Capitol Advice: Keep Wedding Decisions Face-to-Face


After my very first initial consultation with an engaged couple interested in my brandy-new DC wedding planning & coordination services, I realized that I had shared some advice with them, that might be something worth blogging about.

It was something I had decided to do early on in our own wedding planning process, that would hopefully make it easier when bringing my somewhat strong, and nontraditional wedding views and wants, to my more traditional parents, who were mostly funding our wedding day. Not an easy trail to navigate in the least!

I decided [along with some help from my father] that we should keep most of our wedding chatter, opinions, discussion, and desires in a FACE TO FACE format only.

me and my awesome parents on my wedding day

Email and text messaging, while convenient and quick, leave WAY too much to be misconstrued or misread. A simple email could turn into an argument or hurt feelings, when that was never anyone’s intention in the first place.

In case you haven’t heard – weddings are TOUGH to plan. While awesome, they are equally stressful and can oftentimes be known to bring out “the best AND the worst” in the people involved.

Weddings are highly personal – and I think that is why there is so much emotion that can sometimes turn into arguments. Everyone’s goal [the couple AND their parents] is to have a beautiful wedding day – but due to the seemingly endless amounts of decisions that need to be made to get there, it’s easy to let emotions get the best of you and that is only augmented by the lack of context in emails and texts. Using email and texting to discuss these endless decisions only increases the likelihood of an argument, hurt feeling, or misplaced emotion.

my two dads [my father-in-law and father]

So my advice?

Don’t use email or texting for your wedding decisions, opinions, or discussions. 

Try your hardest to have these discussions face-to-face with your parents [especially if your parents are funding the majority of your day, like mine graciously did]. Face-to-face conversations decrease the chance that opinions will be taken out of context, or misconstrued.

Don’t live close enough for a face-to-face convo? Well you are in luck, because the same modern technology that gives us texting and email, also gives us things like Skype, Google Hangout, Facetime, and even *gasp* phonecalls!

It’s important to remember throughout the entire wedding planning process that while it’s YOUR day – it’s partially your parents’ day too. So, chances are they will have their own wants and desires for your wedding day and everyone should respect all opinions involved.

Ok Romancers ~ what do you think? Good advice? Or do you think email/texting is still OK for wedding decisions?

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Jen & James’ Handmade & “Family Love” Warrenton VA Wedding


Though I’ve never been to Warrenton, Virginia I think I might need to spend some time there. I have had a recent influx of wedding submissions from the area, and it’s only about an hour from Washington, DC. Also, these wedding venues/locations are STUNNING.

Thanks to Ever After Visuals [submitted via Two Bright Lights] we get to share the beautiful wedding of Jen and Jim at the Airlie Foundation Center in Warrenton VA. The couple is extremely close to their family, and it was evident in their wedding pictures that they included this closeness in all the details and events of the day.

The couple and their family spent a lot of time hand-crafting this wedding. Jen’s Godmother spent hours baking all the homemade cookies for favors and the bride’s father spent countless hours hand-carving, sanding, and staining 16 different walnut boxes, branding Jen & James’ names and the wedding date into them as well.

Jen & James’ Handmade Warrenton, VA Wedding at the Airlie Foundation

Floral Designer:  J. Morris Flowers | Reception Venue:  Airlie Foundation | Dress Store:  Ellie’s Bridal Boutique | Cake Designer: Edibles Incredible Desserts | DJ:  Good Note DJs

From the photographers:

If I had to pick a theme for Jen and Jim’s wedding, it would probably be: Family Love. We love how incredibly close to their family each of them are and how, because of that, they had an amazing wedding day. It was very important that each and every person feel loved and cherished throughout Jen and Jim’s wedding. The wedding itself Jen described as a “group effort”.

Jen designed the earrings she wore using small diamonds from a ring of her late grandmother and pearls from her great grandmother given to her by her parents as a birthday present.

Each bouquet had a special pin from Jen’s grandmothers attached to it. Jen’s bouquet attached a pin to her bouquet that Jim’s aunt gave her that belonged to his late grandmother.

Click inside for the rest of Jen & Jim’s handmade Warrenton, Virginia wedding from Ever After Visuals ~ including tons of information about their families efforts on the wedding details!

Giveaway: 1 Washington DC Cityscape Print ~ An Alternative Guest Book Option


Today’s giveaway comes to us from Studio KMO ~ Artwork by Karen M. O’Leary. Karen reached out to us a few weeks back, offering to giveaway one of her Washington DC city prints ~ [a $35 value] that would make a fantastic, alternative guest book for those getting married in DC!

I think it’d be so cool to have your guests sign around the outline of the city you got married in ~ maybe even putting a little heart over the location of your ceremony/reception!

