Jamilyah & Brad’s Cultural, Personalized Wedding at Smokey Glen Farm

View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/jamilyahandbradley

Images: Cynthia Shipp Photography

Practical weddings full of family, simple decor, and wedding planning decisions that make sense – just fill my heart with joy. SO much of a wedding day is excess – unneeded “details” that wedding blogs & magazines attempt to convince us we NEED in order to have a happy wedding day. Well, weddings like Jamilyah & Brad’s prove that notion oh so wrong and it’s why I love sharing weddings like these on my blog, over the super pricey, overly detailed ones. Happy (rainy) Thursday Romancers.

View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/jamilyahandbradley

From the bride:

We decided early on that we didn’t want a lavish wedding and challenged ourselves to keep the budget as modest as possible. Even still, with our big families, keeping costs down would be a challenge. Smokey Glen Farm was a big red barn with multiple playgrounds to accommodate our rustic style and the 20+ babies/children we were inviting. We wanted to throw a big, all day party! It was the perfect place to do just that.

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We had recently purchased our first home and were settling in as we planned our wedding. As we selected decor for the wedding, we envisioned how we’d use the item in our house for the “everafter” part. Most of the decor was hand-made using recycled materials.

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We chose to start our lives together in the middle of the day so that we could celebrate until the sun went down. And then celebrate some more. My grandmother told me not to worry about the weather, and we had the most amazingly beautiful (albeit a bit warm) day. For the outdoor ceremony, the chairs were arranged in a circle around us so we were surrounded by family and no one had to sit in the back.

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Our grandmothers were our flower girls and took their jobs very seriously. Bradley and I were escorted down the aisle by both of our parents. We got married under a chuppah that was shared by a family friend. We wrote our own vows, performed three circles (Polish), broke the glass (Jewish) and jumped the broom (African American). We also sent our guests home with a succulent to plant in their gardens as a memory of the special day we shared. People were the focal point of our wedding and thanks to all our “family’s” hard work, we were able to pull off the perfect wedding without a hitch!

View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/jamilyahandbradley

Our officiant had the right laid-back, personable vibe and we got to know her well through premarital counseling sessions. She helped us incorporate traditions from our African American, Jewish and Polish backgrounds.

View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/jamilyahandbradley

CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF JAMILYAH & BRAD’S PERSONALIZED, FAMILY FOCUSED MARYLAND BARN WEDDING

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How to Make Your Own DIY Chalkboard Wedding Signs

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Image: Mathy Shoots People

Sometimes I really miss my DIY workshops I used to run! They were work to plan, but learning something new was so much fun (plus I loved meeting all the attendees!). Kara actually attended the DIY Chalkboard workshop we hosted with her not-yet-fiance at the time, and figured they could use the skill for more than wedding signs. Then they got engaged & started wedding crafting and turns out Justin is like a master DIY chalkboard sign crafter! So for today, Kara is sharing the DIY chalkboard signs they made for their kick-ass wedding and some tips/tricks if you want to make your own chalkboard signs as well!

DIY Chalkboard Signs Tutorial | By: Kara Britanik

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Chalkboard signs as home décor, and especially as wedding décor ,have become super popular over the last couple years. Even if you have terrible handwriting or little artistic ability, you can make some awesome chalkboard signs yourself.

Before I was even engaged, my now husband and I attended the Capitol Romance DIY Chalkboard workshop. We both figured this would be a good skill to learn, and something we could use for more than just our future wedding. This technique that we learned couldn’t be easier, and we put it to good use when it came time to make signs of all sizes for our wedding.

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SUPPLIES:

Chalkboard paint

– Painting boards (or whatever surface you want to make into a sign)

– Pencil and pen

– Chalk or chalk pens

STEPS:

Step 1. Paint your surface with the chalkboard paint. You may need to use a couple coats of paint to get even coverage

Step 2. While your paint is drying, create the wording/design for your sign on your computer and print it out. Be sure to size your message to the size of your sign.

Step 3. On the non-printed side of your paper, use your pencil and scribble all over the paper. Make sure your scribbles cover your entire design.

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Step 4. Once your sign is dry, place your printed design on top of your sign. You want the printed design facing up. It’s helpful to secure your design to the sign so it doesn’t move during the next step.

Step 5. With your pen, trace your design. This will transfer your design to your sign with the pencil lead that is on the back of the paper.

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Step 6. Once you’ve traced the entire design, lift your paper. You should be able to see the outline of your design on your sign.

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Now you can use your chalk or chalk pens to outline/fill in your design on your sign. Using a chalk pen will give you clean, crisp lines, and the design will be permanent.

