dc wedding

Bride to Be Guest Blogger Kelsey: Picking Your DC Caterer for Your Wedding

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Guess who’s back? Back again? … Kelsey’s back … ok I’ll stop now. But really we do have our fabulous bride-to-be guest blogger, Kelsey, back on the blog today sharing her thoughts on picking your wedding caterer and attempting to navigate the DC catering scene.

Or as she called it: “Food, Glorious Food”. Ahhh a fellow musical lover :) Take it away Kelsey.

Food Glorious Food – How to Pick Your Wedding Caterer | By Kelsey 

So we booked the venue. Nailed it. Here’s the thing about having a wedding that isn’t at a country club or restaurant, you have to feed people and you have to figure out how. Luckily the DC area is chockfull of caterers and they all want your business. Where do you start? Food is food, right? Wrong. So wrong. You couldn’t be more wrong.

Google ‘DC caterer’, you will come up with 643,000 results. Literally. So there’s some work to be done here. We started with a smaller list than what google provided because our venue had a preferred caterer list. These are companies that the venue trusts and has worked well at the venue in the past. So we started with them and realized wedding food is really fancy and bordering on unrecognizable.

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What happened to normal food? Just delicious, easy, and yummy food. At some point, something terrible happened and caterers decided adding things like avocado foam and essence of arugula was a great idea. I mean what really is frisee? I’ll tell you what it is; it’s a waste of money.

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We decided that we wanted food that we could spell, recognize, and most important was delicious. So when caterers we contacted gave us selections like ‘yuzu ricotta toasts with edamame pesto’ and ‘celery bite with blue cheese mousse’ we pushed back. We told the vendor – here’s what we’re envisioning and here’s what we don’t want. Some replied with ‘of course, yes, how cute!’ and gave us options like ‘honey poached gala apple cup’ and ‘quinoa stuffed peppers’ and one replied and said:

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Well maybe not in those exact words, but she got us. And then the most delicious contract was signed. The moral of this story is stand up for what you want! There will be no spinach straws at my wedding. If you want pear vinaigrette, you shouldn’t come. Find a caterer who understands what you want and can deliver! These people exist. It doesn’t have to be chicken or steak. It can be chicken and waffles or steak sandwiches. You do you, girl.

Once you find your caterer, you will go back and forth to outline the menu for the evening. This includes cocktail hour, dinner, and dessert. Pick and choose what looks delicious. We were provided with some amazing hors d’oeuvres so we asked if we could make them into an entrée. Think outside of the box and ask for items that are some of your favorites. Love pancakes? Do a mini skewer of them during cocktail hour. Are mashed potatoes jam? Try a loaded potato bar for a late night snack.

As you know from my first post, food was on my top three most important things list (technical term), so finding the perfect caterer and then developing the perfect menu was high priority. I was not willing to accept the ordinary.

Want to know what I picked? Sorry, I don’t want to ruin the surprise for everyone, but I’ll give you a hint: there will be tater tots.

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Tim & Marie’s Washington, DC Tour Bus Wedding

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Images: Jonna Michelle Photography

Happy Friday Romancers!! I’m not going to lie, I don’t hate this cloudy COOL weather day. It feels like FALL and that makes me happy! I have the CUTEST offbeat DC wedding to share today – a literal Tour Bus Wedding, AND I am hosting the We The People DC Instagram handle. I’m also gearing up for the next three weekends of WEDDINGS. I’m working the next two, but a guest at the third. Hello October :)

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The couple only recently moved to D.C. Instead of holding their wedding where they’re from in the Midwest, they rented a tour bus and turned their wedding into a vacation for 55 close friends and family! They then held a reception at Logan Tavern near Logan Circle. The best part? Their two standard poodles came along for the whole thing!

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Zoey and Indy, the poodles, are very important to the bride and groom, which is why you see so many photos of them. There are also photos of the homemade ice cream the groom made as a treat for all of his guests.

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Bride to Be Guest Blogger Kelsey: All I Do is Plan Plan Plan

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Image: Maggie Gaudean

Andy & I took Evie on a whirlwind trip up to Vermont for one last little slice of summer vacation (and some early Fall temps – I had a HOODIE on you guys!!!!). It’s always such an awesome respite to get up to Vermont and spend some time with family. But the real world is always still here waiting for me when I get back.

