Maureen & Jess’ Intimate DIY Wedding at Bull Run Winery in Northern Virginia

I’m always in awe of couples that plan their wedding from afar. One of the reasons Andy & I opted to get married in DC (instead of in our hometown of NJ) was that I just couldn’t imagine planning from 4+ hours away. I guess I am too hands-on (and let’s face it, just an absolute control freak) to have been able to do that. But for Maureen & Jess, it worked out perfectly. They planned everything from their home in California, DIYing dozens of fabric flowers for the bouquets, bouts, corsages, and decor, and making their own wedding paper products too. Their ceremony was personalized and I love how they got ready in the house that Maureen grew up in. Thanks to Katie Nesbitt Photography for sharing this one, and thanks to Maureen & Jess for sharing personal details and TONS of wedding advice from their Northern Virgina wedding!

Jess & Maureen’s Intimate, DIY Wedding at Bull Run Winery in Northern Virginia

DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

 Vendors:

Photographer:  Katie Nesbitt Photography | Venue: The Winery at Bull Run | Catering: RSVP Catering | Flowers: DIY, by the bride | Paper Products: DIY, by the bride | Officiant: Family Friend | DJ: Marc Augenbaum DJ Services | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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If you decided to DIY your own paper products (Save The Dates, Invites, RSVP cards, menus, etc), try to figure out whether it would cost you more money and hassle to print at home or to go to Costco or FedEx Office. As it turns out, for all the paper we printed at FedEx Office, we could have bought ourselves a nicer printer and had something to show for it afterward!

DIY wedding invitations

All of the flowers and decorations were DIY’d by us and our families. Making the bouquets was certainly a labor of love that took a lot more time than we had originally anticipated. We never could have finished them had it not been for our amazing bridal party’s help.

DIY fabric flowers bouquet DIY Northern Virginia wedding Bull Run Winery

Our favorite part of the day was the First Look, which was on a Civil War-era bridge next door to our wedding venue. I had been nervous since waking up the morning of our wedding day. When I saw Jess I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. It really set the tone for the entire rest of the day.

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Click inside for so much more from Maureen & Jess’ DIY Northern Virginia wedding – including a ton of advice from the couple on DIYing their wedding & their biggest wedding regret!

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Top Alternative Bridal Shower Ideas in Washington, DC Area

A couple weeks ago a former colleague of mine asked for some suggestions for an alternative bridal shower idea. She said that at this point – most of her friends had already done the private restaurant room, sitting in a circle opening gifts thing and they wanted something different this time around. I immediately Googled “alternative bridal shower ideas in DC” and while I was pumped to see an old blog post of mine pop-up first, the rest of the hits were pretty lacking. So I did some asking and some digging and came up with my own list for her, which naturally makes a really great blog post for me.

Alternative Bridal Shower Ideas for the Washington DC Metro Area

Most of the suggestions revolve around DOING something, instead of just sitting around playing traditional shower games. Lucky for us, we live in an awesome area, full of AWESOME creatives, so I found some pretty great ideas. Here we go!

1. Take a Cooking Class

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Andy & I recently took a class at Hills Kitchen in Capitol Hill and it was AWESOME. This would be SO fun to do with a group of friends. We learned a lot and got to eat some yummy food. Plus, after the class, there are plenty of places nearby & walkable to keep the party going.

2. Winery Tours

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[Mollie Tobias Photography]

There’s a LOT of wineries just out the Beltway, including Paradise Springs, Bull Run, Barrel Oak and the list goes on. I also found Vinthill Craft Winery which let’s you make your own wine too! Spending an afternoon with your favorite people, sipping wine and enjoying the beautifully scenery of Northern Virginia wineries? I mean, what’s not to like here….

3. Crafting Classes

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[Meant to Be Calligraphy Facebook Page]

There are tons of artists in the Washington, DC area that host workshops for you to learn their craft. My favorite ladies with Typecase Industries often host letterpress workshops, and  Meant To Be Calligraphy hosts Calligraphy Workshops!

We’ve also launched our own DIY Wedding Workshops, created exclusively for couples in the DC area to learn how to make things for their wedding. Why not enlist your bridal shower attendees to then help create some paper goodies or other DIY wedding projects for your big day? This would be a PERFECT workshop to bring your ‘maids, mom,  sisters, or partner, and enjoy a glass of sangria and get crafty!

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Who doesn’t love to learn something new? Also, any of these classes linked here would be beneficial to helping you later in your wedding planning.