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Last step!! And your done! If you want a more authentic chalkboard appearance, use the side of a piece of chalk to shade in the entire sign. Then blend it all together with a dry paper towel.

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Rose, Eggplant, & Teal Inspired Elopement Styled Shoot

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Images: Nikki Schell Photography via Two Bright Lights

This weekend did not actually flash by in an instant. It was actually quite great. Friday night Andy & I pretended to be young again, got a babysitter, and hit up the Zoo for a corporate party for my day job. Saturday I got up nice and early for some new CapRoWeddings team headshots (thanks again Amber Kay Photo!) – I am SO PUMPED to have some pro photos of my rockstar coordination team. Then Andy & I cleaned the house (I mean CLEANED) even after I had two too many glasses of red wine the night before. Seriously, how amazing does cleaning out your closet feel?!

Yesterday we cleaned up our front yard, mulched, planted new plants, and enjoyed the GORGEOUS weather. The rain was so depressing last week, it was so insanely amazing to see the sun. Oh, I also got a massage (mmmmmmmmmm so needed), some gorgeous flowers, a wood crate for my bike & dinner for a wonderful Mother’s Day. Like I said, a GREAT weekend. Now it’s all systems “DO ALL THE THINGS” for Evie’s big 1st birthday bash this weekend. I am so behind.

So instead of dwelling on how many things I have to do still for the party, let’s enjoy these REALLY gorgeous styled elopement that features a stunning color palette of dusty rose, eggplant purple, and the brightest, deepest, teals. Love. Happy Monday Romancers.

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The decision to shoot in Old Town Manassas came when the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin hadn’t hit peak bloom yet! There were magnolia blossoms all over Manassas and the whole feel of Old Town really fit what we were going for. Not only did the blossoms look lovely, they also matched the color palette (pinks, purples, deep teals) and the bride model’s hair!

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The bride and groom model are Kristin Mastrangelo and her husband, who have been together for many years. The dresses were all provided by Kayla Dreesen.

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Vendors ~> Photographer: Nikki Schell Creative, LLC | Hair & Makeup: Britin Artistry | Event Planner: Kayla Dreesen | Locations: Old Town Manassas | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

DIY Tutorial: Make Your Own Scented Soy Candles!

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So freakin pumped to have Jenn Heller Design Co. back in action with her super rad DIYs on the blog! Today we have a DIY scented soy candle tutorial that would make an awesome wedding favor, shower gift, or really just fun to have for your own house. My husband LOVES candles, so my wallet my thank us if I just started making them instead of buying them! Check out all the details for this DIY tutorial below and have a VERY happy Friday Romancers!

DIY Scented Soy Candles Tutorial | By: Jenn Heller Design Co.

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One of my favorite things to come up with DIYs for are wedding favors, for a number of reasons.  The first is that what to do about favors seem to be an uncomfortable choice for couples unless they have a great idea for a personal choice, and that translates to awkwardness for your guests too! Edibles are great but can be a problem due to a growing awareness of food allergies. I also love a favor that does double duty as a décor item for you, because if you’re spending the money you should get bang for your buck!  The other day I realized I had a perfect DIY on my hands that could be an awesome wedding favor – scented candles!

What you’ll need:

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  • Wax chips (I used this brand)
  • Vessel to melt wax chips (I bought this aluminum pitcher, to avoid getting wax in my measuring cups and to let me melt the wax in bulk! You can also use a glass measuring cup like this one that can withstand heat, but be cautious if the handle can heat up too.)
  • Container for finished candles (I used these metal tins that seem perfect for favors, but you can use lots of things here! Mason jars, wine bottles that you’ve cut open – any container that won’t be damaged by the heat. You can also use larger canister-style containers for large candles.)
  • Wicks – make sure you get some appropriate to your container size! For my tins, I bought these 6” ones, and they were unnecessarily tall! I’ll be getting the 3.5” version next time.
  • Chopsticks or wick centering devices – if you’re making a ton, splurge for the centering thing. If you’re making 1 to try it out, use chopsticks. I bought the centering tool since I plan to make a bunch, so you’ll see it in the photos.
  • Essential Oils or Scent Additive of your choice! I love this brand of essential oils and use them for many homemade cleaning products.
  • Pot with water for melting wax, and optional metal cookie cutter (see instructions.)
  • Optional: Labels! The candle tins I used will take a 2” or 2 ¼” round circle perfectly. I have formatted your freebie design sheet for these circular labels but I’ve also provided the images as jpegs so you can make your own! Make sure you head to my site to download the label images I’ve designed for you!