For more pictures and sizing specifications, please check out the Etsy listing.

Enter away ~ contest ends Thursday, 20 September 2012!

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Andrea & Jake’s Intimate, Vintage Wedding at the George Washington Hotel in Virginia


One of the things I pride myself on with Capitol Romance is that I try hard not to fall into blogging just one category of wedding type. I like to feature ALL kinds of weddings, as long as they are in the DC, MD or VA area and have an air of individuality, uniqueness, creativity and/or offbeatness [yes I made that last word up]. One day I’ll post a rustic, barn wedding, and the next I’ll post a modern, art gallery wedding. Couples are all races, shapes, sizes, and ages.  Some weddings are full of DIY details, and some aren’t.

Such was the case with Andrea & Jake’s intimate, vintage-infused wedding at the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, Virginia. There weren’t a ton of details – but the choices they made were beautiful and appealing to me, because they mirrored the essence of the couple’s personality to a T. Simple, stunning, & striking. Andrea’s cascading curls and red lips, are out-done only by her stunning, vintage gown. And her red, classic florals are gorgeous ~ and designed by the bride, herself!

A special thanks to Julie Napear Photography for submitting this beautiful wedding, via Two Bright Lights.

Andrea & Jake’s Intimate, Vintage George Washington Hotel Wedding in Winchester, VA


Photographer: Julie Napear Photography

Hair Stylist:  Stephanie Novak Artistry
Floral Designer:  Flowers by Snellings
Reception Venue:  George Washington Hotel

From the wedding photographer:

This one is very close to my heart. I met Andrea at a bridal show, and she did flowers for my wedding in 2007. We’ve been friends ever since, and in August of 2011, we took a road trip to Charleston, SC, where Andrea assisted me for a wedding I was shooting. I remember her telling me about this new guy who had come into her bar, and they spent a lot of time talking on the phone(between beaching, shopping, and other vacation activities). Right after we got back to Virginia, they started dating… and I was so excited to see her so happy   :-)


look at the amazing detail with the pearls at the bottom of this bouquet!

About the couple & how they met:

Jake and I met shortly after I started my second job bartending in July.   He walked in one Saturday night and my life changed.  We started off as friends and became more than that very quickly.  We had lots of things in common from sports to recent heartaches.

One cold sunny day in January he proposed as we took a walk around the local lake.  Our families, including my two children were so excited and happy that we had found each other.

Click inside for the rest of this beautifully simple, clasicc vintage influence wedding at the George Washington Hotel

Chelsea & Taylor’s Washington, DC Engagement Session


Back to the grind this week – with an extremely awesome Washington, DC engagement session to set the mood for what is going to be a SUPER busy week. I am taking some training today and tomorrow up in Silver Spring [getting my feet wet with InDesign - super pumped about it], having a long overdue dinner with a fab friend, AND I have my very first meeting with a couple to talk about possibly coordinating their Northern Virginia wedding next June (!!!!).

But, enough about me, back to Tyler & Chelsea. Thanks to Virgina wedding photographer, Sarah Lee Williams Photography, I get to share some pretty rad pictures of a gorgeous couple, having fun in Washington, DC for their engagement shoot. The couple has a great love story and a surprise proposal that is sure to get your heart fluttering this Monday morning.

Chelsea & Tyler’s Washington DC Engagement Session

How they met:

Tyler and Chelsea met when they were 19 in the spring of 2009 in Virginia Beach. She and her mother are Jazzercise instructors there, and Tyler was taking a weight training class through school that was held at their center. One afternoon, Chelsea and her mom stopped by the center just to check on a microphone, and Tyler was there before his class started.

Neither Tyler or Chelsea’s mom, Jan, have ever met a stranger, so they hit it off immediately. Chelsea and Tyler both inquired about each other to the weight training instructor (who was also a Jazzercise instructor), but nothing developed for a couple weeks. Finally, Chelsea decided to just “stop by” again during one of his classes, and they exchanged numbers and quickly became inseparable!

They both could tell right away that their connection was different, and knew that it was going to be something amazing.

Click inside for the rest of this gorgeous Washington, DC engagement session from Sarah Lee Williams Photography!

Capitol Inspiration: Neon Wedding Decorations, Details, & Inspiration


“Let Your Love Shine Bright”

A few months ago, an email from Lisa Marie with Sweet Tea Photography popped into my gmail. “Let’s do a neon shoot!”. I was hooked.

After meeting Kristen with Molly Cat Designs at Borrowed Event, I just knew I had to bring her on board too! A neon wedding , to me, meant ultra modern, bright, and for some reason, flowerless. Kristen specializes in creating unique wedding decorations from paper and other non-floral goods, and I knew she would be the perfect addition to the shoot!

