Join Me at WeddingWire World’s “Serving the Modern Couple” Panel on March 17th!

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Well Romancers, we really can’t believe it, but 2015 is ALREADY starting to kick some major ass. This week I was invited to participate in a panel at the one and only WeddingWire World, a two day educational conference for wedding professionals, thanks to the ever-amazing Kathryn Hamm of GayWeddings.com and Capturing Love Guide fame. I’ve had the absolute honor and pleasure of collaborating with Kathryn before (she invited me to be a part of a panel at the HRC as part of her Capturing Love Guide tour AND she invited our crazy #PopUpRomance participants to be a part of the #WedWeCan group in the Pride Parade last year) and I am just so stoked to get to work with her again.

Kathryn will be moderating a Pro Panel on Day 2 of WeddingWire World called “Serving Today’s Modern Couple.” I will be joined by a handful of other incredibly talented wedding industry business owners, including Ross Knight, and Bethel Nathan, as well as Kyle Mihalcoe, a recent newlywed. We will be discussing our views on what the “modern” couple really is, what they are looking for in regards to their wedding, and how wedding vendors can best serve them. I really can’t wait to share what I’ve learned about the modern couple through blogging AND wedding coordinating these past few years.

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Image: Michelle VanTine Photography

As a blogger I feel like I get to help shape this notion – as I get to choose the images and couples I publish on my website. As a wedding coordinator I get to actually work alongside these “modern” couples helping them to plan their modern wedding (in a sometimes too-traditional city). If you are a wedding professional planning on attending WeddingWire World – do please stop by the panel on Day 2 (or at least say “hi” after!).

me at Joel and Christine's wedding

Image: Elizabeth Fogarty Photography

But wait! There’s more! The fine people at WeddingWire have graciously given me a coupon code for those Capitol Romance readers & sponsors out there that might want to attend!  Just use the promo code BREE125 to secure tickets for $125 each. You can either go to WeddingWire World’s website and click register and manually enter the code on the EventBrite page, OR use the direct link here.

I truly cannot wait to be a part of this amazing event & panel and really hope to see some familiar faces (and meet some new ones too!). See you on March 17th!

 

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Arfa & Irfan’s Vibrant, Traditional Pakistani Wedding in Washington, DC

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Image: Boraie Photography

For those of you that know me, you know the term “I’m at a loss for words” doesn’t normally come out of my mouth. I almost ALWAYS have an opinion or something to say or a comment to make (just ask my family … or my husband …). I mean I guess that’s one of the reasons why I started a blog. But sometimes you get submissions that really require no words, or really, quite honestly, leave me “at a loss for words”. Arfa & Irfan’s vibrant Pakistani wedding does just that. The colors, the rich textures, the traditions, the stunning beauty – it all literally jumps out of these images from Boraie Photography and really nothing I could write could ever compliment these images. So I’ll stop typing now and instead just leave you with some of the MOST GORGEOUS images you will see this week.

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From the photographer: Arfa and Irfan’s Pakistani wedding took place over one week in May 2014 in the Washington, DC area through multiple traditional events, including the Mehndi and Baraat. The celebration included lots of food, vibrant colors, fun dances, family and friends and most of all, the sentiment of the hour – love.

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Our families were introduced through mutual family friends, and after our families, and Irfan and I got to know each other, we had a simple “baat pakki” (essentially an engagement) at my home with just our immediate families. Later on, Irfan and his family came to my house to give me the engagement ring, and our families decided on a May 2014 wedding that evening (It’s traditional in Pakistani culture to set an approximate wedding date range the day the engagement ring is given).

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Click inside for SO much more of this gorgeous Pakistani wedding!

A Recap of Our Last 2014 DIY Workshop & A Look Ahead to 2015 Workshops

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Image: Cynthia Shipp Photography

We ended last year’s slate of 2014 Capitol Romance DIY Workshops with something beautiful: watercolor techniques with Ribbons & Bluebirds. I was astounded (as I usually am) by how talented the attendees are. People seemed to create watercolor wreaths, their own logos, and beautiful flowers with ease! I think some of this is the fact that I get the coolest attendees at these workshops, but I also think most of it is due to our amazing professional vendor hosts.

