Katie & Kendra’s DIY, Backyard Virginia Wedding

Other then a holiday mini-session round-up, this will be our last post for the week! We are headed to (hopefully) sunny Key West for the next week for my sister in law’s wedding and my 3-year wedding anniversary! As always though, when I get back there will be a giveaway and a new discount promo for you all to make up for the lack of posts while I am gone!

Today’s real Virginia wedding feature is just so beautiful in its simplicity. It nearly broke my heart though to read the first line of the bride’s email, saying: “I’m a little nervous as our wedding wasn’t that awesome by wedding blog standards – we didn’t really have cute and kitschy details that I can think of. But I still ended up marrying the world’s most perfect woman, so I’ll take it.”

Nothing pains me more than having a couple feel their wedding was less than spectacular because it didn’t have the details that a blog would consider “worthy”. This is where wedding blogs, quite frankly, really piss me off. They are sending the wrong messages about weddings — it’s NOT about the details, it’s about the love & commitment of two individuals. That is why I am downright honored to share Katie & Kendra’s intimate, backyard wedding today, full of love and happiness, regardless of the number of details. Katie & Kendra’s love story is beautiful (brought tears to my eyes) and their wedding is no different. Thank you to Olivia Jacob Photography for submitting!

Katie & Kendra’s Intimate, Beautiful Backyard Wedding in Virginia

same sex LGBT backyard Virginia wedding

Photographer: Olivia Jacob Photography | Cake: DIYed by Mother of bride | Brides’ Dresses: Maggie Sottero via BlueSky Bridal & Handmade by Kendra’s mom | Venue: Parent’s Private Property | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How they met:

Kendra was selling torpedoes for the government and I was working a public library. We met online, where all librarians and torpedo-sellers meet. From our first date in DC (breakfast burritos from Tortilla Cafe eaten sitting in Lincoln Park), we were inexorable.

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The proposal:

A year after that first date, we got engaged, and I don’t mind saying that I wobbled on one knee, went to two, burst into tears, and ruined the speech I had. She understood the gist, so she said yes and we were blissfully happy.

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Details on their DIY, Virginia wedding:

I had known for ages that I wanted to get married on my parents’ five acre property in Stafford.

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^I can see why they’d want to have their wedding here!! Gorgeous! Click inside for the rest of Katie & Kendra’s intimate, DIY backyard Virginia wedding!

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Chelsey & John’s Columbia Heights Engagement Pictures in Washington DC

This afternoon’s DC engagement session has some of my favorite things! An adorable couple, a true DC-romance love story, the CUTEST dog, and the choice to take engagement pictures in their neighborhood where they met have have fallen in love! Photographer Noe Todorovich shares, “Chelsey and John originally met at Columbia Heights Day in 2010 and also have been living in that neighborhood for a while now. For the shoot, we incorporated the neighborhood and some murals and mosaics…and their recently adopted precious pup! I loved how they worked in their roots!” Let’s get this feature going!

Chelsey & John’s Washington DC Playground Engagement Session in Columbia Heights

washington dc engagement pictures

Photography: Noe Todorovich

How they met:

From her POV: John and I met at Meridian Pint during Columbia Heights Day 2010. John was representing DC Bocce League and I was there helping sell Columbia Heights Bar Crawl cups with a friend after being stood up by a blind date. John was incredibly sociable and charming…and even bought me a sympathy drink for having been stood up!

From his POV: We met at Columbia Heights Day in 2010 — she was an event volunteer and I was running bocce games there. I immediately thought she was very funny and easy to talk to. Plus, she was extremely upbeat for someone that had just been stood up on a blind date (all good things).

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Click inside for the rest of today’s Washington DC engagement pictures post, including the proposal story!

Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck: “You Are the Best Thing”

wedding music that doesn't suck graphic

Up first this chilly Monday morning is a perfect, modern wedding song that could be used for your first dance, wedding slideshow, or another part of your wedding reception! It’s Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are the Best Thing” and it’s just a great, romantic song. The horns in the song give it a sort of big band, vintage feel that I really love. I mean I feel like this song could be in the background of MANY a romantic comedy.