Candles are super easy to make yourself, and with just a touch of essential oils you can enjoy a scented candle that is not only nice to smell, but has the benefits of aromatherapy without extra crazy chemicals! As favors, buying the components in bulk makes them reasonably inexpensive as well, and your rooms will smell amazing for a while after you make them.

PRO TIP: A note about craft store goods: You can find a lot of the tools/gear for making candles at larger craft chain stores.  I would be happy to use their tools but generally more wary about their raw materials like wax chips and ESPECIALLY their scents, as they might contain low quality stuff that you don’t want to be breathing in.

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Let’s get started!

CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF THIS AWESOME DIY SCENTED SOY CANDLE TUTORIAL!

Reintroducing Jenn Heller Design Co.! (Fine Art, Stationery & Graphic Design Combined!)

View More: http://abbygracephotography.pass.us/jenn-heller

Image: Abby Grace Photography

For those of you reading the blog for a while now, you’ll likely recognize that beautiful smiling face above as Jenn, the DIY maven, and crazy-talented graphic designer that has been an integral part of Capitol Romance’s growth over these past few years. Under the Ribbons & Bluebirds name, Jenn has created amazing DIY tutorials for me and  designed all of my CapRo Workshop graphics. We had tiny humans around the same time, and so now we even get to spend time swapping Mompreneur stories.

For today, I’d like to pass the blog over to Jenn to re-introduce herself as she recently went through a major re-brand & website overhaul. I think you guys are going to love the new brand, the new website, and the new services & products Jenn is offering. Ladies & Gents, let me introduce to you, Jenn Heller Design Co!

View More: http://abbygracephotography.pass.us/jenn-heller

Image: Abby Grace Photography

Hi Romancers! I am so excited to have the chance to officially re-introduce myself as part of my rebrand, and tell you a little more about what I do. If you’ve been following Capitol Romance in the last few years, you may already know me as Jenn from Ribbons and Bluebirds from my DIY posts, but now I am happy to be back to launch  Jenn Heller Design Co!

I realized it was time for me to make a major change in my business over a year ago, when I didn’t approach the days with the same level of enthusiasm that I was used to.  After doing an illustration for a friend of my sister, I saw what I was missing!  I needed in inject a little more art into my graphic design work, and took  the opportunity to start fresh with a more personal brand when I realized I would be temporarily closing the business for maternity leave.

View More: http://abbygracephotography.pass.us/jenn-heller

Image: Abby Grace Photography

After taking some time off after my son was born last June, I relaunched full time this February and am now taking wedding and portrait clients for this year and 2017.

Before I went into graphic design I was an architect, and I have 5 years of formal training from university in traditional hand drafting and watercolour rendering.  It feels very natural to be infusing that art into my stationery designs, and am loving the changes so far!

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Why the name change?

It felt like a chance to be more authentically myself – I never 100% got behind Ribbons and Bluebirds as a perfect representation of my work.  It seemed like an easy choice to become Jenn Heller Design Co, and leave things open-ended for what I’ll be designing in the future!

View More: http://abbygracephotography.pass.us/jenn-heller

So what is different about the company now?

In some ways, not that much is different – I’ve mainly added services! I wanted to shift the focus of my work to be more about the things I do that are unique, like my watercolor illustrations, custom maps, and architectural drawings!

I still offer full service custom wedding stationery and related products, like signage and day-of goods. In addition to wedding goods I now offer stand-alone illustration services and paintings, like watercolor pet portraits, venue paintings, or house portraits.

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Can we expect more DIYs from you?

Absolutely! I’ve been quiet on the DIY front for a while as I have been putting my efforts towards launching the new company and preventing my 10 month old from launching himself off various furniture pieces in my home.  Coming later this week is a new DIY Bree and I think you’ll love!

I’d love to make sure we’re working on the right balance of DIYs for you, since my ideas tend to come from what I need in my own life.  Let us know if you have an idea you’d love to see in a DIY and I’ll get working on it!

View More: http://abbygracephotography.pass.us/jenn-heller

How can I get in touch about services?

You can visit my website, www.jennhellerdesign.com, or send me an email to jennhellerdesignco [at] gmail.com with questions!  I have a limited selection of goods in my Etsy shop but I continue to add them on a naptime-based schedule. Tragically not my own naptime.

