personal post

Let’s Get Personal: Marriage is Awesome & Today I Celebrate 4 Years of It!

378572_10102065111272344_1233788159_n

[Image: Live It Out Photography]

Marriage is AWESOME. It should be CELEBRATED.

This quote appears on the website of one of my favorite DC wedding photographers, An Endless Pursuit and when I started to formulate today’s post in my mind, I kept coming back to this. You see, today is my 4-year wedding anniversary and I wanted to write some sort of reflective, personal post on marriage to celebrate that milestone (without just spending 500 words gushing about my amazing husband). I wanted to share real insight into what 4 years of marriage has been for me and I think this quote perfectly sums it up. Because, while our wedding was the best day of my life, marriage has been nothing short of AWESOME and I think it’s important to re-emphasize that.

532285_10103591267557914_737674611_n

[Image: Tim Riddick Photography]

It’s important because (I know I’ve typed this here before) marriage is the REAL reason for a wedding. While we all continue to get caught up in the details of a weddingday – the look, the invites, the attire, the music …. it’s really the wedding ceremony, your vows, the MARRIAGE, that is the most important part. I think I was probably guilty of this a bit myself when I planned my wedding 4+ years ago. While I poured over my vows, and really couldn’t wait to marry Andy, I know I spent just as much time (maybe more) fretting over the shades of pink we incorporated, finding the perfect pink pump for my bridesmaids, painstakingly making each ornament pomander by hand, and so on and so forth.

415960_10102551952793034_1542097783_o

[Image: Live It Out Photography]

And while I still love every single detail we put into our wedding, the 4 years of marriage that have followed have far exceeded every single one. To know that I have someone in my life that supports me, helps me, loves me, and is accompanying me on this journey called life …. well… it’s just nothing short of awesome. I can say without any reservation, that I absolutely LOVE being married. It is indeed the most wonderful feeling I have ever felt and something I hope to never take for granted.

When I sit here and think about these past 4 years, I can’t help but be a little shocked at how much Andy & I have accomplished together. We sold our condo in Arlington, and made the move to Washington, DC. We took a chance on a neighborhood in Northeast DC and bought a flipped rowhouse that we’ve spent (and continue to spend) lots of time and money, customizing it to our design aesthetics. We’ve traveled to some amazing places (Chicago, Mexico, Boston, Arizona, Seattle, Portland, Paris, London, Amsterdam …. and probably so many more that I am forgetting). We’ve celebrated new lives being born into this world, and we’ve lost some important lives too (ones that live on in our wedding video, wedding pictures, and memories). We’ve watched (and been lucky to actually be a part of) friends and family take their relationships to the next step, joining us in the married world. All of these things making our wedding day feel simultaneously SO long ago, yet only yesterday.

544330_10104268939328254_1403493364_n (1)

[Image: my phone(?) haha]

I think the thing that might be the most important reflection I have on these past 4 years is how much our lives have grown (both individually and together). I’ve watched my husband grow personally and professionally and enjoyed the ability to not only witness but get to share in his growth. I, too, have grown personally and professionally and realize that there is NO WAY I could have grown Capitol Romance to what it is now, without Andy’s help.Whether it’s coming along to my weddings to be the notorious hanger of things, or staying home and cleaning the house because he knows I’ll be too tired after working a wedding all day, Andy has supported me in ways I could never truly re-pay him for.

1275125_10105123984086704_1656478589_o

[Image: Love by Serena Photography]

So why is marriage awesome to me? Marriage is awesome to me because of all the immeasurable little things that come with it. The staying up late in bed, laughing until we cry, probably about the SILLIEST of things, like two 5th graders at a sleepover party. The long car rides together made bearable by our mutual love of Andrew W.K. The trips, the concerts, the dinners, the milestones, the happy, and even the sad – all shared together. The way we often say things at the exact same time, or finish each other’s (sandwiches) sentences. The understanding of commitment and partnership that we have in this thing called life, and the unending desire to make our marriage work, and to make our marriage awesome, and to keep the love we found in highschool …. over 10 years ago … alive.

180491_10100675071632924_4470696_n

[Image: Live It Out Photography]

So with this last image, one of my favorites from our wedding day, I’ll just end it the way I started. Marriage [truly] is awesome and it really should be celebrated.

