Capitol Flashback: My Grandma’s 1940s Wedding

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I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. But I figured that today would be the perfect day to blog this as it was exactly 72 (whoa!) years ago today that my grandma got married. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at a REAL 1940s wedding and compare it to the wedding traditions of today.

Here is my grandma and I at my engagement party a few years ago:

And now onto some pretty awesome details of what REAL weddings were like in the 1940s, from an interview I had with my grandma a few months ago:

My grandma and grandpa got married on October 8, 1940 – a Tuesday! She told me that she didn’t care what day it was, just that she liked that it was the anniversary of their first date. Her wedding party consisted of her brother and her sister-in-law and the invite list included anyone that lived in their neighborhood, and was their friend.

Their reception consisted of homemade wine (made by her father), sandwiches, and cookies. They did have a cake too, and it was baked at a local bakery in Sayreville, NJ, called Gutkowski Bakery.

Pretty much everything they had at the wedding was local – her jewelry was from Crabilles, a local jewelry store in Milltown, NJ, the flowers (orchids) were from Christie’s and the shop had sent away special to get orchids for her. Her dress – a stunning, long-sleeved velvet dress – was from a local store in Perth Amboy … and what did it cost? $35 !

I asked my grandma about that infamous first date and she shared that my grandpa’s sister was the one that had the big plans to get them together – she convinced them to go on their first date in 1936 to the SS Morro Castle (a ship that had sunk and was then stationed off the coast in Asbury Park). When my grandpa finally proposed, she knew she wanted that date as their wedding date – October 8th.

After the wedding they honeymooned in Pittsburgh (where my Grandpa’s family was). They borrowed her brother’s car and drove all through the mountains and it took 24 hours to get from NJ to Pittsburgh! After the honeymoon they returned to Sayreville, NJ and rented a house – at a whopping $25/month !

It’s crazy to me how different weddings are now, and it was really fun getting to hear her tell me just how matter of fact/logical choices were for weddings back in the 40s. I think it’s important for couples to realize the REAL traditions and history of weddings when they start planning their own.

I hope to interview some of my other family members on their weddings and share some REAL vintage weddings through this “Capitol Flashback” feature ~ I also would love to take submissions on this if anyone out their wants to share their parents or grandparents’ weddings with me!

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Capitol Inspiration: 1920s Glamour Meets Marine Corps, An Art Deco Styled Wedding Shoot


I always love the creative and unique styled shoots that Melissa Arlena Photography & Anthomanic team up to do. I’ve feature a few before (like this dramatic red & purple fairy tale inspired shoot) and Anthomanic did the stunning florals for our Shel Silverstein Dreamer wedding shoot (if you recall) ~ so yeah, prepare to be INSPIRED.

From photographer, Melissa:

This styleshoot was inspired by post-war 1920’s glamour and opulence! The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia was a perfect setting for such a theme with it’s many different eras depicted in the exhibits throughout the building. The space has a very masculine, utilitarian and industrial feel, yet comforts viewers with heartwarming stories of courage, trust and honor — an inspiring and very symbolic location for a wedding! Art deco being the design style of the 20s, it was our inspiration for the couple’s clothing as well as the table decor.

A 1920s Art Deco Styled Wedding Shoot


Event Planner:  C & A Event Planning
Floral Designer:  Anthomanic

Click inside for the rest of these beautifully inspiring 1920s wedding styled images ~ including the tablescape!

Jamaal & Cheree’s Purple & Gold Washington, DC Wedding

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The Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC has always been one of my favorite “typical” DC wedding venues – the columns, the prestige, the marble floors – and as far as pricing goes, it’s actually pretty reasonable for what you get!

Anyway, Love Life Images [via Two Bright Lights] submitted this beautiful purple & gold wedding at the Carnegie Institute, and I just couldn’t resist. Jamaal & Cheree just had that electric “star power” and it was a bit of a change from the weddings I had been featuring as of late.

 Jamaal & Cheree’s Purple & Gold DC Wedding at the Carnegie Institution for Science



About their wedding:

We chose Carnegie Institution of Washington as the location of our wedding because of its’ architectural design and detail similar to that of Union Station DC, for example the outside columns, marble floors, and grand staircase.

