DIY Tutorial: How to Make a New-Sew Tutu

Hey Romancers! I am so pumped to introduce Divinity as a new contributing editor to Capitol Romance! You might remember her from her gorgeous Cherry Blossom engagement session that we featured here on the blog. Well Divinity has an affinity for weddings and has just recently launched her own wedding planning business (look out for Lovebuggs Weddings on Facebook!) and she is going to be sharing some guest posts here on the blog. I know you guys are going to love what she has to share! For today, we have a DIY Tutorial, which I can’t remember the last time we posted something DIY (*sigh*) – so hopefully Divinity can help us change that! So enough from me, take it away Divinity!

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a No-Sew DIY Flower Girl Tutu


This is my first blog post for Capitol Romance and I am very excited to share this amazing DIY Project with you.  As a former bride, I wanted to do anything I could to save money but have the wedding I wanted at the same time!  So I decided to give a few DIY projects a try!  I was hooked after my second one!  My favorite project of all was my flower girls tutu.  After searching high and low for a reasonably priced tutu, I gave up and decided to turn it into a DIY project.  I am very happy to pass this information along and I hope that you find this information helpful!

Materials you will need:
  • Scissors
  • Tulle Spool (I used 4 6in x 25 yards spools. If you cant find the tulle in the color spool you want, you can always purchase by the yard at Joanne fabric or any fabric store)
  • Knit Elastic (I used 1/2” x ½ yards)
  • Needle
  • Thread (I recommend white to blend into the elastic, but any color will do)
  • Ribbon or Sash (I used Celebrate It Sash from Michaels Craft)


Step 1:

Measure the child’s waistline with the elastic band.  Once you have found your desired length, cut the elastic band giving an extra 1/2inch. Sew the ends of the elastic band together to complete the first part of your tutu, the waistband.

Step 2:

Using your spool of tulle, figure out the desired length of your tutu.  Once you have figured out how long or short you would like the tutu, double the length of the fabric by folding it in half to create a longer piece and cut.  Now that you have your first cut piece of tulle, you can use this as a guide to cut all of your individual strands of tulle.   The best way to do this is by placing the full length of the pre-cut fabric against the new uncut fabric.  Before you cut your new piece of fabric, fold it in half.  This way you’re already set to cut your next piece of tulle.


Step 3:

Place the elastic waistband around your legs.  This makes it easier to use both hands and creates tension and support for placing the tulle around the band. Working with a single strand of tulle, fold it in half and place the loop under the elastic band.  Pull the bottom of the tulle (the open end) up and over the elastic band and through the loop then pull tight. Repeat this step until you have achieved desired fullness and the elastic band is covered.


Step 4:

Simply stitch your ribbon our sash around the waistband of your tutu.  You can hand sew all the way around the skirt or but a few stiches up the front and sides of the waistband.

Here is a helpful tip. After you have completed the tutu, if it is not to your desired fullness, simply fluff up some of the pieces underneath the tutu. This helps eliminate bulkiness but gives is the fullest that you want! It’s that simple. 

I hope that you have found this post helpful and fun!  I can’t wait to see how you style your flower girl in here DIY tutu.

Till next time, LoveBuggs

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Let’s Get Personal: Taking on Assistants & Learning As I Go

First let me apologize for letting it go until 2pm before I even started blogging today! The Day Job had me pretending I was a graphic designer and it always takes WAY longer than I think to create fliers/graphics for them. But let’s get into today’s personal post.

Let’s Get Personal: Taking on Assistants & Learning As I Go

bree me personal blogging

[Image: Val & Sarah]

Over the past few weeks, I started receiving emails from people that wanted my help/advice on breaking into the wedding planning business. I must admit that I was pretty shocked to not only get one, but 4 of these emails so far. I am so new to this business myself, it sort of caught me off guard that people wanted to learn from me. I mean, I only just finished my first year as a “wedding coordinator” and I, myself, feel like I have so much still to learn! Though my first year went smoothly and really so much more so than I had thought, surely I cannot be in a place to be teaching others what to do in this business. I mean – I haven’t even taken any classes, or have no educational background in event planning what so ever. I planned my own wedding and loved it, started a blog, and fell into coordinating and welp, now here I am.