I apologize again for how bad I’ve been about blogging — my day job has kicked into a gear I’ve never yet encountered in my adult, working life, and my daughter has recently decided 5am is an acceptable time to wake up … so yeah, things are a bit rough, but I have some AWESOME posts on the calendar, so here’s hoping I can get my butt in gear and get them up for you guys. Let’s start today with another post from our newest bride-to-be guest blogger, Kelsey. We met her a while back and now she’s hear to share how she started planning her wedding. Take it away Kelsey!

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Hey you came back! Or maybe you read this blog daily and happened to get stuck with me today. Hooray!

Now that you know a little bit about me, let’s dive into my epic wedding planning experience. I was originally planning a long engagement. Like 18 months. Then I started getting into this planning thing and realized, I do not want this to consume me for 18 months. I say consume with love, because it is a wonderful experience, but it’s also soul crushing, but like in a ‘there’s cake at the end of this’ kind of way.

So, I went from 18 months to nine months. And no I’m not pregnant. Why is that everyone’s first assumption when you say nine moths? Who gets married that pregnant on purpose? Right. Anyway once you hit the nine-month mark, things start moving quickly. You read everything you can get your hands on, you create an insane amount of spreadsheets that you don’t even need, and you suddenly have opinions about the color sage.

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There are a ton of books out there, I am a spokesperson for none of them, but I can tell you that this one from The Knot was very helpful for me. It kept things organized. I read that cover to cover and then bought this from Bree. Then I created a Google Drive folder that the fiancé and I share.

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Some of you may have a fiancé who just wants to show up on the wedding day. That’s totally cool. That’s not mine. He’s helpful with details and keeping me grounded like, ‘hey honey, don’t put that in the garbage disposal, that will not end well.’ Or ‘can we start a campaign to ban those stupid bamboo chairs from weddings?’ You know, real life stuff.

Now that I had place to dump all of my crazy, I needed to get a handle on what I could tackle and when. Because as awesome as it would be to quit my fulltime job and side hustle and just plan a wedding, it’s not realistic. So I made a timeline. Well I started with four timelines and I combined them into one. I took this one, this one, this one, and one from Bree and made a master timeline by month.

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One thing I knew I wanted was a wedding coordinator. Someone between a ‘I’ll take it from here, just show up’ and ‘hi I’m [fill in the blank], let’s get you married today.’ For me, Capitol Romance was that balance. (Side note: while I’m Bree’s client, I am not being compensated for these posts, and all opinions are my own) So I secured Bree and got to work.

To be continued…

Giveaway: Win 5 Mini Bottles of Organic Insect Repellent from Naked Botanicals

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Super pumped to share this locally #madeinDC product that is the PERFECT addition to your DC wedding welcome bags or just to have in your bathroom baskets – organic insect repellent from Naked Botanicals! We all know the mosquitoes in DC can be FIERCE and not exactly a welcomed guest at your wedding. So if you are getting married in the DC area and have an outdoor ceremony or reception – this giveaway is for you!

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One winner will receive (5) 1-ounce sprays, perfect for on the go bug protection. They fit in swag bags, purses, backpacks, etc., is TSA-compliant, and safe for adults and children over the age of 6 months (because of the essential oils). Shipping included in the USA.

Details on how to enter are below. Giveaway ends July 1, 2016!

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ENTER HERE:
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Kim & Greg’s Patriotic, Red White & Blue DC Wedding at Hotel Monaco

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Images: Photos from the Harty

I love this time of year because it’s usually when the area photographers are able to climb out of their wediting black holes and actually submit all their awesome my way. September to December can be a bit of a light submission period for me because photographers are just too damn busy shooting and editing to really put submissions together (how dare they do their jobs ;-p). So I love this time of year as a wedding blogger, because I get to not only see but SHARE all the radness they’ve been working on the past year.

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From the bride:

I’m one of those weird people who was not only born in Washington, DC but still chooses to live here as an adult–with no real intention to leave. So, when my very “classic american boy” now husband proposed to me, the color scheme was very clear: red, white and blue. That came to me before any other ideas; and then it drove the planning for the rest of the event. I wanted to capture that patriotic element, without being too “in your face” or cheesy; the Hotel Monaco was the perfect for that.

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The very old school Washington architecture with the modern decor were exactly what I wanted. The Monaco also has a very special well of arranging the ceremony– it’s done in the round with us in the middle so that we were literally surrounded by our family and friends.

