Kara & Jonathan’s Laid Back, At Home Engagement Pictures in Washington DC

Guys! I’m back!!! Did you miss me?! I heard that Indie Bridal Party was amazing (I’m still so sad I missed it) and everyone seemed to like our DIY Workshop Sponsor Love posts while I was gone. Now it’s full steam ahead this week, back to blogging, gearing up for our first DIY workshop on May 4th (tickets still available here!!!), AND working weddings the first 4 weeks of May! Woo hoo!! Let’s get this week going with a casual, laid-back engagement session from Pier23. I love this engagement shoot because the couple decided to keep things super relaxed, and shoot it at their apartment, in their every day clothes. Love.

Be sure to check the blog again this afternoon for an AMAZING jewelry giveaway! It’s good to be back.

Kara & Jonathan’s Laid Back, Washington DC Engagement Pictures at Their Apartment

casual at home engagement pictures Washington DC

Photography: Pier23

How they met:

Aside from friends and family, Jonathan and Kara are most thankful for Al Gore, because without his creation of the Internet, they would have never found each other. In a city of 646,449 people, there is no way that two witty, astrologically-incompatible, cat-loving, TV binge-watching lovebirds who are absolutely perfect for each other would have sat down at two adjacent bar stools at The Black Squirrel and started a romance they never knew was possible. That’s where we’ll be having a welcome happy hour the evening before the wedding.

For more on the couple, check out their awesome wedding website.

casual at home engagement pictures Washington DC casual at home engagement pictures Washington DC casual at home engagement pictures Washington DC casual at home engagement pictures Washington DC casual at home engagement pictures Washington DC

Click inside for the rest of Kara & Jonathan’s super laid-back and awesome DC engagement session feature, including the proposal story!

Read More

Pin It

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Love: Runningbyrd Tea

I first got to try the amazingness that is Runningbyrd Tea at Union Kitchen‘s 1-year anniversary party. Never had I ever tasted tea SO delicious. Seriously – I am not even close to exaggerating, this stuff is AMAZING! Ben is a brewmaster and the tea is so refreshing – it’d be a perfect addition to your outdoor wedding reception or your next BBQ/outdoor event! Throw a little whiskey or bourbon in one of these babies and you’ve got your new favorite summer cocktail.

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Spotlight: Runningbyrd Tea Co

runningbyrd tea brewed tea Washington DC

About the company:

Runningbyrd Tea Company makes full-flavored seasonal teas. Sold in either pint-sized mason jars or 3 gallon party containers, Runningbyrd teas are perfect for enjoying at a picnic, when preparing food from your recent trip to the local market, as a mixer, or as a paired non-alcoholic option in place of wine or craft beer.

Runningbyrd Tea is not just about flavor or refreshment. Runningbyrd Tea is about the experience of drinking a cool glass of tea on a hot day. It is about the memories we associate with iced tea. Runningbyrd Tea is about sitting on your front porch listening to the stories of friends and family. It is about sharing a glass of tea with your grandfather, poured from a carafe he always kept full. It is about creating your own stories, steeping your life with the flavor of your travels and experiences. Because of this focus, each Runningbyrd creation comes with a story, in the grand tradition of the storytelling South, so that no matter who you are with when drinking your tea, you have a companion.

best brewed tea washington DC

Check out all their amazing flavors:

Spicy Thai: While visiting tea plantations in Thailand, I met an elderly man who spent his entire working life tasting teas, judging and critiquing their flavor. I created Spicy Thai for him, melding the flavors of my trip with an idea that he might taste something different after all these years, gifting him a new experience that still felt like an old friend.

Chocolate Peppermint: Legend has it that John Henry, after bursting his heart defeating the steam powered hammer, asked for two cool drinks of water. I imagine Chocolate Peppermint as those two cool drinks; two flavors, blending to provide a refreshing calm. It is a tea to give pause, to separate your long hard day from the relaxing evening to come.

Summer Rain: On hot nights, nothing compares to sitting on the front porch swing feeling a thunderstorm roll in, its wind ruffling your feathers, its fire making you cool. It’s  a long summer, so open a bottle of this spiced tea to swing the breezes your way. If slowly savored, lightning will crash on your palate.