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Jen walked our attendees through a general overview of working with watercolor paints – where to get the good ones, what brushes to use (and which you certainly should NOT use) and let attendees know a super watercolor success secret: a lot of it comes down to the type of paper you use! Attendees each got a brush, some paints, and a color wheel for their setup (along with the other goodies that come with each Capitol Romance DIY Workshop: a notepad & favor treat).

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Yes, those are BOURBON flavored marshmellows!

Jen took attendees through different designs and ideas, teaching everyone how to master a simple watercolor technique and then letting them “have at it” using their creativity to come up with and practice their own ideas.

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Click inside for more from our last 2014 DIY Workshop AND read about our 2015 DIY Workshops!

Amanda & Neal’s Bull Run Winery & H Mart Engagement Pictures in Virginia

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[Images: Love by Serena]

This weather SUCKS. I tried really hard not to get my hopes up for a snow day (but I did anyway) and now I am obviously disappointed to not be on my couch in PJs. So all you peeps in NJ/NYC/Boston – enjoy your snow, we’ll be sitting here in DC enjoying COLD. RAIN. For today’s post we do have a beautiful engagement session from Love by Serena. So at least there’s that ;) Amanda & Neal had one part of their engagement pictures at The Winery at Bull Run and then the second part at H Mart (an Asian grocery store!). The bride to be is part Asian and they shop at H Mart, so they found it to be a perfectly fun & appropriate place to have their engagement pictures (love this!).

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How they met:

Comet Ping Pong hosted a records swap & music event, which Amanda and Neal both attended.  In the sea of people, Neal stood out to Amanda because of his height and the bright, yellow Miles Davis t-shirt he was wearing at the time.  They both found each other in the crowd and began talking.  After speaking at length about music and records, they exchanged contact information. Not long after, he asked her on a date to his favorite pho restaurant at Eden Center in Falls Church, VA.

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Click inside for the adorable proposal story and awesome pictures from H Mart!

Quentin & James’ Modern, Intimate DC War Memorial Wedding & Dinner Reception

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Images: Robin Shotola Photography

I‘ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, just because you don’t have 100+ people at your wedding, doesn’t mean you can’t pick super fun and personalized details to make your wedding day shine & be truly “you”. This is EXACTLY what Quentin & James did and why I had SUCH a hard time narrowing down images from Robin Shotola Photography to include in today’s real DC wedding feature! Using pops of purple, some serious style choices, and a super modern font for their “Q & Chu” themed details (even embroidered onto their shirts!) these grooms ROCKED their intimate DC wedding. A beautiful ceremony at the DC War Memorial, with some awesome portraits and a gorgeous reception (which their friends designed & styled!) – I love it!

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Your favorite part of the wedding planning? The creative parts selecting flowers, designing the invitations, creating the feel of the reception. Vendor selection, we were very careful when selecting vendors. We interviewed each vendor to ensure they were of like mind and shared our vision of our wedding day.

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Wedding advice?

Keep is simple, be true to how you are as a couple and don’t let outside voices tell you what you day should or should not be. Think out side the box, weddings do not have to conform to any standard, and make it fun and something you and your guest will remember for years to come!

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Click inside for the rest of Quentin & James’ intimate, modern DC wedding!

Don’t Miss the District Bliss Engaged Couples’ Social on Feb 26th!

*sponsored post*

February 26, 2015 | District Bliss Engaged Couples’ Social  | 5pm to 8pm

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There’s a NEW kind of wedding expo in town and it’s called District Bliss. Part happy hour, part intimate wedding expo, District Bliss aims to be a casual happy hour where couples can meet and mingle, share wedding planning advice, and meet highlighted vendors, all in a laid-back and FUN space. Check out more from Sarah Campbell of Pollyanna Events and Sara Alepin of Photos from the Harty, two fun-loving gals, who founded District Bliss to bring you a new spin on wedding social events in DC.

We are super excited to host our very first District Bliss Engaged Couples Social on February 26th, 2015! The event will be held in Chinatown at City Tap House from 5-8:00pm – in their indoor-outdoor event space.  It’s all exposed brick, huge windows, cool lighting, neutral colors, fire pits outside – a somewhat offbeat, blank slate that is affordable (not always easy to find in DC).

