Capitol Advice: 2 Reasons Why You Should Stop Bringing Gifts to Weddings

blogging personal posts

Image: This Rad Love

This one is for all you wedding guests out there. An observation I have gained through coordinating weddings, that I feel compelled to share with anyone planning to attend a wedding….

Stop bringing wedding gifts to weddings.

Now let me explain why, but first don’t mistake my words as me saying not to get couples a gift (instead of cash money or checks). Giving gifts as wedding presents, whether from the couples’ registry or not (though please use the registry…) is totally acceptable. I completely understand that you might not feel comfortable giving cash or a check, or that you’d prefer giving the couple something they might use/need/want in a more tangible form, but PLEASE don’t truck this gift to the wedding. Here’s why:

#1. Bringing a gift to a wedding means you have to lug this gift around until you find the gift table.

Perhaps you went all out and got them the KitchenAid mixer they wanted. That’s AWESOME, but PLEASE send it to the couples’ home before, after, or heck, even DURING the wedding. Do you really want to lug an 800lb mixer to a wedding? Do you want to have to remember to wrap it, bring it with you, and then carry it with you all through the ceremony until you find the gift table? You can’t tell me that is appealing. Couples don’t open gifts at weddings, so there really is no benefit to you bringing it TO the wedding.

#2. Bringing a gift to a wedding means someone has to lug this gift home at the end of the night.

As a wedding coordinator, I ask my couples: who has a car to bring your gifts home at the end of the night? They mostly look at me incredulously. They haven’t thought of that and ask me, “Do we really need that? People really still bring gifts? We didn’t register for anything…”. And I say, “Yes. 100%. Because I guarantee you at least ONE of your guests will bring you a gift (probably more) and at least ONE of them will be ginormous.” So to you the wedding guests that are considering bringing the gift you bought TO the wedding, think of my back, as I have to lug this gift back down stairs and think of the person who has to drive to the wedding so they can safely bring the gifts back home.

Shipping wedding gifts to the couple instead of bringing them to the wedding makes YOUR life easier AND the couples’ lives easier (ok and the wedding coordinator’s life easier). So let’s just all agree to stop bringing gifts to weddings.

Pin It

Kara & Justin’s Brightly Colored, Local DC Wedding at Josephine Butler Parks Center

View More:

Images: Mathy Shoots People

Kara & Justin are DREAM clients. Seriously, if someone asked me who my target, ideal client would be – I couldn’t describe them, I would just send them to Kara & Justin. They live in DC and love all things local in terms of DC food, arts, businesses, and vibes. They’re wedding was FUN and a total representation of who they are as a couple and what they love in their life. It included BRIGHT colors, BEER, vows with references to the Simpsons & mighty ducks (among other awesome references), a kick-ass live band, marquee initial lights, and the perfect amount of DIY projects (including chalkboard signs from our DIY workshop last year!). I had WAY too much fun working with Kara & Justin, and I am pumped to get to call them my friends now. You’re all going to LOVE this rad DC wedding!

View More: View More:

When we first started planning our wedding, we knew we wanted a really laid-back, party-like affair that reflected our personalities. I knew I wanted a spring or summer wedding so I could have bright and colorful flowers, though we didn’t initially have any specific dates in mind. Then I realized that July 25th, the date of Justin’s and my 2nd date, was a Saturday. So we aimed for that date, and fortunately the Josephine Butler Parks Center was available.

​We tried to let our stationary set the tone for our wedding. Justin’s sister helped us design all of our stationary, and we had it printed locally, which also helped us save some money. Our save the dates were based off a drawing that Justin did. The invitations were based off a design we found online, and for the response card, we created a mad lib. One of the most fun parts was receiving the response cards in the mail to see how people filled them out. I think they’ll be a great way to remember the day for years to come!

alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (13) alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (24)

My grandma had a stroke a few years ago and my mom has been taking care of her. A couple weeks before the wedding my family decided it would be too difficult to bring grandma out to DC for the wedding. It was disappointing, but I know it made the weekend a lot less stressful for my family. So we had her caregiver get her all dolled up and we Facetimed with her when I was getting ready. It was a nice way to include her in the day since she couldn’t physically be there.