I have to admit, I don’t know the first thing about taking on assistants. I am fortunate enough to have the world’s BEST (and most affordable ;) assistant through my husband, but there have been a few weddings this year where I certainly could have used an extra set of hands to help with setup! I am still learning how to navigate this territory though – when to know whether I will need an assistant or not, what to charge my clients if additional hands are needed for setup, and then what to give an assistant. And then there is the contract/liability side of taking someone on in my business too. Protecting myself, protecting my clients AND protecting the assistant – well these are all things I will need to take some time to read up on and learn about in the off-season.

But here is the other thing I have learned so far through these email exchanges (and even a few coffee dates): everyone has something to share. Even though I haven’t been at this game long, and I am far from considering myself a professional, I have learned A LOT and I am more than happy to share what I’ve learned with others that want to get in on this business. As we’ve already talked about in our “competitors are the new colleagues” post, I don’t view these new planners as a threat. Maybe I am naive, or maybe I just haven’t had a bad experience yet, but I have only gotten to where I am now by others being generous and open with me (here’s looking at you Danielle Pasternak) so why shouldn’t I return that favor?

So while I am still learning as I go, I am excited (OK and nervous) at the prospect of taking on assistants into the crazy world of Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination. But hey, if it means that I can get some awesome help from up and comers, and help them in return, AND learn in the process, well then I am completely game. I’ll let you know how it goes ;)

So what do you think? Have you been approached by wedding business newbies for help? Are you as open/into helping them as I am, or have you been burned in the past?

Matt & Kirsten’s DIY, Vintage Maryland Backyard Wedding

Today’s Maryland wedding is the perfect mix of classic charm and backyard DIY. Kirsten & Matt had a tight budget but also had some specific style ideas in mind. Kirsten always loved the 40s and 50s and decided to use that famous midshipman kissing the nurse picture as their inspiration. They used common Maryland waterfront themes, a bright color palette of navy & yellow and some fun vintage touches to execute their small budget, backyard wedding.

They also relied one lots of family and friends to make their wedding come to fruition. The bride’s sister made the invitations and friends made everything from the bouquets & arrangements to the cake and even appetizers! The groom’s parent’s backyard was the perfect venue, and the strings of globe lights adorned the property perfectly! A special thanks to Horace & Mae Photography for the submission!

Matt & Kirsten’s DIY, Backyard Maryland Wedding with Vintage Touches

navy blue bridesmaids yellow shoes


Photography: Horace & Mae Photography | Flowers: DIY | Venue: Groom’s Parents’ House | Signs: DIY | Cake: DIY

From the bride:

I’m one of four girls in my family and the first to get married, so to be nice on my parents, I wanted to keep the wedding as low budget as possible. Our colors were navy and yellow with a nautical meets vintage feel. I’ve always been fond of the 40s and 50s and seeing as how I was marrying a boy from Maryland, the photo of the midshipman kissing the nurse was the perfect inspiration. We had the wedding in a small church, and the reception in the backyard of my in-laws’ waterfront house.

vintage bride hair diy backyard maryland wedding navy yellow bride bouquet

Unfortunately, none of my family could really be involved in the planning being on the other side of the country and all. But my sister Sarah made all of the wedding invitations, and my mother in-law was instrumental in helping me organize and keep track of everything we borrowed. The week of, however, all family members in both sides helped set up and prepare for the wedding. We had friends making the appetizers, the bouquets, boutonnieres, and flower arrangements, and the wedding cake.

vintage bride makeup DIY vintage backyard maryland wedding

Click inside for the rest of Kirsten & Matt’s small-budget, backyard Maryland wedding!

Annie & Jeff’s Washington DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

While my fingers are a bit cold as I type away at my keyboard this morning, it was SO NICE to wake up to the sun this morning. Now, don’t talk to me later tonight when it’s dark at 5, but for now I’ll be happy with the DST changes. This past weekend we closed out our 2013 wedding coordination season – our first official year of coordinating weddings! Pretty insane. I can’t believe I survived. I learned SO MUCH and met SO many amazing people, I will write an entire reflection post on its own sometime soon, but in case you haven’t seen the sneak peak of our last wedding, it’s over on our Facebook page!

