Grace & Tolu’s Fall, Backyard Wedding in Maryland

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Images: L.A. Birdie Photography

Having a day off is sort of a double edge sword. I loved the extra day to work on the #CapRoShop, catch up on some rest, and generally not be thinking about my day job, but now it’s already Wednesday and I feel SO BEHIND for the week. I just can’t win! Today’s real Maryland wedding is a stunner though – gorgeous couple, with such a sweet love story, and an adorable DIY backyard wedding full of love & music (something they share in common as they both work in the music industry in NYC). Grace, the bride, also hand-drew all the signs — lots of insight from the couple for this real wedding today. Enjoy.

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[We met] at a winter getaway camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania when we were 16.

Tolu got together family and a slew of friends to participate in a music performance video of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”. 5 years before, Tolu had surprised Grace at her high school with a barbershop rendition of the same song, after which he asked her to prom. Each person recorded themselves singing the song from wherever they were and Tolu cut the different performances into a film complete with his own performance and music composition.

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In place of traditional elements like tying the cord, breaking the glass, or pouring sand, we decided to write our own tradition because there was only so much we could connect to the usual. We are both avid music lovers as well as music professionals so we wrote a piece for the ceremony called the Chord Accord. In this piece, we used the symbolism of a chord (accompanied by a live performance of a piano piece that Tolu wrote followed the narration) to depict how we came together in love and life. And then the piano piece segued into music for the procession out.

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We made it a point to involve as many friends and family as we could in the ceremony. Because we work in music and a lot of our friends are musicians, we used that to our advantage. Guests arrived arrived to the sound of our friends playing the piano and guitar to set the mood. One of them, the guitarist, played the music that Grace walked down the aisle to. We had a college friend of each of us come together to sing an arrangement of a song special to us, in which Tolu did a surprise performance ( In fact, it was a complete surprise to Grace the choice of song. Tolu had rehearsed in secret with the duo.) We had Tolu’s sister read a poem. Then have another friend, a pianist, accompany the Chord Accord. It was chock full of guest appearances

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Pam & Tom’s Kennedy Center Engagement Pictures in Washington DC

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Images: Kir2Ben Photography

Happy Tuesday Romancers. Somehow I survived the BIGGEST wedding of my life this past weekend and am still alive to tell the tale. Two weeks ago my bride texted me to tell me their venue was being shut down immediately due to mold … and so began the most insane two weeks of my couples’ lives. Finding a new venue, notifying guests, signing new contracts, hiring new vendors … and the list went on. Somehow it went off with only a few hitches and I cannot wait to see the images Documentary Associates captured, because it was downright stunning.

Yesterday I spent the morning trying to put the finishing touches on the brand new #CapRoShop – and with help from Alesha, Kara & Lauren Louise Photography, we are targeting a November 1st launch!!! We’ll be doing a week of giveaways to celebrate and our CapRoNewsblast subscribers will be the first to know. But anyway, for today I have a darling engagement session taken at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. SO much laughter and happiness on these two (which I could totally use after that insane debate Sunday night). Here’s hoping the rest of this (short) week goes well for you all!

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From the photographer:

It is strange how some people come into your life. I met Pam and Tom in a very nontraditional way. Most of my brides find me through word of mouth, mutual acquaintances or Instagram. When a parent of a student I teach mentioned that her friend was getting married, I felt it was bizarre fate that my two businesses would collide. Going into our engagement session, I didn’t know what to expect! I had most of my conversations with Pam prior to setting up the session. She seemed extremely laid back concerning wedding photos: no bridesmaids, no getting ready pictures, a small window for bride and groom portraits.

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I was surprised that she would want the complimentary engagement session at all but, oh man, am I glad she did! Our sunset session was amazing. Truth be told, I didn’t even suggest the location! Pam’s father works closely with the Kennedy Center and Tom thought it would be the perfect place for photos. He was right! The view was spectacular and there were very few people on the roof because sunset was right smack in the middle of a show. How lucky were we!? Not only was the location perfect but this couple was heaps of fun! They were complete champs with posing but also got creative with some moves of their own. When I told them to “practice their first dance” this was the move the duo busted out! I can’t wait to capture their actual first dance this October.

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Real Wedding Planning Advice: Don’t Call it an STD

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Kelsey, our bride-to-be guest blogger is back today sharing her thoughts on the Save the Date (and to please not call it a STD — though I do…sorry Kelsey!). Take it away girl!

You’re getting married. You know that. Your close friends, coworkers, and every member of your family that your mother made you call immediately knows that. You’ve also picked a place and a date, so now you have to tell people. Enter the save the date.