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You can find Jenn:

Etsy Shop – https://www.etsy.com/shop/JennHellerDesignCo
Instagram – www.instagram/jennhellerdesignco
Facebook – www.facebook.com/jennhellerdesignco

Let’s Get Personal: A Letter to My Daughter

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Today is Evie’s first birthday (happy birthday nugget!). And I’ve had this post brewing in my mind for quite some time. Little pieces here and there, but never found the time to actually sit down and write the whole thing out. So as we got closer to the big mile marker, I figured I would wait until her actual birthday to blog it. So here it goes:

For some reason I cannot at all remember now, Andy & I both agreed (secretly and not so secretly) that we wanted a boy. I have doodles from college that show mine & Andy’s family with 2 boys and our youngest being a girl (we even had names – wow we were young and in love!). Boy, boy, girl. That was the order I thought would be perfect for our family. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The second you were born, before the midwife could even tell me your sex, I knew you were a girl. That might sound unbelievable but it’s true. Instead of asking “what is it?”, I asked “girl?”, confirming what I already knew. And from that point on, the thought of so vehemently wanting a boy for our first child was gone forever.

When I try to think back on the reasons why I wanted a boy, I think it was mostly fear. Fear that I couldn’t handle a girl’s emotional being. Fear that I couldn’t handle the way other girls might treat mine (girls can be so mean!). Fear that my daughter might get the same insecurities I possess. Fear that I couldn’t properly raise a strong, independent woman.

But instead of the fear I once felt initially, I am instead filled these days with so much determination instead. I am determined to raise a woman that can absolutely handle female emotions (even if her mother can not). That can absolutely handle other girls and the way they might treat her. That can absolutely rise above the insecurities that so many women possess. And that will be as strong and independent as she wants or needs to be.

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(Evie at 9 months)

As I reflect back on this past year with you, I can’t help but realize how much you’ve changed me and caused me to grow as a person and as a woman. I’ll admit that I expected motherhood to change me (how could it not?) but I thought it might give me more patience or help me to cut back on my sarcasm. It hasn’t, (sorry Andy!) but instead it’s given me something I did not expect to gain: confidence.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have the time anymore to get lost down the social media comparison clickhole or maybe it’s because when you have a whole other human to worry about, worrying about competition or not being as good as someone else, seems trivial, or perhaps it’s that my energy these days is completely maxed out between caring for you, my marriage, my day job, and this side hustle business of mine. There is no energy left for feeling sorry for myself or less than others.

You’ve already taught me so much in this first year I am excited (and ok, a tad apprehensive) at what year 2 will bring. But between your spunky, yet laid-back nature, and my newfound determination & confidence, I have a feeling that the exciting times will far outweigh the apprehensive ones.

Happy Birthday Evie. Love you so much!

Nadia & Dominique’s Washington DC Anniversary Pictures & Marriage Reflection

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Images: Vanessa Smith Photography

This weather is SO unmotivating!! We had a great (and pretty relaxing) weekend here in DC as my parents came to visit and hang with Evie just before her big F-I-R-S-T birthday tomorrow. We ate great food, watched Harry Potter 1 & 2 and otherwise just caught up on some great family time. This weekend I’ll be in crazy “make all the things” and “prep the house” for Evie’ first birthday bash the following weekend. But for today we have a darling Washington DC anniversary session.

I know I’ve said this before, but for some reason I NEVER got anniversary submissions and I really wish I got more. One because of the images, but two (and mainly) because I love the insight and marriage advice from the couple; two things I’d love to share more of on this blog as wedding blogs tend to focus way-too-much on just the wedding day (and the pricey details) and not the whole relationship and marriage part.

Dominique & Nadia have some great advice to share and their gorgeous images by Vanessa Smith clearly show how in love they are, two years after their wedding day. Happy Monday all!

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How did you two meet, how he popped the question, and where did you get married?

How we met: I moved to Cleveland, OH after undergrad at the University of Florida. I started hanging out with a sorority sister that went to Kent State University. She introduced me to Dominique since they both went to school together. We went on our first date at a sushi place in Strongsville, OH and spent everyday together after that. 3 months later I had to leave for my next position with my company to the DC area. He spent the next 3 years driving to see me in DC, Indiana and Philly until we got married in 2014.

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How he proposed:

We went on a cruise to the Caribbean for my 25th birthday, he pretended to lose his phone at one of those deck parties that the ship throws at night. Next thing I know, they call him up on stage to claim his phone, they gave him the mic to say where he was from, and then all of a sudden he says “I just want to give shoutout to my beautiful girlfriend, Nadia” (then I proceeded to smile embarrassingly and walk up to stage). Then he says “I just want to let her know , that I want to spend the rest of my life ” (at this point, the ENTIRE ship gasps out loud). Then he pulls out a ring out of his pocket (and it started making sense why he was acting so weird the whole night). First thing out my mouth was “you are kidding me!” …then I said “yes”.