From there ideas just started to bounce in every direction, but the one thing that remained constant was the word BRIGHT.

We wanted the shoot to be in Washington, DC ~ as the area tends to be overly traditional and sometimes one-note when it comes to weddings. One day on my way home from work, I nearly drove into parked cars on 8th St SE as my eye caught The Tabula Rasa ~ a brand new event space on Capitol Hill.

The name literally means “blank slate” – and that is exactly what it is. To me, this was the PERFECT place to have our shoot, as it would allow us to really let the neon colors pop against a blank, white background.

The space was PERFECT to setup a mock, intimate wedding. It had 3 distinct spaces for a cocktail setup, a ceremony in the courtyard, and then a sit-down dinner in the back room.

We brought on some other awesome Washington DC vendors to complete the shoot. Stationery & Paper Design was rocked by Tabibi Design .

And when we decided on a modern, unique shoot, naturally we had to get the dresses from Punk Rock Bride

Our bride’s look was topped only by the amazing hairstyle, Zara Design and SUPER BRIGHT makeup by Makeup Artist, Danelle Cook

The grooms attire was pretty makeshift and we topped both off with accessories from Lou Lou of Washington, DC .

Our neon dessert spread, including neon sno cones (!!) came from Sugar & Ice DC:

At some point we decided that silly string needed to happen in this shoot. We decided to make it the “favor”/”escort card” at each of the place settings, and then we let our bride and groom have some fun with it at the end of the shoot:

The day would have never came together without help from Sweet Tea’s assistants:  Allison Perrin & Jaclyn Sinesi . They were a huge help with our alternative post-it note “guest book” and just about everything else that was setup that day!

This was one of my favorite ideas [not to brag!] – naming the “specialty cocktails” Flourescentinis to go with our “bright” theme:

For a TON more images, check out the feature on the amazing wedding blog, Bridal Musings or check out Sweet Tea Photography’s blog.

Finally – the day was topped only by the amazing “behind the scenes” video that was captured by the super talented,  Craig Schattner Video

Danielle & Braxton’s Offbeat, Bright Green Wedding in Alexandria, VA


Getting back into the swing of things with a super fun & offbeat Northern Virginia wedding from Rebekah Hoyt Photography [submitted via Two Bright Lights]. Danielle & Braxton decided to infuse their fun personalities into their wedding day in the form of a BRIGHT kelly green color palette and wearing high top chucks. We all know how I love me some brides & bridesmaids in chucks :)

Danielle & Braxton’s wedding was chock full of personal touches, including handmade crocheted clutches for the woman of the wedding,  and the incorporation of their love of wineries and movies into their DIY reception centerpieces.

I have a TON of details from Danielle that I know you all are going to love. Plus, any bride that self-proclaims geekiness & a love of jeans and t-shirts, is my kind of bride.

Danielle & Braxton’s Offbeat, Bright Green & Grey Northern Virginia Wedding


Dress Store: David’s Bridal
Cake Designer:  Chandlers Bakery
Tuxedo and Mens Attire:  Joseph A. Bank
Bridesmaid Dresses:  Alfred Angelo

How they met:

            The story of how we met can vary anywhere from “with a group of church friends” to “at a bar” based on who we’re talking to.  We did in fact meet at EatBar with a group of friends from church and immediately hit it off.  I am most comfortable in jeans and a geeky tee with my mismatched socks and favorite chucks with mismatched shoelaces, whereas he’s most comfortable in khakis and a polo with his boat shoes.

Somewhere in there are two of the craziest, most awkward, but also most organized people you will ever meet and this is what made planning our wedding equally a blast and, at times, difficult.

How Braxton proposed:

Braxton proposed on December 10th and the following day we had a 7 page Google doc written out with just about everything we could think of that needed to be done.  This helped us out tremendously in that never once were we feeling like we had to rush.  I ended up getting really sick the week before our wedding and while I wanted to be up doing things in all honesty there was very little that needed to be done.

LOVE the fabric flower bouquets!

More on the awesome fabric flowers:

I really enjoy finding ways to try and be crafty so almost everything was handmade by ourselves.  While discussing our initial thoughts on flowers we concluded two things.  There should probably be some.  And they should have petals.  From there I ended up scouring the internet for alternatives/cheap flowers for the bouquets and boutonnieres as we knew those were the only flowers we cared about.

I ended up coming across a tutorial for making ribbon roses and from there the decision was made, all of the bouquets and boutonnieres would be ribbon roses.

Why they chose bright kelly green & slate grey as their color palette:

            We picked Kelly Green and Slate Grey as our colors mostly because we couldn’t decide and didn’t really care.  I happened to be wearing a Kelly Green shirt that day which we both decided we really liked and it’s actually ended up becoming one of my favorite colors.  From there we wanted something to tone it down and picked the Grey.