Wedding perfect lyrics:

Oh because, you are the best thing
You are the best thing
You are the best thing
Ever happened to me

What do you think Romancers? First dance worthy? Or maybe another part of your reception? We’ll be back this afternoon with a DC engagement session!

Punk Rock Bridal Inspiration ~ A Gorgeous Tattooed Bride

Ok guys, it’s Friday. I am fighting a cold and staring down a jam-packed weekend of awesome with one of my dear High School friends getting married in DC (with about 10 of my best high school friends coming in to town to visit). Then I leave on Wednesday for KEY WEST. So it’s operation kick this cold and I have to admit, today’s wedding inspiration post is totally helping.

I nearly gasped audibly when this thing popped into my Two Bright Lights inbox. Tattoos, purple hair, edgy makeup & awesome statement jewelry. Oh and did I mention the chevron top to the wedding dress or the totally GORGEOUS bride rocking all of these things?! Today’s bridal inspiration is 100% punk rock and I am just borderline obsessed with it. I can’t thank Amy Cloud Photography enough for sending it our way. So enough from me, let’s unleash the gorgeous. Happy Friday Romancers.

A Punk Rock Bridal Inspiration Shoot

punk rock tattooed bride pictures

Photography: Amy Cloud Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Click inside for more of this insanely gorgeous, edgy & punk rock bridal portrait session!

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a New-Sew Tutu

Hey Romancers! I am so pumped to introduce Divinity as a new contributing editor to Capitol Romance! You might remember her from her gorgeous Cherry Blossom engagement session that we featured here on the blog. Well Divinity has an affinity for weddings and has just recently launched her own wedding planning business (look out for Lovebuggs Weddings on Facebook!) and she is going to be sharing some guest posts here on the blog. I know you guys are going to love what she has to share! For today, we have a DIY Tutorial, which I can’t remember the last time we posted something DIY (*sigh*) – so hopefully Divinity can help us change that! So enough from me, take it away Divinity!

DIY Tutorial: How to Make a No-Sew DIY Flower Girl Tutu


This is my first blog post for Capitol Romance and I am very excited to share this amazing DIY Project with you.  As a former bride, I wanted to do anything I could to save money but have the wedding I wanted at the same time!  So I decided to give a few DIY projects a try!  I was hooked after my second one!  My favorite project of all was my flower girls tutu.  After searching high and low for a reasonably priced tutu, I gave up and decided to turn it into a DIY project.  I am very happy to pass this information along and I hope that you find this information helpful!

Materials you will need:
  • Scissors
  • Tulle Spool (I used 4 6in x 25 yards spools. If you cant find the tulle in the color spool you want, you can always purchase by the yard at Joanne fabric or any fabric store)
  • Knit Elastic (I used 1/2” x ½ yards)
  • Needle
  • Thread (I recommend white to blend into the elastic, but any color will do)
  • Ribbon or Sash (I used Celebrate It Sash from Michaels Craft)


Step 1:

Measure the child’s waistline with the elastic band.  Once you have found your desired length, cut the elastic band giving an extra 1/2inch. Sew the ends of the elastic band together to complete the first part of your tutu, the waistband.

Step 2:

Using your spool of tulle, figure out the desired length of your tutu.  Once you have figured out how long or short you would like the tutu, double the length of the fabric by folding it in half to create a longer piece and cut.  Now that you have your first cut piece of tulle, you can use this as a guide to cut all of your individual strands of tulle.   The best way to do this is by placing the full length of the pre-cut fabric against the new uncut fabric.  Before you cut your new piece of fabric, fold it in half.  This way you’re already set to cut your next piece of tulle.


