Guest Post: Saying Heck Yes to The Dress ~ How to Pick Your Wedding Dress

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Our favorite bride-to-be guest blogger, Kelsey, is back today sharing her thoughts on picking a wedding dress. We’ve touch on this topic before (thanks to another guest blogger!) but it’s always nice getting multiple perspectives – afterall wedding planning is really not the same for every couple.  Take it away Kelsey!

Saying Heck Yes to the Dress ~ How to Pick Your Wedding Dress | By: Kelsey

Back again to share my fantastic journey of planning a wedding. In going through this whole process, the next question a bride gets after the ‘omg when is the wedding?’ is ‘do you have a dress?’ Personally I think that’s a little sexist, but I also write a blog with the word Barbie in the title so I may not be the best person to dispute this. Anyway, the pressure of finding the perfect dress can be about as stressful as finding your soulmate, but good news for you, you’ve already checked one of those off your list so let me tell you about the other.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this for you, wedding dress shopping is really hard. It is stressful and it is not all champagne and Kleinfeld’s. Unless, of course, you go to Kleinfeld’s in which case, dang girl.


Why is dress shopping so hard? Because after the whole ‘this dress is my destiny’ feeling you may or may not get, you have to decide if that’s what you want to look like for the rest of forever. These pictures last forever. This is not a happy hour Instagram #tbt moment. This is look has to be classic. You want to look back on this dress and react like the image above.

The easiest way to start, rule out what you don’t love and call in the reinforcements. So far in my planning, I have not wanted a lot of help or input from others (because I’m a nasty woman like that), but dresses are a great way to get instant feedback from your friends and family. Think of them as your air tank and wedding dress searching is like scuba diving. Right? Right.

Once you’ve narrowed down what you think you like. Call your [fill in the blank army of strong, powerful women you want to take with you] and book at least two appointments are different salons. [insert image3] Most stores have some pretty great or not so great Yelp reviews so use those to figure out what and where is going to work for you.

Now you’re at the salon. Here’s what you need to do. First, twirl around on that pedestal stage thing for at least eight seconds. Second, touch everything.


Third, find a dress. I recommend trying on a couple of silhouettes even if you’ve ruled them out in your head. What harm can it do? Play dress up for a minute. Also, get comfortable with your sales associate because she’s going to get real up close and personal with you, buttoning, zipping, and clamping you into dresses.


At the end of the day, I tried on 7 dresses. I relied on the gut reactions of my mom and sister, and then I found the dress. I didn’t cry. There were no doves released (as I requested…wth maid of honor). But it was a dress I felt beautiful wearing and a dress that I wanted to get married in.

I won’t bore you with the ‘go with a beachy vibe’ or ‘I want to be able to dance’ information because, you know all that. My comfort requirements were: do I look like Beyoncé and can I sit down in this. Check and check.

So you sign the paperwork and go out to brunch and remember that 4-6 months of waiting is going to be totally worth it.

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DIY Workshop: DIY Makeup Looks with Renata Lynette Makeup


The District Bliss ladies are back with another DIY Workshop for December ~ this time it’s DIY Makeup with Renata Lynette Makeup ! The fun will go down again at West Elm in Logan Circle, this time on December 18th from 10 to 12pm. Get the tips and tricks to create a perfect holiday or New Years Eve look!

Buy Tickets

The DIY Makeup Workshop will include information about skin care (that is tailored towards you), open Q&A session about your makeup with host, Renata Lynette, and time to practice & perfect a personal makeup look, made just for you! The workshop will also include sips & sweets, 15% off all day at West Elm, and loads of fun.


The cost of the workshop ticket includes:

– A gorgeous new look
– Canvas makeup bags
– Travel materials
– Tips and tricks to look your best
– Skincare samples
– The ability to recreate your own beautiful look!
– Discount coupons for wedding-related makeup and hair services, including engagement photos, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and more!


Meet Renata Lynette:

Renata always knew her love for beauty would lead her to a more creative career path. In 2008, after working many years in the financial industry, she decided to take a risk and moved to Washington, DC to pursue makeup artistry full-time.

“It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I had to leave what was comfortable in order to fulfill my craving for freedom of expression. I call it my twenty-something midlife crisis. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Now I’m doing what I love and what excites me.”

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Renata has worked for brands like MAC, NARS, and Laura Mercier. She even got a taste for TV serving as Key Artist on several projects in the Washington, DC area. Everyday she devotes time to learning and perfecting her craft. From blushing brides to board room beauties, Renata has developed and mastered the art of creating natural, clean makeup women can feel confident in.


For more information visit the official website. Hope to see you on the 18th!