 The color combination of purple (the bride’s favorite color) and gold were chosen to portray the couple’s regal and royal theme. The color combination was woven throughout the wedding from the purple invitations, programs, seat covers, table linens, bridesmaid dresses, and flowers to the coordinating gold bridesmaid’s jewelry and shoes, gold flatware, gold rimmed china, gold chargers, and gold chivari chairs. And finally not to mention the bride’s purple shoes.

Thoughts on the wedding planning:

Jamaal and I took on the responsibility of planning the wedding ourselves allowing our personalities to be displayed throughout our wedding day. However, family and friends all came together to make our wedding day special with their presence.

We really wanted them to sit, relax, and enjoy the day with us. The bridesmaids and hostesses worked together to put the final touches of the wedding together from pouring sand in vases for the sand covenant, placing wafers for holy communion, and setting up the favor table.


There were many cultural expressions showcased throughout the wedding including the jumping of the broom, which was a hand crafted straw broom elaborately decorated with faux ivory roses and ribbon.

The jumping of the broom is a Southern African American tradition of sweeping away the past and the couple entering their future together and the remembrance of slaves who were not allowed to marry.

Click inside for the rest of Jamaal & Cheree’s Washington, DC wedding by Love Life Images!

DIY Inspiration: Music Themed DIY Wedding Details from Amanda & Brad’s Wedding


We are back again with even more from Amanda & Brad’s music-themed Washington, DC wedding. In addition to hand-picking each song that went into their wedding playlists, they also DIYed a ton of their music-themed decor!

First up, their awesome vinyl guest book:

Our guest book was made by a letterpress company in CA out of vinyl records. We also gave away pens with our names and the date because Brad’s grandfather owned a promotions company and used to have pens for all occasions.

Amanda and brad also used their Washington, DC skyline mounted on records for their table numbers!

Here is one of our table numbers, made by my colleague, Amanda.

The couple had DIY hot pink kissing balls adorn their ceremony space – and the kissing balls weren’t from real flowers, but crepe paper instead!

Amanda Ritchie also made these for us out of crepe paper [if you want to order them you can email Amanda at ]


and after:

And finally, last but not least – one of the coolest DIY photobooth backdrops I have seen – and again, perfect for their “music” themed wedding. A record album backdrop:

Brad made this awesome DIY photobooth backdrop himself AND turns out that he awesome made us a tutorial to share … but unfortunately you will have to wait until next week for that!
Happy DIY Wednesday! Any DIY projects in your future today?

Amelia & Javier’s Offbeat Outdoor Maryland Wedding


“… it never felt offbeat or nontraditional, it just felt like us.”

Amelia & Javier took “offbeat wedding” to a whole new level with their insanely awesome outdoor Maryland wedding at the Patapsco Female Institute – the ruins of a girls’ school. That’s right – this couple got married and had their wedding in preserved ruins.

How freakin’ awesome is that?!

Well, it gets better – in addition to the badass venue location, they used lots of green and natural brown decor, including herbs instead of flowers for their bouquets & boutonnieres. I so love this offbeat detail for an alternative to flowers! A very special thanks to Amber Wilkie Photography [via Two Bright Lights] for this offbeat Maryland wedding submission!

 Amelia & Javier’s Offbeat Maryland Wedding at the Patapsco Female Institute Ruins



Ceremony and reception venuePatapsco Female Institute
Planner/CoordinatorRebecca Dick, with Blue Canary Events
FloristWillow Oak Garden
Paper Goods & Gift BagsGolden Silhouette Designs
DJRicky Bulles
CateringKloby’s Smokehouse
Dessert spreadHeidelberg Bakery
Hair and makeupFirst Impressions Salon
Equipment rentalGrand Rental Events

From Amelia:

I love the quote Capitol Romance had posted on her blog – “A wedding is a party, not a performance…” I think that sums up what we want (and didn’t…) :)

Amelia’s gorgeous &unique wedding dress from a 2nd hand shop!

my dress was second hand for 3 reasons. first, i just couldn’t see spending crazy amounts of money for a dress i would wear for a few hours.

2nd, another commitment we made was to try and use things that could be repurposed.

oh, and 3rd, i LOVED it!

