offbeat dc wedding

Liz & Gabe’s Intimate, Bohemian Inspired Art Gallery Wedding in Washington DC

Images: Valerie Demo Photography

An intimate elopement at a DC art gallery? Yup – I can’t think of a better post for Valentine’s Day! Gabe & Liz’s modern, intimate DC wedding was all about love, happiness & family! Surrounded by their family and full of both laughs & tears, this couple had the small, family-oriented wedding they wanted, right in their DC neighborhood. Love it – hope you guys all have a great day spreading the love to anyone & everyone in your life!

“We are having a small, family-only wedding at a local art gallery in our neighborhood. We are MOST excited about, well, marrying each other! We believe we are well suited as partners, excited to share families, and truly love each other as individuals, as friends, and as romantic partners. We are also excited to have our ceremony be simple, short and free of the distractions and expectations that large, traditional weddings put on a couple and their families.”

After getting ready with their own families, Liz and Gabe walked to the ceremony. Their wedding was held a few blocks away from their apartments at Gallery NK. It had the BEST light (and who can argue with a wedding surrounded by art). Liz and Gabe DIY’ed their entire wedding arch and set it up in the gallery, hung some twinkle lights and flanked it with bouquets from urbanstems . Liz’s aunt presided over the ceremony which included a ring warming, super emotional personal vows, and each of their parents giving the couple a special gift.

Read More

Pin It

Tim & Marie’s Washington, DC Tour Bus Wedding


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 :)

dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-6 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-7

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!

dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-5 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-9

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.

dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-3 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-8 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-9 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-15 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-1 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-4 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-11 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-13 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-14 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-16 dc-offbeat-wedding-tour-bus-wedding-17

Matt & Sarya’s Laid-Back, Fun Josephine Butler Parks Center Wedding in DC


Images: Mathy Shoots People

There are some inquiries I get that just stick with me. Some that I can tell from just a few sentences, are MEANT to be clients of ours. Such was the case with Matt & Sarya. Matt & Sarya shared that they wanted a simple, but fun wedding – they initially considered a pop-up wedding with Pop Wed Co! but decided they wanted something a bit larger. Which led them to JBPC and then Kara’s own wedding .. and then a workshop I hosted at the Lemon Bowl earlier this year.

Total universe/stars aligning type stuff. She told me she admired Kara’s wedding during the Sunday drum circles and after she found out Kara was actually #TeamCapRo, she just KNEW they had to work with us.

Well hot damn are we thrilled it worked out this way. Matt & Sarya’s wedding was GORGEOUS and 100% them. Kara kicked it with her coordination skills, and I am so pumped to share their full wedding on the blog today! Here it is.

laid-back-simple-dc-wedding-josephine-butler-parks-center7 laid-back-simple-dc-wedding-josephine-butler-parks-center3 laid-back-simple-dc-wedding-josephine-butler-parks-center1

After Matt and I got married, we focused on what our marriage would look like and firmly believed that the wedding day was going to be only one day out of many that we’d have together–this meant that we wanted the day to be a reflection of us and the community of love and support we’d need in our lives together. Those anchored our event planning and the rest of the details, wanted to make sure would be as painless as possible!


When we learned that couples can marry themselves in DC, we went for it. At first we weren’t sure exactly what it would entail. After talking through ceremony ideas, it was natural to have our families play a big role, especially our moms. We deeply respect them and admire the love they modeled in our lives, so for us it made sense that they would stand my our sides and help us along with our wedding vows. Our siblings, their families and children, walked down the aisle before us playing the role of our wedding party.


Since we adapted traditional Khmer wedding elements (hand tying and umbrella ceremonies) and merged them into the ceremony and reception, we had our dear Khmer American friends take the mic and explain these elements as cultural ambassadors. Another one of our Khmer American friends keep the sister and mother-of-the-bride looking beautiful too.
We also tapped our friends to step in and help out as greeters, guest DJs, and go-to folks who handled anything that popped up during the day. The way everyone pitched in really made the day just right–just like a community would for hard time and for celebration.

laid-back-simple-dc-wedding-josephine-butler-parks-center15 laid-back-simple-dc-wedding-josephine-butler-parks-center16

Click inside for the rest of this gorgeous, laid-back DC wedding!

Read More

Gillian & Mark’s Personalized & Fun, Washington DC Wedding at Arena Stage

modern purple dc wedding arena stage (20)

Images: Anne Simone

Happy Thursday Romancers. I’ve been trying my hardest to get back into a more regular blogging groove and so far I think I’ve been doing pretty good this week (but let’s not talk about the July newsletter which still hasn’t been created … never enough time!). Coming back from vacation has been a bit harder than I thought it would be, but this adorable Maryland & sports-infused wedding certainly helps. Check out Mark & Gillian’s Arena Stage wedding, details & love story below!

modern purple dc wedding arena stage (4)

Mark and I met while I was interning at DC United. I had moved to the area for that internship and Mark helping out the Operations team there on game days. After a few months we realized that we lived close to each other in Maryland and decided to start seeing each other outside of RFK Stadium.

