Drew & Kelly’s DIY, Family-Oriented, Coral & Grey Wedding

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Images: Cynthia Shipp Photography

When your brother is the groom and the bride is (now) your sister-in-law, the regional requirements of your blog can be ignored. So while Drew & Kelly tied the knot up in Connecticut this past September, and technically this is a DC area blog, the details of their wedding & love story were too perfect to not share. Plus I had the absolute HONOR to serve as their officiant, and so naturally I needed to share this moment with you all. Warning, it’s next to impossible to narrow down pictures that you have such an emotional attachment to, to this one is picture heavy. Happy Thursday you guys.

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We knew we wanted our family involved in everything!  We decided that our wedding parties would be strictly family – Drew’s sisters and brother-in-law’s and Kelly’s brother and step-sister were all included in the wedding party.  Even at the last minute Kelly’s teenage step-brothers became “flower-boys!”

Coral Grey Mill on the River Connecticut DIY Wedding Pictures2 View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/drewandkelly View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/drewandkelly

While working on wedding planning it was very important to us that the ceremony fit our personalities and was meaningful to us.

Coral Grey Mill on the River Connecticut DIY Wedding Pictures1 View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/drewandkelly

Our ceremony included many family elements along the way as well!  Each of our bridal party pairs walked into the ceremony holding their babies (our 4 “flower babies!”) and we recessed from the ceremony with our 8 month old to a live acoustic guitarist version of “Send Me on My Way” by the Rusted Roots!

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We were married under a gazebo overlooking a small reservoir at dusk! We decided who better to ask officiate than Bree – Drew’s sister and wedding coordinator extraordinaire! She knew us and knew what we wanted so she was the perfect officiant fit. She did the most amazing job making us laugh, making us cry, and simply just making us feel comfortable!

^excuse me while I go cry again, after reading these amazingly kind words from Kelly. Love you guys. I was HONORED to be your officiant!

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 During the ceremony our mom’s read excerpts from two children’s books – Kelly works in early childhood so this was important to her!  Drew’s mom read from “Oh the Places You’ll Go” while Kelly’s mom read from “The Velveteen Rabbit”.

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^ I tried HARD not to tear up myself during the ceremony. No one wants to see the officiant crying … butttt I couldn’t help it. Everything was just so damn beuatiful, and I was SO happy, and OK, only 5 months post-partum, so let’s just blame that ;-p

View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/drewandkelly Coral Grey Mill on the River Connecticut DIY Wedding Pictures6

We were far from traditional when planning our wedding – our men wore tangerine converse and picked out their own gray suits, our girls wore coral pumps and picked out their own gray dresses!  Overall, we stuck with a gray theme with highlighting undertones of coral and gold.

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Bride to Be Guest Blogger: Our DIY Wedding Centerpieces


Our guest blogger Carolyn is back again, taking her DIY frame serving trays and making them into their final, wedding centerpieces. They came out SO SO good, incorporating both her DIY project and the floral stylings of EightTreetStreet. Check it all out below:

DIY Wedding Centerpieces | By: Carolyn Thomb

For Jon & I’s wedding I knew I didn’t want a cookie-cutter setting for the reception and that for the most part I wanted a different centerpiece for each table. I thought this would add to the over-all feel of the wedding that I was going for, slightly eclectic and vintage-y with some modern pieces added.


So with this in mind I got together with Maribel, of EightTreeStreet and our floral stylist, to come up with some great centerpiece options created with some of the pieces I have collected or made for the wedding. It was such a fun day and she truly amazes me everytime I work with her because of how effortless it is for her to grab some flowers and create a beautiful masterpiece.

This is the formula a created for us to stick to as a guideline for us as well as any other brides looking to do this without help.

Step 1. Use a Tray (like our DIY Frame Serving Tray tutorial) or just a piece of tile, which can be bought from Home Depot for a fairly low price.

