offbeat dc wedding

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!

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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!

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

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Gwen & Hillary’s Offbeat, Pop Up DC Wedding at DC Brau Brewery

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When I saw this one on Pop Wed Co‘s Facebook page, I just knew I had to have it. I mean, let’s be honest, I feel like I could feature EVERY wedding that Maggie & Steven deliver, but this one ESPECIALLY caught my eye thanks to the coolest DC wedding venue ever: DC Brau’s Brewery!!!

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From the lovely brides, on their offbeat DC wedding venue choice:

We got engaged a year ago at a winery in Virginia, so a brewery in DC felt like at natural choice for a wedding. It really wasn’t that simple though… We were planning a small wedding with a few friends and our parents, but after hitting a few bumps in the road we decided to scrap that idea and elope just the two of us. We wanted a wedding that we would remember and be able to enjoy, knowing we could always plan a party for a later date with everyone else.

We stumbled upon Pop! Wed Co and decided that they do the types of weddings we both envisioned. Maggie and Steven were great from the start and made all the stress of wedding planning disappear (on our end at least). We discussed a few possible venues with Maggie before realizing that DC Brau was the perfect spot.

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The folks at DC Brau were so awesome and so welcoming and who knew a brewery would be such and awesome spot for a wedding photo shoot?

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Although our friends and family weren’t physically there, they were there at heart. After the ceremony we had an awesome photo shoot at DC Brau with our Pop! Wed Co friends, Maggie and Steven, and then met with a few close friends for drinks and dinner. We will have our grand party in California in March at the arboretum on the university campus where we met nine years ago. We will have a short vow ceremony with our family and friends followed by the big party with dinner and dancing under the stars.

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Click inside for the rest of Hillary & Gwen’s totally awesome, offbeat DC brewery wedding!

Marcia & Zach’s Offbeat, Personalized Washington DC Wedding at Hillyer Art Center

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This Washington, DC wedding had it all. A ceremony in an art gallery, a push-up contest, the Jewish chair dance, dinner, dancing, and a legit New Orleans style parade to take the guests to dinner.

No joke. Just wait until you see these parade pictures – they’re amazing. Marcia & Zach had a DC wedding and did it THEIR way, including some Janet Reno masks. Man, I love when couples do what they want. I know you guys are going to love this one. Thanks to De Nueva Photography for sharing her images.

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Saturday: a friend from New Orleans who is a hairdresser did my hair and all my sisters.  Katy from Alison Harper & Co did my makeup and my sisters.  She was incredible and I set it up only 2 days before the wedding!

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Our ceremony was in Hillyer Art Gallery in Dupont. There’s a shot of all my sisters in the gallery (in red). My sister Nancy married us.

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Our band was Mike Flaherty’s Dixieland Direct. They were probably the highlight of our wedding.  These guys have a New Orleans-style brass band in DC and they go down to New Orleans frequently to play.  They got totally into the spirit of our wedding and played Oh When the Saints when we marched out and coordinated a fabulous number with my 86yo uncle which took them a lot of time to organize with him but they were really into.  They worked in all my crazy friends and a skit to “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The coup de grace was when they led a New Orleans 2nd Line parade all the way from Hillyer to Kababji Grill – quite a scene!

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My mom’s friend did the flowers and one her other friends made the corsages, etc.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of this super rad Washington DC wedding – including the New Orleans style parade from the ceremony to dinner!

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!

Katja & Alex’s Offbeat, Intimate Washington DC Wedding at Phoenix Park Hotel

What do you get when you mix Star Wars, Washington, DC and Scottish traditions? Alex & Katja’s DC wedding of course! Katja picked the date based on numerology and her favorite number 3 (March 30, or 3/30).  They included a lot of personalized and fun details in their day, including the ceremony & reception including traditional Scottish traditions such as Handfasting & drinking from the “Quaich”. Plus I just adore all the Star Wars nods. I mean, who doesn’t?