Apple Pie: Independence Day in my Georgia home meant deciding whether to make the run to Carolina for fireworks. Everyone has a different tradition for the 4th, but across the south, sweet tea and apple pie come standard. Runningbyrd Tea combines those flavors for an Independence Day Special, Apple Pie Tea. Fireworks not included.

Berry Season

Most of the country has a season in which local berries are abundant. In Seattle, blackberries are available all summer. At times in Georgia, mulberries rain down. Folks in the Twin Cities pick free raspberries. Runningbyrd Tea is bringing berry season to a bottle in DC, saving you the flights and sticky fingers.

Apple Cider Tea

Apples mean fall is here, the weather grows cooler, and it might be time to move inside from the porch.

We gather fresh apples in myriad ways. I used to wait for my little brothers to waltz back down Rural Route 2 pushing a stroller filled with Jonagold, but my godsons race through crunchy leaves to beat each other to the best Braeburn. If time or circumstance keeps you from picking your own apples this season, pluck a bottle of Apple Cider Tea from the shelf instead.

Apple cider tea is a perfect mix of mulling spices, apple and tea. Let it keep you company in your orchard this autumn.

Winter Sun: On a dreary winter day it can seem like months since you’ve seen the sun. Fortunately, Runningbyrd Tea Co has figured out how to bottle this precious resource. Let Winter Sun tea light up your life with its warming blend of orange and spiced teas

Candy Cane: Every year, my brother and I found a giant candy cane log in our stockings. We’d work on them for a month, keeping them untidily wrapped in the fridge, making sure not to grab the wrong stick. Candy Cane tea, a wintry mix of cinnamon and mint, stores more nicely on the shelf and can be shared more readily with friends.    Or not…

Shenandoah Smoke: Shenandoah Smoke is hand crafted from the finest smoked teas, blended with hazelnut and spices for an almost coffee-like flavor. No storytelling is needed for this substantial tea; it’s just hard-hitting flavor for the lumberjack in us all.

Montgomery Mint: The Montgomery house in Georgia is a place where travelers, family and friends meet on the front porch, sharing stories between sips. Our childhood there began with a swing from the walnut tree out back, grew into a climb up the magnolia in front and ended with a glass of tea, poured from a carafe always kept full. Without that tea and those fine people, RBTea would not exist. We pay homage with a smooth, welcoming mint tea. Find a friend and some shade; brew your story.

Lemongrass White Peach: Over the past year, the RBTea Co has welcomed the opportunity to share our stories with DC

and listen to your stories. It has been a great experience. We have heard from many customers who just can’t have sugar and others who want to enjoy tea at night but need less caffeine.And so we have created Lemongrass White Peach,a no sugar, lower caffeine blend that fits the best parts of our story to the needs of yours. DC, enjoy your story.

Thirsty yet?! This stuff is so good, you have to try it, to believe it! So pumped to get to have awesome Runningbyrd Tea on hand at our first workshop!

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Love: Eat & Smile Catering

Oh man are you workshop attendees in for a TREAT. I’ve been lucky enough to have had Eat & Smile‘s amazing food before and I couldn’t be more pumped that they joined on to provide some snacks for all our fabulous workshop participants! And the only thing that could possibly make them better is that they are DC’s first locally sourced cater – meaning they support local farmers, bakers, fisherfolk and other producers, all within a 150 mile radius of DC! And we ALL know how I feel about the importance of thinking local! Don’t just take my word for it though, you won’t be sorry if you attend our first workshop and get to try their food OR hire them for your wedding or event.

The food porn will speak for itself.

