The Ultimate Harry Potter Bridal Shower – Details & Decorations

Jenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal Shower

Images: Saperstone Studios | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Sometimes I swear that being a self-proclaimed Harry Potter fanatic is one of my best marketing tools. I get inquiries for wedding coordination clients that reference being fellow Harry Potter fans, I get SUPER RAD Harry Potter gifts from clients and I also get super awesome Harry Potter submissions – like today’s Harry Potter Bridal Shower. I know I just blogged our Harry Potter baby shower, but I just couldn’t help myself on blogging this HP shower so soon after – it was just so well done!

So once again I must apologize to my non-Harry Potter fan readers and wish you a very happy Friday & weekend now. We have an AWESOME wedding tomorrow that we’ll be prepping for and looking forward to the return of our neighborhood farmers market! Have a great weekend Romancers!

My sister in law, Jenny, got married last year. One of my first thoughts when she asked me to be a bridesmaid was ‘we’re going to have SO much fun planning her events’. I knew we could get away with out of the ordinary, out of the box ideas so when us bridesmaids sat down to brainstorm ideas for her shower, Harry Potter was an obvious choice.

Jenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal Shower Jenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal Shower

Outside was a ‘witch way’ sign stating you were at Jenny’s shower but also pointing towards Diagon Alley as well as the Three Broomsticks and Honeyduke’s. Decor just inside was the 9 3/4 station along with a Nimbus 2001. We also had an Owlery for guests to place their parcels for the bride, a Three Broomsticks location for potions and food to be consumed as well as a Honeydukes table with everything from ferrero rocher Snitches to Cauldron Cupcakes. Jenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal Shower Jenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal Shower Jenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal Shower

For games the sorting hat distributed guests into teams where they had to guess the delicious (and some not so delicious, grass jellybeans, anyone?) flavors of Bertie Botts Beans. For favors guests were rewarded with Dementor Relief chocolate bars to sooth the soul.

Jenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal ShowerJenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal

The theme of the party was kept a secret up until the event so needless to say she was pretty excited when she finally got to see it all :) A lot of items were DIY but one of my favorites was her wand.

Jenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal Shower

Instead of tying the brides ribbons and bows from her gifts to a paper plate, we came up with the idea to make Jenny her very own Harry Potter wand to tie things to. I used a wooden dowel and rounded the end with sandpaper. I then painted it purple (her favorite) and formed some clay around the bottom for a base, intertwining aluminum wire as I went, being sure to make some loops for the ribbons to be tied to later. After the clay baked and set, I added a second set of aluminum wire around the wand which spelled out ‘Bride’.

Jenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal ShowerJenny's Harry Potter Themed Bridal Shower

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Matthew & Ian’s Laid Back Patapsco Female Institute Wedding in Maryland

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Images: Russ Hickman Photography

Couple-submitted weddings just never get old to me. Especially when the submission comes with an amazing email thanking me for my blog and the resources I provide. Such was the case with the grooms of today’s real Maryland wedding feature. Matt & Ian emailed me to not only tell me they used Capitol Romance to find venues, resources, and inspiration for their wedding, but would love to have their wedding featured back on the blog. This just gives me all the feels. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe that people want to be featured on this little blog I started over 4 years ago :)

Anyway, Matt & Ian planned and executed a STUNNING wedding – full of DIY projects, focusing on the things that were super important to them (a mixologist! a country/swing band!) AND hiring only vendors from jurisdictions where same-sex marriage was legal. The end result is a wedding that is completely their own and SO much fun to blog! You guys are gonna love this one :)

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When Ian and I first sat down to start wedding planning, we came up with some non-negotiables – the things that mattered most to us. For me, I wanted the event to reflect us, which meant something classy, but casual. I also wanted good food and good music. Ian wanted handmade cocktails from an old-school mixologist, and also felt very strongly about only working with vendors in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage was legalized.