Rob & Mariah’s Intimate Meridian Hill Park Wedding Ceremony & Private Reception


Images: Stephen Gosling Photography

Rob & Mariah are back on the blog (their DC engagement session here) today for their gorgeous intimate wedding. They held a darling Jewish ceremony in Meridian Hill Park and celebrated with a music-themed wedding reception at a private home. Check out all the details below ~ beautifully coordinated by Tara with The Plannery.


For the ceremony, Mariah and Rob chose Meridian Hill Park in Washington. DC.  This historic park sits only three block’s from the couple’s condominium, located in DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. It is a formal, structured park with multiple terraces, gardens, and fountains, all enclosed within a brick-walled perimeter.

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The National Park Service administers the park, and only permits small gatherings and prohibits seating. So Mariah and Rob organized a flash mob wedding, with guests arriving via pedi-cab, a wedding canopy quickly assembled, and music played from a portable PA helmed by DC radio personality Alvin Jones, aka “The Unseen VJ.”  Rob’s dad, a retired NJ judge, performed the ceremony, which featured the couple’s originally-penned vows and a replica of The Dude’s rug from The Big Lebowski. (It tied the park together!).  Mariah’s mom, Karen Luft, and her cousin, Karen Brown, accompanied her down the improvised aisle to the tune of “Don’t Fence Me In.”

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Steve Earle’s “Galway Girl” provided the soundtrack as the couple emerged from the ceremony as husband and wife.


Mel & Matt’s Renwick Gallery Engagement Pictures in Washington, DC


Images: Ash Carr

I was hoping I would be feeling better after a weekend with family, and though I am crying less each day, I won’t pretend to be miraculously OK. I am not ready to be done processing what happened in our nation last week and I am not sure I will ever be able to be silent about the horrible acts of hate that are now becoming a daily occurrence in our country – one even occurring in our home (a church in Silver Spring). However, I will try my hardest to keep the hatred off this space and instead try to get back to more regular blogging of real people, and their very real love. Because if there is one thing our country could really use right now, it’s love.

Today we have a gorgeous engagement session from talented photographer Ash Carr. Mel & Matt are fortunately clients’ of ours (Kara will be rocking their wedding this weekend!) and they took their engagement pictures at the Renwick Gallery in DC before the amazing exhibit closed. Loving their session and love story today – hoping it’s a distraction from everything else going on out there <3

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Matt and I met at a birthday party for a mutual friend. We hit it off! I thought Matt was the cutest dude ever, and since we are both very creative people we were also blown away that we both shared a love for some of the same obscure artists. We seemed to have a lot in common, but the timing wasn’t quite right.

We ended up becoming friends on Facebook, and would both later admit to Facebook stalking one another throughout the years. And even though we never saw each other in person again for a while, we were able to get to know each other a little more through this, and really see how much we had in common, which was quite a bit!

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Three years later, the same mutual friend had another birthday party, which gave us a second chance to hit it off again. And we did. And this time the timing was perfect! A week after the birthday party, we had the best first date ever, of all time, possibly in the entire history of first dates. Well, at least for us!


A year after our first date, we moved in together. Less than two years after that we decided to purchase our first home together, one we planned to renovate. We both became crazy obsessed with planning the design of our new kitchen and spent a whole day planning out every detail, all the way down to designating a drawer or cabinet for every single kitchen item we have! Just the sort of thing we both love to do. We had stayed up super late planning, and were finally in bed. We lay there talking about how fun it was to plan our new home and life together and how only the two of us would be this crazy over planning a kitchen, and how we loved each other for it. Matt got up to get something, and when he came back he opened up a little box with a ring inside and proposed to me! And I said “Yes!”. It was a perfect moment just for us.


Let’s Get Personal: I Won’t Give Up, I Won’t Give In


Any time something major happens in our country or our world, I always struggle to get back to the standard “wedding blogging” routine. These events feel huge and they consume me. This election somehow feels like one of the strongest.

Maybe it’s because the election outcome seems to be one of the most personal. Hurricane Sandy affected my parents and their neighborhood, mass shootings always gut me & leave me feeling hopeless (and then angry), other tragedies take place daily, but none of these have affected me personally (and I thank goodness for that). But this election feels different. I tried to find a way yesterday to compare the feelings I am feeling. I have yet to find an appropriate comparison. This one is new. This one is incomparable. I think it has something to do with the shock.

I think I experienced all stages of grief at the same time yesterday. And I think a good part of me is still in disbelief. I am still trying to sort out my feelings, my thoughts, my plan for action. Because if anything good comes of this, it needs to be the action. We have so much work to do. As women, as white people, as a divided nation, as anger & fear seem to be crushing kindness and community.