Step 3:

Place the elastic waistband around your legs.  This makes it easier to use both hands and creates tension and support for placing the tulle around the band. Working with a single strand of tulle, fold it in half and place the loop under the elastic band.  Pull the bottom of the tulle (the open end) up and over the elastic band and through the loop then pull tight. Repeat this step until you have achieved desired fullness and the elastic band is covered.


Step 4:

Simply stitch your ribbon our sash around the waistband of your tutu.  You can hand sew all the way around the skirt or but a few stiches up the front and sides of the waistband.

Here is a helpful tip. After you have completed the tutu, if it is not to your desired fullness, simply fluff up some of the pieces underneath the tutu. This helps eliminate bulkiness but gives is the fullest that you want! It’s that simple. 

I hope that you have found this post helpful and fun!  I can’t wait to see how you style your flower girl in here DIY tutu.

Till next time, LoveBuggs

Let’s Get Personal: Taking on Assistants & Learning As I Go

First let me apologize for letting it go until 2pm before I even started blogging today! The Day Job had me pretending I was a graphic designer and it always takes WAY longer than I think to create fliers/graphics for them. But let’s get into today’s personal post.

Let’s Get Personal: Taking on Assistants & Learning As I Go

bree me personal blogging

[Image: Val & Sarah]

Over the past few weeks, I started receiving emails from people that wanted my help/advice on breaking into the wedding planning business. I must admit that I was pretty shocked to not only get one, but 4 of these emails so far. I am so new to this business myself, it sort of caught me off guard that people wanted to learn from me. I mean, I only just finished my first year as a “wedding coordinator” and I, myself, feel like I have so much still to learn! Though my first year went smoothly and really so much more so than I had thought, surely I cannot be in a place to be teaching others what to do in this business. I mean – I haven’t even taken any classes, or have no educational background in event planning what so ever. I planned my own wedding and loved it, started a blog, and fell into coordinating and welp, now here I am.

I have to admit, I don’t know the first thing about taking on assistants. I am fortunate enough to have the world’s BEST (and most affordable ;) assistant through my husband, but there have been a few weddings this year where I certainly could have used an extra set of hands to help with setup! I am still learning how to navigate this territory though – when to know whether I will need an assistant or not, what to charge my clients if additional hands are needed for setup, and then what to give an assistant. And then there is the contract/liability side of taking someone on in my business too. Protecting myself, protecting my clients AND protecting the assistant – well these are all things I will need to take some time to read up on and learn about in the off-season.

But here is the other thing I have learned so far through these email exchanges (and even a few coffee dates): everyone has something to share. Even though I haven’t been at this game long, and I am far from considering myself a professional, I have learned A LOT and I am more than happy to share what I’ve learned with others that want to get in on this business. As we’ve already talked about in our “competitors are the new colleagues” post, I don’t view these new planners as a threat. Maybe I am naive, or maybe I just haven’t had a bad experience yet, but I have only gotten to where I am now by others being generous and open with me (here’s looking at you Danielle Pasternak) so why shouldn’t I return that favor?

So while I am still learning as I go, I am excited (OK and nervous) at the prospect of taking on assistants into the crazy world of Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination. But hey, if it means that I can get some awesome help from up and comers, and help them in return, AND learn in the process, well then I am completely game. I’ll let you know how it goes ;)

So what do you think? Have you been approached by wedding business newbies for help? Are you as open/into helping them as I am, or have you been burned in the past?

Matt & Kirsten’s DIY, Vintage Maryland Backyard Wedding

Today’s Maryland wedding is the perfect mix of classic charm and backyard DIY. Kirsten & Matt had a tight budget but also had some specific style ideas in mind. Kirsten always loved the 40s and 50s and decided to use that famous midshipman kissing the nurse picture as their inspiration. They used common Maryland waterfront themes, a bright color palette of navy & yellow and some fun vintage touches to execute their small budget, backyard wedding.