4. Attend an Artisan Workshop

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[Lindsey Hite – Ready Luck]

Artisan workshops like MakeTribe, Topaz + Arrow, or Knead & Know or even Cocktail Classes are similar to craft classes, but offer something a bit more curated. Sometimes tied to food or a peculiar craft,they’d be a totally different or alternative thing to do for a bridal shower. [While not as part of a bridal shower, I’m excited to attend my first Topaz + Arrow workshop later this month!]

So what do you think Romancers? Did we hit some good alternative bridal shower ideas? Personally I love a good ole fashioned backyard BBQ with no gift-opening. But let us know if we missed any good ones and we will add to the list!

 

Sara & Kiran’s Intimate, Urban Winter Wedding in Washington, DC

As a native Washingtonian, Sara only developed her love of bourbon (a love she now shares with her husband Kiran) through working with a Congressman on the Hill. As the only non-Kentuckian in the office, it was only a matter of time before she developed an affinity for that fine southern liquor. Kiran & Sara met working for that same Congressman, and so it was obvious that their DC wedding would contain both their love for DC, and their love of bourbon.

A special thanks to Emily Clack Photography for sharing this intimate DC winter wedding with us!

 Sara & Kiran’s Intimate, Winter Wedding at Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington, DC

intimate DC winter wedding at Carnegie Insitute for Science

Vendors:

Photographer:  Emily Clack Photography LLC | Event Venue: Carnegie Institute for Science | Caterer: Eat & Smile Catering | Makeup Artist: Krystal Morant with Bridal Beauty Associates | Wedding Planner: The Bridal Bitch | DJ: Dan Goldman of Bialek’s Music | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Sara’s Father is no longer with us and so she gave Kiran his gold cuff links as a gift on their wedding day.

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Sara and Kiran called their special day an “urban winter wedding” Just before their wedding in DC, they had a traditional ceremony in India. For their wedding here, they decided to mix it up a little bit by having an intimate dinner of 50 before the Jewish ceremony. They chose a beautiful venue here in the city and got ready at a boutique hotel just down the road (Hotel Rouge).

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They saw each other before the wedding so we could take photos at the National Portrait Gallery in downtown DC, which in my opinion is the prettiest museum in town.

intimate DC winter wedding at Carnegie Insitute for Science

Click inside for the rest of Sara & Kiran’s intimate Washington DC wedding at the Carnegie Institute for Science.

Cait & Bill’s Chilly Washington, DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

An adorable Washington DC engagement session this afternoon thanks to one of our FABULOUS sponsors, Stephen Gosling Photography!! Cait & Bill (today’s adorable couple) actually found Stephen thanks to Capitol Romance (aka me!) so I love the way this has come full circle for me to now be able to feature their DC engagement pictures! Oh the power of the interwebs.

Cait & Bill’s Adorable, Washington DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

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Vendors

Photographer: Stephen Gosling Photography | Coasters: Cheers – Sugar Paper LA | Custom – Paper Source | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

washington dc engagement pictures in georgetown

How They Met:

Bill and Cait met on American University’s quad one spring evening in 2006 when a four square game (or box ball, nothing to do with the app) broke out in front of Mary Graydon Center. When four square became a nightly endeavor, we quickly started talking in the hours outside of court time. After developing a friendship, months later, one thing led to another (as these things tend to do). While the two were chatting over AIM, Cait asked the seemingly innocent question, “What am I going to do with you?” The next thing she knew, Bill was at her doorstep with a kiss and the two have been together ever since.

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Click inside for the rest of Cait & Bill’s Georgetown engagement pictures & love story ~ including the proposal and a look at Cait’s STUNNER of an engagement ring!

Giveaway: Custom Wedding Brand & Invitation Suite Design by Ribbon & Ink

It’s Monday. We lost an hour of sleep and I feel like I have exactly one million things to do before I head to NJ on Thursday for a bachelorette party. So why not start this week off with a BANG ~ in the form of a monster giveaway for all you engaged people out there! One of our favorite vendors, Ribbon & Ink, has recently rebranded and updated their website to include a new shop that will sell pre-made (but customizable) wedding invitations!