Amber told me that the couple had wanted their dog in the ceremony, but the venue wasn’t really keen on the idea … so he got to hang out with the dudes while they got ready instead! love this!

About the couple:

 what’s to say? people get together for all sorts of reasons. they get married for all sorts of reasons. we became friends. we fell in love. and we didn’t want to “be married”. we just wanted to marry each other. we’re not perfect but that’s what makes this work.
 I LOVE the bride’s dark nail polish:

About their wedding design:
we just wanted a party.
we didn’t want colors. we didn’t want matchy-matchy. we made a commitment to each other at the outset of the planning process that we would only do the things that we wanted to do. we wouldn’t do things because it’s tradition or family wants it. it ended up being entirely ours and oh-so special.
the venue just fit our organic, relaxed vibe. it was a blank canvas that we could make into ours.

how much do i love these alternative bouquets from herbs! yes, herbs!

Click inside for the rest of Amelia & Javier’s offbeat Maryland wedding by Amber Wilkie Photography.

Heidi & Steve’s Library Engagement Session in Alexandria, VA


One of the most fun things about starting a wedding blog has been meeting so many awesome vendors in the DC area. Such is the case with Maggie Winters Photography. You might remember her work from Katie & Andrew’s holi powder anniversary shoot. I also had the pleasure of getting to meet up with her ‘in the flesh’ (that sounds gross, I’m not sure why I used that phrase) and well she is just about as awesome as they make them. I think we hit it off (I hope Maggie agrees) and I was super fangirling over her hot pink hair.

She sent me this awesome Alexandria, VA engagement session ~ that took place in a library (love!) AND she sent me a prospective couple that might be hiring me to help with their wedding, the lovely Heidi & Steve.

 Heidi & Steve’s Alexandria, VA Library Engagement Session

How they met:

A man and a woman meet at a bar… Seriously…

Once upon a time there were two young people who had no idea they existed until one fateful day…

Back in 2009, the weekend of the 4th of July to be exact. Heidi (me) was invited to go hang out with some friends at a bar, actually it was a nightclub, but who cares. My friends and I were walking from the parking garage to the nightclub in downtown Norfolk when we came upon a red light that told us to stop before we crossed the street. Lo and behold, behind us was a group of young revelers looking for fun that night as well. One of the boisterous crew wearing a fuzzy hat approached me and began the age-old act of hitting on me.

 I was in good spirits and I can’t bluntly turn away anyone wearing a fuzzy hat, so I began to joke with him and I turned him down gently. We were both in good moods despite my having declined his offer to run off to his nightclub and he gave me his name and his number. I pocketed the number and didn’t think twice about the fuzzy hatted man named Maurice.

After quite some time whooping and hollering at the club, my friends and I decided to leave to pick up some more friends at a bar in Portsmouth. I was dubious of course because Portsmouth is not the friendliest place to people who do not frequent the area. But my friends assured me my safety was guaranteed.


We sauntered up to the new bar, which was closed by the way, and found the friends of my friends. But to my surprise the one person I was not expecting to see at the closed bar was Maurice of the fuzzy hat! We met each other as though we were good friends who hadn’t seen each other in a millenium’s age. During our joking back and forth a handsome and debonair man came up and introduced himself as Steve, Maurice’s friend.

Steve immediately caught my attention with his charm and wit; it also helped a great deal when Steve leaned over and whispered in my ear (in perfect Italian mind you), “Your eyes shine brighter than the stars in the skies”. He had me hook, line, and sinker at that point.

My friends insisted we move along after expressing concern with the invitation Steve extended me to an after party. Little did they know Steve and I would end up getting married four years later. But not to be held up by trivialities like having my ride insist I go with them, Steve and I exchanged numbers and began the month long texting marathon until our first date.

Nearly a month after we met we had our first date at a Gogol Bordello concert where we kissed for the first time and from that moment on I knew that he was the one for me.

Click inside for the rest of Heidi & Steve’s adorable library engagement session and their proposal story!

Lindsey & Andrew’s Merriweather Manor Wedding in Leesburg, VA


Today’s rustic wedding feature comes to us from Carmen Wang Photography (via Two Bright Lights). Lindsey & Andrew had a beautiful, purple wedding at Merriweather Manor in Leesburg, VA.