Our love of music and going to see live shows played greatly into the proposal. We had discovered Bears Den, a band from the UK, when they opened for Mumford & Sons and I quickly fell in love with them. Through some connections Mark was able to reach out to the band and plan a secret proposal when they were going to be in town for a show. It was a normal Wednesday afternoon and Mark had asked me to stop by his parents house to help out with some things before we were going to head into DC to see Bears Den perform that evening. When I stepped into his parents living room, there was my favorite band playing my favorite song and Mark with a big smile on his face. After many heartfelt words and getting down on one knee I of course said YES! To make the day even better he had my mom fly out from Ohio for the day to be there and be a part of the celebration. We then went into DC where he had organized a big happy hour with all of our friends before the show!

modern purple dc wedding arena stage (16) modern purple dc wedding arena stage (21)

We got engaged in November and then took a few months off planning and started the process in January. It took about a month and we got all of our big vendors nailed down. With the wedding in October I knew that we wanted to be able to enjoy the summer before having to buckle down and get all the last minute details done closer to the big day. The biggest help was having a wedding coordinator for the last 6 weeks. It took a lot of the decisions and hard work off my shoulders and I was able to be more excited rather than stressed.

modern purple dc wedding arena stage (17) modern purple dc wedding arena stage (2)

The colors for the wedding were something that came very easy for me. I love a mostly neutral color palette and we threw in some fun colors here and there. Mark and his groomsmen had custom suits made with amazing liners that showed off their personalities. Mark is an alumni of the University of Maryland and currently works there, so the Maryland flag made perfect sense for him.

modern purple dc wedding arena stage (14) modern purple dc wedding arena stage (3)

We chose Arena Stage as our venue as we wanted something different than a normal hotel or wedding hall. We love going to shows and live performances and our story started in DC, so Arena Stage was a perfect fit. The building is absolutely beautiful and the space that we were able to utilize could not have been better. We held both the ceremony and the reception in the Molly Smith Study while cocktail hour was outside on the rooftop terrace. The building was modern and elegant which also set the perfect background for all of our photos.

modern purple dc wedding arena stage (5) modern purple dc wedding arena stage (6) modern purple dc wedding arena stage (7)


Read More

How to Plan the BEST DC Wedding Ever with Pop! Wed Co & Yours Truly


Image: Pop! Wed Co

Guys! I am SUPER STOKED to be collaborating with one of my favs in the industry, Pop! Wed Co (another round of PopUpRomance if you will), and hitting one of our 2016 biz goals – to really establish ourselves as the go-to for wedding & relationships in DC. So we’re hitting the pavement and getting OUT THERE to speaking engagements and workshops to make this happen.

And we’re kicking it off big, at The Lemon Bowl, to host a super awesome wedding planning workshop!


Image: Mathy Shoots People

How to Plan the BEST DC Wedding Ever | Sunday, March 6th | 1pm – 2:30pm | The Lemon Bowl DC

Buy Tickets

Here’s the deets:

Planning a wedding in DC can be overwhelming. But whether you’re just starting out or deep in the planning process, we’re here to help! Bree and Maggie are alternative wedding planners in DC who specialize in ignoring all the traditional wedding “rules” and helping couples plan authentic celebrations that are creative, affordable, and bucketloads of fun.

Together, they’ve come up with ten ways to hack your DC wedding — helping you spend less, enjoy the process more, and go local all the way! Join them for a chat and open Q&A. Then, hit the confetti bar on the way out!

That’s right. Confetti. Bar.


We so hope you’ll join Maggie and I for a fun afternoon of talking wedding planning shop, giving you guys some insider secrets on how to plan not only an affordable wedding in DC, but one with wayyyyy less stress, AND be available to answer ALL and ANY questions you might have for us!

If all else fails, come for the confetti bar. Hope to see you there!


Image: Pop! Wed Co.

Kara & Justin’s Brightly Colored, Local DC Wedding at Josephine Butler Parks Center

View More:

Images: Mathy Shoots People

Kara & Justin are DREAM clients. Seriously, if someone asked me who my target, ideal client would be – I couldn’t describe them, I would just send them to Kara & Justin. They live in DC and love all things local in terms of DC food, arts, businesses, and vibes. They’re wedding was FUN and a total representation of who they are as a couple and what they love in their life. It included BRIGHT colors, BEER, vows with references to the Simpsons & mighty ducks (among other awesome references), a kick-ass live band, marquee initial lights, and the perfect amount of DIY projects (including chalkboard signs from our DIY workshop last year!). I had WAY too much fun working with Kara & Justin, and I am pumped to get to call them my friends now. You’re all going to LOVE this rad DC wedding!