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Spotlight: Eat & Smile Catering

DC wedding caterer

About Eat & Smile:

Serving delicious food since 2007, Eat & Smile Catering is proud to be the first locally sourced caterer in the Washington DC area, supporting local farmers, bakers, fisherfolk, and other producers within a 150 mile radius whenever possible. We believe that high quality local foods are more ecologically friendly, economically sustainable, better for you, and taste fantastic. We also work hard to incorporate sustainable business practices beyond just our ingredient sourcing. We use biodegradable and compostable cups, cutlery, and plates when necessary, compost our kitchen and event food waste, recycle our fryer oil into biodiesel, and source our commercial kitchen’s electricity from renewable energy sources. In addition, we pay our great staff a living wage, and provide health care for our full-time employees despite the small size of our business. All staff, both full-time and part-time, are encouraged to carpool, bike, and take public transport to work and events. The mark of true success for us is when both our clients and our team members are happy!

Unlike most caterers, we don’t create set packages for services or menus. Instead, we provide our services a la carte, allowing you to select and suggest what you want us to take care of, and leaving off what isn’t important to you. Our proposals are customizable, as are our menus. We’re happy to create event proposals to suit your needs, and can accommodate dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, etc.; our chefs love the opportunity to use seasonal ingredients to get creative with requests!

DC wedding caterer DC wedding caterer DC wedding caterer

Yeah well that just made me SUPER hungry! I can’t wait to see what they cook up for our first workshop on the 4th!

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Love: Cynthia Shipp Photography

Our vendor love series continues! Up next is the amazing Cynthia Shipp Photography, who will be on hand to capture each of the workshops! I am SO pumped to have such a talented wedding & lifestyle photographer at our workshops, capturing the DIY projects and all our attendees having fun and crafting something special. But enough from me, I want you to meet Cynthia and get to see her amazing work! Check her out:

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Spotlight: Cynthia Shipp Photography

DC wedding photographer

About Cynthia:

I’m a Petite Sirah loving, Southern Utah raised girl. Three years ago, I  married my best friend and love of my life, Kory (after six years of dating!)  Every day that I wake up next to him reminds me of the lucky  girl I am to have him by my side.  We both have family and went to school in the Midwest but recently moved to the DC area.

I absolutely love marriage, weddings, and wedding photography.  In my opinion there is nothing that quite lives up to the energy found on a wedding day.  It’s this crazy beautiful  mix of emotion: excitement, fun, love, union and of course it wouldn’t be a wedding day without a bit of stress.  To me it’s beautiful because it’s such a genuine expression of what life is and ought to be.

On my days off you can probably find me either in my kitchen, snuggled up to a great book, or out and about picture taking.

And more of her gorgeous work:

DC wedding photographer dc wedding photographer DC wedding photographer DC wedding photographer DC wedding photographer

Be sure to hit Cynthia up if you need an amazing photographer for your wedding or portrait session!

DIY Wedding Workshop with CIAO NINA Ticket Giveaway!

Learn to make a custom haircomb at our first DIY Wedding Workshop with CIAO NINA on May 4th!

At this point I’ve hopefully survived my 2nd half-marathon in Portland and made it to Seattle (sorry for the weird tenses but I am blogging this in advance of our trip!). But I couldn’t help but leave you with a little something special and a friendly reminder that tomorrow is the LAST day for early bird pricing for our first DIY Wedding Workshop with CIAO NINA!

Buy Tickets

ciao nina slider

Tickets are only $25 today and tomorrow, but on Wednesday they will go up to $30! So go get them while you can at this AWESOME price!

Sunday, May 4th | The Ulysses Room – 52 O Street Studios #302 | 2pm to 4pm

And just in case this is the first time you are hearing about our first DIY Wedding Workshop, let me tell you briefly about it. On May4th we will be hosting CIAO NINA to teach attendees of our workshop how to make a custom gold, haircomb from a wire and beading technique! This technique can be used to create boutonnieres, centerpieces, and even decorations. The unique haircomb you will make will be a perfect addition to your veil, a snazzy splash of sparkle to your rehearsal dinner, or just a nice custom piece to have in your hair for your reception.

The hairpiece is so versatile though, it could really be worn for ANY event ~ so bring your friends, sister, mother or partner and learn to make something AWESOME for your own wedding OR an event you are attending!

But WAIT, there’s more …

CR DIY combs blue and brass

In honor of our first workshop, we are going to give away two tickets to one lucky entrant! Just use our rafflecopter widget below and let us know what you are most looking forward to about our first workshop!