I think my favorite shot is this first one – I love the contrast between a couple in their fancy wedding attire, with a dilapidated, rusted out vintage truck:

Lindsey & Andrew’s Merriweather Manor Wedding in Leesburg, VA

Leesburg is just the quintessential Northern Virginia town to have a wedding ~ the beautiful farmscapes, the gorgeous vintage venues – if it wasn’t so gosh far far from NE DC, I might actually go there more often!

Carmen agrees:

Merriweather is limitless in regarding getting great bridal shots with meadow, wood fence, winding trails, barn house, and a rusty old truck. The shots taken there are so romantic and timeless.

On their first look:

Lindsey and Andrew decided to see each other before the ceremony to have intimate moment together. Andrew waited in a nice and quiet garden, Lindsey walked toward him and tapped his shoulder from behind. Andrew turned around and saw his gorgeous bride with her beautiful dress. The love between them is so inspiring!

Click inside for the rest of Lindsey & Andrew’s Leesburg, VA wedding at Merriweather Manor!

Capitol Inspiration: The Ultimate Cocktail Hour Playlist (from a Groom/DJ)


Remember these awesome, modern music-themed Washington, DC wedding invitations we shared last week?

Well it turns out that Amanda & Brad are super awesome (how could they not be with those invites?) and they both wanted to share some more details from their offbeat DC wedding; to which I gladly responded, “oh HECK yes”. Brad is a DJ in real life – so naturally music was a HUGE part of their wedding.

They had a TON of music-themed details that I will be sharing in the upcoming weeks. They made a rad photobooth backdrop from album covers (tutorial coming soon!) and they specifically chose each song at their wedding. Something I can relate to – as Andy and I did the SAME thing.

Amanda shares:

Since people joked for years that Brad would DJ his own wedding (and he kind of did) we thought it may be interesting to illustrate how we put this together, since we both love music. Brad always tells couples that cocktail music should feel like a party, and so many times people play generic music. We put a lot of thought (and negotiation!) into ours, and receive tons of compliments.

So ….

What Does a Wedding DJ Play During his own Wedding? 

…And advice on how to pick the songs for your own wedding cocktail hour playlist

From Brad:

After DJing weddings in the DC area for the past 12 years many people joked I was going to DJ my own wedding–well I did for half of it. I premixed continuous cocktail and dinner music portions of the wedding and the left the rest of the night up to the DJ we hired.

A good DJ should take into consideration what the bride and groom want but also be able to read the crowd and take requests so premixing a dance portion is not recommended, as a DJ I knew I had to hire a professional to work the dance portion, but I wanted to plan out the ultimate cocktail and dinner mix.

I think cocktail and dinner music can be just as important and add to the overall outcome of the reception and many times it’s an afterthought in the planning phase.  Anytime I help a couple plan their wedding and ask what they want for cocktail music many think of jazz or something they heard at someone else’s wedding, but I always say think of what your guests would enjoy and songs you want to hear but might not be the best for the dancing portion, I always like to make the cocktail segment upbeat and fun and little something for everyone.

A lot of thought went into my own mix and I blended all these songs in a 1 hour 15 minute mix. This is an example about making it your own. There were hundreds of others I wanted to include, but this is the breakdown of the final mix.

Click inside to see the extensive breakdown of Amanda & Brad’s awesome cocktail hour playlist!

Anne & Tim’s Bright Pink, Blue & Green River Farm Wedding in Northern Virginia

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I am really digging the colors and patterns in this morning’s Northern Virginia wedding feature from Jan Michele Photography [submitted via Two Bright Lights].

The couple chose a really modern palette of pink, blue and green and then incorporated some awesome chevron patterns in the centerpiece displays to really liven up the display. All of their details and color choices really popped against the beautiful background of River Farm in Northern Virginia! Enjoy :)

Anne & Tim’s Brightly Colored, Modern Northern Virginia Wedding at River Farm


Caterer:  R&R Catering
Event Designer: Atrendy Wedding
Floral Designer:  Merrifield Garden Center
Musicians:  Sage String Quartet
Cake Designer:  The Cake Guy
Officiant:  Ed Ingebretsen

how pretty are these mismatched navy blue bridesmaids?

Click inside for the rest of this beautiful modern, brightly colored Northern Virginia wedding feature!

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