personal post

Let’s Get Personal: Marriage is Not a Solution to Your Relationship Problems

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Image: Maggie with Pop! Wed Co.

This post has been forming in my mind for a week now. But really it started back in college when I took a sociology class (man I LOVED soc classes) about relationships and families. One of the things we covered in class one day, stuck with me all this time, the differing views that men and women tend to have on what marriage means. Now let me preface by saying that I am paraphrasing because I don’t remember the exact details of the article/study we read and talked about (I was in college/this class like 10 years ago guys …), and the study focused only on heterosexual couples. So pardon the potential gross generalities here.

The gist was that one of the issues of couples cohabitating before marriage was that they each had different expectations and views on what would happen once they got married. In general, most men expected nothing to change – that the relationship would stay the same, and they would “just be married now”. But on the other hand, most women expected A LOT would change once they got married.

Now I am not exactly sure why women would think that getting married is like some sort of wizardry. That the act of getting married means their partner would suddenly become neater, more attentive, less grumpy, etc. But I see this happening first hand (not with my clients!) but with friends of friends and hearing of relationship qualms post-marriage.

So let me put this out there for any engaged, soon to be engaged, or maybe someday engaged in the distant future, couples out there: marriage is NOT a solution to your relationship problems. When you get married, it’s not magic, it’s not easy, and it most certainly doesn’t mean that your problems go away. I might argue that getting married might even bring you MORE challenges because there is no longer an easy out, as you have vowed and promised to be in this together, but that is probably a separate blog post in itself.

Now don’t mistake my words here, I LOVE being married. I love having a life partner in my husband, who is really my partner in all senses of the word, but we did not go into marriage lightly, nor did we go into it blindly. We went in with the understanding that it was going to be hard, it was going to be trying, and it was going to be something we would have to work at, often.

I have a hard time understanding how others don’t see this. Like when you hear that people divorce because one didn’t want kids – isn’t that something you talk about BEFORE you get married? I think some people think “oh once we get married, so and so will change their mind about kids”. They might, or they might not. But in either case, marriage won’t be the reason that that person will or will not change their mind.

So I invite you, engaged, soon to be engaged, and possibly engaged in the distant future, couples, to think about your relationship and the challenges you face (and might face) now. I invite you to talk about these challenges and find out where you might disagree with your partner on certain big ticket items, before you get married. Because while being married is truly a wonderful thing, it most certainly will not be a solution to your relationship problems.

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Let’s Get Personal: Changes Ahead! How I Plan to Reach Those Lofty Biz Goals

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Image: This Rad Love

A couple weeks ago I took the plunge and put my (rather lofty) business goals for 2016 out there into the internets. The response was awesome and super uplifting and I am excited to see how it all pans out. We already knocked a big one off the list with the Capitol Romance Wedding Planner coming to life (and now on sale) and the launch of the online Capitol Romance Shop.

But there’s still SO MUCH MORE to do and so I must admit to you all, that in order to reach these goals, things will have to change. I will have to let go of somethings that I started and I will have to start to lean on others more (something I must admit, as a Type A control freak, I have a hard time doing). So here’s some of the changes coming our way:

1. I am saying goodbye to the Capitol Romance DIY Workshops

Now before you shed a tear, I am happy to tell you that the workshops won’t be ending, they are just going to be under new direction with the ladies over at District Bliss. And I will be helping to promote the workshops (dates/topics coming soon!) so you will still get to do your DIY thang, and meet awesome local vendors, and hang out with other rad couples in DC, they just won’t be fully run by yours truly any more.

This, I must admit, has been WAY harder for me to let go of than I initially thought. I always thought the workshops were a great idea (I still do!) and I feel like they were just starting to gain some steam, however, I just could not put myself into them 100% and that’s not fair to me OR you guys. I know the ladies at DB are going to take good care of them, and I cannot wait to hopefully attend a few and hear how you like them all. They’ve already got some GREAT topics & vendors in mind. So more to come there.

2. I am bringing on more people to the Capitol Romance Team

You guys already know my right-hand woman, Alesha, on the wedding coordination side of things. She is a total rockstar and there is just NO WAY I could have continued the wedding coordination biz without her this year dealing with pregnancy and Evie’s arrival. I feel lucky EVERY day that I found Alesha and that she wanted to join the CapRo Team. So in order to keep doing big things, I am really excited to announce that there will be MORE people joining the team. I am in process of bringing on another coordinator (more to come there), someone to help with the Capitol Romance Shop & product designs, AND a marketing intern for next spring.

I am so pumped, but obviously apprehensive too – as I’ve never led so many people before! Capitol Romance has been a 1-woman show for so long, it’s going to be such a learning experience with bringing other people on in different ways. More to come here too!

3. I am shifting blog content away from just a wedding focus

Yes I have already started this shift, and yes I have been saying this for a while now, but this time I mean it (and you might have already even noticed) that the content here on this blog is going to change and shift away from just wedding related inspiration & resources. For one, my life has changed in the past few years and for two, I know I have readers out there that are long since married, and for three, I am VERY very interested in peoples’ lives past the wedding day. I want to hear stories from couples in DC that are at ALL DIFFERENT points in their relationships. The wedding scene (IMO) has become too focused on just the one “big day” and has forgotten the point of that day – the life you are promising to create, nurture, and grow, TOGETHER.