Don’t forget that we’ll have SO MANY awesome goodies for our attendees provided by our amazing sponsors [who we have been spotlighting last week and this week]. We’ll have a photographer and videographer on hand to capture the awesome and lots of snacks, desserts, and drinks for you to enjoy while you are crafting away! We are SO pumped for the first workshop and can’t wait to see you there!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t want to wait and see if you’ve won? No worries you can just BUY TICKETS NOW!

Buy Tickets

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Love Series: Chocotenango

We’re back with another feature on another awesome small business in DC that’s sponsoring our workshops and somehow even more delicious than the last. Introducing Chocotenango – a local chocolatier (currently baking out of Union Kitchen!). I’ve been fortunate enough to try their chocolates and OH.MY.GOD. they are delicious! Lucky for some of you, Chocotenango is giving out chocolates to attendees of select workshops. And I’ll give you a little inside scoop, the first workshop is one of them! And yes, yes I am bribing you with chocolates and Sangria ;) Ok! Let’s find out more about this awesome business AND share some “sure to make you drool” images of their goodies!

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Spotlight: Chocotenango

Guatemala 029

Now based in Washington DC, Chocotenango, ‘the Place of Chocolate’, opened its doors in 2005 in Antigua, Guatemala.  It rapidly became the go to place for chocolate in the country. From its patio location in Guatemala to its new location in Union Kitchen in Washington, DC, Chocotenango is known for its 100% original chocolates, lovingly crafted in small batches.

From chocolate bars to truffles, molded chocolates to hot cocoa mix, Chocotenango‘s recipes combine the best blended chocolate with bold, yet balanced flavors.  With 20 years of experience as a professional chef, Chocotenango‘s owner carefully crafts each chocolate by hand.  While taste of our chocolates is paramount, Chocotenango also cares about the health of our customers and the world around us.  Our chocolates are made with only fresh ingredients without preservatives or extracts.  All of our packaging is made fully or partially from recycled materials and our plastic products are biodegradable or compostable.  We hope you will love our chocolates as much as we enjoy making them!

Guatemala 023 For 2 piece box to use general chocolate pics to use IMG_2435

Well I’m certainly drooling. Can’t wait to try these babies yourself? Then head on over HERE and get your tickets now to our first workshop! Each attendee will get to try Chocotenango‘s amazing chocolates.

DC Wedding Show: The Balance Bridal Show

*sponsored post*

Introducing: The Balance Bridal Show | April 25, 2014 | 6pm to 8pm

Join these amazing vendors for a special bridal show at Balance Studio in Bethesda, MD. Learn how to balance planning your event while maintaining your health and wellness.

Guests will have the time to mix and mingle with the areas top event planning service providers. The event will include wine tasting, a beauty bar, appetizers, dessert, photo booth fun and more. Win great raffle items from these event professionals, who know how to make your celebration an event to remember.

Register Now


Want more information?! Check out Balance Bridal Show’s Facebook Page and Twitter account.

Balance Studio in Bethesda

4719 Rosedale Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

Phone: 301-986-1730

Register on Eventbrite / OR / RSVP by emailing thebalancebridalshow@gmail.com

*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*

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Love Series: Simply Breathe Events

Hi Romancers! While I’m away on vacation in Portland & Seattle until Friday the 18th, instead of no posts, I thought I would share a little love & insight on the awesome businesses behind the sponsorships for our DIY Wedding Workshops! First up is Tiffany Rivera & Simply Breathe Events. Simply Breathe Events will be providing some desserts and the amazing peach Sangria(!!) for all of our workshops this year! She’ll also be including something extra special for each of our guests, but I won’t spoil it. You’ll just have to buy a ticket and see for yourself at our first workshop!

