Gretchen & Babtunde’s Multicultural Washington DC Wedding at Glenview Mansion

lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012)

[Images: Sarah Bradshaw Photography]

I love the bright pop’s of color in Gretchen & Babtunde’s DC wedding feature. Their relationship started young (they met in Middle school!!) but 10 years later is when the friendship blossomed into something more than friends. The wedding is beautiful in its simplicity and I just LOVE the blend of American and Nigerian traditions that made this wedding 100% them.

lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012) lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012)

We wanted a wedding that was classy and sophisticated but also down to earth. Our wedding ceremony was at our beloved church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. The church building is beautiful with stained-glass windows and has a classic feel to it. Our reception was at Glenview Mansion and we absolutely loved it. When we were looking for venues, we instantly loved it for it’s beautiful garden and stunning architecture. Our colors were purple and teal and made our late summer wedding even more lovely!

lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012) lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012) lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012)

People were at the heart of our wedding! We had so many friends help us with our wedding! From our wedding coordinator to florist, we were extremely blessed by the love of our family and friends.

lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012) lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012)

Click inside for the rest of Gretchen & Babatunde’s multicultural wedding at Glenview Mansion

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DIY Tutorial: Make Your Own Mulled Wine Spice Sachets

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 [Images: Traci J Brooks]

Still need a gift for some co-workers or family members? Then our DIY tutorial from Ribbons & Bluebirds today has got you covered! Jenn is going to teach you how to make super adorable DIY mulling spice sachets – a perfect DIY holiday gift ideas!

DIY Tutorial: How to Make Mulling Spice Sachets ~ a Perfect DIY Holiday Gift!

We are deep into the season of warm pick-me-up winter beverages, and one of my absolute favorites is mulled wine! My friends always put me in charge of preparing it when we have holiday get-togethers, so I had an idea this year of how to create a perfect pre-measured spice bag as a hostess gift!  These sachets include all the spices (and instructions!) you need for perfect mulled wine except granulated sugar, and they’re ready for the recipient to literally drop into a pot of wine and start simmering!

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You’ll need:

  • Mulling spices tag template, available here
  • Spices, all whole: Allspice, Cloves, and Cinnamon Sticks
  • Cheesecloth, which can be found at your local grocery story
  • Corner clipper punch, optional (available at Paper Source or Amazon)
  • Petite paper bags for final packaging
  • Baker’s twine – food safe!
  • Washi tape
  • Stapler
  • Scissors or X-acto

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Step by Step Instructions:

Step 1: Download the tag template here – each sheet prints 8 tags on a standard 8.5×11 sheet. Start by preparing the tags – cut them down from the whole sheet into (8) 5.5 x 2” strips.

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Step 2: Cut a section of baker’s twine long enough to float the spices in a large pot, and still wrap around the handle to prevent the tag from falling in.  Tie a large knot at one end, and wrap some excess around two fingers to bundle it in a neat coil – this will be stored inside the tag until the spices are being used.  Set the coiled twine aside briefly.

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Step 3: Clip the corners of each unfolded tag, using either a punch or scissors.  Fold the tag in half lengthwise – the tag should now remind you of an oversized tea bag tag.  Place the coiled twine inside the fold, with the knot on the inside and the tail of the twine coming out the bottom of the folded card.  Use a stapler to staple the two ends of the folded card closed, with the tail of the twine coming through the middle of the stapled section.  If tugged gently, the twine should be able to slide out of the folded section.

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Click inside for the rest of our DIY holiday mulling spices tutorial from Ribbons & Bluebirds!

Capitol Advice: My Mom & Friends Hate the Wedding Dress I Love

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[Image: Desjar Photography]

Last week I got an email from a friend of mine (a wedding vendor who is also planning her own wedding). She asked for advice on something rather touchy – her wedding dress. I, personally, didn’t do the whole wedding dress shop thing – I knew EXACTLY what I wanted for my wedding dress, and I had my mother-in-law make it for me. So easy! But for most brides to be, the wedding dress shop thing is an EXPERIENCE and there’s a lot that can happen there.

But in this specific instance, the issue was that the bride tried on a dress she had loved online for 3 months, had her “this is the one” moment, then walked out of the dressing room to a bunch of “mehs” “nos” and “nexts”. It seems this dress was not the dress that her mom and best friend imagined for her, and now she was stuck. Does she go with the dress she loves, even if some of her nearest and dearest don’t like it ? Or does she cave to friends and family, picking one that they think looks good on her?