Justara-01 Getting Ready-0058 alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (22)

We had a number of DIY elements that we incorporated into our day as well. Since we drink quite a bit of craft beer, we decided to cut the bottles and use them as vases for the flowers. I love how they turned out!

alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (23) View More: alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (15)

I also took all of the lace off my mom’s wedding dress and we used it to wrap around my and my bridesmaids’ bouquets, and I made a hairpiece out of it.​ My cousins’ kids were our flower girls. I found them some Converse that matched the wedding party, and I made their tutus.

View More: alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (36)


alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (30)


Meet Rad Wedding Vendors at District Bliss Couples Social on October 18th

*sponsored post*

October 18, 2015 | District Bliss Engaged Couples’ Social | 12pm to 3pm

alternative wedding show vendors DC (5)

Buy Tickets

Engaged couples of the Washington, DC metro area, REJOICE, District Bliss’ Engaged Couples’ Social is back at it again on October 18th, bringing all engaged couples a super rad & unique way to plan their wedding. The next social will be at Circle Bistro in Foggy Bottom.

alternative wedding show vendors DC (4)

What’s District Bliss Couples’ Socials you might ask? Well, they’re certainly NOT a wedding expo, they’re a wedding happy hour for engaged couples to meet carefully, hand-selected vendors, in a laid-back, and FUN setting. Each event features a small group of vendors so you don’t have to be overwhelmed and can actually enjoy yourself, while meeting other engaged couples in the District.

alternative wedding show vendors DC (2)

Check out this social’s participating vendors:

alternative wedding show vendors DC (1)

The first five RSVP’s get an additional gift from Painted Palettes (Custom Art Piece of DC, MD, or VA) and all tickets include 1 complimentary drink!

alternative wedding show vendors DC (3)
Buy tickets here:

Find out more information here:

*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*

Merlot & Gold Themed Winery Wedding Inspiration

View More:

Images: Brittney Livingston Photography

It sort of feels like a cop out to me to be singing Friday’s praises this week because I was on vacation for most of the past weekend and week. Plus with a potential hurricane headed our way, I am not sure everyone is so excited for the weekend as they would usually be. AND I still can’t seem to get rid of this cold. It seriously will NOT leave my sinuses! So this weekend will be full of indoor activities (organization! changing over my closet to Fall clothes! finally putting away MATERNITY clothes! being thankful I am not working a wedding, but thinking of ALL the vendors & couples that have weddings this weekend). Have a great weekend Romancers, here’s a Romantic, Tuscan Inspired Wedding Shoot that features Merlot & Gold design vibes. Enjoy.

winery themed wedding flowers merlot gold (1) View More: View More: View More: View More: View More:

Vendors ~> Photography: Brittney Livingston Photography | DressCelia Grace Wedding Gowns | VenueRunning Hare Vineyard | FlowersDesigns by Oochay | JewelryJ’Adorn DesignsMaertens Fine Jewelers | RentalsVintage Affairs Furniture | Hair & Makeup: Michelle Heffner and Delaney Burgess

Introducing New Recurring Video Blog Series: CapRo Therapy

caproimage3 - resized

 Image: This Rad Love

One of my blog goals for this upcoming year is to add more video content to my business. Either through Periscope with the weddings I am working, or events I am attending, or through creating my own (DIY videos!) videos. One such video idea I am planning on starting is a new Vlog series called “CapRo Therapy” (thanks to my mom for thinking of the name!). I get a lottttttttttttttttttttttt of reader questions. Whether it’s about specific posts, general wedding planning, where I got my rug, or even the realtor I used to find my house, I LOVE helping people out and giving them my answers & 2 cents.

So I thought it would be fun to share the questions I get, and the answers I give with EVERYONE through these video posts. They will be short, fun, and hopefully helpful.

And now I will ask for YOUR help! In order to make this new vlog series a success, I need your questions. What do you want to hear from me? It can literally be ANYTHING. Things like:

  • what should we tip our vendors
  • why did you name your business capitol romance
  • what’s your favorite social media platform
  • where do you get your hair done
  • why is your dog so old
  • why did you start a blog
  • what should we ask a wedding venue

Seriously. Ask away either by emailing me (bree[at] or on social media using the hashtag #caprotherapy .