The wedding stationary (Save the Date, Invitation, Menu’s, etc.) were designed by us and printed by a local printer. It was important that we continue the playful, laid-back feel of the wedding through the stationary, as this was going to set the tone for the wedding and our guests. We chose recycled paper and a young, fresh font that was used on all stationary items. The colors dusty blue, orange, and slate were chosen as they felt modern yet masculine.

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The venue came first, and we were challenged with finding a unique venue that was not too stuffy, had a laid back atmosphere, and wouldn’t break the bank. I think we checked out half-a-dozen, which was entirely too many, before we happened upon the Patapsco Female Institute (PFI).

We first saw PFI on Capital Romance and fell in love. The feature was gorgeous, and the wedding looked so interesting that we couldn’t stop coming back to it over and over during our venue search. Initially, there were some aspects of PFI that scared us off: no bathrooms, no indoor rain plan, and just the notion of having to rent and place every piece of furniture, every decorative element, and every light fixture in order to warm up the space and make it our own. However, as other venues got ruled out along the way, PFI kept moving higher on the list, and the challenge of taking the dilapidated ruins of an old girl’s school, and turning them into a cool event space were appealing.

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The history of PFI is really interesting, and slightly dark. We were intrigued by rumors that the venue was haunted by the ghost of Annie Van Derlott, a girl who died in the Institute after coming down with pneumonia. We wanted to own the uniqueness of the space, and make it our own, so we paid tribute to the ghost by naming one of our speakeasy cocktails, “Annie Van Derlott’s Punch.” It was made with aged rum, xo cognac, lemon, sugar, and green tea, served over hand hewn ice with a lemon wheel and freshly grated nutmeg. It must’ve worked because no one reported any hauntings. In fact, on the day of our wedding it rained starting at sunrise. Once we arrived to the venue, however, it stopped. Literally as we pulled up, the clouds parted and the sun came up. I think maybe Annie made that happen, as a way of saying thanks for the booze…

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With a venue nailed down, we were able to piece together other big elements. I’m a vegetarian, have been since high school, so we needed to find a caterer with a good vision for exciting vegetarian options. Ian and I wanted to go with an eco-friendly caterer who worked with locally sourced ingredients, so we did some research on caterers who fit that bill. It didn’t take us long to find Catering By Seasons, a newer eco-caterer that had sprouted up in DC. Bob Sieralta, the catering manager, is a gem; he’s just one of the most energetic people you could meet. Hearing our vision, he got to work on executing it.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of Matthew & Ian’s amazing, homegrown Patapsco Female Institute Wedding in Maryland!

WeddingWire World 2015: Serving the Modern Couple Panel Participation Recap


Image: WeddingWire

A few months ago I received an email from Kathryn Hamm of Gay Weddings & Capturing Love Guide fame asking me to be a part of a panel at the upcoming Wedding Wire World conference. I was honored and super pumped to be given the opportunity to not only get to speak as a panelist at an event as HUGE as WeddingWire World, but also that Kathryn found my thoughts an opinions on the topic, worthy of being on the panel. She explained that the topic was related to “Serving the Modern Couple” – how vendors could better position their business and language to ALL couples in the wedding industry and really muse upon what the “modern couple” really even means.

You can read Kathryn’s full recap of the panel on the Wedding Wire Pro blog, but my favorite excerpt was this one:

“As a result, I’ve wanted to inspire more dialogue and introspection beyond the question of how wedding professionals are serving same-sex couples. And, because of the education needed for the emerging LGBTQ wedding market, I believe our industry and its professionals have an opportunity to re-examine everything we are doing and update the habits that no longer serve us, let alone the modern couples who need our services and support.” – Kathryn Hamm


If you stopped by the panel – thank you for attending, if you didn’t, I actually have the recording of the panel embedded below. With the diverse panel Kathryn assembled, I feel like we could have talked for HOURS on the topic! Though I was SUPER nervous at the onset, the 30 minutes flew by!