They also relied one lots of family and friends to make their wedding come to fruition. The bride’s sister made the invitations and friends made everything from the bouquets & arrangements to the cake and even appetizers! The groom’s parent’s backyard was the perfect venue, and the strings of globe lights adorned the property perfectly! A special thanks to Horace & Mae Photography for the submission!

Matt & Kirsten’s DIY, Backyard Maryland Wedding with Vintage Touches

navy blue bridesmaids yellow shoes


Photography: Horace & Mae Photography | Flowers: DIY | Venue: Groom’s Parents’ House | Signs: DIY | Cake: DIY

From the bride:

I’m one of four girls in my family and the first to get married, so to be nice on my parents, I wanted to keep the wedding as low budget as possible. Our colors were navy and yellow with a nautical meets vintage feel. I’ve always been fond of the 40s and 50s and seeing as how I was marrying a boy from Maryland, the photo of the midshipman kissing the nurse was the perfect inspiration. We had the wedding in a small church, and the reception in the backyard of my in-laws’ waterfront house.

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Unfortunately, none of my family could really be involved in the planning being on the other side of the country and all. But my sister Sarah made all of the wedding invitations, and my mother in-law was instrumental in helping me organize and keep track of everything we borrowed. The week of, however, all family members in both sides helped set up and prepare for the wedding. We had friends making the appetizers, the bouquets, boutonnieres, and flower arrangements, and the wedding cake.

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Click inside for the rest of Kirsten & Matt’s small-budget, backyard Maryland wedding!

Annie & Jeff’s Washington DC Engagement Pictures in Georgetown

While my fingers are a bit cold as I type away at my keyboard this morning, it was SO NICE to wake up to the sun this morning. Now, don’t talk to me later tonight when it’s dark at 5, but for now I’ll be happy with the DST changes. This past weekend we closed out our 2013 wedding coordination season – our first official year of coordinating weddings! Pretty insane. I can’t believe I survived. I learned SO MUCH and met SO many amazing people, I will write an entire reflection post on its own sometime soon, but in case you haven’t seen the sneak peak of our last wedding, it’s over on our Facebook page!

For today we have a really cute, relaxed & casual engagement session in Georgetown from Eastport Photography. I just love Annie & Jeff’s laid-back vibe, style and they met in the Peace Corps in West Africa — how freakin’ cool is THAT?! Happy Monday Romancers, let’s get the love going this week.

Annie and Jeff’s Georgetown Engagement Session in Washington DC

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Photographer: Eastport Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How the couple met, from Annie:

Jeff and I met in the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa. He arrived a year before me and we met at a party celebrating my group officially becoming volunteers after 2 months of training. We liked each other so much he ended up staying an extra year. We lived about six hours away from each other, and visits meant waking up at the crack of dawn to catch a minibus and arriving covered in orange dust. We liked it. We finished our service at the end of 2010 and traveled to Morocco, Spain, and France.

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How Jeff proposed:

We moved back to Washington DC at the beginning of 2011. On Columbus Day last year we went for a hike. It was really cold but pretty with the leaves changing. Jeff proposed at the top of a mountain. I bawled and of course said yes. Then it started to hail. We ran back down the mountain and took a short-cut that was actually a long-cut. We arrived at the car cold, tired, and happy.

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Congratulations Annie & Jeff! Thanks again to Eastport Photography for submitting this awesome DC engagement session via Two Bright Lights!

Capitol Inspiration: 5 Icebreakers to Help Your Guests Mingle

We have a little guest post for you guys today. A few weeks ago I got an email from a reader that told me she enjoyed reading the blog not as a bride to be, but as a maid of honor in her sister’s upcoming wedding! She said she had learned so much from helping to plan her sister’s wedding, that she’d love to share some of what she learned on the blog. So for today, we have Morgan sharing some ideas for getting your guests to mingle at your wedding.

Andy & I were fortunate in the fact that our families and friends mostly knew each other, since we had been together since high school – they had already met a few times before. But I’d venture to guess that more often than not, that is not always the case. I’d think most families (or at least extended families) might be meeting for the first time at a wedding, and to make sure everyone is a bit more laid back and open to mingling, I think Morgan’s got some really great suggestions. Take it Morgan!