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–> CLICK INSIDE FOR THE REST OF THIS PATRIOTIC DC WEDDING AT HOTEL MONACO <–

Let’s Get Personal: My Rather Lofty 2016 Business Goals & Strategy

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Image: This Rad Love

Romancers, it’s time. It’s time to throw caution to the wind, take that HUGE leap (hoping the net will appear) and state my (rather lofty) business goals for 2016. Things are changing over here at Capitol Romance HQ with the birth of my first kid this year and the changing waves of running a local wedding blog. Earlier this year I dropped the news about my pregnancy and the changes coming to the blog and my wedding coordination business. I was SO apprehensive as for the first time, there were SO many things out of my control.

But I am happy to say that I am still standing at the end of 2015. Though blogging has gone from daily to typically 3 posts a week, I am happy to report that that hasn’t slowed our growth. In fact, I would say that blogging less has enabled me to put out stronger content and less fluff and my views have continued to grow as a result.

I am also beyond thrilled at the year my wedding coordination business had with Alesha officially joining the team. We took on more weddings than 2013, Alesha KILLED IT with her own weddings and seamlessly took the ones I couldn’t work once Evie arrived. I am so insanely grateful, every day, that Alesha joined the team.

So let’s talk about next year. Because, well, I have HUGE goals and plans for next year guys. Like ridiculously big goals. I don’t even care how scary or risky or insane they might be. I am done playing it safe and I am ready to take on some big things. So let’s start with the ultimate goal. I am just going to lay this out here:

For 2016, it is my goal to make Capitol Romance THE #1, Ultimate Resource for Planning a DC Wedding

So what does that mean? That means a lot of things …. like:

re-designing the blog to accomplish this goal

better consolidating all the graphics, logos and branded items I have created since 2011

launching an online STORE (that’s right. ecommerce baby) of Capitol Romance branded items

creating SERIOUS resources that you can download, purchase, and use to plan your DC area wedding (whether you hire someone from our wedding coordination team or not)

upping our marketing game with a monthly newsletter, better advertising outreach, and more

expanding our wedding coordination team to bring on at LEAST 1 more coordinator for 2016

….. insane right? But it just feels right. For the first time since starting Capitol Romance in 2011, I feel like I finally have a clear goal, a finish line. It’s more of a marathon distance away then a 5K, but I can see it so clearly now, that I am wondering what took me so long.

So that’s it. My 2016 goals laid out for you to see. I can’t wait for you to tell me what you think…

Stef & Joe’s Classy, Lavender & Succulent Themed DC Wedding at Carnegie Science

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Images: Ryan Rayburn and Michelle Silberberg of George Street Photo & Video

Stef & Joe were one of those dream clients. Insanely kind & nice, super type-A and organized, planning a classy but FUN wedding, and oh, also drop dead gorgeous. The ONLY thing wrong with them was their unfortunate college alma mater (just kidding you guys!). They planned a perfect early spring wedding at one of DC’s best wedding venues, Carnegie Institute for Science, and I was lucky to get to be their day-of coordinator. Their choice of lavender and succulent details were the perfect match for the venue and time of year and their wedding was just SO fun. Not even a fire alarm going off IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR CEREMONY could wipe the smiles from their faces. Ah – you guys are going to love this one as much as I loved working it ;) Enjoy.

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The write-up from bride, Stef (which is making me blush and I SWEAR I didn’t tell her to write this ;)

To set the stage, I should start by saying that I never thought I would be the bride who submits her wedding to a blog (until I knew that a blog as rad and unique as Capitol Romance existed, that is!)! :)  I was initially so intimidated at the thought of planning a wedding and the whole industry because I thought I would have to adhere to stuffy, traditional customs and follow a cookie cutter format. I was worried that who we were as a couple would get lost in the fray of putting on such a huge and potentially expensive event.

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However I was so pleasantly surprised to find throughout the course of planning my wedding that this was not the case AT ALL! I actually LOVED planning my wedding with my husband Joe so much more than I ever imagined, and couldn’t have been more pleased with how our day turned out. During the planning process, I was delighted to discover that so many couples, more than ever, are embracing their creativity and individuality as couples, and focusing on meaningful experiences for their friends and families. That is exactly what we wanted to do. I was even more delighted to find blogs and vendors in the wedding industry IN WASHINGTON DC like Capitol Romance who support, encourage and embrace non-traditional creative weddings!