I hope those of you that attended or listen to the panel below consider the importance of this topic and discussion. How can we, as wedding vendors, continue to examine what we are doing with our business and how we are putting our businesses into the world – a world that is GREATLY changing and diversifying. If you haven’t noticed, the wedding industry is vastly changing too; not just in terms of the sex of those getting married, but the values and ideals that couples are choosing to incorporate into their wedding day. Traditions are changing (for better or worse) and I’ve been excited to watch the DC wedding scene change since I started this blog in 2011.

I’d love to discuss the topic further (perhaps in a future blog post) or really just with any vendor that might need more help/guidance in how to accomplish this for their business. I am all ears on how we can continue to push the wedding industry into the future! Hope you enjoy the panel, Happy Tuesday!

A recording of the full conversation Kathryn Hamm moderated with Ross Oscar Knight, international photographer and photoculturalist from Atlanta, GA; Bree Ryback, founder of Capitol Romance, LLC and editor of its popular Washington DC-based planning blog; Bethel Nathan, owner of the San Diego-based Ceremonies by Bethel; and Kyle Mihalcoe, Regional Manager of Customer Success at WeddingWire.

Zack and Andre’s Red Truck Bakery Engagement Pictures in Warrenton, Virginia

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“Love has no boundaries. Only people do.” This quote was included in the write-up that this beautiful couple sent me about their love story and engagement and I just couldn’t help myself but include it in today’s post. It’s a beautiful quote! This weekend was so awesome as Andy & I hosted two of our bestest friends from college and then an entire HOUSE of friends & family on Saturday to have one last big hurray before the baby arrives. The weather was gorgeous & really I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend our weekend! We even got down to the Cherry Blossoms on Friday & checked out Maketto, just like we planned. While I ate more than I intended (who doesn’t??) it really was an awesome weekend, capped off by an amazing DIY workshop yesterday with Alison Harper & Co.

I hope you all got to enjoy the gorgeous weather as well! Today we have Zack & Andre’s adorable Virginia engagement pictures, taken down in Warrenton at Red Truck Bakery. I love their casual clothes & laid-back love perfectly captured by Bradilynn Aines Photography. You guys are going to love their love story too – a real testament to that quote that started today’s post. Hope you all have a GREAT week. It’s a busy one for us, but I am looking forward to it.

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How they met:

Zack and I met back in November 2013. It actually all started right on Facebook. I poked him. After that we started chatting on Facebook for hours. In that process numbers were exchanged. He called me after we got off of messenger. We then talked on the phone for hours. Talking about EVERYTHING. So a couple days later I noticed a post that he had posted on Facebook. Talking about a movie that him and talked about on the phone. So I commented back and asked him if he wanted to go together and see it. He agreed. So two days later we go see “The Best Man Holiday”. As the movie ended we was walking out and he stopped. He went back to help these elderly women out of their seats. After that I knew he was the one.

He was so sweet to me. He treated like I’ve never been treated before. The only problem was Zack was straight and made it completely clear he was not into guys. After the first time we hung out we was always on the phone and starting to hang out even more. It was like we was already in a relationship. So a couple months roll by and things started to change. Zack started catching feelings and after months of convincing him to give me a chance.

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The proposal:

In May 2014 Zack proposed to me and we got engaged. He got down on one knee with a tear in his eye and asked me to marry him. I said “yes”. We are like little kids in love and we have been going on strong since. We’ve decided to get married next Spring with a small beach wedding.

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Gorgeous Spring Wedding Inspiration & Link Love

Pasha Belman Photography | Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographers

Images: Pasha Belman | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

What  a weird week this was with being in Jury Duty Monday & Tuesday and then taking off today to spend some time with friends that are visiting! We are planning to try and find the Bald Eagles in the Arboretum & maybe check out the brand new Maketto on H Street as well. I also have my 2nd 2015 DIY Workshop on Sunday!! Cannot believe we’re already at our 2nd one!

For today we have some link love & a seriously GORGEOUS Spring wedding that took place down in South Carolina. I think I checked 8 times to see that this was a REAL wedding and not a styled shoot – the details are just SO so pretty that it looks way more like a magazine spread than a real wedding. Lots of gorgeous details, spring colors & yummy florals. Happy Friday all!

