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!

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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

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[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 :)

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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.

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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?

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[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!

LINK LOVE:

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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Kayte & Luke’s Brightly Colored, DIY Newton House Mansion Wedding in Maryland

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[Images: Liz Fogarty Photography]

I loved the way you could totally feel this couple’s personality from their wedding images. From the bright orange, pink, and yellow color palette, to all the DIY projects – it was no wonder that this Maryland wedding totally rocked, with the bride being a SUPER talented musician. (Check her out!). The wedding has a slight bohemian meets Rock N Roll vibe and I am pumped to get to share some awesome insight from the couple to go along with their gorgeous wedding images from Liz Fogarty. Enjoy!

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Since we were long distance engaged (I was in MD where we’d be getting married & Luke was in LA), Luke gave me free reign to make a lot of the design choices, although I tried to run things by him whenever I thought he might have a preference :)  We wanted the wedding (which we referred to as ‘the party’) to feel young and colorful and delightful and casual.  We wanted all of our friends and family to have an amazing time. We went with a palate of shades of hot pink, fuchsia and orange for the bridesmaids, navy blue suits on the (12!) groomsmen, and pops of yellow to tie it all together – DIY-ed billy ball bouquets for the girls and (also DIY-ed) boutonnieres for the guys.

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Our invitation photo, which came before all of our wedding design choices, totally encapsulates the feel of the wedding – Luke and I sat on a bench in LA front of a hot pink wall and asked random strangers walking by to snap photos of us with his iPhone.  The very first one was the best and when I was back in Maryland, we designed our invitation together over Skype. When a cousin we’d invited noticed the lack of formal wording and fancy calligraphy on our invitations I was super happy because I knew it felt like “us” … as a couple we’re more “print” than “cursive.”

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The gorgeous grounds and architecture and round reception room with floor to ceiling windows at Newton White Mansion sold us on the venue. I knew the pictures would be gorgeous.  Luckily the rain on our wedding day held off long enough for us to get pictures outside, but by the time the ceremony started it was pouring, so we were glad we decided to move everything into the reception space as our rain plan. Having windows on all sides made us feel like we were outside and in at the same time.

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Kayte’s friend and former band mate Kevin accompanied her on guitar from his seat as she sung to Luke during the ceremony. Luke’s friend Adrian sweet talked a store into opening early and picked up Luke’s tie the morning of the wedding (don’t ask!) and got it to him just in time for the ceremony. Our friend Peter put together amazing playlists of music for before the ceremony, the cocktail hour, eating and dancing.  Luke’s friend Stephen drove all night from Ohio to be at the wedding and pick up the beer in time for the cocktail hour and reception. Our friend Nicole was the crazily organized ring master who was the “Day Of Coordinator” for us.  And our amazing bridal party made sure we had a great time.

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Click inside for more of Kayte & Luke’s adorable DIY Maryland wedding!

Meet the DIY Maven: Jenn from Ribbons & Bluebirds

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If you’ve been reading this blog for longer than today, you’ve seen the plethora of AMAZING DIY tutorials and inspiration pieces that we’ve been lucky to feature from the amazingly talented Jenn of Ribbons & Bluebirds. Jen is hosting our LAST DIY WORKSHOP OF 2014 (this Sunday. Seriously. Don’t miss it!) and we thought it would be fun to do a little “Meet the Maven” interview with Jenn ahead of her workshop. Can’t wait to see you all on Sunday!

View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbdiy

Originally trained as an architect, Jenn specialized in traditional design including hand-drafting and watercolour (and even some furniture.) She has lived in Rome and London for her architectural studies and career, and she worked on some very interesting projects before leaving the field and focusing on her stationery business.

Jenn has been living in the DC area off and on since 1996 (the year she met her husband, on the elementary school playground.) Their family includes two mischievous cats and one handsome dog, and their townhouse is a continual DIY-in-progress.

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How’d you get into graphic design/stationery?
I’ve always been interested in graphic design, and especially paper products, but it really took planning my own wedding before I transitioned from being an admirer to actively pursuing information to take me to the next level. I don’t have a degree in graphic design but I do have one in an art-related field, and I think that gives me my own notions on what a balanced, well designed piece looks like.

When we started wedding planning, I was living in London while my better half was getting his master’s degree here in the DC area. Planning anything was difficult given our lack of overlapping time and the fact that I was having trouble reaching out to vendors from overseas, and I was getting really frustrated not “making progress” – so I threw myself into planning the invitations and the overall design of the wedding. I think I created 8 or 10 totally different design directions before I convinced my dad to help me build my own letterpress, which changed the direction again.

About midway through wedding planning, it became obvious that I really enjoyed working with all this specialty paper, and I decided to transition into a business. For almost three years I ran my stationery company on nights and weekends, after coming home from my architectural job, but early last year I took a chance to transition to working on Ribbons & Bluebirds full time. Now I work on learning and creating every day!