Create your pinterest board, scour the Internet for your favorites, and get all of your options in front of you. Then back up and take a breath and remember that before you can buy on these babies you need a guest list. Yeah. Crap.

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I’m sure you (or maybe your parents) have a general number in mind, but when it comes to actually spreadsheeting it, things can get cut throat. Get yourself a bottle of wine and clear an evening. Here’s what we did: asked both sets of parents for their list by a certain date. We gave no indication of how many people could be on the list – just send us a list. Then we put together our own list of friends. Finally we combined all three lists and started to cry got to work.

We scheduled a google hangout with each set of parents so we could see their shining faces and also share our screen. Not pictured in the screen share? The bottle of wine we were drinking. Remember to breathe, and remember that for whatever reason your dad’s first coworker who you’ve never met may have to come to the biggest day of your life. It’s going to be fine. Think of the presents.

I’m not going to give advice for this portion of the planning because every family is different. What I will say is: pick your battles. There will be a bajillion decisions to make after this is decided, and is it really going to ruin your day to have your second cousin there?

Ok. Back to the good stuff. Fun fact: wedding boards and brides call save the dates STDs. Seriously. That is the acceptable acronym. Don’t be that bride. It takes 1% more effort to spell it out instead of using STD.

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There are so many other options than your standard magnet. What’s the wedding vibe? Boho, formal, garden party, other? Use that to guide your selection. Did you do an engagement photo shoot? Use some of those lovely photos! Want something a little quirkier? Try a flow chart or have some fun with the font. This is a piece that’s going to live on everyone’s fridge for months so pick something you love.

There are some fantastic online vendors. Paperless Post now does printed pieces, Etsy has amazingly unique handmade options, and at Minted you can pick a save the date that will match your invitation! The important thing to remember is that there is no wrong choice.

Kim & Brent’s Colorful, Casual & Playful Annapolis Anniversary Session

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Images: Love & Luck Photography

Monday. UGH Monday. This week is hitting me hard you guys. I haven’t recovered from my wedding on Saturday (thanks to some early wake ups courtesy of Miss E), have two crazy big (and EARLY) meetings at work this week, AND am gearing up for another big wedding this weekend. Ain’t no rest for the weary … On the blog today we have a gorgeous anniversary session and some marriage advice from the couple. This post is the nice sunny spot on this otherwise cloudy day that I wish I could spend entirely in bed. Til next time.

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We’ve been living together for quite a while now and the best thing is realizing we’ll never grow tired of each other and I love having my best friend there every morning when I wake up.

The hardest thing to learn after getting married/being together: Closet space.

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Any advice to couples that are getting married/in new relationships?

For those getting married, love isn’t always the tree sometimes it’s the fruit of the labor. Loving and caring for somebody every day is key for building the healthiest relationship.

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Any wedding day regrets?

Honestly it was the best day of our live. We can’t really think of anything we regret but if we could change one thing it would have been more time for dancing.

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If you got married again, would you do anything differently?

Nothing. We had a great team of vendors who we trusted completely and we’re so glad we didn’t skimp on who we hired because they had the most influence on our big day.

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Tim & Marie’s Washington, DC Tour Bus Wedding

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Images: Jonna Michelle Photography

Happy Friday Romancers!! I’m not going to lie, I don’t hate this cloudy COOL weather day. It feels like FALL and that makes me happy! I have the CUTEST offbeat DC wedding to share today – a literal Tour Bus Wedding, AND I am hosting the We The People DC Instagram handle. I’m also gearing up for the next three weekends of WEDDINGS. I’m working the next two, but a guest at the third. Hello October :)

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The couple only recently moved to D.C. Instead of holding their wedding where they’re from in the Midwest, they rented a tour bus and turned their wedding into a vacation for 55 close friends and family! They then held a reception at Logan Tavern near Logan Circle. The best part? Their two standard poodles came along for the whole thing!

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Zoey and Indy, the poodles, are very important to the bride and groom, which is why you see so many photos of them. There are also photos of the homemade ice cream the groom made as a treat for all of his guests.

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Introducing: Basic Invite ~ Customizable Online Wedding Invites, Save the Dates & More

*sponsored post*

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Images: Basic Invite

Back when I was planning my wedding, the invitation scene was glum. There were no online options and the designers I knew of made invites/styles that did not fit our wedding’s aesthetic. We were set on making them ourselves, but MAN I wish there were options like the ones that exist today! We had to piece-meal ours together with invites from one source, colorful envelopes from another, card stock from a third, and then DIYed some ribbon on top. This took work – and TIME, time I know not every couple has. So enter Basic Invite.

