wedding advice

Guest Post: How to Craft the Perfect Vows with Ceremonies by Bethel

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Image: Cynthia Shipp Photography

I met Bethel at Wedding Wire World a few years ago when Kathryn Hamm asked me to be on a panel at the event. We clicked instantly and though she lives across the US from us, we remain engaged & connected through quick emails and social media. After my last newsletter, Bethel mentioned liking the advice portion I include in our monthly newsblasts and I asked if she would like to write one. Bethel is a deeply experience wedding officiant and her views on weddings & couples are so in-line with ours here at Capitol Romance, it seemed like the perfect fit.

The newsletter only allows for once sentence, but Bethel had a lot more to share, and so we thought a guest post on the topic of writing and exchanging vows would be useful for the readers here that are in wedding planning mode. I’ll let Bethel take it from here!

how to write your own vows

Image: Mathy Shoots People

How to Write & Exchange Modern and Perfect Wedding Vows | By: Ceremonies by Bethel

Remember, the exchange of vows is one of the key reasons for your wedding day and the vows are supposed to last as long as you do.  So I recommend that you put a lot of thought into what you want to promise and how you want to promise it. I think good personal vows answer these two questions:

– How do I feel about my life partner, and why have I chosen him/her?

– What promises do I want to make for our life together? 

So, most vows have a combination about why this is the person they love and have chosen, and what they are promising each other.  It can be as serious or as funny as you want, or typically a combination of both, but it should represent you and your relationship.

offbeat washington dc wedding church of the holy city write your own vows (1)

Image: Amber Mahoney

Essentially there are four ways to do vows:

  • A question or multiple questions that you answer either “I do,” or “I will,” (or even “I’ll try!”).
  • Vows that you say in phrases, as a “repeat after me.” {Note that I don’t recommend this style unless doing only the traditional vows}
  • Vows that you read yourself from a card or piece of paper (don’t try to memorize them!)
  • As a conversation, reading it back and forth to and with each other (also from cards).

Most couples do the type of vows described in #3 nowadays, as a way to personally express their feelings and their vows to each other, or a combination of #1 and #3, to allow them to say “I do” as well as express their own feelings – unless they hate to speak in front of people, in which case they do some version of #1 or #2.  Sometimes version #4 also takes the pressure off doing it all by yourself.

Another thing to consider is the typical length of vows.  Couples ask me and this is what I usually see:

  • If writing questions to answer – usually 3-6 questions
  • If a paragraph to read themselves – usually 150-225 words

Some couples do shorter, and some do longer, but this is the normal range that I see from my couples.  I definitely don’t recommend longer than 300 words, as that feels really long to the guests listening to you read them, in addition to the fact that you might be more emotional than you think, and therefore that is a long time to read while emotional.

modern intimate same sex DC wedding ceremony

Image: Douglas Pettway

So keep it succinct, personal, and true to who you are ~ three simple things to remember to create the perfect, modern vows for your wedding ceremony!

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Upcoming Event: Ask the Newlyweds with GayWeddings

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Join GayWeddings and a Panel of just-married couples at the WeddingWire HQ to hear first-hand what they learned from planning their wedding! “Ask the Newlyweds” will feature three, super cool same-sex newlywed couples that plan to have a laid-back, real-talk chat about what it’s REALLY like to plan a wedding, share some advice, and be free to answer questions.

The event is open to ALL couples (plus their crew!) but space is limited and RSVPing is required.

RSVP here!

The event will feature cocktails, the MOST delicious treats from Buttercream Bakeshop (seriously, the best) and tunes by DJ Tezrah. For more information check out the website. Hope to see you there!

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Image: Mathy Shoots People

#CapRoTherapy Episode 1: Advice on Tipping Your Wedding Vendors


Well it’s FAR from perfect, but hey IT’S A START. After fighting with my iPad, my internet, and way too many video editing apps, my husband SAVED THE DAY and helped me put together the VERY FIRST episode of #CapRoTherapy!!! I hope you guys enjoy it. I am SO looking forward to seeing where this goes and what kind of questions I start to get from you guys. Ask away via email or using the #CapRoTherapy hashtag on Twitter,

FIRST. It’s Friday! So let’s start with some links:

The District Bliss Couples’ Social is on SUNDAY! Get your tickets for this super rad, not-a-wedding-expo, wedding planning happy hour! A new kind of Sunday Funday.