For today we have a really cute, relaxed & casual engagement session in Georgetown from Eastport Photography. I just love Annie & Jeff’s laid-back vibe, style and they met in the Peace Corps in West Africa — how freakin’ cool is THAT?! Happy Monday Romancers, let’s get the love going this week.

Annie and Jeff’s Georgetown Engagement Session in Washington DC

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Photographer: Eastport Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How the couple met, from Annie:

Jeff and I met in the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa. He arrived a year before me and we met at a party celebrating my group officially becoming volunteers after 2 months of training. We liked each other so much he ended up staying an extra year. We lived about six hours away from each other, and visits meant waking up at the crack of dawn to catch a minibus and arriving covered in orange dust. We liked it. We finished our service at the end of 2010 and traveled to Morocco, Spain, and France.

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How Jeff proposed:

We moved back to Washington DC at the beginning of 2011. On Columbus Day last year we went for a hike. It was really cold but pretty with the leaves changing. Jeff proposed at the top of a mountain. I bawled and of course said yes. Then it started to hail. We ran back down the mountain and took a short-cut that was actually a long-cut. We arrived at the car cold, tired, and happy.

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Congratulations Annie & Jeff! Thanks again to Eastport Photography for submitting this awesome DC engagement session via Two Bright Lights!

Capitol Inspiration: 5 Icebreakers to Help Your Guests Mingle

We have a little guest post for you guys today. A few weeks ago I got an email from a reader that told me she enjoyed reading the blog not as a bride to be, but as a maid of honor in her sister’s upcoming wedding! She said she had learned so much from helping to plan her sister’s wedding, that she’d love to share some of what she learned on the blog. So for today, we have Morgan sharing some ideas for getting your guests to mingle at your wedding.

Andy & I were fortunate in the fact that our families and friends mostly knew each other, since we had been together since high school – they had already met a few times before. But I’d venture to guess that more often than not, that is not always the case. I’d think most families (or at least extended families) might be meeting for the first time at a wedding, and to make sure everyone is a bit more laid back and open to mingling, I think Morgan’s got some really great suggestions. Take it Morgan!

From a Maid of Honor: 5 Icebreakers to Help Your Guests Mingle

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[Image found here | Credit: John Hope Photography]

Weddings are beautiful, magical events, but they aren’t without their awkward and sometimes uncomfortable situations. As my sister’s recently appointed maid of honor, I’ve quickly learned that it’s your job to help your bride with whatever she needs. That could be anything from helping her pick out flowers to handling day-of logistics–anything to make sure the process is as stress-free as possible, so she can enjoy herself without worry. That includes alleviating any potential awkwardness throughout her blissful day. Here are a few tips I’ve thought up to help make the bride’s wedding day or night virtually free of those less-than-perfect situations.

Table Games

[Dianne & William’s Pi Day DC Wedding | Image: Maggie Winters Photography]

When helping your bride plan out her seating arrangements, remember that a lot of her guests may not know each other. There might be a few tables filled with friends who all went to high school or college together, but odds are that many tables will be composed of acquaintances at best if not complete strangers. It’s undoubtedly awkward to sit at a table with a group of people you don’t know, but as maid of honor, you can help ensure that your bride’s guests will feel comfortable and at ease. While browsing my sister’s wedding gift page, I came across the idea of having a conversation table topics game, which allow guests to get to know each other through various thoughtful and fun questions. Advise your bride to have a game or two, whether a board game or something else, at each table for guests to play between dance numbers and during meal courses.

Line Dances That Everyone Can Follow Along To

Many people are initially uncomfortable on the dance floor and need the DJ to call out a warmup or two to get the blood flowing. Movement naturally puts people at ease. Well-known dances include the Electric Slide, the Bunny Hop, the Wiggle and the Charleston. As cheesy as many popular line dances are, that’s the point–they give everyone a chance to be a little ridiculous together. The steps are easy and everyone either knows them already or can follow directions called by the DJ, and when everyone gets to be a little vulnerable together, it becomes easier to relate to one another.