LINK LOVE – April 9, 2015

Company takes anti-gay pamphlets & turns them into heart confetti for gay weddings. This is incredible.

Tickets for our DIY Top Knots & Hair Styling Workshop are still on sale through the end of the day! I’d love to have you join in on the fun!

Rock N Roll Bride shared a sneak peak of Issue 3 of her magazine on Instagram - don’t those cover photo love birds look familiar!?!?!?

Pretty Entertaining shares how to move your wedding guests from Point A to Point B

By Brittany Goldwyn shares a super easy & simple DIY Lemon Exfoliating scrub on her blog!

Pasha Belman Photography | Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographers Pasha Belman Photography | Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographers Pasha Belman Photography | Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographers Pasha Belman Photography | Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographers Pasha Belman Photography | Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographers Pasha Belman Photography | Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographers Pasha Belman Photography | Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographers Pasha Belman Photography | Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographers

DIY Tutorial: Indoor Plant Hanging Pipe Rail

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Tutorial & Images: Ribbons & Bluebirds

Our house is covered in plants. My husband is obsessed with succulents & house plants and while I do love me some green foliage (and what it does for your air quality) we are running out of floor space for all the plants! Enter Ribbons & Bluebirds’ ah-mazing DIY Plant Hanging Rail tutorial – a perfect way to bring the outdoors in, without taking up any floor space! Take it away Jen.

DIY indoor plant hanger tutorial

Spring!!! Spring is finally here, and with the nicer weather comes the return of lush green for your garden. But, you don’t have to wait for nice weather for a splash of greenery in your home, and with this tutorial you can infuse a little colour year round.

I have a confession: I do not have much of a green thumb.  I have too many projects on the go at any given time to remember to water them consistently and between my neglect and the constant attention (read: attacks) of my feline houseguests, plants rarely thrive around here.  In addition, many plants are toxic to both cats and babies, neither of whom have the good sense to not chew on them, so I knew that part of my plant-craving solution had to be to keep the plants up and out of harm’s reach, and requiring no maintenance. So for my tutorial, I placed the rail up a little higher than you may wish and used arrangements of fake succulents, however I think this same concept would be killer in a kitchen to hang herbs!

** NOTE** My lengths are based on spacing of studs in my wall, at 24” on center.  BEFORE YOU BEGIN OR PURCHASE MATERIALS you should determine the stud spacing on the wall you’re intending to use: you need to be able to hit at least 2 studs to properly hold up this rail without trusting to drywall plugs.

pipe rail plant hanger DIY-1

Materials, *should* all be available at your local hardware store:

  • 18” section of ½ dia. basic black pipe, threaded at both ends
  • (2) floor mount plates for ½” dia. pipe
  • (2) 90deg. elbows for ½” dia. pipe
  • (2) 3” straight connectors for ½” dia. pipe
  • 1×4” pine board
  • (8) ¾” #8 screw\
  • (4) 2 ½” #8 screws
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Wood stain (optional)

Tools needed:

  • Saw
  • Power drill and 1/8” drill bit
  • Level
  • Use a stud finder to find studs to mount the hanger on

Step 1. Start by cleaning and assembling your pipe pieces.  Thread the long pipe into one end of each 90 degree elbow, and then thread the 3” extender into the other side.  Make sure that when tight, you have a flat “u” shape, with both 3” pieces coming off of the elbows at a matching perpendicular angle to the straight pipe.  Then screw the floor plates onto the end of the extenders, making sure that the whole assembly sits flat and (reasonably) level.

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If you’re planning to spray paint your rail, go ahead and do that now and let the whole assembly dry.

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Since my wall studs are at 24” on center, I needed the wood rail behind my pipe to be at least 25” long to hit one at each end.  I cut my 1×4 to 25” long using a saw, and then gave it one quick coat of wood stain to better match the other furniture pieces in the room.