Last night we checked out BHLDN’s Wedding Fair in Georgetown and attempted our VERY FIRST Periscope video from it. Did you catch it?! We had 13 live viewers. So cool!

There’s just two early bird priced tickets left for our Nov 8th DIY Flower Arrangement Workshop with Love Blooms! Don’t miss out.

And now…. the very first episode of #CapRoTherapy:

Capitol Advice: 2 Reasons Why You Should Stop Bringing Gifts to Weddings

blogging personal posts

Image: This Rad Love

This one is for all you wedding guests out there. An observation I have gained through coordinating weddings, that I feel compelled to share with anyone planning to attend a wedding….

Stop bringing wedding gifts to weddings.

Now let me explain why, but first don’t mistake my words as me saying not to get couples a gift (instead of cash money or checks). Giving gifts as wedding presents, whether from the couples’ registry or not (though please use the registry…) is totally acceptable. I completely understand that you might not feel comfortable giving cash or a check, or that you’d prefer giving the couple something they might use/need/want in a more tangible form, but PLEASE don’t truck this gift to the wedding. Here’s why:

#1. Bringing a gift to a wedding means you have to lug this gift around until you find the gift table.

Perhaps you went all out and got them the KitchenAid mixer they wanted. That’s AWESOME, but PLEASE send it to the couples’ home before, after, or heck, even DURING the wedding. Do you really want to lug an 800lb mixer to a wedding? Do you want to have to remember to wrap it, bring it with you, and then carry it with you all through the ceremony until you find the gift table? You can’t tell me that is appealing. Couples don’t open gifts at weddings, so there really is no benefit to you bringing it TO the wedding.

#2. Bringing a gift to a wedding means someone has to lug this gift home at the end of the night.

As a wedding coordinator, I ask my couples: who has a car to bring your gifts home at the end of the night? They mostly look at me incredulously. They haven’t thought of that and ask me, “Do we really need that? People really still bring gifts? We didn’t register for anything…”. And I say, “Yes. 100%. Because I guarantee you at least ONE of your guests will bring you a gift (probably more) and at least ONE of them will be ginormous.” So to you the wedding guests that are considering bringing the gift you bought TO the wedding, think of my back, as I have to lug this gift back down stairs and think of the person who has to drive to the wedding so they can safely bring the gifts back home.

Shipping wedding gifts to the couple instead of bringing them to the wedding makes YOUR life easier AND the couples’ lives easier (ok and the wedding coordinator’s life easier). So let’s just all agree to stop bringing gifts to weddings.

Capitol Advice: My Mom & Friends Hate the Wedding Dress I Love

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[Image: Desjar Photography]

Last week I got an email from a friend of mine (a wedding vendor who is also planning her own wedding). She asked for advice on something rather touchy – her wedding dress. I, personally, didn’t do the whole wedding dress shop thing – I knew EXACTLY what I wanted for my wedding dress, and I had my mother-in-law make it for me. So easy! But for most brides to be, the wedding dress shop thing is an EXPERIENCE and there’s a lot that can happen there.

But in this specific instance, the issue was that the bride tried on a dress she had loved online for 3 months, had her “this is the one” moment, then walked out of the dressing room to a bunch of “mehs” “nos” and “nexts”. It seems this dress was not the dress that her mom and best friend imagined for her, and now she was stuck. Does she go with the dress she loves, even if some of her nearest and dearest don’t like it ? Or does she cave to friends and family, picking one that they think looks good on her?

Lucineia & Adoniran Wedding Day

[Image: Daysy Photography]

Personally, I told her to go with what SHE loves. It’s HER wedding day, HER dress … and I think she will regret it if she settles. But I decided to run a little “ask the crowd” on my Facebook page on this topic, and the responses from past brides were OVERWHELMINGLY awesome! I thought the responses would be a great resource for anyone that might find themselves in a similar situation with their wedding (wedding dress, or styled detail otherwise). So let’s break it down.

