Let’s Get Personal: Being Too Nice to Run A Business

Let’s Get Personal: Social Media Overload & Being Too Nice to Run a Business

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On Saturday I was in one of those moods. Where I spent entirely too much time on social media, watching other wedding vendors share pictures of an event that I wasn’t invited to (not that I would have went anyway, but you get the point). From there it only got worse, reading about all the awesome things people were getting from other vendors in exchange for referrals, and all the exciting new business deals and partnerships that were going down and happily benefiting everyone (re: not me) involved. I was frustrated and feeling down and so in a moment of weakness, I tweeted this:

“Today I decided I’m too nice and suck at running a business. I think this needs to change. #whatsinitforme

Like most people that share status updates like that, I was insecurely looking for a response (though I am openly ashamed to admit that), but the responses I got weren’t exactly what I imagined and one in particularly gave me the EXACT perspective I needed to get out of the funk. A fellow DC business owner wrote back, “From afar, I am in awe of your business acumen! I regularly feel like a slacker when reading your tweets :)”

There it is. The jolt I needed to realize that while things appear one way on social media to me, (only from my point of view) the things I am saying & doing cause others to have opinions and thoughts about ME just from my social media. My “feeling sorry for myself” mood lifted (the nice bitch fest about it all to my amazing husband helped too) and I was able to concentrate on the initial thoughts I had about being too nice with more clarity and less self-pity.

Is there really such thing as being “too nice” to run a business? The decisions I make for Capitol Romance are mostly tied to my initial mission for starting the blog: to HELP couples in the DC area with wedding planning. But I am fortunate enough to be able to do that. With having a full time job outside of Capitol Romance, I don’t NEED* to make money-based choices (*disclaimer, I do and will, as I spend a great deal of time blogging and feel I do deserve SOME compensation for my time ;). I really can make decisions, like having a non-paying vendor guide, or offering free wedding Classifieds, that truly have my readers and clients in mind. I always HATED when I found out “preferred vendors” at venues or on other blogs were only preferred because they paid to be there. They weren’t vetted or the best or even tied to the site’s brand in anyway … they were just paying and that was good enough.

A million years ago I wrote a post called The Wedding Blog Business that talked about how too many wedding bloggers seemed to only be in this for the money and how that’s just not “how I roll”. I’ve tried to stay true to that post (I hope I have) but in doing so, and comparing myself to all the other business owners in DC, I don’t always feel like it’s rewarding, or the right direction to be in. I often hear feedback, “you need to charge for that, you need to make money, you need to make a business decision” and maybe I just can’t. And maybe that’s OK. Maybe it’s also OK that I don’t get things in return when I chose to promote certain vendors or do things for people – maybe just doing it because I believe in their service or because I think it will help my readers, is enough. Everyone is in this game for different reasons afterall.

So maybe I am just “too nice” and maybe I won’t ever turn Capitol Romance into a money making machine and you know what? Maybe that really is, OK. I need to stop focusing on what everyone else is doing (and Instagramming) and instead focus on what I want to do and feel good doing. Really that is the only thing that should matter at this point and probably the only thing that will truly make me happy.

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Kelly & Harry’s Rustic Meets Modern, “Backyard Party” Barn Wedding in Virginia

The thing I loved most about Kelly & Harry’s wedding submission from Vness Photography was the perfect mix of modern & rustic. I LOVE when couples (or my clients) want to mix themes and styles. They end up being some of my favorite weddings. Kelly & Harry chose the Adams International School for their venue  a rustic VA barn venue that fit their desire to have a backyard party! But their bright blue colors with a splash of chevron patterns really took this one from a traditional rustic Virginia barn wedding to one with some serious modern flare.

Kelly & Harry’s Rustic Meets Modern, “Backyard Party” Virginia Wedding at the Adams International School

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Vendors:

Photographer: Vness Photography / Second shoot: Corina Chevalier | Venue:  Adams International School | Florist: Vogue Flowers | Caterer: Q BQQ | DJ: Tim Jackson, Jackson Pro Audio | Makeup Artist: Ashley Swilley – Drama Artistry | Hair: Jaimie Moeller (Friend) | Dress Designer: Paloma Blanca | Cake: Sweet and Tasty Cakes | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Our wedding was a chilly, rainy fall day – Oct 12, 2013, in Maidens, VA at the Adams International School (a Montessori school for kids). We selected the venue because we wanted something different and special that felt more like a rustic, backyard party (with a little bling of course) than a stuffy wedding. It was amazing and just what we dreamed of.

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Our colors were navy and gray, partly because my (now) husband is active duty Navy and partly because they looked great in front of the bright red barn in which the ceremony and reception took place. We chose hydrangeas and babies breath as our bouquets and center pieces, largely because I just adore the subtle beauty of both.