Katja & Alex’s Offbeat, Scottish Start Wars Wedding in Washington DC

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Venue: Phoenix Park Hotel | Photographer: Kathleen Hertel Photography | Dress: Andrew Adela | Dress shop: Lex’s of Carytown | Shoes: Melissa and Vivian Westwood | Florist: Mid Atlantic Wholesale | DJ: Musical DJs and Event Lighting | Cakes: Cake by Linda | Invites : awthorne House | PJ‘s: NY Cat’s Pajamas | Cake Topper: MelaboWed | Scottish Tartan: The McTavish Gray | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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Click inside for so much more of Katja & Alex’s offbeat DC wedding at the Phoenix Park Hotel!

Marie & Alex’s Modern’s Katzen Arts Center DC Wedding Ceremony

In the fall we shared Marie & Alex’s AWESOMELY nontraditional DC wedding reception party at Policy and now we are super pumped to get to share their beautiful DC wedding ceremony at the Katzen Arts Center (at American University) thanks to The Plannery & Roman Grinev Photography. Similar to their awesome reception, Marie & Alex did things their way – keeping their vendors local and making decisions based on importance to them. Marie shared, “We focused on the details that mattered to us, and both loved how things turned out. ” Amen sister!

Alex & Marie’s Modern, Nontraditional DC Wedding Ceremony at Katzen Arts Center

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Photographer: Roman Grinev Photography | Wedding Planner: The Plannery | Venue: Katzen Arts Center | Officiant: Rev. Julie Price | Cake Topper: The Bride’s Parents | Dried Bouquet: New Hampshire Woods Creation on Etsy | Bride’s Dress: Purchased through The Brides’s Project

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On their modern DC venue choice:

Katzen is an AMAZING venue – if you are flexible (it’s only available mid-May through mid-August and you can’t book until January), it’s a beautiful space and the folks there are great to work with.

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On doing something nontraditional for their DC wedding:

None of the other traditions were particularly important to us, and we figured with a short afternoon, the fewer “traditional” wedding reception things we did, the more time we could spend with our guests!

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Rev. Julie Price was a wonderful officiant. She helped us write our own ceremony and it was perfect – beautiful, personal, and a great representation of what we want our marriage to be.

Click inside for the rest of Marie & Alex’s super awesome, nontraditional DC wedding!

Jenn & Dan’s Intimate, Modern & Local DC Wedding at the Tabard Inn

This wedding packs a bunch of my favorite things. An intimate ceremony at the Tabard Inn, a bride in an AWESOME alternative wedding dress (and neon green heels to boot), an offbeat, backyard reception in Mt. Pleasant, and so many rad, local DC wedding vendors! The photographer, Michelle VanTine Photography, sent us this one and opened the submission with, “Any wedding that starts with me walking in to the bride and groom getting ready together and the bride drinking “Raging Bitch” beer and putting on bright green shoes is automatically going to be awesome!” And man, was she right. Check out Jenn & Dan’s awesome, intimate & local Washington DC wedding!

Jenn & Dan’s Intimate, Modern & Local Washington DC Wedding Ceremony & Backyard Reception

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Photography: Michelle VanTine Photography | Ceremony Venue: Tabard Inn | Reception/Party Venue: Mt. Pleasant Shabby Chic BnB | Catering: Green Plate Catering | Band: Dry Mill Bluegrass Band | Event Design: Taylor and Hov | Rentals: Something Vintage Rentals | Flowers: Local Color Flowers | Beer: 3 Stars Brewing Company | Cheese: Righteous Cheese | Lighting: Yours Truly Lighting | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Jenn & Dan had their wedding ceremony at the Tabard Inn but instead of a normal wedding reception to follow, they had a simple, vegetarian dinner with an intimate group of friends & family. Then, they next day, they through a big, backyard party in Mt. Pleasant with a bluegrass band, vintage rentals, and drinks & outdoor games! Love this idea for couples on a budget.
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From Jenn:
Dan and I are a pretty laid back pair, so we decided early on to have a small wedding. Much easier said than done! But somehow we navigated those waters and ended up with 48 guests at the beautiful and quirky Tabard Inn. The outdoor patio has a fantastic secret garden-esque feel. And best of all, no decorating required!
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We wrote our own vows- Dan’s were characteristically goofy and sweet at the same time.  Let’s just say there was lots of laughing/crying all around. The service was followed by cocktail hour and dinner upstairs in the private dining rooms.  We added some personal touches to dinner, including photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day for guests to see.  We also made chocolate truffles as favors using my late grandmother’s secret recipe.
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Click inside for the rest of Jenn & Dan’s offbeat, DC wedding – including all the awesome decor and setup at their backyard bash!