Our event is designed to be a casual happy hour in a dressed venue space.  We highlight one vendor in each category (florist, designer/letter press, venue space, etc); they will come in, dress the space, then leave.  The only vendor who will physically be in attendance will be our Featured Vendor, Capital Society.  The lead designer, Shelli, will be there offering bookings, items for purchase, and raffle items!

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No more bridal expos!  Wedding HAPPY HOURS are what we’re about! We’ll have tons of info for our couples, but it won’t have the traditional expo feel; no booths – just gifts, drinks, info, and fun! The District Bliss Couples Social is a happy hour where you can mix-and-mingle with other engaged couples while getting info to help you plan your wedding!

What you’ll find at the District Bliss Couples Social:

  • TONS of awesome giveaways
  • An inspiring, decorated, reasonably-priced, venue space with tons to offer
  • Fun drinks, craft-brewed beers, and some nibbles
  • Cool engaged couples and people who are just like you
  • Beautiful flower arrangements and decor
  • Information on fab budget-friendly/stress- reducing vendors (because we know planning a wedding can be slightly stressful at times)
  • An awesome open-air photobooth
  • Lots of unique ideas/inspiration
  • Adorable gifts – because we’re happy you came!
  • Super cute samples of invitations, coasters, escort cards, stir sticks – and more – designed by Capital Society.  They can personalize and create pretty much anything you can dream up!
  • FUN!

What you WONT find at the District Bliss Couples Social

  • Booths of vendors
  • Totally overwhelmed soon-to-be brides/grooms
  • Hard-selling wedding vendors who feel just as awkward as you do
  • PRESSURE!  This is a pressure-free zone!

{Participating Vendors}

All couples can buy their tickets on Eventbrite here:

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If you go ENJOY and let us know what you thought! We can’t wait to see all the pictures of the event on social media :)

*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*

Capitol Advice: What Fiji Taught Me About Marriage

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[Image: An adorable selfie from The Plannery]

I was so VERY excited to start working on one of my 2015 business goals and get my very first marriage-focused guest post from Katie of The Plannery fame. I’ll mention again here that I def want to spend more of 2015 focusing on marriage and relationships and would love to hear from all of YOU on what you’ve learned either from planning a wedding in the area, or from being married in the area. Today Katie shares some insight from her honeymoon to Fiji and what it taught her about marriage. Love this. Take it away Katie.

What Fiji Taught Me About Marriage

My husband and I honeymooned in Fiji. At the time we were both working 9-5 office jobs, and we reasoned that we’d never know when we’d get 2 weeks off in the future, so we might as well go for the fantasy far-flung honeymoon. It was extravagant. We managed it by using miles and staying at a slightly more budget-friendly B&B the first week, and then moving to a higher-end private island resort the second.

Before the honeymoon, I assumed my most memorable times would be dinners on the beach by sunset, the afternoons gazing at each other poolside, and enjoying the beauty of the island while in our perfect honeymoon bliss.

I was wrong.

The beach we stayed on had two very small islands right off of the coast. The guides at the B&B mentioned there was a great snorkeling spot between the two islands. We could kayak out, simply tie the string attached to the kayak to one of our legs and then snorkel out in the ocean. So the next morning after breakfast we decided to go for it, both of us in a two-person kayak, with our snorkel gear in tow.

I was immediately concerned – the wind was really high and the waves were quite big, the ocean was rough, and I was having a tough time paddling (my upper arm strength is really awesome). What I call waves, my husband calls simple white caps, so we soldiered on and gave it a go. Exhausted, we got to the first little island and the waves were practically crashing us into the rocks. Refusing to be defeated, we steadied ourselves, got our snorkel gear ready and paddled out to the middle section. The water was much more protected between the two islands, but I was still a bit wary. I jumped in anyway and immediately realized the ocean was still too rough for leisurely snorkeling. Hubby, after tying the rope to his foot, jumped in after me. Unfortunately he’d tied the wrong string to his foot, so this was the short rope intended for the paddles. Yup, he was clumsily half-drowning (I say “half-drowning, he says “awkwardly untying himself”). I held the kayak steady while treading water and while he untied himself. His drowning avoided (for now), we both agreed we were exhausted, in the middle of the ocean, and drifting fast. If we didn’t get back to land (or if we dropped a paddle or lost the boat), we’d literally wind up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As a side note, my husband also quite intelligently opted not to mention the risk of sharks, as I would have absolutely lost my sh*t.

