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Let’s Get Personal: A Loss of Direction & Need for New Goals

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 Image: This Rad Love

As I sit on my couch next to my (almost) sleeping 2.5 month old, I find myself in the midst of a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. The 2016 wedding inquiries are coming in, my 2nd to last workshop of 2015 is drawing near, my blog editorial calendar is nearly empty, and I have to admit that I am struggling.

I am struggling with a focus for how to keep up on all the things I planned for this year, how to better align my priorities (both personal and business), and how to plan my 2016, when that seems nearly impossible with a new top priority in my life. I know there are parts of Capitol Romance that I want to continue (the blog, working weddings, new ventures), but I think I am struggling with ones that I should probably let go of (the workshops, working weddings).

I think a lot of this stems from a problem I have had with Capitol Romance since Day 1 – not having a clear goal or business plan for this little biz and while flying by the seat of my pants worked before, it’s just not going to work going forward. Having Capitol Romance as my “fun side gig” worked when my day job was stable, and my life was fairly free. But with the new addition to mine and Andy’s lives, I know I need to refocus for 2016 on what I REALLY want to do with CapRo and honestly, what’s worth pouring my (slightly tapped) energy into.

And here’s where I am REALLY struggling – I have literally NO idea how to do it. I’ve started some things – a blog, a wedding coordination business, a workshops venture, a forthcoming collaboration with Typecase Industries and I’ve really enjoyed all of them, but something has to give. And I’ll be honest, I am terrified to let any of them go because it will seem like a failure – like I couldn’t succeed. But honestly, it’s just that I don’t have the time anymore to put myself 100% into ALL of these things and as the great Ron Swanson once said “never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing.” (god I miss this show).

So it’s time Romancers. It’s time to finally do something I should have done MANY years ago (and probably kept up with each year). It’s time to say goodbye to some parts of Capitol Romance and re-focus on what I really want to do with this business for 2016. I have some thoughts lingering and I think I just need to sit down this weekend and really write it out. I hope you guys will all continue on the ride no matter what I decide :)

Thanks for listening.

 

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Robert & Jessica’s Summer Garden Party DC Wedding at Dacor Bacon House

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Images: The Hill Studios, LLC via Two Bright Lights

Apologies for the lack of posting on back to back days. Andy, Evie & I left SUPER EARLY Friday morning to head to NJ to put together an epic surprise anniversary party for my parents (oh you KNOW I will be blogging it once we get the pictures!). My siblings and I started planning this party two years ago and it was worth every second & dollar spent to see my parents’ faces when they arrived and were greeted by SO MANY people from their past and present. The party took on a whole other meaning too, as my parents sold our home in NJ and are moving out this month. I’ll try not to dwell on THAT because I will probably just start crying ;-p. Yesterday was spent recouping from the weekend/catching up on emails and prepping for my 2nd to last wedding of 2015. Seriously – where is this year going?!

But for today we have the lovely summer garden wedding of Robert & Jessica; college sweethearts that moved to DC from Pennsylvania after college and starting their careers. Their intimate affair at the Dacor Bacon House is a perfect summer wedding that was both elegant and fun. A great DC wedding venue if you are looking for that “garden wedding” feel. Check it all out!

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We wanted a DC themed wedding that felt elegant and timeless, but most importantly fun. After months of venue searching we found the Dacor Bacon House just blocks away from the White House with a huge outdoor garden that would make for a great place to dance the night away.

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Rob’s father married us and wrote incredibly touching vows. It was short and sweet and while we never said I do it was beautiful and memorable.

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—> CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF THIS SUMMER GARDEN DC WEDDING <—

Brittany & Dan’s Classy, Gold Infused DC Wedding at Carnegie Institute

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Images: Shandi Wallace Photography

This wedding makes me EXTREMELY excited for my friends that are getting married here next year. Carnegie Science Institute is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite venues in the city. It’s got that perfect mix of “DC” vibe without being overly stuffy, traditional, or pretentious. You can have an classy affair here, but as my clients Stef & Joe proved earlier this year, and as this couple also proves, you can also have some SERIOUS fun at this venue. Brittany & Dan used a combination of gold & plum for their wedding decor, and Uncloudy Studio just killed it with the florals. Check out this amazing DC wedding from a fab team of DC area wedding vendors, next!