View More: View More:

When we first started planning our wedding, we knew we wanted a really laid-back, party-like affair that reflected our personalities. I knew I wanted a spring or summer wedding so I could have bright and colorful flowers, though we didn’t initially have any specific dates in mind. Then I realized that July 25th, the date of Justin’s and my 2nd date, was a Saturday. So we aimed for that date, and fortunately the Josephine Butler Parks Center was available.

​We tried to let our stationary set the tone for our wedding. Justin’s sister helped us design all of our stationary, and we had it printed locally, which also helped us save some money. Our save the dates were based off a drawing that Justin did. The invitations were based off a design we found online, and for the response card, we created a mad lib. One of the most fun parts was receiving the response cards in the mail to see how people filled them out. I think they’ll be a great way to remember the day for years to come!

alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (13) alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (24)

My grandma had a stroke a few years ago and my mom has been taking care of her. A couple weeks before the wedding my family decided it would be too difficult to bring grandma out to DC for the wedding. It was disappointing, but I know it made the weekend a lot less stressful for my family. So we had her caregiver get her all dolled up and we Facetimed with her when I was getting ready. It was a nice way to include her in the day since she couldn’t physically be there.

Justara-01 Getting Ready-0058 alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (22)

We had a number of DIY elements that we incorporated into our day as well. Since we drink quite a bit of craft beer, we decided to cut the bottles and use them as vases for the flowers. I love how they turned out!

alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (23) View More: alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (15)

I also took all of the lace off my mom’s wedding dress and we used it to wrap around my and my bridesmaids’ bouquets, and I made a hairpiece out of it.​ My cousins’ kids were our flower girls. I found them some Converse that matched the wedding party, and I made their tutus.

View More: alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (36)


alternative rad DIY Washington DC wedding Josephine Butler Parks Center (30)


Read More

Kristen & Alex’s Modern Meets Vintage, Intimate DC Wedding at Darlington House

modern low budget DC wedding Darlington House (3)

Images: Love Life Images submitted via Two Bright Lights

I always love hearing from couples that they used my blog to find vendors or help plan their DC wedding! Such is the case with Kristen & Alex, who found the OH-SO-FABULOUS Emily of Love Blooms through me and planned a TOTALLY “Capitol Romance” wedding with a DC War Memorial engagement, dinner & dancing at The Darlington House, no bridal party, a DIY music playlist, and lots of personal details throughout the wedding.

modern low budget DC wedding Darlington House (8) modern low budget DC wedding Darlington House (11)

From the bride:

I knew two things going into wedding planning-  I wanted to get married outside and we really wanted a DC wedding- in the District.  We don’t have a car, and a lot of decisions I made we based around that. If it was too hard for us to get to a place on public transit  it was off the list. Our friends were tireless in their help and support for us. They helped me run so many errands, gave valuable opinions and just let me vent for months, I couldn’t have done it without them.

modern low budget DC wedding Darlington House (10) modern low budget DC wedding Darlington House (4)

That said, I really didn’t want us to be relying on friends to schlep us and wedding decor all over either. For these reasons finding Metro or at least taxi/Uber accessible locations were very important for us. I started searching online and even making phone calls about ceremony and reception locations. I found the DC War Memorial pretty quickly, there are some other local couples on blogs who have gotten married there and the pictures were always beautiful when I saw them.

modern low budget DC wedding Darlington House (12) modern low budget DC wedding Darlington House (13) modern low budget DC wedding Darlington House (6)

I actually found my photographer, Love Life Images, by googling DC War Memorial weddings. Dealing with the Parks Service, wasn’t hard per se, but you pay the fee, apply for your date, and then wait.  Lucky for us the date we picked was free and it was only $90 for the permit!

modern low budget DC wedding Darlington House (14)


Read More

Katie & Michael’s Pop Up Pi Day Wedding at &Pizza in DC

offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (5)

Images: Maggie Winters for Pop Wed Co.