DIY wedding centerpieces

Step 2. Use any of the following (choose 1-3) items:

  • large vase
  • candle stick
  • votive glass
  • wine glass
  • small jar
  • tumbler
  • mason jar, etc…


Step 3. Use any of the following (choose 1-3)

  • tall tapered candle
  • flowers
  • crystals
  • tea lights
  • greenery


Add them together and you get a simple, but beautiful DIY centerpiece for Reception or Cocktail Hour


Introducing the “DIY” Capitol Romance Wedding Planner – Download, Print, Plan


Holy Moly am I excited to be dropping this news today. This one has been in the works for weeks (ok, months) and I am SO STOKED to finally get this off my to-do list and out into the world.

Today we are OFFICIALLY making the Capitol Romance Wedding Planner accessible to even more couples – by setting up a PDF printable version so that you can purchase, download, and print at home, to make your own customized wedding planning binder, with all the goods that our planner includes.

Boom. Wedding Planning Made Easy.

Just visit our online store, select the “DIY” Wedding Planner Download (only $15!):


We’ll get your order and send you the PDF:


You can pick any of the current cover options in Hot Pink:


cover options

Then you just print at home:


3-hole punch your print out:


And boom – you’ve got your very own Capitol Romance Wedding Planner, ready to rock your wedding planning and start saving money AND sanity.


We can’t wait to see your DIY planners – be sure to tag us (@capitolromance) in any pictures you take of it!

Upcoming Event: Ask the Newlyweds with GayWeddings

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Join GayWeddings and a Panel of just-married couples at the WeddingWire HQ to hear first-hand what they learned from planning their wedding! “Ask the Newlyweds” will feature three, super cool same-sex newlywed couples that plan to have a laid-back, real-talk chat about what it’s REALLY like to plan a wedding, share some advice, and be free to answer questions.

The event is open to ALL couples (plus their crew!) but space is limited and RSVPing is required.

RSVP here!

The event will feature cocktails, the MOST delicious treats from Buttercream Bakeshop (seriously, the best) and tunes by DJ Tezrah. For more information check out the website. Hope to see you there!

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Image: Mathy Shoots People

Vol 7: The Real Life of a Momprenuer: Real Life is Not Full of White Backgrounds


I follow some other fellow moms and a general mom lifestyle account on Instagram and these past few weeks I can’t help but get frustrated at the images they post. Staged, polished, perfected, and (my biggest grudge) full of eternal white backgrounds.

White walls, white bed sheets, white onesies, white everything.

Why does this irritate me so, you might ask? Because anyone with a kid (or let’s be honest here, anyone that has ever even just met a kid), knows that kids are insanely messy. Putting Evie on a white comforter would give me heartburn as I know it would be only a matter of seconds until she did something to stain it.


But I am going to take this one step further and say that to me, these endless white backgrounds and staged photos give the impression that these women’s lives are pristine, clean, and perfect. But that is not real life. Real life is messy. Real life is dirty. And real life is unpredictable. And having a kid only augments those things. I see these pictures and I get funny images of the reality behind it … “no wait, we can’t take a picture until we find a white wall!”.

And seeing endless images of perfectly clean and staged images of kids is not inspiring to me, it’s exhausting. Because my life most certainly does not look like that (it looks much more like the image above – messy hair on my head, attempting to keep Evie from my laptop, and no white backgrounds in sight), and I can’t imagine that in reality, anyone else’s life is really like that either.

So why do we put these images on social media? If this isn’t reality, then what’s their point? I really don’t know. But I can guarantee you that you probably won’t ever see pictures like this on my social accounts, because in all honesty, as a mompreneur, I don’t have the time to stage my images, or spend extra time searching for that perfect white background. I am much too preoccupied with my perfectly messy, dirty, & unstaged life.