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From the couple:

We planned our wedding from Indianapolis, Indiana.  Finding a venue was difficult because we couldn’t just pop on over to check them out. I saw wedding photography done at the Carnegie Institution and I knew I wanted to be married there. We booked the space without seeing it in person, and I am so glad we did! The space is elegant and makes an impression, but is still small enough for the intimate, small wedding we wanted. We also loved the fact that you can get married in the round.

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Plum and gold seemed perfect for Fall. Plum has always seemed to me to be a romantic color, and it looked beautiful in our flowers.

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My father (the bride) is an ordained minister who officiated the ceremony & my two sisters were my maids of honor. Our vows. Dan and I spend a lot of time writing our own back and forth vows.  Having our ceremony in the round was incredibly intimate, and it was wonderful to say them to each other and share them with our friends.

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—> CLICK INSIDE FOR SO MUCH MORE OF BRITTANY & DAN’S CLASSY PLUM & GOLD DC WEDDING AT CARNEGIE SCIENCE <—

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.

Capitol Romance Best of 2014: Washington DC’s Best Bridal Bouquets

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It’s the week of the New Year (can you believe it?!) and so we are doing some fun “Best of 2014″ compilations to celebrate an AMAZING year of DC, MD, & VA weddings on the blog. I’ll write a full recap of 2014 (and a look into 2015) sometime in early January, but for now, let’s take a walk down memory lane and check out the Top 5 Best Bouquets of 2014 on Capitol Romance!

#5. A Lettuce Bouquet! From Steph & Jeff’s Intimate Farmer’s Market Wedding Brunch in Virginia

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[Image by Carrie Holbo | Lettuce from the local Farmer’s Market]

#4. A Rustic, Wildflower Bouquet from Eliza & Josh’s Nautical Maryland Wedding

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[Image: Sugar Farm Weddings | Flowers from a Local Farm]

#3. A Teal & Black Origami Bouquet from Jadene & Freddy’s Offbeat Black & White Virginia Wedding

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[Image: Andrew Morrell via George Street Photo & Video | Flower: DIY Origami Flower Bouquet]

#2. A Stunning Pink & Yellow Peony Bouquet from Hanna & Jamison’s DIY Woodend Sanctuary Wedding in Maryland

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[Image: Porter Watkins Photography | Flowers: H Bloom]

#1. And lastly – my FAVORITE bouquet from 2014 from to us from Julice & Steve’s DIY Picnic Themed Wedding in Maryland. The flowers & bouquets were DIYed and made from all natural herbs, greens, and flora. Just stunning!

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[Image: An Endless Pursuit | Flowers: DIYed (!!)]

Check back tomorrow for our next round-up of 2014 Best Of Capitol Romance DIY Tutorials!!

Let’s Get Personal: Capturing Love Panel at the HRC Event Recap

A couple weeks ago we had the absolute honor of sitting on a panel at the HRC’s Capturing Love press event. I was invited by the super amazing Kathryn Hamm of GayWeddings.com and I could not have been more touched to have sat amongst her and some other amazing people in the LGBT & wedding communities. I also got to meet two amazing photographers in person, that I had only ever known online (eKate and Kat Forder! whatsssss up?!). Thanks to Kat Forder Photography for sharing some amazing images of this event. Truly an evening I will not forget any time soon.

Let’s Get Personal: Capturing Love Panel at the HRC Event Recap

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In addition to Kathryn (and her lovely wife, that had to play Kathryn’s voice that nice, due to Kathryn losing hers) and her co-author, Thea Dodds, I joined Kyle Mihalcoe of WeddingWire and Noel Gordon from the HRC. The panel was moderated by Jay Brown, the Director of Foundation Program Strategies at HRC.

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Though the main focus of the event was the launch of Kathryn & Thea’s new book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Weddings,Jay also led the panel into a greater discussion about the limitations of traditional notions of gender roles in wedding rituals and photography; the ways in which understanding the dynamics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) couples can open new doors for straight couples; and how the mainstream industry is receiving this niche market.

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[Oh hey, I see a Maggie Winters Photography photo above!]