Mabyn Ludke Photo

[Image Credit: Mabyn Ludke Photography]

Wedding Bingo

A bit of preparation is required for great wedding bingo. When you send out invitations, ask each guest to provide one interesting fact about themselves or their experiences. Some of the most interesting examples I’ve heard from our guests are “has hiked 400 miles of the Appalachian Trail” and “has a therapy horse named Jeopardy who has helped many children with autism connect for the first time.” Beautiful bingo cards including all the guests’ interesting facts can be printed and prizes can be awarded to those who match a fact with the correct guest.


The Mexican tradition of a beautifully constructed piñata filled with candy or other fun prizes can be great fun at weddings. Standing in a circle around the hanging piñata, everyone gets a turn to wear the blindfold and take a hit at it. You can make up consecutively more difficult rules as you go around the circle, like “must be standing on one foot” or “must hit using left hand only.”

[Image via 100 Layer Cake | Credit: Gavin Farrington & Grace H]

The Bag Game and Other Circle Games

Many games can be played with ten to twenty guests standing in a circle. Since we have about eighty guests coming to my sister’s wedding, we’ll have several circles. Place a large brown grocery bag in the center of the circle and have a pair of scissors on hand for each circle. Each player stands on one leg, leans over and picks the bag up by the edge between their teeth. Anyone who topples over is out. After each time around the circle, cut about an inch of the top of the bag so players are required to get lower and lower to pick up the bag. The last person left in the game wins.

The fun ways to invite interaction between guests are truly endless!

What do you think Romancers? Any other ideas from your wedding that helped your guests to mingle, relax, and get to know one another better? I think our photobooth accomplished that pretty nicely!

About the Author:

Morgan Gray is a writer from NY with a fetish for stationery. Her Maid of Honor title has inspired her to reach out to the Capitol Romance community. She hopes that her experience will help others in similar ‘dresses’!

John & Aleza’s Modern, Teal Washington DC Wedding

The groom in today’s real DC wedding feature and I actually have a funny “how we met” story. What feels like a million years ago, John and I actually met at a sushi restaurant, as my co-worker at the time, was our mutual friend. We met a few other times through this mutual friend, then learning that we actually worked at the same day job. And then John started a Groom blog [The Outspoken Groom – check it out!] and we connected a bit more over blogging. And then John proposed to his girlfriend Aleza, and so our emails turned more towards vendor recommendation. John collaborated with us on our John & Abigail Adams Love Story Styled Shoot and found their florist through it and I was happy to send a few other suggestions their way.

The result was a beautiful, modern DC wedding with so much of their awesome personalities tied in. They chose teal for their color and used it perfectly throughout their wedding details. Studio DBI nailed it with the flowers, and I am on the edge of my seat waiting for Border Row Productions‘ wedding video :) But I think my favorite detail of John & Aleza’s wedding is their ever-present laughter. You can see just how happy and good-natured these two love birds are in almost every, single, picture from their wedding. Thanks to Ken Pak Photography for the images.

John & Aleza’s Modern, Teal Washington DC Wedding

modern teal Washington DC wedding Westin Georgetown


Photographer: Ken Pak Photography | Videographer: Border Row Productions | Venue: Westin Georgetown | Flowers: Studio DBI | Cake: Alexandria Pastry Shop | Band: SLY45 | Hair Stylist: Jewel Hair Design | Makeup: Audrey Lee

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On their DC wedding venue selection:

We love gallivanting around DC on weekends, exploring new coffee shops, bars and markets. So as soon as we got engaged we both agreed a DC wedding is the only option for us. This was also around the same time I started the and she started a new job, so I tried to help out planning as much as possible (where I could, ha). We first visited historical homes and museums around the city thinking that was the best way we could incorporate DC-aspects, but as soon as we visited the Westin in Georgetown we fell in love with the venue, and realized we can be as creative with the space as possible.

modern dc groom teal

I love the pops of teal that John got into the groomsmen’s getups. Those teal tie clips?! LOVE

While we didn’t plan for it at all (even though we’re huge fans), several of our guests were telling us we looked like something out of Mad Men. Looking back at pictures though, custom fit groomsmen suits with skinny ties and her lace wedding dress with the fishnet veil probably gives off that vibe. We’re not complaining! It was impossible to find ties that matched the bridesmaid peacock teal dress color though, so instead all the groomsmen wore teal tie bars, polka dot teal socks and I added the little extra with teal shoe laces. All about the subtle things.