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Almost everything, from the table runners to the aisle runner were all DIY. It made it so special to us that we had a hand in making and selecting all our details.

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Click inside for the rest of Kelly & Harry’s rustic meets modern, DIY Virginia wedding!

Becky & Bonnie’s Libby Hill Park Engagement Pictures in Richmond, VA

A sweet Libby Hill Park engagement session today from A Lovely Photo. They sent in the adorable engagement session of Becky & Bonnie, two marine corp marathon runners that are planning a beautiful May wedding (at a working farm! can’t wait to see the pictures of that one!). They were all smiles during their session and I love all the different places and poses they did!

Becky & Bonnie’s Libby Hill Park Engagement Pictures in Richmond, VA

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Vendors:

Photographer: A Lovely Photo | Location: Libby Hill Park | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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From the photographer:

This couple is ridiculously adorable, and I am so very excited to share their engagement session with you! We ran around The Canal Walk and Libby Hill park, chatting and getting to know each other between shots. Becky and Bonnie are so much fun and compliment each other perfectly.

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How they met:

Bonnie and Becky met in the aisles of a well-loved grocery store in Foggy Bottom… where Bonnie was assigned to train Becky on her first day on the job. The two became fast friends working part-time at the grocery store while each finishing second degrees. They exchanged several mix-tapes and recipes, as each tried to figure out the best way to pursue the relationship outside the produce aisle. Finally, after a few months, Bonnie, who was training for her first marathon, mustered up the courage to invite Becky over to her apartment for a carbo-load after a twenty-mile run. Becky, eager to impress Bonnie, made a homemade vegan pizza that Bonnie still talks about today. They went on their first official date on Becky’s birthday a week later, and the rest is history.

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Click inside for the rest of Bonnie & Becky’s Libby Hill Park engagement pictures and proposal story!

Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck: “Sing Loud” by Alpha Rev

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You can thank Pandora for today’s wedding music that doesn’t suck wedding song suggestion. “Sing Loud” by Alpha Rev is anthem-like in it’s full sound and beating bass line. It sounds like it belongs in a movie soundtrack (the likes of Secret Life of Walter Mitty at that!) and so obviously a wedding video came to my mind when I first heard it. It’d also make a powerful processional song, but at the very least add it to your cocktail hour playlist!

Lyrics:

Lay down these promises broken
Take me into your hurricane
While violent clouds roll over
I’ll hold your hand till the colors fade
I’ll be here till your dying day

Give a listen:

What do you think? Wedding appropriate or not so much? Check back in a few hours for a sweet Libby Hill Park engagement session!

Happy Valentine’s Day: Giveaway Winners & A Sweet Deal for Advertising

Happy Valentine’s Day Romancers! We hope you enjoyed our wedding inspiration post this morning (I so loved those deer head motifs!). We are closing our TWO giveaways today! Our Mix Event Ticket giveaway and our Ultimate DIY Calligraphy Gift Set giveaway.

First, for those of you that did not win the Mix Event Ticket giveaway, you’re still sort of in luck, because The Mix Event is running a huge ticket promo for the Valentine’s Day weekend!! Tickets are 50% off with ticket promo “VALENTINE50″ and can be purchased here.

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And now… our winners! Congratulations to June for winning 2 tickets to The Mix Event!

And congratulations to Danielle P. for winning our Ultimate DIY Calligraphy Gift Set from Cozy Cashmere Studio!

And now, a little something for my vendors out there! In honor of the holiday, I thought it’d be fun to offer some discounted advertising options!  First come, first serve and for today only, qualifying applicants can get 14% off side bar advertising [apply here]!

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That means 1-month will be $60 and $3 months will be $170 (we rounded!) for TODAY ONLY!!! So go apply and we’ll hook you up :)

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day Romancers! For me it’ll be the couch + Kick Ass-2 + Andy + Sadie + and &Pizza!

Capitol Inspiration: Gorgeous Rustic Details from a Michigan Wedding

Hoping everyone enjoyed the snow day yesterday as much as I did! I took some much needed time to work on Fuel DC (my new side project!), get some Linked In things cleaned up for CapRo, and start writing a script for another 2014 project I have in the works with Border Row Productions (more to come on that soon!). For today, before we announce our giveaway winners, we have a gorgeous Michigan wedding to share courtesy of Blaine Siesser Photography. There are some seriously steal-worthy details in this one Romancers, making it a perfect fit for a wedding inspiration feature.

Gorgeous, Rustic Details & Decor from an Outdoor Michigan Wedding

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Vendors

Photographer:  Blaine Siesser Photography | Event Venue: Bowers Harbor Vineyard | Hair Stylist: Pavlova European Spa & Salon | Location: Spider Lake Retreat | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Click inside for the rest of these gorgeous, rustic details!