From a Maid of Honor: 5 Icebreakers to Help Your Guests Mingle

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[Image found here | Credit: John Hope Photography]

Weddings are beautiful, magical events, but they aren’t without their awkward and sometimes uncomfortable situations. As my sister’s recently appointed maid of honor, I’ve quickly learned that it’s your job to help your bride with whatever she needs. That could be anything from helping her pick out flowers to handling day-of logistics–anything to make sure the process is as stress-free as possible, so she can enjoy herself without worry. That includes alleviating any potential awkwardness throughout her blissful day. Here are a few tips I’ve thought up to help make the bride’s wedding day or night virtually free of those less-than-perfect situations.

Table Games

[Dianne & William’s Pi Day DC Wedding | Image: Maggie Winters Photography]

When helping your bride plan out her seating arrangements, remember that a lot of her guests may not know each other. There might be a few tables filled with friends who all went to high school or college together, but odds are that many tables will be composed of acquaintances at best if not complete strangers. It’s undoubtedly awkward to sit at a table with a group of people you don’t know, but as maid of honor, you can help ensure that your bride’s guests will feel comfortable and at ease. While browsing my sister’s wedding gift page, I came across the idea of having a conversation table topics game, which allow guests to get to know each other through various thoughtful and fun questions. Advise your bride to have a game or two, whether a board game or something else, at each table for guests to play between dance numbers and during meal courses.

Line Dances That Everyone Can Follow Along To

Many people are initially uncomfortable on the dance floor and need the DJ to call out a warmup or two to get the blood flowing. Movement naturally puts people at ease. Well-known dances include the Electric Slide, the Bunny Hop, the Wiggle and the Charleston. As cheesy as many popular line dances are, that’s the point–they give everyone a chance to be a little ridiculous together. The steps are easy and everyone either knows them already or can follow directions called by the DJ, and when everyone gets to be a little vulnerable together, it becomes easier to relate to one another.

Mabyn Ludke Photo

[Image Credit: Mabyn Ludke Photography]

Wedding Bingo

A bit of preparation is required for great wedding bingo. When you send out invitations, ask each guest to provide one interesting fact about themselves or their experiences. Some of the most interesting examples I’ve heard from our guests are “has hiked 400 miles of the Appalachian Trail” and “has a therapy horse named Jeopardy who has helped many children with autism connect for the first time.” Beautiful bingo cards including all the guests’ interesting facts can be printed and prizes can be awarded to those who match a fact with the correct guest.


The Mexican tradition of a beautifully constructed piñata filled with candy or other fun prizes can be great fun at weddings. Standing in a circle around the hanging piñata, everyone gets a turn to wear the blindfold and take a hit at it. You can make up consecutively more difficult rules as you go around the circle, like “must be standing on one foot” or “must hit using left hand only.”

[Image via 100 Layer Cake | Credit: Gavin Farrington & Grace H]

The Bag Game and Other Circle Games

Many games can be played with ten to twenty guests standing in a circle. Since we have about eighty guests coming to my sister’s wedding, we’ll have several circles. Place a large brown grocery bag in the center of the circle and have a pair of scissors on hand for each circle. Each player stands on one leg, leans over and picks the bag up by the edge between their teeth. Anyone who topples over is out. After each time around the circle, cut about an inch of the top of the bag so players are required to get lower and lower to pick up the bag. The last person left in the game wins.

The fun ways to invite interaction between guests are truly endless!

What do you think Romancers? Any other ideas from your wedding that helped your guests to mingle, relax, and get to know one another better? I think our photobooth accomplished that pretty nicely!

About the Author:

Morgan Gray is a writer from NY with a fetish for stationery. Her Maid of Honor title has inspired her to reach out to the Capitol Romance community. She hopes that her experience will help others in similar ‘dresses’!

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