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Before the ceremony, we went to Meridian Hill Park for pictures with the wedding party.

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Click inside for the rest of John & Aleza’s modern, teal Washington DC wedding at the Westin in Georgetown.

Let’s Get Personal: Committing 100% to Being LGBT Friendly

offbeat alternative dc wedding blog

[image: Val & Sarah]

A few weeks ago I made the decision to practice what I preach and go a bit further with keeping Capitol Romance a place that is open, accepting, and resourceful for ANY couple in the Washington, DC metro area. It was always a goal of mine to feature couples of all ages, shapes, sizes, and sexual preferences, but it wasn’t until a late night conversation over pizza with a fellow wedding vendor, where I realized that just featuring diverse couples only goes so far. What about the vendors they see in the blog posts? What happens if a same-sex couple loves the style of a photographer I am in essence promoting by accepting to feature their work, only to find out after an inquiry, that the photographer does not have an LGBT-friendly business.

That is not ok here. Call me naive – but I guess until that late night conversation, I assumed that vendors submitting to this blog were down with my view points. I thought I made my views known enough. I figured, why would a non-LGBT friendly vendor even want to be on Capitol Romance when we so clearly preach love for all? But then I went to the Say I Do Expo this past spring and one of the attendees mentioned how a photographer I was running a discount with, was not open to her and her partner.

I was embarrassed. I stuttered out an apology, mortified, and was a bit mystified at what to do next. But, I knew I had to do something.

So then came that late night pizza conversation, where among other constructive criticism, I finally learned that it was better to have content on this site that 100% reflected my vision, beliefs, and goals for this blog, then to just have enough content to be able to blog every day.

This has been tough. I used to have enough content to plan out my posts 2-3 weeks out, now I am lucky if I have enough posts for a week out. Sometimes I am still thinking of, or finding content for the day before. Now that I am committed to vetting every submitting vendor, the process is slower, and the submissions are thinner. I have had some awkward email conversations with non-LGBT friendly vendors and I am sure my blog has losts some readers too. Blog posts have been a bit late on certain days, and some days there is no content at all.

But so what? Who cares? I don’t. This blog was never started so that I could have a well-oiled wedding blog machine, with overflowing content planned months out. This blog was started to HELP people … ALL people and help change the notion of the DC wedding scene.

So while content might be a bit thinner and my submitting vendors pool might have shrunk. I don’t care. I am committed to making this blog a place for all couples to get inspiration and resources to plan the DC wedding they want to have, no matter their beliefs or sexual preferences.


Dianne & William’s Offbeat, Pi Day DC Wedding at Hillyer Art Space

Guys you are going to LOVE today’s DC wedding! It is a perfect mix of geeky and DIY and perfectly shows how to take a theme and turn it into a wedding! Dianne & William are both self-proclaimed geeks, as Dianne put it, “William loves math, and I love bad puns, we both love food. That led us to having a Pi day. April 13th is pi backwards 4.13″ And, Pi is really pie – so boom, pi/pie theme is born. Everything was perfectly captured by one of our favorite DC wedding photographers, Maggie Winters Photography and just wait until you see all the other DIY details below!

Oh and warning, this wedding feature will most likely make you HUNGRY. The shots of pizza and pie are making me salivate and it’s not even 10am!

Dianne & William’s Offbeat, Pi Day Themed DC Wedding at Hillyer Art Space

offbeat geeky DC wedding pi day theme hillyer art space


Photographer: Maggie Winters | Venue: Hillyer Art Space | Catering: Pizza from Home Made Pizza Co in Del Ray! | Banners: DIY | Beer: Home brewed | Invitations: Maggie Winters

How they met:

[His side] I didn’t know what I wanted. I was surfing from couch to couch, playing as many board games and RPG’s as possible. I had a newly printed masters degree, and didn’t want to work anymore. I’d been from California to New York, and DC was right after those two. I was staying with family, Aunt Rebecca and Uncle John. Good people — didn’t kick me out even after three months.