I can’t wait to see what you guys want to know about! First episode coming sooooooooooooooooooon!

Guest Post: A Real DC Bride’s Take on Her Wedding Venue

pictures stevenson ridge wedding venue DC MD VA (4)

We’re back with Carolyn, our real DC bride to be guest blogger, sharing her love of the venue she chose! If you can remember, she talked all about her DC wedding venue search a few posts back and now she’s here to share everything she loves about the one she picked. Take it away Carolyn!

Why I Love My DC Area Wedding Venue | By: Carolyn Thombs

pictures stevenson ridge wedding venue DC MD VA (2)

The first time I went to Stevenson Ridge was back in 2012 when I did hair and makeup for all of the models at the Cupcakes and Cocktails bridal show. I thought the venue was so cool and had a great vibe. Who knew then that I would be getting married at that very venue 4 years down the road!

I hadn’t thought of this venue when I initially started my venue search because I didn’t think that they could hold over 200 ppl. I finally decided to check it out when I was hitting somewhat of a dead end and I am so glad I did! They can hold 216 max! This also helps in making us have a definitive cut off for the guest list, which is a whole other can of worms to get sorted.

pictures stevenson ridge wedding venue DC MD VA (1)

I went ahead and emailed them to check out all the specs before we decided on scheduling a visit. Elizabeth was so wonderful and responded to all of my emails promptly and concisely.

The visit was wonderful! My mom and sister (MOH) came with me and got to meet Elizabeth as well. She was so welcoming and answered all of my “hardcore” questions. I had been set on a different venue when we showed up so I was trying to remain unbiased. That resolve soon faded as we talked with Elizabeth and got to look at the grounds. My mind completely switched and Stevenson Ridge became my main squeeze for venue choice!


I love the lodge feel of the main venue, just the smallest accent of rustic-ness, but mainly polished and not overly ornate. The perfect blank canvas to build Jon and I’s perfect wedding. The major bonus was the fact that they have some lodging onsite as well! This means, if we want, each year we can come back and spend our anniversary in one of the cabins and reminisce about our wedding!

pictures stevenson ridge wedding venue DC MD VA (5)

They are so great at making you feel at home and not pressuring you into anything! I can’t wait to start going over set up and everything and actually getting to see it all come together. Bottom line is that if you and your fiancé are a little opposite on style choices this venue is the perfect combination of down to earth and chic sophistication that will please any couple trying to find that balance.

pictures stevenson ridge wedding venue DC MD VA (3)

Houston & Sarah’s Laid Back, Casual Washington DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

casual washington dc engagement pictures georgetown (4)

Images: Mathy Shoots People via Two Bright Lights

Guys this week! It’s just going to FLY BY. I am leaving on Wednesday to start my journey north for an EXTRA SPECIAL wedding weekend – my brother’s. At which I am officiating!!!!!!!!! (I’m not sure that has 100% set in yet!). But I am PUMPED. And then from the wedding I am taking my husband on a super secret trip to celebrate his 30th birthday so posting will be LIGHT these night few weeks just FYI!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I said goodbye to some great friends that are moving to St. Thomas, watched my PSU boys win a football game (and watched my Gmen blow another), and then literally didn’t leave the house yesterday (sometimes you just need those days). But let’s kick off the week with some LOVE shall we? An ADORABLE Georgetown engagement session, featuring Houston & Sarah – two happy kids, oh-so-in-love. What better what to start a week? Get it.

casual washington dc engagement pictures georgetown (9)

Houston and I started chatting online late one night in March 2010. We talked almost every second of every day after that first night, me from my dorm room in DC and him from his in South Carolina. After he graduated college a few months later, I flew down to visit him and his family for a week. We immediately clicked and everything just felt right. In August 2011 he found a job in DC and we were finally and very happily not 500 miles apart anymore.

casual washington dc engagement pictures georgetown (2) casual washington dc engagement pictures georgetown (5)

On our 4th anniversary, I was fairly certain he was going to propose, but he was acting so chill that I started thinking maybe I was wrong. After an amazing dinner at Filomena in Georgetown, we decided to stroll along the waterfront, which is one of our favorite places. By the time we found a nice place to sit, he was visibly nervous. I wanted to help him out, so I said, “Wow, this has been the best day. I can’t imagine what could make it any better,” setting him up for his response: “Well, I can think of one thing…” It was perfect.