I’ve read more articles, tweets, Facebook posts and text messages these last 24+ hours than I care to admit. The three themes that have stuck with me the most are these:

  • It’s absolutely OK to grieve
  • Every woman I know is just SO tired
  • It’s time to get to work

So let’s start with the first: grieving. I can’t remember the last time I cried this much. And no, I am not speaking in hyperbole here (as I so often love to do). I am sure the 3 hours of sleep isn’t helping, but it’s been a nonstop tearfest over here since 11:30pm on election night when shit started to get dire. Almost everything sets me off into another fit. Loving texts from my amazing sisters. Seeing my husband for the first time since the results were confirmed. My boss showing me his muslim-american brother’s facebook post. Thinking of all my LGBT friends and clients. Writing this post.

I am grieving. I am sad. I am not (currently) OK. And that is OK. I don’t have to be strong today, I don’t have to be strong tomorrow. It is 150% OK to be sad right now. There will be plenty of time to fight after the grieving process is over.

Second: I’m exhausted. Leading up to the election I wasn’t my best self. I was moody, I was low energy, I wasn’t being a great partner to my husband – and any time he asked what was wrong, I couldn’t explain other than saying, I am just SO tired. I am tired of proving myself as a female in a male-dominated tech project at my day job. I am tired of fighting the men who tell me sexism wasn’t at play in this election. I am tired of trying to understand how women could vote for a man that wants to take away their rights, and has no plan to ensure we are paid fairly. I am tired of fighting all the damn time, to only continue to see the rich, smug, privileged, white guy win.

So that leads to the third. It’s time to get to work. After I cry (and get some sleep) until I literally can’t anymore. Action. Doing. Leading. It’s what we as women have always done, and as a woman, what I will try to continue to do. More donating (Planned Parenthood & Human Rights Campaign come to mind), more supporting of women-owned businesses (Stitch & Rivet, Handmade Habitat, Denada Design, Rachel Pfeffer Jewelry … I’m coming for you), more kindness, more supporting couples & clients of any race, religion, or sexual orientation, more love.

So after I stop crying, find time to rest & catch up from the exhaustion, I plan to get to work. Love will always trump hate, we are indeed stronger together, and I plan on being the nastiest woman possible for as long as I can. Expect more donations, more proceeds from the shop going to good causes, more posts here that spread love, and more volunteering.

I see you racism, sexism & bigotry and I won’t give up or give in.

Guest Post: How to Pick Your Wedding Band from Bride to Be, Kelsey

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Ken Pak Photography

We’ve got our bride-to-be guest blogger Kelsey back today to talk about picking her wedding band! Take it away Kelsey.

How to Pick Your Wedding Band | By Kelsey

As you may remember from my first post, the three most important things to me at my wedding are: venue, food, and band. We’ve talked venue, we’ll get to food, but today we’re talking music. I am marrying a music lover. His taste is eclectic in that his top 25 played songs include Beyoncé, The Pointer Sisters, and Hall & Oates. I knew the music had to be perfect, and in my mind I had pictured that perfect music coming from a live band.

Fun fact: I looked into how much Earth, Wind, and Fire costs. Turns out, they’re not in my budget. But that gives you a sense of the vibe I am hoping to pull off.



I wanted a band that will keep my guests dancing all night. Like I can’t feel my feet in these shoes any more, all night. Like this:



So I started googling. I made a spreadsheet. Shocker. I read reviews, watched videos, and narrowed it down to my top five bands. Then I scheduled a date night in, we got some wine and we watched the top five on the tv. My best advice for this type of evening is to put a time limit on it, because there is only so many times you can listen to renditions of Uptown Funk before you want to elope. We narrowed our choices to three bands and called it a night.

I emailed those bands to make sure they were available and to get additional details about fees and costs. For instance, some bands bring their own sound system, some do not. Some bands require you to have a stage, some bands will learn a song for a fee. Make sure to ask the questions that are important to you up front. Most of the time I was dealing with the band manager or agent, so they knew the logistics and business side of things.

Knowing all of these details, I thought we should narrow it down to one band by watching the top three one last time. I really, really recommend doing this because turns out, we had a lot of wine the first go around and thought everyone sounded fantastic. Like we were Paula Abdul Season One of American Idol.



So we picked a band. They rule. There’s a horns section. Section, you guys. A whole section full of horns. I am confident they will have people dancing all night long. In the meantime, I signed the paperwork and sent the deposit. I recommend reading all of the contract and asking questions, because other than the venue, it’s likely to be the longest one. It’s got details you need to be aware of, like sound check timing, lighting requirements, etc. These are things that maybe won’t make a big difference for you, but your day of gal is going to need to know.

We also listened to every single song on the band’s playlist. Yeah. Not my favorite task, but it helped us to rate (yes we had a rating system) must-play songs, ok songs, and never in a million years do not for the love of God play this song. This spreadsheet, I imagine, is going to be really helpful or really annoying for the band. TBD. But as I started out saying, I am marrying a man who loves his music, and that music does not include the Cupid Shuffle.