Bride to Be Guest Blog: DIY Serving Tray Tutorial Using Frames

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Carolyn is back today for a super sweet DIY Serving Tray tutorial using thrifted frames, tiles & plywood. She made these to use for her centerpieces for her wedding, but these could EASILY serve (hah! punny!) so many purposes outside of a wedding centerpiece. Andy & I LOVE using serving trays as decor in our home. We have a bright yellow one on our bar with bottles & barware in it, and a silver one on our coffee table for remotes & things. We even have a clear one that we use for storing Evie’s toys. No joke. We love these trays! So check out Carolyn’s step by step DIY tutorial below!

DIY Wood Serving Tray Centerpiece Tutorial | by Carolyn Thomb

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I absolutely love little vintage or modern looking trays. Not only are they practical, but they can add just the right decorative element to any space. That is why I decided to set out to make some for the wedding and then of course keep a few for our place (hello all those gorgeous future Instagram posts!).

Awhile back I found some random frames at a thrift store I went to, which is where the concept first came to fruition. This was over a year ago and finally this winter during the crazy snow I set to getting these babies started.

The main materials you need to achieve these trays are:

  • Empty frames – can find them anywhere – thrift stores are where you will get the best deals
  • Tiles from Home Depot or a hardware store- again not super expensive and a lot of different styles and colors
  • Handles from Home Depot (I found they had the best selection) not super expensive
  • Liquid nails from the hardware store (find someone with a caulking gun to use this)
  • Plywood (if you get this from Home Depot they will cut it for you there- small fee after a few pieces)
  • Paint or Spray Paint and liquid gold leaf (in gold and silver) – I got this from Michael’s and Home Depot
  • Tile cutter
  • Caulking (only need this for one tray to fill in between the tiles)
  • Electric Drill
  • Screw driver
  • Felt squares for the backs of each tray

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I did this project over a few weeks when I could find the time. So for those of you who like to start things and then get side-tracked easily, this is the project for you!

Step 1. Collect your frames

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Step 2. Paint the frames

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Step 3. Measure frames for plywood

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Step 4. Get the plywood for the backs of the frames

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Step 5. Paint or spray paint plywood- not necessary, I just did it to be thorough

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Heran & Jeremy’s Laid Back, Baltimore Engagement Pictures

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Images: Bombs Over Betty Photography via Two Bright Lights

Well another weekend has come and gone. Andy & I survived a trip to IKEA yesterday and it was nice to kind of just “be” around DC this weekend. We watched Spotlight on Friday and then Saturday night we enjoyed dinner & some beers on our deck … even with an uninvited guest hanging out. Yesterday I made Andy takes some promo snaps of the new additions to our online store – more Capitol Romance Wedding Planners, but this time in Purple & Teal! We are first completing our VERY FIRST wholesale agreement (!!) with the new colors and will then have the additional binders up in the shop, ASAP. I can’t wait for you to see them!

For today we have an adorable, laid-back Baltimore, MD engagement session. I love the smiles & laughter in this shoot and just how comfortable the two are with each other and in front of the camera. Plus the bride to be is a Harry Potter fanatic. Need a I say more? Just what I needed to get this week going.

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How they met:

Jeremy and I grew up 5 minutes from each in Edison, NJ. Whenever I tell people that they seem surprised we weren’t high school sweetheart or something – easy explanation. We didn’t really roll with the same crowds! He was a jock and I loved math. Jeremy swears I must have knew who he was as “he was kind of a big deal” but honestly, I just really loved math, hated sports and wasn’t even allowed to date in high school!

It wasn’t until my sophomore year at Rutgers University when a mutual friend introduced us, I’ll never forget the first night we met in the basement of a gross Rutgers fraternity. We bonded over our foreign parents and loveeee for 1/2 priced appetizers at Applebee’s.

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A few weeks later after collecting all of our quarters we had our first date at approximately 10:01pm. We shared 8 appetizers and 2 waters. Jeremy recently told my friends he knew he had met the love of his life when I ordered 4 apps on a first date. #FOODISLIFE

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Read more for the rest of this adorable Maryland engagement session, love story & proposal details!