In order to help Ribbon & Ink celebrate, we are hosting a giveaway of a custom wedding brand & invitation suite design ~ a whopping $400 value! Scroll down for SO MUCH more…

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First, a little bit more about Ribbon & Ink:

Ribbon and Ink by Katie Durski is a full service design boutique serving both brides and grooms and event planners. We work directly with clients to create a brand for their event. What does that mean? Well, a brand is the visual identity for your big day. It includes us creating a logo for your event as well as using coordinating fonts and colors to create customized invitations and other printed products. By having a brand for your event you ensure that everything will match and be coordinated for all aspects of that day. You can use the brand board we create to give to florists, photographers, your event planner, and any other vendor so that they can have a clear visual reference for your event

Second, a little bit more about the giveaway:

You will get a brand board that has a full logo, monogram logo, color palette, and patterns customized to your wedding. Katie will then create an invitation, save the date, and RSVP card for you, using those items. Printing will be on you – but Katie will help you through that process (either to print the items for you at cost, or by giving you PDFs of your custom designs so you can print yourself!)

Click inside for some AWESOME examples of Katie’s work AND to enter to win a custom wedding brand & invitation suite design!

Announcements, Links & Other Fun Things for Today

Kicking off this Friday with a few announcements, followed by a STUNNING gothic bridal portrait session, later this morning. Then I am mostly hiberating (aka ignoring Twitter) to tackle the inbox I neglected yesterday and get to work on some new projects I have in the works for 2014.

FIRST – Our amazing Stella & Dot giveaway with Liz ended Wednesday. We are PUMPED to announce our winner:

Kate G!

Thanks to everyone that entered – it was a hugely entered giveaway! (I mean that necklace was GORGEOUS!). And don’t forget that Liz was offering FREE shipping on orders over $25 for anyone that entered the giveaway (valid for the rest of March 2014). Details are back on the original giveaway post. Feel free to contact Liz as well,  for other fun opportunities to see and earn free jewelry!

SECOND – In case you haven’t seen all my tweets & instagramming, tonight is the Grand ReOpening Party for one of our favorite vendors, Typecase Industries! Check out the event details here and I hope to see you there!

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THIRD – We are really REALLY excited to announce two upcoming partnerships for 2014. We will be working with The Ulysses Room to host a series of DIY Wedding Workshops (!!!) so much more coming on this soon. And we will also be working with Pop Wed Co. & the DC MEET Market to co-host a SUPER rad event (#PopUpRomance) during the Pride Festival in June. Also more to come on this too – but we are too excited to not at least share the news that these things are HAPPENING.

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We are looking for SPONSORS for the workshops – so please email me if you might be interested in collaborating!

Happy Friday Romancers!

 

Capitol Inspiration: Gothic Bridal Portraits & Inspiration at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum

I always love a submission from IYQ Photography – they are always so rich, brooding, and DIFFERENT. Today’s wedding inspiration post is no different, this time featuring some bridal portraits and wedding details from a vow renewal. The bride renewed her vows with her husband and featured some awesome vendors to create a gorgeous, dark & slightly gothic bridal portrait session. Check out all the amazing vendors below!

A Gothic Bridal Portrait Session at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum

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Vendors:

Photographer:  IYQ Photography | Makeup Artist: Beauty by Ayonna | Venue: Edgar Allen Poe Museum | Hair Stylist: LaWalta’s Hair Design | Hats & Fascinators: Two Back Flats | Black Wedding Cake: Sweets & Soirees | Custom Black Wedding Gown: Christi Bell Owen of Sacre Noir AtelierSubmitted via Two Bright Lights

dark black wedding invitation suite

From IYQ Photography:

Mary Alice renewed her vows this past fall with her husband Andrew in a customed gown designed and created by Christi Bell Owen of Sacre Noir Atelier. For her bridal session, we brought on a few vendors to showcase their incredible talents in addition to creating a fun beautiful shoot that was gorgeous, dark, a little broody and sophisticated-sexy.

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SMOKIN! Thanks to IYQ Phtoography for sharing this gorgeous, dark & beautiful gothic bridal portrait session!

Let’s Get Personal: 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started This Blog

Last week on Twitter I saw Lacie from A Thousand Threads post this article: 5 things I wish I knew when I started blogging. I told her on Twitter what a great post it was – and she urged me to do my own. So here I am, attempting to sum up SO MANY THINGS that I have learned since starting Capitol Romance in 2011. I’ll try to stick to just 5, and keep it to the biggies – things that I wish I had known (not necessarily all the things I’ve learned).

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started This Wedding Blog

offbeat dc wedding blog

1. Step Away From the Computer

I think the #1 thing I wish I had known and done sooner, was engage with the wedding community and its vendors. I hid behind my computer for way too long, opting to reach out to people via email or other more impersonal channels. It wasn’t until I did my first wedding show, and then starting actually meeting vendors IN PERSON through laid-back channels, that my business was really able to grow. I wish I had reached out to people and engaged in person, sooner.