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Step 2. Once both pieces are dry, it’s time to pre-drill holes for mounting.  Pre-drilling holes is a great way to make sure that your wood doesn’t split when you install screws, and helps the screws go in much easier in general.  This is especially important here if you’re going to be installing screws only ½” from the ends of the board like I am – the board would definitely have split without predrilling. I marked spots for drilling ½” in from the ends of the board, each 1” away from the top or bottom.  Then, I lay my assembled pipe rail onto the board and marked holes for each of the 4 plate holes.

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Remember how we used a tape flag to mark the depth to drill in the mesh lampshade DIY? Same deal here – I wanted to make sure that I didn’t go through the board for the pipe mounting holes, so I placed a tape flag ½” up my 1/8” drill bit. Once the tape flag was on the bit, I drilled all 8 holes.

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Step 3. I decided to install the pipe rail onto the board before installing the whole thing on the wall, but if your stud configuration means some screws will be behind the rail once installed you may want to attach the board to the wall first.  I used ¾” screws (#8 Robertson head wood screws) to attach the pipe rail assembly to the board.  Then I pre-screwed the wall-mounting screws into the board, to save my scrambling and dropping screws while I was holding the piece up onto the wall for mounting – I was careful here to not drill through the board as I didn’t want to scratch my wall while I was possibly flailing around one-handed holding this thing up on the wall.  I used 2 ½” screws (again, #8 Robertson wood screws) to mount the board to the wall.

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Step 4. Use a stud finder to determine where your studs are in your wall (like I mentioned at the beginning, you may want to check this at the beginning here so you can plan for the length of your pipe rail and placement) and mark them lightly in pencil. Start by drilling one screw into the wall to hold one end fixed, and use a level to make sure your board is straight before you drive the rest of the screws in to hold the rail securely to the wall.

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You’re finished!!  Now have fun hanging plants (or anything else you’d like) off of it!



A special thanks again to Ribbons & Bluebirds for creating this AH-MAZING DIY tutorial.

Guest Post: 5 Non-Financial Reasons to Have a Simple & Intimate Wedding


 Leigh Margaret & Inwook’s Intimate Maryland Wedding | An Endless Pursuit

This morning we have a lovely guest post from By Brittany Goldwyn – a super DIY maven that is taking on all things simplicity when it comes to life. I am in awe of her talents and mad writing skills and I just couldn’t help but share her amazing blog post today on 5 Non-Financial Reasons to Have a Simple Wedding. Take it away Brittany!

5 Non-Financial Reasons for Having a Simple Wedding

5 Non Financial Reasons for Having a

The most obvious reason to have a simple wedding is to save money, so let’s get that reason out of the way. Saving money is great; you can use the extra cash for a honeymoon, a house, a new car…whatever you want. But, since the perk of saving money is a given for most people, I want to talk about the other reasons you should consider having a simple wedding. Your wedding should be an amazing, unforgettable day, and you should do what makes sense for you and your significant other. But too often weddings are stressful, tricky, and diplomatic landmines. By having a simple wedding, you can cut the noise and keep the things that matter most to you.


Quentin & James’ Intimate DC War Memorial Wedding Ceremony | Robin Shotola Photography

Here are my top non-financial reasons to have a simple wedding.

1. You’ll cut out the stress.

Saving your sanity is a close second to saving money. Big events with multiple moving pieces—not just weddings—are stressful. Even if you love event planning, planning a big event at which you’ll be the co-star will put a wrench into the enjoyment. Why? Because you have other things to worry about on your wedding day. And even if you are able to hire a wedding planner, you’ll still spend a lot of time reviewing and choosing options, coordinating the needs of family and friends, creating seating charts, and stressing over the weather and whether or not your wedding party will be on time. Speaking of wedding parties…


Maggie & Shahul’s Intimate MD Lakeside Wedding | Photography by Anna Clark

2. You can ditch the wedding party.

I know that having loved ones close by is important to a lot of people. But guess what? Your friends and family can all be a part of your big day by attending your small, simple wedding. No wedding party means not worrying about other people’s schedules, not having a rehearsal dinner, not offending anyone by excluding them from the party (or putting them in the wrong spot in your lineup), and, for many women, not having to find a bridesmaid dress that meets everyone’s needs.