Lucineia & Adoniran Wedding Day

[Image: Daysy Photography]

Personally, I told her to go with what SHE loves. It’s HER wedding day, HER dress … and I think she will regret it if she settles. But I decided to run a little “ask the crowd” on my Facebook page on this topic, and the responses from past brides were OVERWHELMINGLY awesome! I thought the responses would be a great resource for anyone that might find themselves in a similar situation with their wedding (wedding dress, or styled detail otherwise). So let’s break it down.

It’s OK to be a little selfish here ….

“Get what makes you FEEL good. If you’re smiling from the inside out, it will radiate all day and they will see you were meant to rock that dress. As a photographer, I think you should be comfortable, you should be empowered by what you wear that day, you should rock what you’ve got. And it will show in the images how happy and blushing you really were. Too many people try and make the wedding about them. And while I appreciate that weddings are about community, and recognizing the support you have, and coming together as one… the dress is about you. Just you. Not mom. Not Bff. Not even your fiance.”

“Whose wedding is it? It should be the brides choice and no one else’s!”

“I’ll echo others comments; your wedding; your dress; YOUR CHOICE!”

” I wasn’t exactly a “this is MY day” kinda bride – but there is something to be said to feeling comfortable and happy with what you’re wearing – despite what other people may think.”

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[Image: An Endless Pursuit]

But make sure it’s REALLY “the one”…

“Go back to the shop all alone. try on 3 dresses with the one you love second or third. If you unconditionally love the dress (how you feel in it + how it fits) buy it on the spot and don’t look back. If you have ANY doubts, keep shopping…”

“Sometimes I get dressed and think I look incredible and then I see a picture of myself and I think “oh dear, what was I thinking”. So I have two thoughts here. First, is there a chance to maybe have one of your doubters take a picture of you in it? You can only see yourself from so many angles and MAYBE they are seeing something that you aren’t. Second, have you tried on the dresses that they like? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of trying things on for them to say “You know what? Maybe we were wrong about what we thought you’d look good in.”

“I say maybe go back with two other friends or maybe your partner’s mom and two friends- get their opinion and also try on more dresses. You might love the dress but it doesn’t hurt to get second and third opinions from people who can see it from all angles. Your wedding photos won’t all be front on, maybe the dress doesn’t suit you from the back or side which is what your mom/best friend are seeing. Of course if you do try on more dresses and you still love that one, then get it! My mom hated my dress the first time she saw it because the sample was massive on me, but I tried it on 5 times with different people and realised it was the one! She loved it once alterations started! Go with your gut but realise people close to you may have insights you can’t see!”

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[Image: A Lovely Photo]

The regret might be worse than disappointing your mom/friends…

“She will regret it if she settles. Some people hated my wedding dress and then ended up loving it when they saw it on me and in photos. Glad I didn’t budge. :)”

“I went with a very pretty but more traditional to please others, and regret it every time I look at my wedding photos. I am not a traditional person and I am bummed I didn’t let the dress represent me like I should have!”

“I caved to pressure from my mom and the dress seller about my dress. I wanted a something a bit non-traditional but went with one she liked instead. I wish I had stuck to my guns and gotten the dress that I really wanted.”

“Go with your gut. I settled for a dress, and then ended up buying the one I couldn’t stop thinking about anyway. I wore my dream dress to my wedding.”

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[Image: Kathleen Hertel Photography]

What do YOU think Romancers? Did our Facebook fans miss any other advice you would give (or experienced yourself)? Sound off in the comments!


Erin & Jason’s Capital Bikeshare Engagement Pictures in Washington DC

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 [Images: Val & Sarah]

What a weekend we had! Andy & I were a bit all over the place but got to see and spend time with family & friends and it was just AWESOME. We went to NJ on Friday night to visit Andy’s sister and her husband and then walked (and SHOPPED) all around Princeton NJ on Saturday. We even bumped into Santa! Then on Saturday night we met up with my family in Philly to celebrate my mom’s birthday before my goddaughter’s big day on Sunday (her baptism!). We got back to DC late last night (thus the late blogging today) and I feel like I have a million and 1 things to do before we head back to NJ for the holidays on Saturday, but the weekend made me REALLY excited for the upcoming holiday break.

Blogging will probably be pretty light from Christmas through New Years, but hopefully we can get some “best of” posts up to recap the AMAZING year we had on this blog. But let’s get to today’s post – Erin & Jason’s fabulous Washington, DC engagement session in Eastern Market (featuring Capital Bikeshare bikes!).

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Erin & Jason are not the hold hands, stroll through the meadow kind of couple. They wanted something fun and creative so we explored DC and had fun with bikes!

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Click inside for the rest of Erin & Josh’s engagement pictures in Eastern Market & around DC!