Kim & Ryan’s Offbeat, DC Themed Wedding at Mt. Vernon Inn

Very excited to introduce a Capitol Romance first-timer (The Girl Tyler!) to the blog today and my oh my is she kicking things off with a bang. Let me just say that her submission included, “I have a great DC wedding I’d love to send your way … complete with a Tina Turner Drag Queen performance”. Well hell yes, you had me at Drag Queen performance. At a wedding?! I LOVE IT.

But the fun doesn’t stop there, this DC wedding is chock-full of DC themed wedding details! A Washington, DC themed wedding cake & a Capitol Bikeshare groom cake, whimsical DC-themed map invitations, and mini pie favors from a Georgetown pie shop made up their wedding details (amid others) and the whole thing was captured beautifully by The Girl Tyler.

Kim & Ryan’s Offbeat, Washington DC Themed Wedding at Mt. Vernon Inn

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Photographer:  The Girl Tyler | Heirlooms and extras: Bethany Lorelle | Bride’s Dress: Curvaceous Couture | Floral Designer: Fifi Flowers | Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Mens Warehouse - Vera Wang Collection | Bakery (Favors): Pie Sisters | Hair Stylist: Red Door Spa | Musicians: Spencer Bates | Groom Cake Designer: Sticky Fingers Bakery | Wedding Cake Designer: Sweets by E | Invitation Designer: The Girl Tyler: Design & Photography | Other: Tina Turner Impersonator | Bride’s Shoes: TOMS | Etsy Designer: Anthology on Main | Officiant: Divine Transformation Weddings | Reception Venue: Mount Vernon Inn | Cake Toppers: Pegged – Custom Kokeshi Doll Cake Toppers on Etsy | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Ryan and I met in 2009 on where we both bonded over being on the college newspaper and mutual interest in exploring the DC area.  Ryan’s first phone call to Kimberly was from a bike ride he did to Mount Vernon.  Mount Vernon was Ryan’s favorite destination in DC and he’s very fond of his bike rides on the Mount Vernon trail.

When it came time to pick a wedding location, we really wanted to get married at a historical location that reflected our love of DC. Mount Vernon had a special place in my (Kimberly’s) heart as I had moved often as a kid when her father was in the Navy but always thought of DC as home.  Kimberly’s parents had also loved taking her and her siblings to Mount Vernon.

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Our invitations were custom illustrations of us happily riding on our bicycles to Mount Vernon as we wanted to let our guests know that they were in for a whimsical and beautiful journey on GW Parkway to the venue. Our canvas welcome bags had a custom Mount Vernon logo with our names and a drawing of the venue on it. We had a custom Map from The Girl Tyler in our invitation package and the two of us had lists of our favorite things to do in the area and area pamphlets in the bags.

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We originally were going to do all black suits and dresses to make it easy for the bridal party but Kimberly’s friends convinced her to go with what she really wanted which was blue and yellow.  Kimberly’s favorite colors are blue and yellow, partially because of her allegiances to Georgia Tech, her undergrad alma mater, and Georgetown, her graduate school.  Plus Kimberly has always loved the simple and beautiful look of yellow sunflowers.  Ryan’s first flowers for Kimberly were also sunflowers.  The gray tuxedos were chosen to pop against the blue.


The bride’s bouquet was a mixture of white and yellow flowers that were intended to look like they came from Martha Washington’s garden.  The bridesmaids had bouquets of yellow sunflowers and hydrangeas.  Our ceremony began with an introduction to Mount Vernon.