So. We both miraculously managed to get back in the kayak. Neither I, with my aforementioned lack of upper arm strength, nor he, with his 6ft frame, flipped the kayak. Once I safely made it on board and up front, I used the paddles as a tightrope walker might, pulled in my core, and my husband managed to get on-board. As he did, he said “we’re home.”

We paddled furiously back to shore, managing to sneak one selfie with our old-school waterproof camera. We hit the sand, feeling ridiculously relieved, and ran back to our bure (the small hotel room cabin-type dwelling of ours on the beach) to stay the hell away from the ocean for the rest of the day. We spent the afternoon lying in bed, eating the Fijian version of cheese puffs, getting drunk on Fijian beer and watching TV shows we’d downloaded on our Ipad.

And that’s where my lesson was learned. We had gotten ourselves in quite a pickle. But we’d worked together to get out of it. It was because we’d been challenged together and helped each other that the aftermath was so lovely. I realized then that this was marriage.

My education continued throughout the trip. Our horseback ride was on two very scrawny horses, on an afternoon filled with soaking rain while our Fijian guide sang oldies tunes with the wrong words. Our romantic dinner on the beach was delicious, but also filled with some slight anxiety regarding the 3 ft fruit bats flying over our heads.

Fiji had graciously given us a glimpse into what real marriage is all about. While romance, and adventure, and exotic locales are all awesome – what’s really awesome is having a partner to help you through the tough times.

I loved the delicious, decadent meals we had; I loved the glamorous pool, the unreal scenery, the exotic location. But I’d give it all up for a languid afternoon in bed, fingers coated in cheesy powder and buzzed on beer. Or for a very wet but laughter-filled horseback ride. Or a white knuckle hand grab over the perfect meal because an enormous fruit bat just breezed by your head. Marriage is all about the challenges, big and small, near-death or small disappointments, and having someone there to get you through them (or just make them a hell of a lot more fun). As my husband said, when we’re together, safe and sound, whether it be after a terrible day at work or a near-death kayak adventure, we’re home.

Katie & Patrick’s Engagement Pictures on Roosevelt Island in Washington, DC

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[Images: Boraie Photography]

It’s Monday, but a holiday – so hopefully most of you are out participating in a Day of Service, or enjoying the couch, or still had to go to the office and instead are thinking about how awesome it would be to NOT be there. I am luckily surfing the couch today and catching up on some admin things and blogging. I spent the weekend mostly in a car, traveling up to PA for a surprise 30th birthday for one of my longest friends, and then stopping for a quick visit in Philly on the way back to DC. I am excited to be in DC these next few weekends while Andy & I continue work on our upstairs floors and getting the nursery ready!

For today I have a sweet little engagement session from CapRo newbie, Boraie Photography. Mohamed shares the adorable e-sess of Kate & Patrick, two athletes that fell in love and love to run together. I love how they included running in their engagement pictures! Check it out.

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Kate and Patrick met in August 2013. Their second date was a walk around Roosevelt Island. A little over a year later, they thought it fitting to take their engagement pictures there. Kate and Patrick are both avid athletes, and going out for a run is one of their favorite activities to do together. They wanted their engagement session to capture this aspect of their life as well. Kate and Patrick look forward to marrying next summer.

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Click inside for a few more of Kate & Patrick’s adorable DC engagement pictures!

2014 Resolution Grading & A Look at 2015’s Goals & Resolutions

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Images: Sarah Williams

It’s time for a post on our 2015 business goals, but first I wanted to grade myself on the goals/resolutions I made in 2014. We officially announced our 2014 resolution with our first-ever reader survey and the name of the game was Follow-Through. In May I graded myself, and checked in on some of the projects I started, giving myself a B for the professional projects I had planned and a C+ for the personal side of things.