I feel it’s important to share stories of struggle, of happiness, of anniversaries, of challenges, of milestones, of singledom, and all kinds of other things related to human relationships. And honestly this was always in the back of my mind when I started this blog, and a big factor in why I chose the word “romance” over weddings or brides or something so wedding-centric. I knew my life would move beyond my wedding day and I wanted to have the option to move the blog there too.

I am sure I might lose some readers because of this, but that’s ok. Thanks to the internet, there’s literally A MILLION places to find wedding inspiration, ideas, and resources. There aren’t, however, a million places to share stories of REAL couples in the DC area and how they are living their lives.

…. so there it is. The changes are coming and I am equal parts excited and terrified about it. But I am 110% confident that these are the right things to do, right now. And I always take comfort in the fact that the best part about being a small business owner is that I am (mostly) in control. If these things don’t work, or don’t pan out like I thought, I can oh-so-simply change my mind or direction again and try something else.

That’s the beauty of it all for me. So here we go!

Let’s Get Personal: A Loss of Direction & Need for New Goals

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 Image: This Rad Love

As I sit on my couch next to my (almost) sleeping 2.5 month old, I find myself in the midst of a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. The 2016 wedding inquiries are coming in, my 2nd to last workshop of 2015 is drawing near, my blog editorial calendar is nearly empty, and I have to admit that I am struggling.

I am struggling with a focus for how to keep up on all the things I planned for this year, how to better align my priorities (both personal and business), and how to plan my 2016, when that seems nearly impossible with a new top priority in my life. I know there are parts of Capitol Romance that I want to continue (the blog, working weddings, new ventures), but I think I am struggling with ones that I should probably let go of (the workshops, working weddings).

I think a lot of this stems from a problem I have had with Capitol Romance since Day 1 – not having a clear goal or business plan for this little biz and while flying by the seat of my pants worked before, it’s just not going to work going forward. Having Capitol Romance as my “fun side gig” worked when my day job was stable, and my life was fairly free. But with the new addition to mine and Andy’s lives, I know I need to refocus for 2016 on what I REALLY want to do with CapRo and honestly, what’s worth pouring my (slightly tapped) energy into.

And here’s where I am REALLY struggling – I have literally NO idea how to do it. I’ve started some things – a blog, a wedding coordination business, a workshops venture, a forthcoming collaboration with Typecase Industries and I’ve really enjoyed all of them, but something has to give. And I’ll be honest, I am terrified to let any of them go because it will seem like a failure – like I couldn’t succeed. But honestly, it’s just that I don’t have the time anymore to put myself 100% into ALL of these things and as the great Ron Swanson once said “never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing.” (god I miss this show).

So it’s time Romancers. It’s time to finally do something I should have done MANY years ago (and probably kept up with each year). It’s time to say goodbye to some parts of Capitol Romance and re-focus on what I really want to do with this business for 2016. I have some thoughts lingering and I think I just need to sit down this weekend and really write it out. I hope you guys will all continue on the ride no matter what I decide :)

Thanks for listening.

 

Let’s Get Personal: Oh Hey There. It’s Been a While

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Images: Cynthia Shipp Photography | Our nursery

In case you don’t follow me on social media, I wanted to write a quick post about my utter disappearance on the blog these past 3 weeks (eesh! 3 weeks flew) – well my little bundle of joy decided to come 4 days earlier than her due date, leaving her mom no time to setup a bunch of blog posts to hold you all over while I adjusted to my new life.

But I am slowly getting back into things as I try to start a new routine for myself with Andy headed back to work today – a big adjustment after the biggest adjustment of my life that was 3 weeks ago. I hope to be back to blogging 4 posts a week but hope you’ll understand if that doesn’t happen every week.

View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/bree-maternity

To make things even a bit more spicy, tomorrow is also my 30th birthday! Can we say, “feeling all the feels”? Two huge milestones in such a short time and I am just trying to take it all in stride. I can say that my readers, my wedding vendor colleagues, and my clients have been some of the MOST amazing people during these past 3 weeks. I mean, I already knew you all were super awesome, but man was it humbling to witness first hand.

We had dinners & desserts dropped off, cards & flowers delivered, offers of babysitting, and more congratulatory messages than I can count. It REALLY meant so much to me – so thank you again if I didn’t get a chance to thank you personally.

View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/bree-maternity

For the rest of today’s post I wanted to share a few more images from our maternity shoot with Cynthia Shipp Photography – a mere 3 days before baby showed up! It’s so insane to look at these pictures and attempt to comprehend how much has changed in such a short time.

One of the cards we got from friends said, “and just like that , your lives are changed forever.” Indeed, no truer words have been written.

I hope you all had a fabulous memorial day weekend and I look forward to be back in the swing of blogging!!

View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/bree-maternity View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/bree-maternity View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/bree-maternity View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/bree-maternity View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/bree-maternity View More: http://cynthiashipp.pass.us/bree-maternity

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

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

Friday Inspiration & Link Love!

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[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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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

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In addition to Kathryn (and her lovely wife, that had to play Kathryn’s voice that nice, due to Kathryn losing hers) and her co-author, Thea Dodds, I joined Kyle Mihalcoe of WeddingWire and Noel Gordon from the HRC. The panel was moderated by Jay Brown, the Director of Foundation Program Strategies at HRC.

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Though the main focus of the event was the launch of Kathryn & Thea’s new book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Weddings,Jay also led the panel into a greater discussion about the limitations of traditional notions of gender roles in wedding rituals and photography; the ways in which understanding the dynamics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) couples can open new doors for straight couples; and how the mainstream industry is receiving this niche market.

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

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Click inside for the rest of our recap!

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