Pin It

Friday Inspiration & Link Love!

iceland_travel_photography_with_love_and_embers-009

[Image by With Love & Embers – from their trip to Iceland, the next place on mine & Andy’s short travel list]

Usually I LIVE for Work from Home Fridays, but the house next door to Andy & I got bought recently and they’re just starting to demo all the walls inside and well… banging and drilling and high-pitched power tools aren’t exactly helping my sanity right now. I have Bishop Allen Pandora blasting, but I am thinking at some point I’m going to need to move to a coffee shop or something!

The next two weekends I will be wedding-free and actually IN DC and I couldn’t be more pumped. Tomorrow I am hitting up a Jay Paterno book signing (you can take the girl out of Happy Valley…) and then Sunday, Andy & I are celebrating Part 1 of our 4-year anniversary! I’ll be posting a bit more of a personal/reflection post probably next week when we actually hit the 4 year mark, but wow, I can’t believe it’s already been 4 years. But man have we accomplish and done SO MUCH since 2010!

Link love:

A Harry Potter & Lego Wedding on Rock N Roll Bride (what?!)

 10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal

 Early Bird priced tickets for our LAST DIY Workshop of 2014 are on sale now!

 Gala Darling reminds us to celebrate the little things

  Should You DIY Your Wedding?

 Being a Maid of Honor & Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses on Simply Breathe Events blog

And just for fun….

 Wiener Dogs Stuck in Sleeves (thanks to my husband for sending me this one)

Have a great weekend Romancers!

Let’s Get Personal: My Weekend at the Washington, DC Blogcademy

blogcademy washington dc recap (5)

Image: A Muse Photography

A few weeks ago I attended The Blogcademy in Washington, DC – a 2-day long workshop focused on blogging, branding, and monetizing your business. I’ve been smitten with the workshop (and it’s amazing tagline, “No boredom. No bathering. No bullshit”) since I first saw it pop-up on Rock & Roll Bride’s social media accounts and blog a few years ago. I dreamed of attending, and lived vicariously through the instagram pictures of the workshops occurring across the world, never thinking that I would ACTUALLY get to attend.

blogcademy washington dc recap (10)

Image: Val & Sarah

And then one day on Twitter I saw Kat tweet that they were launching a class in Washington, DC. I almost fell out of my chair in excitement. I couldn’t believe it – I never really thought they’d come to my city! I signed up immediately (Kat confirmed this at class) and was literally the first person to sign up. I then waited in anticipation for 6 months for the first day of The Blogcademy to arrive.

blogcademy washington dc recap (2)

Pics from my Instagram!

I was SUPER pumped when Sarah of Val & Sarah and Maggie of Pop Wed Co! decided to attend too. While I am a totally type A person, I am not always that out-going/great at meeting people, so it was nice to have some friends that I knew AND also pretty rad to get to share the incredible weekend with 2 of my favorite friends in the DC wedding scene.

blogcademy washington dc recap (4)

Click inside for the rest of my recap of The DC Blogcademy!

Let’s Get Personal: My Makeup-less Engagement Shoot (a guest post!)

A few weeks ago I saw this post on Facebook (what do you know, Facebook brought some good) by Michael Munoz Photography. It was a gorgeous engagement session (his sessions always are) but what struck me was that the bride to be decided to go makeup-less for the shoot. Now, I have my own personal struggles with makeup and the need to wear it, but that’s not what this post is about. This post (a guest post from the bride to be, Shalini) is about empowerment and doing what you feel comfortable doing – even when it comes to your wedding or engagement pictures. If you would normally go without makeup, NOT dressed to the 9s, then why wouldn’t you do the same thing for your engagement pictures?

At the very least Shalini’s poss “My Makeup-less Engagement Shoot” gives us all something to think about, and though it was originally posted on the blog, Body Loving, I thought it was too important to not re-share here for my readers. A special thanks to Shalini for sharing and to Michael Munoz Photography for sharing his images from the engagement session!