I think I would have to say that I would up my grades a LITTLE both professionally (B+) and personally (B-), as our 2014 Recap proved that we actually accomplished quite a bit in our business last year and I do think I was better by the end of the year at showing up to things that I said I would attend. I think “follow-through” was a great word for me last year and I want to continue to strive towards that this year too. But the word for 2015 is going to be: COLLABORATION.

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In addition to continuing to to get shit done and follow-through on my big ideas, I REALLY want to focus on collaborating more this year. This means more guest posts, more partnerships, and more co-execution of things. I’ve already started 1 major collaboration project with the raddest design ladies in DC, Typecase Industries, but I don’t want to stop there. I think this blog could SUPER benefit from more collaborations like the one I started last year with Jen of Ribbons & Bluebirds for all our amazing DIY tutorials. So here’s my call to YOU readers & vendors alike, I want to work with YOU to help continue to make Capitol Romance even more awesome. This means I am looking for:

1. Advice pieces from vendors

2. Advice pieces from past brides & grooms

3. Tutorials & help pieces specific to your vendor area

Think you got an idea for one of these items? Just shoot me an email (bree [at] capitolromance [dot] com) – I’d love to hear from you!

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So the word of the year for 2015 is collaboration, but I also want to share some personal/professional business goals to help keep myself honest. This year is going to be CRAZY. And to be completely honest, I really don’t even know what this blog will look like come May, but I hope in setting some goals, it will help guide me through this uncertain year and ensure I come out on the other end still breathing and happy. So here are my Top 3 business goals:

1. Being Honest to You, My Readers

Honesty is going to be key here in 2015. And to me that means no empty promises. So let’s start with this: there’s a good chance I will not be blogging 5 days a week this year. With a full time job, this blog, wedding coordination clients, training a new assistant, running workshops AND a baby on the way, well I just can’t promise that there will be something new here every day. BUT that being said, I will promise not to get lazy on content here. I promise not to let the quality of posts fail, just because I can’t get something up every day. I figure quality over quantity HAS to be a better approach.

2. Expanding the Topics on the Blog

This is something I slowly started to do in 2014, but really want to do more aggressively in 2015. The fact of the matter is, there are a MILLION places to get wedding information and resources in DC and on the internet these days – so what really makes this place so damn special or unique? I wanted to blog more marriage-focused posts in 2014 (this didn’t happen, but I hope it will in 2015) through sharing anniversary features. I’d still like to do this – so couples & photographers – PLEASE send me your anniversary shoots! I’d love to hear more about your life post-wedding :)

Thanks to my 2014 reader survey (and really just some common sense), I also know that I don’t have JUST engaged couples reading this blog. Lots of people here are married or maybe read as a vendor, and so I’d really love to expand this blog a bit to give more digestible/usable content to those readers. And let’s be honest, I got married FOUR YEARs ago. My advice on weddings is probably getting stale at this point – I’ve personally moved on to learning about real estate, purchasing an investment property, trying to run a small business, and now jumping into motherhood. NOW let me just say that I have NO intentions of this blog becoming a mommy blog (back to #1. Honesty) I have PLENTY of thoughts so far on this new chapter of my life, but Capitol Romance will NOT be the venue for that. That isn’t to say though that you probably won’t see some of these thoughts/opinions creeping into my Twitter & Instagram accounts, because you will.

So bear with me while I try to navigate how to make #2 happen gracefully. And as always, your feedback is ALWAYS welcome. I’d love to know how you feel about expanded topics, things you miss, and so on and so forth. My email inbox is always open. (literally, I never close gmail).

3. Being Happy With What I Can Accomplish & Control

This will be an important one for me. As I mentioned in my 2014 recap, I already am slightly worried (to be honest) that 2015 won’t come close to 2014 in terms of accomplishments. But I need to realize – there is NOTHING wrong with that. Every year just can’t be the craziest year of growth because priorities change. This year will be the first year of my life that SO much will be out of my control. I can try as much as I want to plan what I can and accomplish what I can, but there is going to be A LOT of times where I just need to accept the fact that I can’t do it all.

And that is perfectly OK.

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So bring it on 2015. I am excited to collaborate with new people (and old people too!), excited to try out new posts on the blog, excited to make plans (that never happen), and excited to take on the challenge of not being able to control every aspect of my life. It’s going to be fun. (Right?).

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