While most would have used the Green as an accent to pop against the Grey I fell in love the Green so much I tried to use it for the most part.

Click inside for the rest of Danielle & Braxton’s kelly green & grey Northern Virginia wedding by Rebekah Hoyt Photography!

DIY Inspiration: DIY Wedding Programs

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I have been a terrible blogger since the long weekend this past weekend. I have been super swamped at my day job and really, all excuses aside, I apologize and will promise to do better next week, with getting posts scheduled and published in the mornings.

Yesterday I had a friend ask some advice on wedding programs ~ she was getting stressed out, and I offered my thoughts:

  • programs, while a nice addition, are not a necessity
  • programs oftentimes get overlooked or simply thrown out after the ceremony anyway
  • programs can be a waste of time AND money

But while I shared those thoughts, I also realize that they are a nice gesture for your guests to see what will be happening in your ceremony AND it gives the couple a vehicle to recognize the special people that made their wedding day possible.

So for today’s DIY Wednesday post, I thought I would share some links to DIY Wedding Programs [inspiration & tutorials] to help couples keep programs simple and affordable and not kill a ton of their precious time.

Let’s start with an origami fortune teller program. Um, I love this

Bride Goggles Blog

The ever popular DIY Wedding Program Fan

via Intimate Weddings blog

An idea similar to our “poster program” ~ using a window!

via Adore Wedding blog

Simple & quick to make ~ A Chalkboard Wedding Program

via Dynamite Weddings

Ok ~ your turn! Share some of your favorite DIY wedding programs or even your own!!

Let’s Get Personal: My First Jump into Wedding Coordination!


This weekend I had the absolute honor of coordinating my first, real wedding. I say “real” because I have had a bit of exposure to wedding planning and coordinating through the awesome styled shoots I have collaborated on over the past year ~ but they do not come close to the excitement, stress, joy and overall emotional [and physical!] roller coaster of coordinating a real wedding!

I had so much fun being introduced into Trey & JD’s inner circle of family and friends and sharing in one of the most important parts of their lives.

As I mentioned on social media this weekend – man was I exhausted on Sunday [the day after the wedding] and promptly exclaimed that ALL couples planning a wedding should have to work one first. It gives you SUCH an appreciation of how hard it really is to be a wedding vendor.

A sneak peak of the centerpieces from the wedding!

I learned SO MUCH this weekend and it has certainly given me so much to think about in terms of possibly getting into wedding planning & coordinating officially/in addition to blogging!

I was so pumped to meet some new vendors and see some of my favorites. Julie of Jewel Hair Design was on site Saturday morning to do Trey’s hair and then I got to meet and work with the awesome Kristi Odom Photography, and her second shooter, Christina, Heather from Morven Park, Fluffy Thoughts brought a stunning wedding cake, and RR Catering worked TIRELESSLY alongside me, the entire reception, answering my every request [and boy did I have requests!] to ensure everything went well.

the bride & i in the photobooth!

If you’ve read my blog for a bit, then you might have seen the post I did a while back on how awesome my husband Andy is. Well, if I thought he was awesome before, I think he is infinitely MORE awesome now after all the help he provided me and supported me with on Saturday. He hung birdhouses, made makeshift table numbers [when only half of the ones the bride made were found], made a picture display, and SO much more – never once did he complain … even in 90+ degree heat. I honestly could not have completed all the coordination tasks on Saturday without Andy.

Finally, I leave you with some lessons learned from coordinating my first wedding!

1. Always pack extra craft paper or a book you don’t mind stealing pages from [I happened to pack one this weekend, and ended up being so thankful I did ~ we couldn't find all the book table numbers when we were setting up and ended up making a few numbers out of the book pages instead!]

2. Make sure your coordinator or officiant has a detailed overview of your ceremony, prior to the rehearsal [I totally forgot to ask Trey for this ahead of time ~ my fault entirely ~ and it caused the rehearsal to go longer than it probably needed to]

3. Don’t let your mother’s wear high shoes & dance on cobblestone or uneven terrain [the dance floor at the awesome venue was COOL but it wasn't completely flat, and during the Cupid Shuffle, the mother of the groom took a tumble and actually hurt her wrist ~ and had to go to the ER!]

4. Give yourself more time than you need. [The catering company was a good 45 minutes late in setting up the tables and chairs and it caused Andy & I to have a bit of a rush to get the rest of the decor setup. Luckily we got to the venue earlier than we planned, and it was all done in time - but don't cut it close on a wedding day!]

I learned even more in my first venture into wedding coordinating, but figure I’ll save further advice for future blog posts.

Until then, thanks for listening to my recap :) I am super excited to see where this takes me!


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