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Basic Invite is an online shop where couples can beautifully customize their wedding invitations, save the dates, wedding shower invitations, birth announcements, and more! What really got me about this company though was the number of color options available – over 160 different colors. Basic Invite calls is “almost unlimited” and it’s true – once you select a design from their site, you can change the color of each element on the cards (with instant previews online to see how it looks), which gives you much more of a custom feel.

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If you’ve seen my house you know I LOVE color, and our wedding was no exception as we used hot pink throughout our design and decor. Finding the right shade of hot pink from all the different places we sourced was a challenge though (the pink envelopes were more raspberry and the font on the invites was more fuchsia). It would have been awesome to have something like Basic Invite around back then where I could have designed my whole suite with the same shade of pink.

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The envelopes are just as colorful too – with over 40 color options there. And the peel and seal closings help save your tongues from having to lick 50+ envelopes shut.

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Basic Invite provides custom samples for their customers – which allows you to print 1 invitation set before you have to print 200. That way you can see exactly how the invitation suite will come together, before you place that larger order! Their “Love It Guarantee” also ensures you won’t be left with hundreds of incorrect or poorly printed invites. I’ve printed Holiday cards at other big box printing places before and had issues with random smudges and streaks through some of the cards — not cool.

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With over 200 wedding invite sets to chose from, you are sure to find one that matches the vibe & design of your wedding. And the sets include EVERYTHING: invites, enclosure cards, even menus and programs, all keeping your wedding paper products consistent.

While you know we love our local DC designers, it’s nice to have online options too and if not for your wedding invitations, I’ll certainly be checking them out for future birthday & life even announcements. You can find them on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter too! Hopefully you guys found this as useful as I did!

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*this is a sponsored post. this vendor paid to have this content shared on our blog, however, it was verified that this event was confirmed to meet our requirements and mission*

Grace and Brian’s Casual, DC Neighborhood Engagement Pictures

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Images: Sarah Gormley Photography

Fall weather is officially here in Washington, DC and I couldn’t be happier. The air conditioning is off, and the boots are out. I can’t wait to rock my scarves and knit hats SO SOON. We had a really nice weekend in DC, biking down to (attempt to see) the opening of the African American History Museum (we did get to see Obama’s motorcade drive by literally in front of us … and then we saw Oprah!), watching some (miserable) football games (dammit Penn State & Giants), and spending time with family & friends. We’ve got plans for a jam packed week on the blog this week though, so here’s hoping I can stick to my calendar and get it all blogged for you guys!

We’re kicking off the week with a super sweet DC engagement session from one of my favs, Sarah Gormley Photography. These two kids dated briefly in high school but broke up after they drifted apart on separate paths … fast forward a few years and they both landed in Washington, DC and ended up being invited to the same evening out by mutual friends. I just LOVE the coincidence in this love story and the DC neighborhood engagement pictures are just AWESOME. Enjoy!

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We were actually both born in Washington, DC and then mainly grew up in the District and in Montgomery County. We ended up in the same high school magnet program in Montgomery County. We dated in high school throughout a summer (during which we exchanged actual handwritten letters–these were pre-text days) but drifted apart. Brian was very caught up in football, and I was a school newspaper nerd. We then both went on to different colleges and drifted apart.

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Funnily enough, we both moved back to DC at nearly exactly the same time after college. Brian had been in Teach For America and I had been in the Peace Corps. A mutual friend asked each of us separately if we’d like to go to Ethiopian and we both (separately!) gave an enthusiastic YES since we each had missed DC’s strong Ethiopian game while we were away. It was a total surprise when we saw each other again, and I believe I was even wearing a sweatshirt with huge holes in it because I had given away all of my clothes upon finishing Peace Corps. Super attractive! I was not planning on meeting my future husband that night.

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We had an unusually great time catching up and within the week, we had our first date. At the same time, we were both waiting for acceptances to post-grad schools, so we had a fun spring of running around to different campuses all over the East Coast. In the end, we chose to stay in DC (he to Georgetown Law and me to Johns Hopkins).

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After almost exactly two years together, we went to Istanbul for a long weekend. I had lived in Turkey before and Brian told me that he just wanted to experience it while we had a brief break in our studies. It turned out that he had actually been plotting for months about this supposed “spontaneous” trip. He proposed on our balcony with a ring that I had said months before that I really liked. I was pretty shocked. He had to ask me twice to marry him because I was so confused (and jetlagged). It was pretty wonderful! I believe we each gained 5 pounds on that trip from all the chocolate souffle we ate in celebration.

So now we’re getting married this coming October in DC!