My husband Joe and I got married this past March in Washington DC. We decided to get married in DC because, even though we both originally hail from the wonderful state of Michigan, we have fallen more and more in love with our nation’s capital since we moved here four years ago. I had always dreamed of living in DC, and came to pursue my master’s degree at Georgetown. Joe bravely moved with me without a job.

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Fast forward four years later and we couldn’t be happier together here – living in one of DC’s liveliest areas with our adopted cat Kulu (she rocks), and loving our careers and life together. This is the place that we have truly grown together as a couple, and thus chose to get married in this special setting. And indeed Washington ended up being the perfect backdrop for our wedding – we love so much that this city is historic, worldly, romantic, and smart, with a touch of classic glam.

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Our approach to our wedding overall was to try to keep things simple, meaningful, and focus on the experience for our friends and family. Though we did have some help from our parents, we also tried to be as budget conscious as possible, especially considering we were getting married in a pricey city. We also largely wanted to do the planning ourselves. For us planning our wedding really was a labor of love between my husband and me, with each of us playing an equal role in making the day come to life.

We also could NOT have done it without Capitol Romance as our day of coordinator! Bree and her team were absolute rockstars who ended up doing MUCH more than just pulling off the day of coordination and helped guide us throughout the process.

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So the planning process for us started after getting engaged in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in the summer of 2013. The next order of business for Joe and I was to pick a venue and date. It can be challenging to find venues in DC because many of them either cater to absolutely huge events (convention centers, etc) or are very small. We were trying to hit a sweet spot somewhere in the middle of about 130 guests, AND also not completely break the bank in renting a space (totally possible in a city like DC!).

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—> CLICK INSIDE FOR SO MUCH MORE OF STEF & JOE’S GORGEOUS CLASSY, DC THEMED WEDDING <—

Amanda & Sean’s Romantic Winter Wedding at Josephine Butler Parks Center

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Images: Candice Adelle Photography

Blush, white, and gold makes SUCH a romantic color palette for a wedding – especially when you throw in fireplaces and a wintry Josephine Butler Parks Center – one of my favorite venues in DC! Amanda & Sean wanted their wedding to feel more like an intimate dinner party, then a crazy reception and their decor & design (executed by Pure Whimsy Events) accomplished this perfectly. Check out the beautiful details of this intimate, DC wedding below!

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Our wedding party was family only. The best man was the grooms father, and the brides brother was the officiant. Having the brides brother marry the couple and write the entire program, coupled with the candle lit only ceremony made for a very romantic wedding.

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The bride hand lettered all the wedding signs, painted the monograms, and provided all the vases for the venue.

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Click inside for the rest of Sean & Amanda’s beautiful, intimate Washington DC wedding at Josephine Butler Parks Center!

Robin & Julia’s Low Key, Personalized and Fun Washington, DC wedding

 We knew we wanted to keep the wedding low-key. We also knew we wanted to get married in DC, where we live, and where marriage equality has been the law for several years now.

So that is where Robin & Julia started. Knowing they wanted to get married in a low-key, relaxed fashion, and having the wedding be in Washington, DC – their city and a place that has thankfully been a frontrunner in recognizing love for all. Thanks so much to Maggie Winters Photography for sharing this beautiful, DC wedding with us!

Robin & Julia’s Low Key, Personalized Washington DC Wedding at 701

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We had the idea to get married at a restaurant, so our venue and catering would come hand-in-hand and we could count on the food being excellent. We looked for restaurants that offered private event space (on OpenTable of all places!) and came across 701. We’d had an excellent dinner there during Restaurant Week, and remembered the space as being really cool-looking inside. Once we realized they also had an outdoor patio on the Navy Memorial where we could have our ceremony, we were sold!

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Going in, we quickly decided that some things — like photography — were important to us, but other things — like traditional wedding gowns — were not. We wound up changing our minds on some points, though. For example, we had felt strongly about being our own DJs through the magic of an iPod … but then we found out that 701 had a pianist who would play musical theater songs. But for the most part, deciding early in the process what we wanted to prioritize made it easier in the end to figure out how to use our budget and organize the day.

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Click inside for so much more of Robin & Julia’s low key DC wedding!

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