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Click inside for the rest of our recap!

Giveaway: Stella & Dot “Sutton Necklace” Giveaway ($128 Value!)

Romancers! We are back this afternoon with an AWESOME giveaway from Stella & Dot consultant, Liz. She is graciously sponsoring a giveaway of the gorgeous Sutton Necklace – a whopping $128 value! Liz shares, “the Sutton Necklace is our most versatile fashion necklace yet! It is a great necklace because it can be dressed-up for special events, worn casually every day or layered with other pieces for a different look.

I’d LOVE to see a bride rock this edgy necklace on her wedding day. Check out the necklace details, a bit about Liz, and how to enter our giveaway, all below! Liz is also offering a special shipping promo to anyone that enters the giveaway.

Stella & Dot Sutton Necklace Giveaway

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Liz continues,

I’m looking to share my love of Stella & Dot with everyone!  It’s the perfect gift for your friends, family, or yourself!  There are pieces you can wear on your special day or while just out running errands.  I’m always looking to do trunk shows where we can play with the jewelry and see what pieces are your favorites.   I’d also love to collaborate on styled shoots or work as your personal stylist when you need something special!

There are 4 ways to wear the Sutton Necklace:

  1. Long and loose for a laid-back look.
  2. Clasped into a statement when you’re feeling bold.
  3. Plus or minus the sparkle strand.
  4. Or just the sparkle when you’re in the mood to shine.

Since it can be worn four different ways it offers tons of versatility in just one piece of beautiful jewelry.”

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Get to know the lady behind Starlite21L & why she decided to become a Stella & Dot consultant:

I went to a Catholic high school and wore a uniform so the only way you could really express yourself was with a bit of jewelry.  I was a huge fan of earrings and was constantly in trouble for breaking dress-code because my ears were pierced so many times.  However, my parents were okay with it because they said “piercings aren’t permanent just don’t get a tattoo or we’ll kill you!”  (When I did decide to get a tattoo that was fun conversation lol)

Through college and working in the real-world I slowly realized what my style encompassed and I’ve come to be a huge fan of statement necklaces or earrings.  I stumbled upon Stella & Dot after complimenting one of my co-workers a few times on her accessories.  I loved the fact that everything could be mixed and matched and worn to work or out with friends.  I decided to become a stylist when I realized how much fun I had showing everyone the versatility of the jewelry while just hanging out in a comfortable environment.

The giveaway widget is below – just let us know what you’d wear the Sutton Necklace for and there are some extra ways to enter also in the widget. Liz is also offering FREE SHIPPING to ANY one that enters this giveaway on orders over $25! Just pay the initial $5.95 and Liz will send you a refund! Happy shopping: www.stelladot.com/LizG

GIVEAWAY ENDS: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5TH!

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Let’s Get Personal: Happy 3 Year Blogaversary to Me

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So officially my 3-year blogaversary was on January 21st. For some reason I had always thought that I officially launched in February 2011, but the date stamp on my very first blog post tells me otherwise. I cannot believe it’s been 3 whole years since I started Capitol Romance. I don’t think I ever imagined it would last this long, or grow into what it has become. I can tell you though, it’s the people I have met since that very first post, that have made my journey worth it. Who knew that starting a blog, something so singular and sometimes siloed from personal interactions, could create such a plethora of connections. I’ve met SO MANY people through this thing – wedding vendors, small business owners, big business owners, DC Techies, artists, neighbors, creators, engaged couples, and more, all because I decided to start a blog. I’ve made friends, a few enemies, and met some truly amazing & inspiring couples. It’s slightly hard to even comprehend sometimes, but again, I am so very thankful for each and everyone one I’ve met. Even the crazies (yes, even them).

So for my 3-yeary blogaversary, in addition to reminding you & inviting you all (seriously ANY ONE!) to my meetup tonight (yes I know there’s a possibility of snow … but there’s also going to be wine … and cupcakes soo…..) I thought it might be fun to take a little jog down memory lane. Here we go:

  • My first WordPress template was this ugly thing called Elegant Grunge. I was so punk rock back then. Also, it was free.
  • My first logo was something I made myself. In Powerpoint. Using a free font & one of my wedding pictures.

