dc wedding blog

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.

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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.

 

Win a 1-Hour Rock the Frock Session with Joanna Tillman

This is it. We are kicking off an ENTIRE WEEK of giveaways in celebration of last week’s brandy new Capitol Romance blog design! Can you feel the excitement!? I can! Each day we will giveaway one to two kickass, wedding related items and each giveaway will be open for entries for one week. There is something for everyone this week! Photoshoots, jewelry, makeup, design, and on Friday we will culminate the week with our biggest giveaway ever.

EVER.

I won’t ruin the big surprise just yet, but in the meantime let’s talk the very first giveaway for the Ultimate Week of DC Wedding Giveaways. We’re kicking things off with Joanna Tillman Photography.

Win a 1-Hour Rock the Frock Session with Joanna Tillman Photography

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Ladies, dust off that wedding dress and let’s get rocking! Joanna Tillman Photography is giving away a 1-hour, on-location “rock the frock” portrait session with $50 credit towards prints! This would also make a GREAT anniversary present or bridal shower gift for any of your friends or family that is getting married soon!

Entering is easy – just use our rafflecopter widget. This giveaway ends next Monday, so start entering!! And in the mean time, check out more from Joanna Tillman Photography.

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Travel restrictions may apply. Offer valid 1-year after winning. Session scheduling up to availability of Joanna Tillman Photography.

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Capitol Inspiration: Monica & David’s Offbeat, Playa del Carmen Mexico Wedding

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was fabulous, but WHOA did the weather change quickly between Friday and Saturday. Usually I am all about the colder weather (snow!), but for some reason this year, I am just not ready for it yet. Maybe it’s not wanting to say goodbye to Fall or perhaps it’s the 6 hours we were outside in 32 degrees & flurries yesterday; regardless, I feel the need to hold on to the warmth just a BIT longer.

So what more perfect way to do this, than to blog a wedding in Mexico?! Monica & David actually live right here in the Washington, DC metro area, but decided to have their wedding in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and they did a lot of cool and creative things for their gorgeous destination wedding! So sit back and relax on our post-Thanksgiving Monday (with a full work week ahead, woof!) and jet off to the beautiful Mexican beaches.

Monica & David’s Creative, Gorgeous Playa Del Carmen, Mexico Destination Wedding

Images submitted by bride, captured by Del Sol Photography

 About the couple:

Monica lives in Herndon, VA.,a graphic designer who graduated from Virginia Tech. Loves to make jewelry, play tennis, food and bright colors. David is originally from Pittsburgh. He is a network engineer who graduated from University of Pittsburgh. Loves to skim board, skate and snowboard.

Up first Monica shared a few from their adorable Beach engagement shoot. They were too cute not to share!

How they met:

My brother introduced couple and all attend St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church where they are both Coptic Christians.

And now the STUNNING wedding pictures!

Monica explains why they chose to have their wedding in Mexico, instead of in the DC area:

 We decided to do a destination wedding because of the large number of guests we would have had to invite if we stayed in our hometown of Fairfax, Virginia. We both love the beach and the groom proposed on a beach so we thought it would be fitting. We had chosen the Paradisus Playa del Carmen, La Esmeralda because our wedding planner recommended it to us and it had just opened up. This is a 5 star restaurant so we wanted to have our guests have the best experience. The resort is very upscale and the décor doesn’t lend itself to “Mexican” at all, so our wedding theme centers on “Mexican” and bringing back that feel and flavor.

We also did a “first look” before the wedding. We found a secret hideaway in one of the hidden locations on the beach. The bride was waiting there, shaded with a parasol as the groom came to meet her.

We had ordered hand painted maracas from a local artist for our table cards and gift. We had papel picado flags and banners for the décor, Spanish lit up stars, stringed lights. The colors were teal and yellow also inspired by Mexican art. Every single part of the wedding reflected either travel or Mexico.

The invitations were passports filled with “Mexican” style stamps and images. The guest book was very different and not traditional. Instead of a book, I created a page full of travel passport stamps, which were empty. In each of the stamp, guests could sign their name and leave a message. The table cards all had Mexican images such as sombreros, flamenco dancers and the Mayan ruins.

Click inside for the rest of Monica & David’s offbeat Destination wedding in Mexico!

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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