Mary Kate & Matthew’s Joint #GOTV Bachelorette/Bachelor Party


This election is one of the most important in our Nation’s history. If you follow my social media, you know where I stand on the issues (and candidates) but regardless of where you align, the most important thing here is that you actually exercise the right you have to cast a vote. Stats will show that a large number of people in our country choose not to vote, and the apathy is something I can’t always understand. Politics & politicians at the highest and lowest levels of government make decisions that affect your life, your family, and your loved ones’ rights and every day lives. These decisions impact you at many levels of your life and for that I must ask you to please consider casting your vote tomorrow if you weren’t already planning on it (or haven’t voted already!).

For today we have an awesome story of 2 DC residents that are as DC as they come – political wonks that love this city and the romance it kindled between them. Though they are getting married in Mary Kate’s home state of Arizona, they decided to host a joint bachelor/ette party weekend that had a #GOTV (Get Out the Vote) theme. How awesome is that? Mary Kate’s best friend emailed me about it, and I loved this alternative (and timely) bachelor/ette party idea. Check out how it went down…


Mary Kate and Matthew are as District a couple as they get! These DC residents are getting married in Arizona, but their romance began and continues to revolve around their mutual political wonkiness. Their joint bachelorette/bachelor party will be a GOTV drive! How does that work, you ask? Before we go through the steps, just a bit more background on this civic-minded, oh-so-Washingtonian couple…

Mary Kate refined her policy prowess working at the House Armed Services Committee while earning her MA in Security Studies from the National Defense University. She is now Director of Public Policy at ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership. She’s also a Truman National Security Political Partner, and serves on The Tax Coalition Executive Board and DC Ed Fund.

Matt is a politics guru and strategist, currently a Research Manager at APCO worldwide, and previously an Analyst at Lake Research Partners as well as a fellow at the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center. He got his degree in Political Science from Duke University and he can really break down a poll for you as we near the finale of this 2016 election.

The two met through a friend in DC. Both share a razor-sharp wit, love of all things policy and politics, and a reflective and critical thinking nature that makes them best of friends in addition to the cutest romantic pair.

OK, so switching to this hen-do/stag-party/election mash-up. This will serve you if you are as passionate as they are about politics, or if you want to feel like you’ve earned the drinks that will inevitably ensue.

Step 1. Find a volunteer leader, organizer or trained fellow from your favorite candidate’s campaign. Hey, we’re in DC, at least two (times twenty two?) of your friends are one of those. Better yet, your friend will get credit with the campaign for the people that they are getting to volunteer. Everybody wins!

Step 2. If for some reason you’re lacking in campaign volunteer pals, you can go to your candidate’s webpage and locate their local volunteer office.

Step 3. Ask about which GOTV event you can help with. Pick a date and time that works with your bachelor/bachelorette following!

Step 4. Set up a Google doc so that your (true) friends can sign up for your wild bachelor/bachelorette party! Let them know a few weeks in advance, just like you would for a regular bash. Then let that buddy or the campaign office know who you’ve rounded up.

Step 5. Before you proceed to knock on those doors, your friend on the campaign will go over the script with you, give you the list of voters, and explain why you are specifically approaching them. They’ll also give you a walk packet to follow and mark.

Step 6. Go out and get ´em (literally).

Step 7. Debrief your friend or the volunteer office on how it went, and drop off your walk packet. Let them know about your experience so they can improve the campaign all the more.

Step 8. Go out and celebrate with your loyal crew, but REALLY celebrate this time.

This American all-star team truly inspires us, even if they do make us get up earlier on a Saturday than we’d like.


Enter to win an “Oh Sh*t” Tote Bag from the new CapRoShop!


Here we are! The last day of #CapRoShop giveaways is upon us and I really think I saved one of the best, for last. The “Oh Sh*t” design was one that I threw at Carrie (my amazing designer) and she took it to the MOST amazing places. We will have a few other “Oh Sh*t” designs coming out in the coming months, but for now enjoy this fun, bright & snarky “Oh Sh*t” style!

We’re giving it away on a tote bag, however you can also get this on a mug! As a tote, I think this would be a fun gift for just about anyone, but the original idea was to give it to your bridesmaids and stock it with wedding day “must-haves” as a gift for standing by you on your wedding day. Stock them full of hairspray, shout pens, lipstick, bobby pins, and more – and as the product write-up declares, “a gift that will keep your most important wedding day members from actually uttering, “Oh Sh*t”.”

Enter here:

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Enter to win a #TwoBrides Print from the new #CapRoShop


Day three of giveaways is here! We’re giving away an 11×14 print of our Two Brides design. Hang this beautiful design in your room or put it on your mantle! You could frame this for your guestbook or give it as a gift to engaged friends! We can’t wait to hear what you plan to do with this gorgeousness!

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