And the bride wore TOMS because she loves TOMS!

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 We really wanted to show our guests the kind of hospitality that Martha and George Washington were famous for showing their guests at Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.  The Washingtons were known for welcoming anyone, poor, rich, friends, strangers, into their homes and showing them kindness.

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Click inside for the rest of Kim & Ryan’s personalized, DC themed wedding at Mt. Vernon Inn!

Josh & Annie’s Local Washington DC Wedding at Josephine Butler House

Today’s DC wedding feature is making it pretty easy to get back into the swing of blogging post Key West (minus my frozen fingers in this 40 degree weather, it was a balmy 80 in FL!). Josh & Annie wanted a laid-back, fun and local wedding that incorporated three themes: participation, impact, and meaning. I just LOVE that they shared these 3 main focus points as the most important factors in their wedding planning. What did they mean by those three words, well I’ll let them tell you in their own voice:

Participation. We wanted to find ways to involve our friends and family and interests as much as possible. Rather than spend a lot of money, we wanted to use the wedding as a way to re-connect us to people and to spend time doing what we enjoy.

Impact. We wanted to minimize the environmental impact and try to keep it local.

Meaning. It sounds silly to say, but we wanted to make sure the wedding had meaning for us, not just our family or guests.

And boy did they accomplish this beautifully! A special thanks to Knotty Photos for sharing the images and details for Josh & Annie’s Washington DC wedding feature! Enjoy.

Josh & Annie’s Personalized, Local DC Wedding at Josephine Butler Center

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Photography: Knotty Photos | Wedding Coordinator: Margo with Bright Occasions | Venue: Josephine Butler Parks Center | Catering: Rachael with R&R Catering & Chef Richard Webber | Pies: Curvy Mama Pies | Cake: Andrea Mueller | Officiant: Cantor Ellen Schwab | Band: Gina DeSimone & the Moaners | Hair Stylist: Melissa at Trim Salon | Silhouette Artist: Alex with Tiny Paper Portraits | Pinwheels: DIY | Ketubah: Designed by friend | Chuppah: Painted by Michelle Bercovici, Pillars designed by Dave Haffner | Rings: David Vanover, Etsy | Beer: Chocolate City  Brewery

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How they met:

Josh and Annie were introduced by their mutual friend, Danny Marx in 2011. The first encounter was when Josh brought homemade sausage to an informal gathering at Annie’s house. Naturally, Annie responded with joy and suggested that the sausages be beer boiled and fried in bacon grease (stored in her WWII style grease container). Josh was impressed.

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The proposal:

Josh proposed at the Brewers Art in Baltimore. His pre-proposal plans did not go exactly as planned. First, they missed a turn on their kayaking trip on Dundee Creek (outside Baltimore) and ended up paddling for 10 miles instead of the intended 4. Which turned their romantic dinner at Helmond into more of a re-hydration exercise. Then it started to rain. Defeated, we dipped into Annie’s favorite Baltimore bar and found ourselves laughing and having a great time, despite the bad luck. So Josh decided “why not”, leaned over in the barstool (the floor was dirty), took out the ring and popped the question. She said yes. Then they took shots with the bartender.

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The bride & groom’s favorite moments from their wedding day:

Annie’s favorite moment: My favorite moment was probably walking up the stairs together after the ceremony, and walking into the reception room set up, with our friends and family there. The tables were set with the centerpieces we had grown, and the pinwheels I made, and suddenly the product of all of this work was right before us, and it looked amazing. It sounds corny, but it really was how I had pictured it.

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Josh’s favorite moment: I liked it when our officiant forgot to fill the first cup of wine and told Annie and I to “fake it” when taking our first sip. It broke the ice a bit and helped make me feel settled. But my highlight was probably the dancing. After the ceremony was done, I wanted nothing more than to just dance with everyone and enjoy the evening with our closest friends and family there.

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Click inside for the rest of Annie & Josh’s awesome local & personalized Washington DC wedding at the Josephine Butler Parks Center!

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