Let’s Get Personal: My Makeup-Less Engagement Pictures (A Guest Post)

Engagement4

About a month ago, my fiancé, Scott, and I had one of those popular (read: overdone) engagement photo shoots. I spent the days prior considering what to wear, what image to portray. Cute and girly? Sophisticated and timeless? “Effortless” and casual? These are pictures that I hope to pass along to our future children and grandkids, so I wanted them to truly represent who we are as a couple.

More confusing than what to wear clothing-wise was whether or not to put on a full face of makeup and go for a “flawless” look or to stick to the bare face I am learning to accept. The ladies at Beauty Redefined have written about photoshopping ourselves out of reality, and I feel like when I wear enough makeup to create a “perfect” image, I no longer look like myself, and am indeed doing just that. It wasn’t until the night before the shoot that I decided: I want to look like myself in these pictures, “imperfections” included, because that’s the Shalini that Scott loves. I also didn’t want to spend an extra 40 minutes primping, or have to worry about getting concealer on Scott’s shirt, or having to re-apply makeup halfway through the shoot. These are often the reasons I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis anyway; it’s just so much easier to go without it.

Engagement1

I was a bit nervous opening up the photos last week, afraid that I’d look horrible, and that I’d made a poor decision in not giving in to societal standards of flawless beauty. I wondered, what if my grandkids remember me as ugly? But then I thought of the pictures I’ve seen of my grandparents in their youth, and it’s not their looks that I notice; rather, I see the love, hope, certainty, and excitement in their eyes, and that is the most beautiful thing you can witness in a couple. When I look at our engagement pictures, I see Scott and myself in our element, happy and goofy, and so in love with each other for who we truly are. I am lucky to have found a man who sees beauty in my “flaws” and has challenged me to see it for myself. I’m slowly starting to see the beauty, and for that, I am ever grateful, Scott.

Engagement3

I’m at a loss for words with how eloquently Shalini described the true importance of engagement pictures (and really, I am going to extend this to all of weddings in general). The love, the hope, the laughter, the emotions – so much more important (and classic) than the material side of things. So I turn this to you Romancers – would you go make-up less for your engagement pictures?

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

capturing love HRC panel (12)

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.

capturing love HRC panel (4) capturing love HRC panel (5)

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.

capturing love HRC panel (2)

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

capturing love HRC panel (8) capturing love HRC panel (3)

Click inside for the rest of our recap!

Let’s Get Personal: New Years Resolution Check-In & Grade

This year I set a New Years Resolution (who didn’t), but I also had some REAL resolve to actually work on the resolution and work to meet it this year. I knew 2014 was going to be a crazy year – personally and professionally, and so far it hasn’t disappointed. With a full set of weddings, starting a new project at the day job, launching the Classifieds, launching the DIY Wedding Workshops, changing up our vendor guide … and SO MUCH MORE, 2014 has already turned out to be one crazy year. And it’s only just May!

So our resolution this year was to work on “follow-through”. Actually doing the things I said I would do. This meant everything from ACTUALLY making that dinner date with a friend or colleague, after the common place “we should get drinks!” is exchanged, to completely some huge projects that we dreamed up and have started. For today’s personal post, I thought it might be fun to check in on my resolution and grade myself for the year so far. Because believe it or not, come June, 2014 is already half-way over (Mind. Blown).

Let’s Get Personal: New Years Resolution Check-In & Grading

offbeat dc wedding blog

I’ll start by saying that this post will include 2 grades, one for my personal life and one for my professional. In both areas I think “follow-through” is important for different reasons. Personally, I had grown pretty tired of the ever-growing flakiness of people in my personal life. Plans are made, and so easily broken or never seen through completion. Cell phones make it too easy to flake out on promises of “texting you later”. Now let’s be honest here. I am 100% guilty of doing this too! Last year I often told friends that I would be somewhere and when the time came, the couch seemed like the better option and that half-truth text message got sent.

“Ah sorry! I didn’t see my phone until just now, probably not going to make it ….” This needed to stop. I needed to be better at following-through on the commitments I made, no matter how informal. So I resolved to do that this year – make those dinner/drink plans we always TALKED about making (but never did).