DIY Wedding Workshop Sponsor Spotlight: Simply Breathe Events

wedding (27)

So let’s meet Tiffany:

The countless hours of planning and prepping can now finally bring my clients vision to life. The smiles, the gratitude, the appreciation; I thrive off of that feeling. It reminds me this is where I belong! – OWNER TIFFANY RIVERA

After earning her degree in Marketing in 2009, Tiffany dived right into the corporate world and quickly landed a position in Financial Management. Although the position paid well, it wasn’t her passion. In 2012 a coworker began discussing plans about her upcoming birthday and how overwhelming the task seemed. That’s when the idea hit! Although she wasn’t sure of how she would respond, Tiffany approached her coworker, Let me plan your party for you! While reluctant at first, she happily agreed and the rest is history. The party was a huge success and from there Simply Breathe Events was born.

Simply Breathe Events is a premier wedding and event planning service that turns special occasions into memorable events. Whether it’s a Wedding, Birthday Party, or Corporate Event, Simply Breathes main goal is to help take the stress out of life’s greatest moments. Today Tiffany is busy finalizing timelines, venue walk throughs, and client meetups with her 2014 bride & grooms all while welcoming on new clients for the 2014 season.

And here’s some more of her work:

Ford Wedding_35 Ford wedding_29 Ford Wedding_27

We’ll be back tomorrow with our next vendor spotlight on Chocotenango! And don’t forget to buy your tickets to our first workshop here [only $25 until April 15th! Then they will go up to $30].

Let’s Get Personal: Taking Risks, When You are 100% Risk Averse

If you read articles about successful businesses like I do, then you’ll notice that “take risks” is a common advice piece that is continually mentioned across many of these articles. They say that in order to differentiate yourself and be successful, you have to do things that other people won’t do. I read this over and over, from the comfort of my non-risk taking bubble and always wonder if there’s an out; if I can be successful without having to take risks. I feel that risk-taking is in complete conflict with my Type-A, planning nature. How can I plan for what’s to come if I am taking a risk and doing something I’ve never done before?

Let’s Get Personal: Taking Risks, When You Are 100% Risk Averse

offbeat dc wedding blog

To say I am risk averse is probably a gross understatement. I like to be in control of my life and situations and although I can be relaxed and “go-with-the-flow” at times, I much prefer having expectations and plans set in advance. I just feel better, more at peace, when there is a plan in place! So how the heck am I supposed to take risks with my business and jump into the unknown, where no plan exists?

Well for starters, I think the whole point of articles telling you that truly successful businesses take risks is to show that it’s not supposed to be easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it and all businesses would be successful. I need to force myself to come to terms with the fact that risks will make me uncomfortable and will be challenging and I might even fail at the risks I take, but the fact is that they need to be taken in order to grow my business.

So I’ve decided to take my first real risk for 2014. The risk was something I had long dreamed and thought about doing, but was always too scared to actually take the leap into. Yes, we’re talking about the newly launched DIY Wedding Workshops.

How might these be a risk you ask? Well for starters, workshops aren’t exactly easy or cheap to start up. Though I’ve been planning them for months (of course I have), finding vendor hosts, finding sponsors, finding a space to have them, the biggest risk is – will they be a success? Will they pay off? Will I make back what I’ve spent on them so far? Not only have I spent money on rental space, items for the workshops, and a ton of promotional goodies, but ideally, I’d like to make some money from them as well so that all that time spent planning and organizing wasn’t for naught!

This was the fear I had before I jumped in (and let’s face it, still have every single day) – that while the workshops seem like a good idea, nobody would show up. Ticket sales wouldn’t happen and I’d be left with a crumbling idea, a big waste of not only my time, but the vendors/sponsors’ time, and a big ole hole in my bank account, where the money I’ve spent so far, used to be.

But this is a risk and risks are meant to be scary. Risks can’t be controlled (no matter how hard I try and no matter how much planning for the workshops I’ve done) and risks aren’t meant to be easy. These are the things I have to keep telling myself. I have to believe that taking this risk will be good for my business. I truly believe in these DIY wedding workshops and I do believe there is a market for this sort of event in Washington, DC, but I’d be lying if I said I was 100% at ease with the decision I made to start them.

But I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see if the risk actually pays off.

Rad Things For Your Big Day & Life Together Go Shopping!