LINK LOVE & Wedding Inspiration from a Mountainside Colorado Wedding

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[Images: Mollie Tobias Photography]

FRIDAY. WE DID IT AGAIN! This was a week of stressful holiday shopping (trying to get EVERYTHING done by this weekend) and wrapping up 2014. I am also in BAD NEED of 2015 planning and need to attempt to keep my productivity up there! We are headed to NJ & Philly this weekend to visit some family and be a part of my neice’s Christening. I am excited to get out of the DC area for a little and see family before the craziness of the holidays.

For today we have some gorgeous wedding inspiration from Mollie Tobias Photography – an intimate, mountainside wedding in Colorado AND some Link Love. Check it all out and help get to the weekend. Have a great one Romancers!

Link Love:

 Join one of our local faves, Chocotenango, at a chocolate making class on Tuesday !

Is Blogging Dead? (I certainly hope not!!) – How Blogs are Changing

 The Every Last Detail Blog shares how wedding planners DON’T actually plan your wedding (hint: you do)

Bridal Bell Hope has launched Phase II ~ check out their new website!

Small Business Saturday may be over, but you can still shop local at some DC holiday markets and pop-ups around the city. Check out Holidaze at Fenton Street Market or PARCEL happening this weekend!

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Meg & Ray’s Sunny BBQ Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm in Maryland

Bryson-Ferris Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm

[Images: Aimee Custis Photography]

SO many darling details from this real Maryland wedding from Aimee Custis Photography at Smokey Glen Farm. The couple took the farm theme to heart with so many handmade details that really came together beautifully!  Meg shared SO many details on their wedding day (that are all below) but I always love when the couple makes it a point to create a wedding that is a reflection of them. It’s always so apparent too (and they always seem to be the MOST fun weddings as well!). Meg & Ray depended on family & friends alike to create this beautiful BBQ farm wedding and if nothing else, the summery weather will hopefully bring you some warmth on this chilly December day :)

Bryson-Ferris Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm Bryson-Ferris Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm

From the bride:

It was important to both Ray and I that our wedding be a reflection of us, and most of all, we wanted the day to be super fun for all involved. Early on, Ray instituted the wedding planning motto “More fun, less formal!” Though there were plenty of traditional elements to our wedding, we did not want a cookie-cutter wedding ceremony & reception. And like the average bride & groom, we had to be extremely mindful of our budget when making decisions. What helped us out a lot was imagining the party we were throwing wasn’t a wedding. How would we go about spending our money to maximize fun? That helped us focus more on what we really wanted, and less on conventions.

Smokey Glen Farm - Gaithersburg, MD - April 13, 2014

We decided to DIY the wedding as much as possible, without driving ourselves crazy. We tried to keep it relatively simple, and enlisted the help of family and friends. My mom created the cloth banners to hang from the rafters and is turning them into a wedding quilt for us now. We created handstamped silverware pakcets using baker’s twine and kraft paper pouches. The bridesmaids and I also got together and created the centerpieces using dried flowers. My dad designed and built a wooden stand strung with twine for us to clip the seating cards onto. Ray got his Pinterest on and made wedding day madlibs for the guests, in lieu of a guest book (we are considering binding those into a keepsake book). My aunt Mary hand-painted pebbles as wedding favors for the guests – which was a nice family touch because Mary always handpaints gorgeous ornaments for the family every Christmas. Ray’s mom handpainted the table numbers, and also made an unforgettable pie-topper caricature of us out of clay. I have to admit, I was a little nervous about this one. She has made clay caricatures of a lot of family members, so we asked her to do a bride and groom one of us, maintaining veto power from the start. We laughed and laughed when we saw it, and the guests loved it. It will surely be a family treasure, even if Ray looks a little like Woody Allen and I a bit like Frida Kahlo! The whole event was a labor of love.

Bryson-Ferris Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm Smokey Glen Farm - Gaithersburg, MD - April 13, 2014

Click inside for the rest of Meg & Ray’s DIY summer farm wedding at Smokey Glen Farm in Maryland!

Capitol Advice: Wedding Blog Exclusivity vs Non Exclusivity & What It Means For YOU

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[Image: A Muse Photography]

As both a wedding vendor and a wedding blogger, I’ve gotten to see both sides of the wedding blog submission universe. I deal with the frustrations of having submissions sent to me that don’t even come close to my submission requirements, and I deal with the equally frustrating act of submitting weddings to blogs, only to get turned down. What this does give me though is a somewhat interesting point of view on the world of wedding blog submissions and obviously it’s way more fun to share my views/experiences here, than keep them to myself.

So let’s talk about the terminology of Blog Exclusivity (vs Non-Exclusivity) and what that really means. Some of you (if you’ve never submitted to a wedding blog before or you aren’t even a vendor, just a couple looking to get your wedding on a blog) might not have any idea what “blog exclusivity” even is. So let’s start simple.