So far, I’ll give myself a C+ personally (thanks in part to the 2 emails, I literally JUST sent to friends I’ve been meaning to grab drinks with for a few months now). I’m still doing the “sorry I just saw this” text a bit too much, but all in all, I think I’ve been better about making concrete plans with people and actually following through on those plans. The funny thing is – once you ACTUALLY follow-through with the plans, you’ll find that you end up having a GREAT time.

Professionally, I’ll give myself a B. I’ve followed-through on some HUGE things this year already, but there have been 2 projects that fell victim to lack of follow-through on my part. One was probably for the best (and probably won’t come to fruition this year – and that’s OK) but the second, I need to just GET DONE. I’m not sure what it is, but I just can’t bring myself to do the things that need to be done on it.

I guess I should realize that I do have 6+ months left to get my grades up, but hey, at least I am passing ;)

Your turn! How are you doing on your New Years Resolution?

Let’s Get Personal: The Price of “Doing It All”

In case you missed it, the AH-MAZING Laicie of 1000 Threads featured us on their “small business diaries” blog feature yesterday. I was insanely humbled by what she wrote and so thrilled to be featured on such an amazing blog. Please go check it out if you haven’t seen it yet, and I know you won’t find it hard to stay awhile on 1000 threads and find some amazing ideas, inspiration, recipes, and more anyway. The reason I brought it up, is because one of her questions to me fit perfectly in today’s personal post.  “2 // When and how did you decide to go into business for yourself? Was there a turning point?” – I laughed when I read this because as most of you know, I don’t just run Capitol Romance, I do have a full-time job too. And whenever I tell people that, I always get the same response “how do you do it!?”.

Let’s Get Personal: The Price of Doing It All

photo

Yes, that is a copy of my day-planner. Putting aside the fact that I realize how “old-school” it is to still write down all my meetings and “to-do’s” by hand, that’s typically what my weeks look like these days as I manage my day job, wedding coordination gigs, blogging, Fuel DC, and now my DIY workshops. That is how I “do it all”. I plan my days to their utmost potential, oftentimes weeks in advance.

Now while the planning nature enables me to get A LOT done (like juggling 3 jobs) it certainly comes at a price. Planning your life this way leads little room for flexibility and almost no room for spontaneous adventures. And that’s tough.

I get invites to awesome openings, or “let’s grab coffee” requests, or even have personal, family things that come up, that I just can’t always make it to. I have to beg my friends to notify me of their weddings MONTHS in advance (to ensure I don’t book one that weekend) and even have to coerce my not always “plan in advance” family, to book things month ahead of time, because I don’t want to miss it. This isn’t always easy, and it’s certainly not always butterflies. I know I need to realize that just because I am a planner, and plan my days/weekends this way, not everyone is and it’s not fair to be upset or frustrated when others don’t plan like I do.

Now this post isn’t to be a downer or anything, it’s just to simply share the insight into how I, personally, “do it all”. This (so far) is what has worked best for me, though it’s by no means perfect. I view it as a way to make the best use of my time, and maximize the time I have, spent doing the things I not only NEED to do, but WANT to do too! Because let’s face it, unless your Hermoine and you have a time turner, no one can truly do it all.

Your turn – how do you get everything you need to do, done? Do you plan like me, or just take it as it comes?

 

Let’s Get Personal: Taking Risks, When You are 100% Risk Averse

If you read articles about successful businesses like I do, then you’ll notice that “take risks” is a common advice piece that is continually mentioned across many of these articles. They say that in order to differentiate yourself and be successful, you have to do things that other people won’t do. I read this over and over, from the comfort of my non-risk taking bubble and always wonder if there’s an out; if I can be successful without having to take risks. I feel that risk-taking is in complete conflict with my Type-A, planning nature. How can I plan for what’s to come if I am taking a risk and doing something I’ve never done before?

Let’s Get Personal: Taking Risks, When You Are 100% Risk Averse

offbeat dc wedding blog

To say I am risk averse is probably a gross understatement. I like to be in control of my life and situations and although I can be relaxed and “go-with-the-flow” at times, I much prefer having expectations and plans set in advance. I just feel better, more at peace, when there is a plan in place! So how the heck am I supposed to take risks with my business and jump into the unknown, where no plan exists?

