples just about to step into this part of their relationship. It’s been easier said than done (turns out a lot of people don’t like to write/type), but I am still looking (email me!) and in the meantime, I will continue to share my own thoughts and experiences instead.

Love Is About All the Changes You Make, Not Just Three Small Words


[Image via The Mix Event by Love By Serena]

Today’s thoughts come from one of my favorite musical artists, Frank Turner. His song “The Way I Tend to Be” (give it a listen above) has one of my favorite lyrics, “love is about all the changes you make and not just three small words”. While saying “I Love You” wholeheartedly and often is a good practice in a happy marriage, it’s not simply enough. Changing, evolving, growing, and compromising are all things that will help your love stay alive and equate to a happier life together with your partner.

Personally, I’ve had to change in certain ways since marrying Andy almost 3 years ago. While we had already been together a long time before getting married (about 7 years), officially signing that certificate and announcing our commitment to each other for life, in front of our family and friends, makes it a bit more official. We were now, for better or for worse, in this thing TOGETHER. My failures were his failures, my successes were his successes, and our lives, problems, financials, etc, were now shared.

Some of the changes have been bigger (attempting to be more patient, less critical) and some have been minor (letting Andy answer questions that are directed his way, instead of answering for him – why do I do THAT?!). But no matter the size, the changes are present, and they certainly don’t end magically after 1-2 years of marriage. There will always been changes to make and work on in our marriage and our relationship. Some we will make together and some I will have to make myself. And as we evolve and continue to grow in our marriage, we will continue to utter those 3 small words all along the way too.


For Sale: Used Wtoo by Watters Bria Gown Style 19595

Attention Ladies looking for a gently used, GORGEOUS wedding gown! One of my past brides is selling her modern, one-shoulder dress because, as she puts it, “It is way too pretty to be hiding in my closet”. It’s being offered at 65% off original price, not including alterations or cleaning. Check out this stunner, and all the details below if you are interested! And for more pictures, check out Holly & Andrew’s Alexandria VA Wedding at Lee Fendall House on Bayside Bride!

bria wtoo used wedding dress for sale

[Image: Rebekah Hoyt Photography]

Selling Price: $350 (65% off original price, not including alterations or cleaning!)

Color: White

Label Size: 0

Street Size: 2

Condition: Gently used

Style Tags: Bria Gown Style 19595, Wtoo by Watters

Fabric: Textured Organza

The Story: The dress was purchased in August 2012 for a June 2013 wedding. A copy of the original receipt will be included with the sale. Both the ceremony and reception were outdoors and the bottom has wear because of it. Almost all of the markings on the bottom have been removed, however, some of the markings on the very bottom still remain. None of these markings are visible in bride and groom photos are minimal to even the searching eye. Additionally, the dress has a few pulls at the bottom where it was stepped on at the dance floor. It was very well loved and is a great steal for another fun-loving gorgeous bride!

bria wtoo used wedding dress for sale

[Image: Rebekah Hoyt Photography]

Alterations: A layer of tulle has been removed from underneath to make the dress more light weight for the outdoor wedding. A bustle has been sewn into the back and has color cording for easy guidance on your big day!

Preservation Method: The dress has been professionally cleaned and steamed. A copy of the preservation receipt is available, at buyer’s request.

Terms of Sale:  Sale is final once the seller has receipt of payment. Interested buyers in the DC Metro area are welcome to set-up an appointment with the seller. Shipping terms are negotiable.

How do I make it mine? Email the seller directly at to discuss sale or set-up an appointment to try on the dress

bria wtoo used wedding dress for sale

[Image: Rebekah Hoyt Photography]
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