Sponsor Love: Stephen Gosling Photography & The Mix Event

It’s been a few weeks since our last sponsor love post, so I wanted to share some awesome that’s coming from our amazing side-bar sponsors. Stephen Gosling Photography recently joined our crew and if you haven’t seen his work before (even though we’ve featured many a post here!), check out some of his latest gorgeous work:

Cait & Bill’s Adorable DC Engagement Session

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He’s kicking ass recently with features on United With Love & Borrowed & Bleu’s Online Magazine. He also recently wrote a really awesome personal post about the importance of being nice in this industry — a REALLY good read!

Additionally, we have TWO giveaways ending tomorrow! If you haven’t yet checked out The Mix Event – you must! Especially if you are still looking for your DC/MD/VA wedding vendors. We’ll be there and so will a host of other, awesome area vendors. The night is more cocktail party than wedding show, with the first 100 attendees getting a free cocktail and entertainment will be provided by Burnt Sienna (among others). We’re giving away two tickets to the show here.

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And finally, our Ultimate DIY Calligraphy Gift Set from Cozy Cashmere Design (a $250 value) ends tomorrow too! It’s been one of our most-entered wedding giveaways to date. Our winner will be picked tomorrow!

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Happy Snow [#Snochi] Day Romancers! We’ll be back tomorrow with our giveaway winners, a special Valentine’s Day sponsor deal & some wedding inspiration from a stunning, outdoor Michigan wedding.

 

 

The Nerdiest IT Proposal You Might Ever Read (by Dan)

A few weeks ago a friend of mine messaged me on Facebook, telling me about this “incredibly nerdy” proposal his friend just executed to his girlfriend. Naturally, I was all over it – I LOVE anything nerdy. And let me just tell you – this totally took the cake. My friend briefly explained it (it included a LOT of acronyms and TONS of techie words I did not understand) but I was totally hooked. He said, “It’s basically the purest IT geek proposal I’ve ever seen.” Enough said. A very special thanks to Dan for taking the time to write out all the details of his nerdy, IT proposal and including some fun pictures of the execution!

The Nerdiest & Geekiest IT Proposal You Might Ever Read

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First, a little “How They Met” action (from Dan!):

Well this is embarrassing… Heather and I met… in a bar…. In Las Vegas…. We were there for incredibly different reasons, but somehow found each other on a dance floor at the Toby Keith’s bar (neither of us are country fans either). She was by far the most beautiful girl out there dancing. She claims that she came up to me. I say I went up to her. Whatever that case is, I just feel so lucky that we met each other (but, for real, I went up to her first!). For some reason, she never got tired of my horrible dance moves and I got her number before she returned home to Idaho. We texted for about a month before I even saw her face again on FaceTime. She decided to come visit me in DC about a month later and the rest is pretty much history (All I can say is thank god for FaceTime and Southwest Airlines!) I knew immediately that she was the one for me and, given the small odds at which we met each other, I knew I couldn’t risk waiting to marry her. A little over a year later we are happily engaged to be married on August 3, 2014.

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And now for the AWESOME Proposal:

The Set Up: Over the previous few months, I had written pieces of software in the form of birthday cards, games to play, and other random apps. Anything I wrote, I had Heather use or test. So this seemed like the best method to get her to play along with the proposal and not see it coming. She was to start off by logging into the software game I had created for her and was told that if she could get through the ten phases, I would give her a prize. I decided to do it on a Sunday since that is our favorite day of the week. We usually just hang out all day together and just enjoy each other’s company.

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How It Worked : There were two main parts to the proposal: a software interface on her computer and a hidden box that housed the hardware and ring. The box was designed to just look like a random piece of furniture on my desk as to not draw any attention to it.

The software interface was used not only as a game for her to play, but also secretly as a communications channel to the proposal box. When she reached the end of the game, the software sent a specific email behind the scenes to the box. The box was powered by a Raspberry Pi, which waited for this email. When it finally received it, it activated servos, which opened the box and presented the ring. Since Heather loves photos and is all about capturing the moment, also hidden inside the box was a camera module, which automatically snapped three photos after the box had opened.

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After she realized what was going on, and screamed in terror as the box jumped open at her (those servos are loud!), she said yes! I told her it wasn’t official, though, until she selected “yes” in the software. Little did she know, doing so automatically took those three photos and emailed and text messaged them to all of our friends and family. When her phone exploded with congratulatory texts, she again screamed in terror and slapped me for sending those photos of her without her knowing. (We were still in lounge clothes because it was Sunday, whoops!)

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How freaking AWESOME is THIS!? And now check out that stunner of a ring:

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So while I barely understood half the verbiage in this proposal, I think we can all agree that it’s one of the most awesomely executed geeky IT proposal ever. Thanks SO much to Dan for taking the time to share his pictures and write out the details!

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

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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!)

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xo, Bree

 

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