2. You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

My very first WordPress template makes me cringe – it was so, so bad. It was also F-R-double-E, free. This isn’t an earth-shattering piece of advice (it’s actually a very common, famous one) but I wish I had realized this sooner. I wish I had pumped some money into things like a logo, a decent WordPress template, and some other add-ons for my site. First impressions are everything after all, and I am sure I lost vendors and readers early on with my embarrassingly bad (free) logo and template. The only excuse I’ll give myself is that I never really dreamed back in 2011 that CapRo would be a real business – it was a hobby first.

3. Just Say No

It’s OK to say ‘No’. This is a lesson I am STILL trying to exercise. When I started, I was young and naive – I was shocked when anyone read my blog, let alone, sent content to me to share. Looking back, I should have said no to crappy content (bad images, content that didn’t fit my brand). No content would have been better than crappy content.

4. How Much Time Blogging Takes

Back to that young and naive – sometimes I wish I had known just how much TIME running a blog takes. Not that it might have caused me to do anything differently, but man was I unprepared for the total time commitment that is, running a wedding blog.

5. Join Twitter ASAP

I fought Twitter for way too long. Looking back – I don’t even really know why (other than the inane “I don’t know how to use it”). I wrote a blog post on this a while ago, but it’s still something I wish I had done sooner. I wish I had known just how valuable this social media tool could be. Always makes me wonder if I could have been further along in my business than I am right now.

Your turn – what have you learned since you started your business?

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a Bowtie from a Fabric Napkin

We’re back with Ribbons & Bluebirds and Part 2 of our DIY Tutorial series – 1 Napkin, 3 DIY Projects (Part 1: How to make a DIY bouquet wrap is here). Today we are bringing the second project – how to make a DIY bowtie! If you’ll remember, first you need to cut your initial fabric napkin like so:

DIY fabric napkin tutorials how to

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a DIY Fabric Bowtie

These bowties are SUPER easy, fun to make, and look sharp! I love how choosing different fabrics totally changes the feel of the bowtie, but they all start with the same formula.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 fabric napkin, at least 16×16” square
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Hot glue gun (low heat if you’re like me and end up touching the glue a lot!)

DIY bowtie tutorial

Directions:

Step 1. Cut a rectangle of fabric for your bowtie: standard bowties want a rectangle 4.5 x9”, but you can use any dimensions you want as long as you keep the ratio of width to height 1:2. For my larger bowtie (so you can see it when my super furry dog is wearing it) I went with a 6.5×13” rectangle.

*When you’re cutting the napkin up, save the hemmed edges to use as the center wrap (or be prepared to do some extra ironing with scrap fabric.)

Step 2. Start by folding your napkin length-wise, so that the outside edges will meet in the center. This means your folds are at the ¼ marks in from each edge – for a standard bowtie, this means 1 1/8” in from the edges. Iron those folds nice and flat.

Then do the same thing in the short direction – fold the edges inwards so they meet in the center. For a standard bowtie, this means you’re folding at 2 1/4” from the edges. Iron these folds flat too.

Step 3. Now comes the glue-up! I like to pre-pinch the bowtie, to get the fabric used to folding the right way before I add hot glue since you need to work fast for maximum stickiness. Once you’ve got a shape you like, start by adding two lines of glue in the center of the back, and pinch the middle of the bowtie while it dries. Then, glue each top flap down (glue goes on the front.) When you’re finished this step, the bowtie should hold its shape even when you put it down.

Step 4. To finish, glue one end of your saved hemmed edge (or a ribbon, or a piece of scrap that you’ve ironed the raw edges inward…or whatever you want!) onto the back of the tie. Wrap it around the front, back to the back, trim, and glue the end in place. If you want to make a loop (like if you bowtie is for a dog collar) then instead of trimming, wrap your finishing fabric around one more time, and glue on the underside.

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You’re all done! If you wanted this bowtie to have a clip, you can glue one right onto the back with your hot glue so it’s ready to wear.

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Wasn’t that EASY?! A perfect way to match your bouquet to your four-legged friend! Especially if he or she is going to be a part of your wedding day. A special thanks again to Ribbons & Bluebirds for sharing yet another, super awesome DIY tutorial with us!

Need Help Making DIY Projects for Your Wedding? Attend Our Workshops!