Guys. This DC wedding is so freakin’ rad it’s making my face hurt from smiling so hard at all the pictures. Not only did this rad wedding come from my favs, Pop Wed Co, but it took place on Pi Day … AND at a pizza place! But not just any pizza place, one of my favorites in DC – &Pizza! The pictures are so fun of course, but I love all the details from Michael & Katie too. Sharing why they wanted a small wedding and the reasoning why they chose Pi Day for their wedding date! Check it out :)

offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (1)
We wanted to get married, but I knew that I didn’t want a formal wedding. I was having trouble with the idea of a wedding, and we tossed around different ideas. I saw an article about and I knew that’s what I wanted to have- a quick, low key, small, laid-back wedding. We had also recently moved to the DC area together, and getting married in DC seemed like a way to mark our time here.

offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (8)

offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (10) offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (24)

Maggie did a great job in putting together most of the fun details. She was also excited about us getting married on Pi Day. We had no particular ties to any specific date or time, but knew we wanted to get married within the year, and hopefully during pleasant weather.

offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (25) offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (28)

As a math teacher, I knew that the upcoming Pi Day (March 14) was going to be the most epic Pi Day of the century- 3-14-15, and I lightly suggested that we get married then. Michael thought it sounded fun (and I bounced the idea off a few math teacher friends to see if I was being too nerdy- they assured me I was not!). Once we had the date nailed down, Maggie suggested the venue. We thought it was perfect- we love pizza, and we love the idea of &pizza (that I can get something with unique vegetarian ingredients and Michael can get pizza covered with pepperoni and sausage).

offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (11) offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (20)

We originally invited just our parents and siblings (and their husbands/wives/kids), but we had close friends who really wanted to attend. So we gave up on limiting the number of guests, and told friends they were welcome to come if they wanted, but not to expect a traditional reception (we held a larger reception for all family and friends in Ohio a few weeks later). A couple weeks before the wedding, we had a few other friends call us and say that they were coming. As more and more friends decided to come, we felt so very loved! It was really fun to be surrounded by our close friends and family- about 20 people total- who traveled all the way from Ohio.

offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (2) offbeat DC wedding Pi Day at &Pizza (1)

Click inside for the rest of Katie & Michael’s super rad Washington DC wedding on Pi Day!

Read More

Allie & Dylan’s DIY Washington, DC Wedding at Stroga

Landers-Nelson Wedding - October 25, 2014

Images: Aimee Custis Photography

I‘ll apologize in advance for how much I might gush over today’s real DC wedding feature. I had the absolute pleasure of not only getting to blog this gorgeous wedding, but actually be a part of it (in SO many ways). Allie & Dylan reached out to me last November and I just LOVED their inquiry:

“It’s been so refreshing to go through your blog and find someone interested in low-key, off-beat weddings! We’re really excited about keeping our day about us, and not getting wrapped up in what we “should” do, and finding someone that can help us with that in DC has been a challenge! Also both Dylan and I are severely-profoundly obsessed with Harry Potter, so it’s always nice to find another kindred spirit. I look forward to talking to you!”

These are the things I keep hearing over and over from readers & prospective clients, “we just want a wedding that’s about us’ “we don’t need all the traditions or expensive details” “we just want something low-key & fun, without spending a million dollars” and these are the things I keep in mind when I blog here.

Allie & Dylan (I hope they don’t mind me saying) were like the poster couple for Capitol Romance. They attended my DIY Bouquets & Boutonnieres workshop (and then DIYed all their bouquets & bouts for their wedding), they used some of the DIY tutorials Ribbons & Bluebirds created on my blog (you’ll see those soon), and they just NEVER stopped working towards their ultimate goal of planning a wedding that was true to who they were as individuals AND as a couple. I am so honored to get to share their wedding with you today. Ok, enough gabbing from me!

Landers-Nelson Wedding - October 25, 2014

love love love these DC wedding invitations from Typecase Industries!

Landers-Nelson Wedding - October 25, 2014 Landers-Nelson Wedding - October 25, 2014 Landers-Nelson Wedding - October 25, 2014

From the photographer:

Allie & Dylan are college sweethearts, and when Allie finally moved to DC a couple of years ago to settle in DC with Dylan (they’ve been together FOREVER), our friends were so excited to have her — we adored Dylan, and couldn’t wait to be friends with the amazing woman who lived up to the standards of everything he deserved. I feel like we all knew a wedding was coming, but I couldn’t — literally COULD NOT — have been happier when Allie + Dylan asked if they could hire us as their photographers. I swear, being asked by friends to photograph gives me bigger giddy butterflies than being asked to be a bridesmaid!

Landers-Nelson Wedding - October 25, 2014


Just look at these DIYed bouquets!!! SO STUNNING!

DIY alternative washington DC wedding (10) DIY alternative washington DC wedding (5)Landers-Nelson Wedding - October 25, 2014

Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of Allie & Dylan’s super awesome, DIY Washington DC wedding.

Read More

Rad Things For Your Big Day & Life Together Go Shopping!