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Where do you find inspiration for your DIY projects?
This is just as hard as you’d think it would be – some days are just not great creative days! But I love brainstorming with other wedding pros and friends and family, and then I save lists of ideas to try out. I would say at least a third of my ideas never make it past the testing phase – either they require specialized equipment or crazy artistic skill, or they flat out don’t work. I spend a lot of time in craft stores, and I often run across cool products that I know I want to try and incorporate somehow. In addition to my own personal inspiration directions, I do try and keep up with trends in the wedding industry and think about how I can bring those (often expensive) looks into a smaller scale or a handmade product.

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Any tips or tricks for those of us that don’t find ourselves particularly crafty?
I joke that I test out my DIY’s on my sister to get a lay-person’s opinion, but the what I honestly believe is that most people have more crafting skills than they think. If you’re really feeling like the projects you’re taking on aren’t working, then look at your results and try and determine what went wrong – are you using different materials that don’t work in the same way as the original, or are you missing a tool that could make a big difference? Make sure you haven’t set yourself up for failure.

If you do feel like you’re not crafty but you’d like to be, then I’d recommend either taking a class or starting with a simple, clear DIY that doesn’t require too much free-hand work. Using a template, or a pattern, really helps set the groundwork for you to be able to follow along, and ultimately create something you’re proud of. Paper Source or other small specialty stores are a great resource for learning about tools, and taking small hands-on workshops (and of course, the last of Bree’s awesome DIY workshops is THIS WEEKEND, hosted by yours truly!)

Starting small and simple and taking baby steps not only builds your confidence (and your tool library) it also starts to improve your coordination and technique as well. But most importantly, don’t stress! Crafting is supposed to be fun, and if it isn’t fun then it’s time to take a break!

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The coolest/best/most rad DIY project you ever finished?
This is hard, because I love almost all my DIYs. An easy answer would be to say my homemade letterpress and my wedding invitations, but I also love the little things I’ve been working on recently and I am especially proud of how my cake toppers are coming along. I think I will say, with total confidence, that my favorite DIY is always right around the corner, waiting for me to get started :)

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Thanks so much Jenn! Now go get your ticket for Sunday’s workshop!

DIY Tutorial: How to Make Paper Holly & Mistletoe Holiday Decorations

View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbmistletoeholly

I’m not quite in the Holiday spirit just yet and I can’t really tell why. Andy & I got our tree this past weekend, and decorated the house, but for some reason I just can’t bring myself to get fully in the holiday spirit/excited for Christmas. Hoping Ribbons & Bluebirds’s amazing DIY tutorial today will help turn things around for me – anyone else got any other suggestions!? For today we have a DIY Paper Holly & Mistletoe tutorial. Take it away Jenn!

View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbholiday2014

DIY Paper Holly & Mistletoe Tutorial

Aaand now it’s December.  I cannot BELIEVE how fast this year has gone by – thanks for sticking with our DIY series!  We’ve got some great ideas to finish out 2014, and Bree and I are both excited for what 2015 will bring in the DIY department – stay tuned ;)

To round out my paper flora, I wanted to create some holiday classics – holly and mistletoe! These little sprigs could be used to brighten up holiday gift tags, in wreaths or banners, or as place card décor… there are endless possibilities! This time I was lucky enough to have my friend Traci of Traci J Brooks Studios along for a little crafting party, so you can get a front row view of each step!

For the holly, you’ll need:

View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbmistletoeholly

·         Holiday leaf template, available here.

·         Green cardstock – I used textured cardstock for the holly and lighter green for the mistletoe, but this is up to your personal preference!

·         X-acto knife

·         Metallic Red Tissue

·         Green tissue (tiny amount)

·         Floral wire lengths

·         Floral tape – I used brown

·         Hot glue gun

Step by Step Instructions:

Step 1: To make the holly, start by downloading the free template here! Next, cut out the leaves on the template, and use them to trace onto your cardstock. Carefully cut out the leaves with your X-acto knife – I used 1 large leaf and 2 small for each holly sprig.

View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbmistletoeholly

Step 2: Once the leaves are cut out, you’ll want to fold them to give them an authentic holly look.  Each leaf should get folded along the length, from top point to bottom point, and then from each of the side points in towards the center fold.  This also makes each point stand out, just like in real holly.

View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbmistletoeholly View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbmistletoeholly

Step 3: While your glue gun is warming up to attach your leaves to wires, you can work on the holly berries.  I was excited to use shiny metallic foil for these berries, since real holly berries are so glossy and luminous in the winter landscape.  To make the berries, cut several sheets of tissue to approximately 2×2” squares.  Start by crumpling up one square, and press it onto the end of 4” of precut floral wire.  Use a second square to wrap around the crumpled piece onto the wire (similar to a lollypop wrapper would be wrapped.)  Holding the wrapped sheet firmly around the wire, carefully wrap use floral tape to secure, starting to wrap just under the “bulb” of the berry and continuing most of the way down the wire.  Remember that floral tape needs to be stretched to release the glue.  It may take a few practice tries to get the berry securely tight to the wire, but you’ll get it! I made 3 berries per holly sprig.

View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbmistletoeholly View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbmistletoeholly View More: http://tracijbrooks.pass.us/rbmistletoeholly

Click inside for the rest of Ribbons & Bluebirds’ DIY Paper Holly & Mistletoe DIY Tutorial!

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