Well for starters, I think the whole point of articles telling you that truly successful businesses take risks is to show that it’s not supposed to be easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it and all businesses would be successful. I need to force myself to come to terms with the fact that risks will make me uncomfortable and will be challenging and I might even fail at the risks I take, but the fact is that they need to be taken in order to grow my business.

So I’ve decided to take my first real risk for 2014. The risk was something I had long dreamed and thought about doing, but was always too scared to actually take the leap into. Yes, we’re talking about the newly launched DIY Wedding Workshops.

How might these be a risk you ask? Well for starters, workshops aren’t exactly easy or cheap to start up. Though I’ve been planning them for months (of course I have), finding vendor hosts, finding sponsors, finding a space to have them, the biggest risk is – will they be a success? Will they pay off? Will I make back what I’ve spent on them so far? Not only have I spent money on rental space, items for the workshops, and a ton of promotional goodies, but ideally, I’d like to make some money from them as well so that all that time spent planning and organizing wasn’t for naught!

This was the fear I had before I jumped in (and let’s face it, still have every single day) – that while the workshops seem like a good idea, nobody would show up. Ticket sales wouldn’t happen and I’d be left with a crumbling idea, a big waste of not only my time, but the vendors/sponsors’ time, and a big ole hole in my bank account, where the money I’ve spent so far, used to be.

But this is a risk and risks are meant to be scary. Risks can’t be controlled (no matter how hard I try and no matter how much planning for the workshops I’ve done) and risks aren’t meant to be easy. These are the things I have to keep telling myself. I have to believe that taking this risk will be good for my business. I truly believe in these DIY wedding workshops and I do believe there is a market for this sort of event in Washington, DC, but I’d be lying if I said I was 100% at ease with the decision I made to start them.

But I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see if the risk actually pays off.

Let’s Get Personal: Complacency is a Killer

This morning I woke to a few disheartening tweets. I won’t go TOO much into the DC political scene here (this is a wedding blog afterall) but if you follow me on Twitter, than you already know who I voted for and my thoughts on the candidates any way. It wasn’t the winner of the DC Primary that got me though. It was this:

“Good morning. You live in a city where many avoid registering to vote, & less than 25% of the registered bother to vote in an election.” – @FrozenTropics

The 2nd disheartening tweet was that DeSean Jackson signed a 3-year deal with the Skins. I was SO hoping the NFC East had seen the last of him. But football aside, I was PISSED, angry, frustrated, annoyed, and so many other feels that all basically mean the same thing. All of these adjectives, to me, can be summed up into one root cause: complacency.

Let’s Get Personal: A Reflection on the Killer that is Complacency

offbeat dc wedding blog

Why are people so complacent these days? I GRILLED my coworker (a DC resident of many years) why he wasn’t voting. He gave the usual response, “It doesn’t matter anyway. Plus I hate politics”. Does anyone actually like politics? But seriously, in an election where candidates won by a mere hundreds of votes, I don’t understand how you can say, “it doesn’t matter anyway”.

As I continued to drive into work, my anger grew outside of the complacency in local politics and into the wedding scene (naturally). People seem to be increasingly complacent here too. On the vendor side, I can barely ever get people to commit to our At Your Service volunteer events. On the blogging side, blog comments are at an all time low, and so are any sort of interactions I used to have with my readers. And on the couples side, my workshop ticket sales are no where near what I thought they would be at, at this point. What am I blaming all these things on?

Complacency.

I think people have just grown overly complacent with the status quo. People don’t want to DO things, GO anywhere, PUT forth any effort. Whether it’s voting or volunteering or taking an extra second to let someone know you like what they put out.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am exempt from this. I know I am guilty of being complacent too. I should go to more neighborhood meetings, I should volunteer more, I should see more of my friends in a timely manner. But I don’t. I use the busy excuse and I carry on.

But complacency is a killer, isn’t it? When you really look back at all the things you DIDN’T do because of complacency, you realize you haven’t really done much. Are you OK with this? I’m not. I want to do more – I need to do more. And I honestly think the world would be a better place, if more people not only felt this way, but started to act on it.

Need Help Making DIY Projects for Your Wedding? Attend Our Workshops!