What the heck is Blog Exclusivity?

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[Image: Val & Sarah]

Some wedding blogs consider themselves to be exclusive – meaning they will not share content with any other blogs, websites, media sources and want to be the sole (or at least first) publisher of said content. Some wedding blogs take this SO SERIOUSLY that they won’t even accept images/content you’ve shared on your personal blogs or websites. Some hold this “exclusivity” for a specified amount of time (ranging from weeks to YEARS).

And some wedding blogs (like mine!) consider themselves to non-exclusive – meaning I don’t at all mind sharing content with other blogs, websites, or media sources. If you’ve had a SUPER spectacular DC wedding featured on a National blog, and the details are still a fit for my local audience, I’d still love to share it here too :) But I like to share – that’s just me!

So What Does This Mean For You?

bree me personal blogging

[Image: Val & Sarah]

As a wedding vendor, it means you should read the fine print of a wedding blogs’ submission guidelines page to ensure you meet their exclusivity terms. I’ve HEARD stories that some of the big blogs will blacklist you if they find out you aren’t playing by their exclusivity rules.

As a reader/couple that wants to submit their wedding, you should FIRST READ your wedding vendor contracts (specifically your photographer’s). Most photographers have sections of their contracts that involve this very topic – sending out photos to publications that could dictate rights and copyright. As my professional photographer friend explained:

99% of the time, copyright resides with the photographer and clients may just be granted really liberal license rights (print, share, etc) but when you start “giving” images to other industry professionals things can get very hairy.

So check with your contracts first and then you should ALSO read the fine print of a blog’s submission requirements page and be aware that sending your wedding pictures to 4 different blogs at the same time, might not be the best course of action. Of course it doesn’t matter if the national wedding blog blacklists YOU – BUT your wedding vendors might not be too happy if they can no longer submit to bigger national blogs (that a lot of us depend on for notoriety, marketing, validity, and other things!).

So bottom lines:

1. Check to see if the wedding blog you are submitting to is “exclusive” or “non-exclusive”

2. Hold off on shooting your wedding submission out to a MILLION blogs and make sure you hear back from each exclusive blog before submitting to the next (yes, this is annoying and tedious. I understand)

3. Wait until the exclusivity of a major blog runs out, before sending it to your favorite/local/non-exclusive blog

And now you know a little more about the crazy world of wedding blog submissions :)

Sara & Matt’s DIY, Modern Purple Whittemore House Wedding in Washington DC

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[Images: Linda Wang Photography]

Tiffany of Simply Breathe Events sent over this DARLING modern Washington DC wedding today! Sara & Matt picked the delightful Whittemore house for their venue, and while it’s more of a traditional place, they upped the modern factor with their style choices and bright purple color palette. There are SO many fun details from this DC wedding feature.

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We looked at A LOT of wedding venues. We really wanted a space that felt intimate and warm, and wouldn’t require us to do a whole lot of decorating. We knew pretty much from the moment we walked into Whittemore House that was going to work for us. We knew it would feel cozy, and we could bring our personal touch to it without having to do up the whole space.

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I wanted to keep the colors simple so they would make the rest of the details and decisions easier, not harder. I chose a range of purples matched with gold and ivory, thinking purple was a flexible palette that wouldn’t clash no matter what shades came out. The bridesmaids got to choose any purple dress they liked, and they came out pretty different!

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Click inside for the rest of Sara & Matt’s adorable modern DC wedding at the Whittemore House!

Trash the Dress Inspiration & Link Love!

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[Images: Brittany Goldwyn]

It’s FRIDAY. We made it to another weekend. This rain is GETTING TO ME man, I don’t mind the cold but good lord if it’s going to precipitate, at least be SNOW. We have a JAM PACKED weekend this weekend with the Miss Pixies Customer Appreciation party tonight (you should come & hang with Pop Wed Co! & I), a girls night, visiting the WHITE HOUSE tomorrow, and then our FINAL DIY Workshop on Sunday.

For today we have a rockin’ Trash the Dress session in Rock Creek Park and some LINK LOVE to get you to the weekend. Hope to see you on Sunday!


Pop Wed Co gives you some SUPER RAD Alternative Wedding Hair & Makeup ideas

The Plannery discusses an important, but difficult topic: How to Cancel Your Wedding

Bayside Bride has an awesome DIY Seed Bomb Wedding Favor tutorial on their blog!

Kick Ass Social Co. just launched. You should know about it.

Pink Dot Concepts is hosting  an event centered on decadent sweets & treats! Check out The Sweet Life Sugar Tour on Sunday to meet budding bakers & treat makers in the local area.

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