The next step would have been North Carolina, but I met this girl. This life changing, wonderful, beautiful, kick ass, amazing, totally ridiculously competitive and challenging girl. Which girl? Dianne. Of course.

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I met this girl, and everything was different. I didn’t buy the next train ticket; I told my friends I wouldn’t be coming to NC. Instead, I explored a city — art, spy, and newseums — with a girl. I found a job; I got an apartment. I gave up my peripatetic lifestyle and settled down.

Because of Dianne. We met over boardgames and fell in love on King Street.


[Um a metro and map origami flower bouquet?! YES!]

[Her side] I was just deciding to make a life in DC. I had my first real job, thanks in part to my brother and sister. As I was starting to make a life for myself, a coworker, friend and office mate, Janna, convinced me to try out “meetup”. She had tried out a board game meetup, later to be called the AARGGH. I went, and there I found an amazing group of people. And my William.

offbeat dc nerdy groom cufflinks

We flirted over our first game together, Settlers of Catan. Before leaving, he made sure to get my email address. He emailed me the next day, and it was a week before we saw each other again.

Over the next few weeks and months we went on dates. These were often poorly planned — our first date was at the Portrait Gallery when the spy museum was sold out — but somehow, each date worked out.

offbeat light blue engagement ring

Uh I LOVE Dianne’s nontraditional engagement ring!!

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The touching vows? According to William they were finished the DAY of the wedding!

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Click inside for so much more of Dianne & William’s offbeat, Pi Day themed DC wedding at Hillyer Art Space!

Tobias & Morgan’s DC War Memorial Engagement Pictures

Wow guys – blogging after 1pm?! This is a new low for me on the lateness scale. I was gone ALL weekend at my sister in laws bridal shower/bachelorette weekend and it took a bigger toll on me than I thought! Not only am I still digging out of my inbox, but I am just so mentally exhausted, it’s taking me 3 times longer than usual to do anything today! Am I allowed to use the “I’m getting old” excuse?!!? ;)

This should have been up way earlier, but it’s a gorgeous session nonetheless. Julie Napear Photography shares with us, a chic engagement session at the DC War Memorial. Now we’ve all seen sessions at the monuments & memorials (I get a TON submitted to me), but I loved that this couple decided to dress up with a bit of formality. Tobias (the groom to be) said that they wanted to do something a bit different with their DC engagement shoot – they wanted to match the formality of the monuments with their attire. I thought that was pretty cool. So enjoy Tobias & Morgan’s chic engagement shoot!

Tobias & Morgan’s Chic DC War Memorial Engagement Session

Washington DC war memorials engagement pictures

Photographer: Julie Napear Phgotography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How they met:

We met in law school in Boston in 2007. We sat next to each other in class every day, and one day Morgan just turned to me and asked me what my name was. We quickly became friends, but we didn’t start dating until several months later. Our first real date was at a seafood restaurant near the law school campus; there was a ton of snow on the ground, and we didn’t have a reservation so we had to wait for an hour and a half to be seated. Even though we were starving, the time passed quickly since we were enjoying chatting with each other. Five years later — to the day — we got engaged.

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The proposal story:

I actually had an elaborate surprise engagement planned, including dinner at the same restaurant and then a night in a hotel suite, but Winter Storm Nemo hit Boston that morning, and dumped historic amounts of snow on the city. The subway shut down, then the restaurant closed, and then the governor ordered a driving ban. So we went to a nearby deli, loaded up on essentials (i.e., steak and wine) and made dinner at home while the snow piled up outside. At the end of dinner, I pulled out the ring and popped the question. Morgan never thought she’d get engaged while wearing sweatpants and an old sweater, but she said yes anyway.

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Congratulations Morgan & Tobias! Thank you for sharing your love story with us. A special thanks again to Julie Napear Photography for sharing this DC engagement session with us via Two Bright Lights.

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