casual washington dc engagement pictures georgetown (6) casual washington dc engagement pictures georgetown (3) casual washington dc engagement pictures georgetown (7) casual washington dc engagement pictures georgetown (8) casual washington dc engagement pictures georgetown (1)


Natural, Modern Wedding Ideas ~ Design & Inspiration

modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (5)

Images:  Kim Stockwell Photography via Two Bright Lights

We did it! FRIDAY. Another week has come and gone and we are more than halfway through September. Um seriously, it’s sort of creeping me out how fast time is flying these days. Andy is traveling for work, so it’s just me and E until Sunday but we’ll be making the most of this beautiful weather with some running, (hopefully) a trip to H Street Fest, and a visit to the Satellite Room to say farewell to some good friends that are moving to St. Thomas (yes like the island. yes I am jealous). Hope you guys have a FANTASTIC weekend too! A heads up that next week will be light on posting as I gear up to head to CT for my brother’s wedding (which I am officiating !!!!! more to come on that !) and a short surprise vacation to follow for my husband’s 30th!

Then September is over. Insanity.

But enough about me – I have a gorgeous styled shoot for you today. The vendors wanted to take an outdoor setting, which most go rustic with, and use translucent and sleek details to instead give the apple orchard a modern wedding design. I LOVE when couples & designers mix genres like this. Just gorgeous. PS- Don’t forget that our supercoolawesome giveaway with Makeup Meltdown ends TODAY! Enter here.

modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (7)

The inspiration behind the shoot was sheer, translucent, and modern in a natural setting. The focus was set on the over all beauty of the venue and the purpose was to inspire brides that less is more and sleek modern details can accentuate the natural backdrops of southern venues. We used a clear acrylic table with copper hairpin legs set with translucent china and ghost chairs in an apple orchard. The ceremony site was set as a night time ceremony with ghost chairs and candles to overlook a valley.

modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (6)

Our goal was to inspire brides to think outside the box when it comes to outdoor venues to invoke the idea that outdoors does not always have to be rustic.

modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (1) modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (4) modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (10) modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (9) modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (2) modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (8) modern orchard wedding ideas design decorations (3)

Vendors —> Photographer:  Kim Stockwell Photography | Event Planner: Events by Elizabeth Palmer | Equipment Rentals: paisley and jade | Invitation Designer: Sue Corral Ink | Dress Store: Urban Set Bride | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Wedding Advice: The #1 Thing Not to Say to Wedding Vendors You Are Persuing

caproimage3 - resized
Image: This Rad Love

This one is for all you engaged couples out there that are just starting the wedding vendor inquiry process. Yes, I understand it’s a long and (sometimes) stressful process to find, vet, and confirm all your wedding vendors. But I have to let you in on a little secret. A little cautionary tale and one whopping piece of advice.

The absolute, #1 thing you SHOULDN’T say to any wedding vendor you are inquiring about, is that you are looking to work with them because of their price. I won’t speak for ALL wedding vendors here, but I can tell you that when I get this in an inquiry, I am almost ALWAYS completely turned off to the inquiry.

Here’s another secret I’ll let you in on: there’s a reason I have “Why do you want to work with Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination” on my contact form. I judge inquiries based on their response to this, because it’s the easiest way to begin the filtering process of inquiries that I know might be a fit, and ones where I am not at all a match for the couple.

But engaged couples, put yourselves in our shoes for a second. Think about what YOU might think if someone told you they ONLY wanted to work with you because of your price point. That that was the #1 reason for wanting to hire you. How would that make you feel?

Well it doesn’t make ME feel very good and chances are, I most likely won’t be available on your wedding date if that’s all you put in your contact form. For me, the couples that mention Harry Potter fandoms, that they found me through my blog, or that they are just looking for someone to help them throw a personal party to celebrate their nuptials, are the ones I gravitate towards and end up having SUPER awesome experiences with.

So engaged peeps – keep this in mind as you begin your wedding vendor search. Take the time to find vendors that fit your vibe AND your needs, not JUST your wallet requirements.

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