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  • I had 2 comments on my first blog post. One was from my sister, and one was a trackback.
  • I attended my first wedding show in April of 2011. It was called the Nonconforming Bridal Affair & one of the attendees told me “she read my blog” and I nearly died.

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  • I did my first styled shoot with Abby Grace Photography, based on our mutual love of Harry Potter & it was amazingly featured on Green Wedding Shoes – I STILL get hits from that post. Harry Potter lovers are everywhere.
  • I could have never done ANY of this blog without my friend Steve, who I met my Sophomore year of college at Penn State. 3 years later, and he still answers all my IT help pleas, questions, and is somehow still my friend.
  • Since starting the blog, I’ve had to learn how to form an LLC, register as a business in DC, and pay taxes (awesome!)
  • I’ve learned how to use WordPress, Twitter, Google+, StatCounter, Google Analytics, Domain transfers, basic HTML & CSS, Blogstomp, and so many other IT applications.
  • I’ve forced my husband to model in more than 1 photoshoot and been fortunate enough to have my picture taken by Gabe Aceves, Val & Sarah, Tim Riddick Photography, Live It Out Photography, Stephen Gosling Photography, & more.

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  • I’ve been asked to contribute to articles and was even interviewed/filmed for a project about DC relationships!
  • I’ve emailed with tons of couples in the DC area about their weddings, challenges, thoughts, hopes, and feedback on this site.
  • I’ve grown, but stayed true to my initial mission from 3 years ago: to create a resource for the Washington, DC area that focuses on alternative, creative, and nontraditional & budget-friendly weddings. To find REAL couples from all different backgrounds to show a true representation of the DC wedding scene.

I cannot thank all of you (my readers!) enough for being here with me. A blog could be a pretty lonely thing without readers, so for you, I am eternally grateful. Here’s to another 3 years? (eep! that thought is terrifying!)

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xo, Bree

 

Let’s Get Personal: Committing 100% to Being LGBT Friendly

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[image: Val & Sarah]

A few weeks ago I made the decision to practice what I preach and go a bit further with keeping Capitol Romance a place that is open, accepting, and resourceful for ANY couple in the Washington, DC metro area. It was always a goal of mine to feature couples of all ages, shapes, sizes, and sexual preferences, but it wasn’t until a late night conversation over pizza with a fellow wedding vendor, where I realized that just featuring diverse couples only goes so far. What about the vendors they see in the blog posts? What happens if a same-sex couple loves the style of a photographer I am in essence promoting by accepting to feature their work, only to find out after an inquiry, that the photographer does not have an LGBT-friendly business.

That is not ok here. Call me naive – but I guess until that late night conversation, I assumed that vendors submitting to this blog were down with my view points. I thought I made my views known enough. I figured, why would a non-LGBT friendly vendor even want to be on Capitol Romance when we so clearly preach love for all? But then I went to the Say I Do Expo this past spring and one of the attendees mentioned how a photographer I was running a discount with, was not open to her and her partner.

I was embarrassed. I stuttered out an apology, mortified, and was a bit mystified at what to do next. But, I knew I had to do something.

So then came that late night pizza conversation, where among other constructive criticism, I finally learned that it was better to have content on this site that 100% reflected my vision, beliefs, and goals for this blog, then to just have enough content to be able to blog every day.

This has been tough. I used to have enough content to plan out my posts 2-3 weeks out, now I am lucky if I have enough posts for a week out. Sometimes I am still thinking of, or finding content for the day before. Now that I am committed to vetting every submitting vendor, the process is slower, and the submissions are thinner. I have had some awkward email conversations with non-LGBT friendly vendors and I am sure my blog has losts some readers too. Blog posts have been a bit late on certain days, and some days there is no content at all.

But so what? Who cares? I don’t. This blog was never started so that I could have a well-oiled wedding blog machine, with overflowing content planned months out. This blog was started to HELP people … ALL people and help change the notion of the DC wedding scene.

So while content might be a bit thinner and my submitting vendors pool might have shrunk. I don’t care. I am committed to making this blog a place for all couples to get inspiration and resources to plan the DC wedding they want to have, no matter their beliefs or sexual preferences.

 

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