Therese & Ryan’s Perfectly Spring Virginia Wedding at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

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Images: David Abel Weddings via Two Bright Lights

It’s FRIYAY! Another week, and another MONTH gone. There are so many things I have and want to do but I feel like 2016 is already escaping me (am I crazy for thinking this way?!)! This weekend I will have an ELEVEN MONTH OLD, and I will be headed full steam into wedding season. I know I need to get a CapRo Meetup together soon, and let’s not even talk about all those pretty designs I have just WAITING to be printed onto goodies to add to the shop.

But alas, I digress, and have a beautiful romantic garden wedding to share today that took place at the beautiful Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Sometimes simple weddings this like really get me – nothing too flashy or unique, but two people very much effusing genuine love for one another. From the beautiful pink & teal touches to the Darth Vader cufflinks – you’ll love this one!

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We were inspired by a garden style romantic feel for our wedding. Our venue (The Atrium at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA) was the perfect backdrop for a very romantic (think bubbling brook running through our reception area, flowing mint bridesmaid dresses, pink accent tables and beautiful flower arrangements for our centerpieces). We wanted our wedding to exude the love we feel for each other and we feel this was accomplished.

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[I] bought him Darth Vader cufflinks, which of course made Ryan’s day! Ryan is such an awesome guy too, quick to laugh and make others laugh he doesn’t take life too seriously. Ryan even practiced writing his note to me several times before sending it up before the wedding.

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My dress was from BHLDN Anthropologie. I loved that the whole dress was made of lace and I finished it off with a lace overlay that I wore during the ceremony and removed during the reception. It allowed for a wardrobe change and the guests thinking I had changed entirely, but it was the same dress! It was a mermaid style dress.

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Brookhill Florist did our flowers and we were thrilled with them! We wanted pale pinks and for them to be very romantic.

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When to Hire a “Day Of Wedding Coordinator (Hint: It’s earlier than you think)

me at Joel and Christine's wedding

Image: Elizabeth Fogarty Photography

I get inquired as a day-of coordinator at all different times in a couples’ wedding planning journey. Sometimes I get inquiries for weddings that are well over a year away and other times an inquiry pops in my inbox for a wedding that is just a few weeks away. And while there is no simple, one-size-fits-all, answer to when the right time to hire a day-of coordinator is, I can offer at least some guidance around it to help you make the best decision for you.

But before we get to timing, the very first step would be to decide whether you need a full-scale wedding planner or a wedding coordinator. Not sure what you need? Check out the podcast I did with Put A Ring On It to help you decide! Simply put, if you need a lot of hand-holding, want someone to make & drive your decisions, and do a lot of the actual PLANNING on your behalf, chances are you need a wedding planner. If you are down with making decisions, going to meetings & talking to vendors yourself, but need some help & guidance and someone to tie it together on your wedding day, a wedding coordinator would probably be the best for you.

So now that you’ve decided between the two, and landed on the coordinator option, my advice to you would be to book him/her as soon as you can. And here is why:

> Coordinators, even if their main focus is just your wedding day, book out just like other vendors – 6 months to a year in advance (maybe more for your popular months like April/May and September/October), so if you wait, chances are the coordinator you want, might not be available!

> Coordinators can help you with SO MUCH MORE than just your wedding day. I love to give vendor recommendations, and advice on issues my couples come across as they are planning – it saves them time & sanity, and enables me to help them create a stress-free day.

> Coordinators can actually help you save money! So while some couples wait until the end of their wedding planning, to see if they have enough room leftover in their budget for a coordinator, it might make more sense for you to find that room in the budget early for a coordinator, and then let them help you cut costs in other places that you haven’t even thought about!

There are probably a lot more reasons – and I will let my readers and fellow vendors sound off in the comments below with them, but the main moral of this blog post story is that just because we have the phrase “day-of” in front of our title, does not mean that we work only on the “day-of” your wedding day. The earlier you can hire a day-of coordinator, the earlier you can start reaping the benefits of having a trusted, experienced, knowledgeable wedding pro at your side to help you through the wedding planning process!

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