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The best thing about being married & the hardest thing about being married:

Having a partner to grow with and experience life together. I cant imagine my life without him…it would be like losing a limb at this point.

Hardest thing is realizing that I cant change him, I can only change how I react to him. Loving Dominique is a choice, and my goal is to make that choice everyday.

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Any advice to couples that are getting married?

My advice to newly weds or newly engaged: Be transparent. You’re partner is not a mind reader. Be comfortable telling each other what you do and don’t like. Be comfortable accepting feedback and making an effort to adjust.

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Your biggest regret from your wedding day? Or anything you would have done differently?

No regrets. Everything happens for a reason, and those experiences made me the woman I am today. I would have relaxed more and been less worried about small details.

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Jade & Jonah’s DIY, Festival Themed Wedding Outside DC

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Images: Pangtography 

West Virginia might technically fall outside of my regional requirements but once I saw the images from this festival themed wedding and just the whole vibe of the day – I simply fell in love. Plus, the venue was in Shepherdstown, WV which is only about an hour and a half from Washington, DC and 30 minutes from the outer parts of Northern Virginia, so really not THAT far outside my radius. Plus, as the submitters stated, “it’s a great place to come and escape the city … and get more for your dollar”.

Jonah & Jade’s wedding is full of colors, DIY projects, festival-themed details, and SO MUCH LOVE. I’m telling you – I thought this was a styled shoot at first, it’s so gorgeous, but really it was just a total labor of love (the bride and her friends did a lot – and hired the perfect vendors to cap it all off). I know you’re going to love this one!

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Jonah and I met through  mutual friends at a reggae show. I remember whispering to my friend before meeting him, “Look at that tall surfer looking dude with long hair over there.” One day, my sister invited me to come along to go pontooning on the Potomac River with some friends. It was a gorgeous day out, my friends and I were playing our guitars and  singing. Jonah was there and I remember him swinging from tree branches and doing these crazy cool dives in the water.  I nicknamed him, “Tarzan.” Jonah lived on the Shenandoah River so that summer our friends would go on tube floats followed by cookouts at Jonah’s with music and t-ball. Many hikes, reggae shows, cookouts, and floats down the river later, Jonah asked me on a date and the rest is history.

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Five years later, Jonah asked me out to dinner. Before I could get out the door, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes! And the wedding planning began!

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It was very special to have our wedding ceremony at the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church, where we are both members. Jonah’s father, Randy Tremba, is the church’s minister and officiated our wedding ceremony.

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We are very close to our families, so the bridal party included our brothers, sisters, their wives, husbands, and kids. The wedding ceremony had both traditional and non-traditional elements. There was live music throughout played by several of our musician friends. Than and Mary Anne Hitt opened up the ceremony with “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff. My father walked me down the aisle to the sound of two mandalins and a guitar strumming “The Wedding March” by George Frederick Handel. I carried a custom hand tied bouquet designed by one of my girlfriends, Westvirjeni. It was huge and colorful, asymmetrical and adorned with pheasant feathers.

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CLICK INSIDE FOR SO MUCH MORE OF THIS DREAMY, BRIGHTLY COLORED, FESTIVAL THEMED WEDDING

DIY Workshop Recap! Makeup Tips & Skills with Ariel Lewis

Photos from the Harty ı Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography ı www.photosfromtheharty.com

Images: Photos from the Harty

The beginning of the month brought the 2nd District Bliss Workshop and now we have ALL the fabulous images and details from the event! Ariel Lewis was on hand to teach attendees all about make-up: your best colors for your skin tone, how to apply a day-to-day look, and how to transform it into an evening look, and (my personal frenemy) eyebrows! The next workshop is not yet announced, but you know we’ll be sharing all the details once it is! Be on the look out here, OR sign-up for our newsletter to be the first to know. Check out all the fun these attendees had next! Happy Hump Day Romancers.

Photos from the Harty ı Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography ı www.photosfromtheharty.com

Photos from the Harty ı Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography ı www.photosfromtheharty.com

Photos from the Harty ı Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography ı www.photosfromtheharty.com

Photos from the Harty ı Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography ı www.photosfromtheharty.com

Photos from the Harty ı Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography ı www.photosfromtheharty.com

Photos from the Harty ı Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography ı www.photosfromtheharty.com
Photos from the Harty ı Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography ı www.photosfromtheharty.com

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