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Introducing {Un}convention – A Must Attend Event for Wedding Disrupters

Sunday, November 13th | {Un}convention | Quirk Hotel in Richmond, VA

View More: http://bettyclicker.pass.us/unconvention-bk

Happy Friday Romancers! This one felt especially long and I am not only looking forward to a (hopefully) relaxing weekend but some actual FALL TEMPS! Today on the blog we are sharing the details on an a REALLY RAD event for wedding professionals, {un}convention. It’s a jam-packed day full of strengthening your business and the progressive wedding community, including professional headshots all for $150!

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As the website shares (register there!), {un}convention is a place to grow your brand and find new friends: {un}convention returns home to Richmond for this jam-packed day of community building with industry leaders, a fashion show, brand critiques, professional headshots, a collaborative styled shoot, and one stellar cocktail party. It’s like a conference, only better.

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{un}convention is for…

-Wedding professionals who crave more from our industry: more diversity, more inclusion, more dialogue, more meaningful media, and more real emotions.

-Photographers who want to improve their portfolios by participating in a live shoot with a rad couple, while also growing their business by exchanging ideas with fellow photographers.

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-Entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to refresh and grow their companies through one-on-one critiques and meeting with the Catalyst Team for advice on how to get their work seen.

-New business owners who don’t know where to start but know that getting professional headshots and meeting website designers and brand strategists who share their progressive sensibilities will absolutely help.

Our event is limited to 50 attendees to ensure a relaxed environment where we can all build real connections and collaborations.

View More: http://bettyclicker.pass.us/unconvention-sf

For the schedule & list of speakers, check out the website!

 

{un}convention RVA 2014: photos by Betty Clicker except for group photo, Carly Romeo & Co.)

Bride to Be Guest Blogger Kelsey: The 1st Thing You Need to Do When You Start Planning a Wedding

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Kelsey is back for more guest blogging as she plans her wedding! Check out her post today about picking your wedding venue and the FIRST THING you need to do when planning a wedding!

The first thing that you need to do when you start wedding planning is panic. Go ahead. Take a moment or two, let it out. I have the time, just look at this picture of my dog.

I know! Norman is the best. Ok, are we back? Awesome. Welcome back. The important thing to know is that it’s going to be fine and even after all of your spreadsheets you’re going to be married at the end of this, and that is what matters.

Now, first things first. The where. You know that what – marriage. You know the who – your fiancé. You know the when – well, if you don’t you will really soon. So that where. You may get pulled in 16 different directions in attempting to answer this question.  Family, friends, Sandals resorts, or all of the above may sway you. Whatever your reasoning, make sure you’re happy. For us, it was DC. Weirdly we both grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania.

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But we met as semi-adults in DC at The George Washington University and the rest is history. We grew into who the pretty fantastic people we are today in DC, it’s where we paid our first rent check, and took our first Uber, it’s home. Once we knew DC was the place, we had to pick the actual where.

Now things get tricky. Know what you want. But more importantly, know what you don’t want. Things I did not want: a hotel ballroom, Virginia, and that’s about it. Sorry Virginia. I’m not sorry. Ruling out a hotel actually helped a lot. It left us with museums, historical places, parks, and some random restaurants.

Now, what kind of vibe do you want for your wedding? Is it modern, shabby chic, formal, rustic, or something in between? Let that guide your venue selection. Look at their website, then instagram the venue. How does it make you feel? For me, this process was more emotional than the wedding dress fitting (more on that later). When I walked into the venue I wanted a certain feeling. Like, remember when you visited colleges and everyone told you to ‘go with your gut’ and you were all, ‘what does that even mean?’ Do that here. Visit your top five venues. Talk with the event person. Ask them a ton of questions.

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What are the reception layout options? How many people does this space hold for dinner and dancing? What time do we have to be out of the space? What time can we load in? Is there an extra charge for the load in? What’s your favorite color? Do you have vendor restrictions? Can I have a confetti cannon, if so how many? Twelve max? Book it.

What I am trying to say is when you walk into your venue I want you to feel comfortable, wow, and happily ever after. Imagine your first dance, imagine your tipsy Aunt Peg, and imagine your pictures. This place is it. It’s the foundation for the rest of your planning. It’s like the very best dough for the best pizza ever. And this pizza is your wedding.

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Ok, ok I’ll tell you. I picked the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It had the formal wow factor that I was looking for. I want drama and glamour. This venue did that and more. Now I just need to bring in everything else, because fun fact about museums, they don’t have chairs and tables and silverware, because they’re a museum.

Rad Things For Your Big Day & Life Together Go Shopping!