3. You can get married almost anywhere.

This one is simple. The more people and requirements your wedding has, the fewer venues you’ll have to choose from. Having a simple wedding expands your options. We got married on a deck overlooking the Rocky Mountains. A big wedding with a bridal party, an aisle, and lots of guests simply would not have fit comfortably.


Even & Jimmy’s DC Courthouse Wedding | Stephen Bobb Photography

4. You can devote resources to what matters most.

Even if we wanted one, we can’t all have a wedding fit for Brides magazine. Think about what matters most to you, and then concentrate on that. For me, it was finding a location that would be amazing to travel to, a reasonably priced wedding dress with sleeves, and a good photographer. I did not care where or what we ate, if we played music from a iPod, if we had any decorations or flowers, or if we had pretty invitations. You can only divide your focus among so many things before quality starts to suffer. Pick what’s most important to you.


Sarah & Dave’s Modern Fathom Gallery Wedding in DC | Sweet Tea Photography

5. You’ll have a more meaningful experience with the right people.

I’m not saying you don’t like some of your old acquaintances, past coworkers, or distant family members, I’m just saying that they don’t fill you to the brim with joy. If they did, you would make them a regular part of your life. A simple wedding allows you to include only those whom you care about the most, which will create a more meaningful and memorable day.


Deanna & Rikki’s Heartfelt, Intimate DC Wedding | Douglas Pettway

For the full post & other amazing DIY tutorials and posts on simplicity, please visit By Brittany Goldwyn’s blog. If you had a simple wedding or are planning on having a simple wedding – let us know your reasons here in the comments! We’d love to share more.

April 12th DIY Top Knot Hair Styling Tutorial – Ticket PROMO!



This Sunday we have our next Capitol Romance DIY Workshop and we want it to be PACKED with people looking to #learnlocal from professional Hair Stylist, Alison Harper & Co. So to sweeten the deal, for TODAY ONLY, we are offering a BOGO ticket deal: buy 1 general admission ticket and get 1 for your best gal pal, your mother, or ANY one you want to bring … FREE!!

Buy Tickets

Don’t forget! At this workshop you will learn:

  • How to properly care for your hair leading up to it being professionally styled
  • Tips & Tricks for coloring & hair care that will make your hair look its BEST on your big day or at a big event
  • How to properly style the super popular “Top Knot” look on yourself (or a friend)


In order to get the promo, just buy 1 regular priced admission ticket, and then email me to get your free ticket ( Sunday’s workshop is GUARANTEED to be a good time because we have sangria, muffins, tea, & delicious treats from RIS catering! And though I might be a bit biased, we always seem to get the BEST workshop attendees ;)

So come learn something new and have a fun afternoon with us at The Hill Center from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday, April 12th! Hope to see you there :)



Julia & Ed’s Washington, DC Engagement Pictures in Adams Morgan

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Images: Mathy Shoots People via Two Bright Lights

I’m back in Jury Duty  again today (because clearly that is what every 35 week preggo lady wants to be doing…) but couldn’t leave you all empty handed on a Monday! Today we have Julia & Ed’s adorable Washington, DC engagement pictures – mostly taken in their apartment and around their Adams Morgan neighborhood. I love how “DC” their love story is and I LOVE when couples do more laid-back, local DC engagement sessions like this as well! Thanks to Mathy Shoots People for submitting this one!

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Julia and Ed met at Johns Hopkins University. They were friends who lost touch but came back into contact when they enrolled in the same class one semester. The friendship quickly picked back up and eventually turned romance during Snowmageddon when Edward asked Julia out on a double date! From there they quickly progressed into a full blown relationship and have been inseparable ever since.

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He proposed on the Spanish Steps of 22nd street in DC in 2013, blocks from their home. (which were included in the engagement pictures!)

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