It’s OK to be a little selfish here ….

“Get what makes you FEEL good. If you’re smiling from the inside out, it will radiate all day and they will see you were meant to rock that dress. As a photographer, I think you should be comfortable, you should be empowered by what you wear that day, you should rock what you’ve got. And it will show in the images how happy and blushing you really were. Too many people try and make the wedding about them. And while I appreciate that weddings are about community, and recognizing the support you have, and coming together as one… the dress is about you. Just you. Not mom. Not Bff. Not even your fiance.”

“Whose wedding is it? It should be the brides choice and no one else’s!”

“I’ll echo others comments; your wedding; your dress; YOUR CHOICE!”

” I wasn’t exactly a “this is MY day” kinda bride – but there is something to be said to feeling comfortable and happy with what you’re wearing – despite what other people may think.”

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[Image: An Endless Pursuit]

But make sure it’s REALLY “the one”…

“Go back to the shop all alone. try on 3 dresses with the one you love second or third. If you unconditionally love the dress (how you feel in it + how it fits) buy it on the spot and don’t look back. If you have ANY doubts, keep shopping…”

“Sometimes I get dressed and think I look incredible and then I see a picture of myself and I think “oh dear, what was I thinking”. So I have two thoughts here. First, is there a chance to maybe have one of your doubters take a picture of you in it? You can only see yourself from so many angles and MAYBE they are seeing something that you aren’t. Second, have you tried on the dresses that they like? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of trying things on for them to say “You know what? Maybe we were wrong about what we thought you’d look good in.”

“I say maybe go back with two other friends or maybe your partner’s mom and two friends- get their opinion and also try on more dresses. You might love the dress but it doesn’t hurt to get second and third opinions from people who can see it from all angles. Your wedding photos won’t all be front on, maybe the dress doesn’t suit you from the back or side which is what your mom/best friend are seeing. Of course if you do try on more dresses and you still love that one, then get it! My mom hated my dress the first time she saw it because the sample was massive on me, but I tried it on 5 times with different people and realised it was the one! She loved it once alterations started! Go with your gut but realise people close to you may have insights you can’t see!”

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[Image: A Lovely Photo]

The regret might be worse than disappointing your mom/friends…

“She will regret it if she settles. Some people hated my wedding dress and then ended up loving it when they saw it on me and in photos. Glad I didn’t budge. :)”

“I went with a very pretty but more traditional to please others, and regret it every time I look at my wedding photos. I am not a traditional person and I am bummed I didn’t let the dress represent me like I should have!”

“I caved to pressure from my mom and the dress seller about my dress. I wanted a something a bit non-traditional but went with one she liked instead. I wish I had stuck to my guns and gotten the dress that I really wanted.”

“Go with your gut. I settled for a dress, and then ended up buying the one I couldn’t stop thinking about anyway. I wore my dream dress to my wedding.”

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[Image: Kathleen Hertel Photography]

What do YOU think Romancers? Did our Facebook fans miss any other advice you would give (or experienced yourself)? Sound off in the comments!


Wedding Advice: Why I’m Not Dieting for My Wedding

anti wedding dieting

Whenever I see advertisements or blog posts titled “Bridal Bootcamp” or “shed the pounds fast for your big day”, I cringe and a part of me dies inside. Wedding dieting is something I will NEVER promote on this blog. I will not feature events that focus on this topic, and I will not allow vendors to promote this topic through any of my advertising platforms. If you’ve read Capitol Romance before, than you should already know that I am a huge supporter of couples having a wedding that is truly reflective of their selves in every sense of the word. This includes actually looking like yourself on your wedding day, and not trying to conform to someone else’s idea of how you should look on your wedding day.

But, today’s post is not about me, it’s a beautifully penned guest post from Shalini (of our Makeup-less Engagement post) sharing why she’s not dieting for her wedding. The post was originally published in HaveHeart Magazine, but I found it too good not to share here as well.

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Why I’m Not Dieting for My Wedding

A guest post by Shalini

After I got engaged, one of the first emails I received from The Knot was about how to get in shape for my big day. During the past year I have been bombarded with messages saying that I need to look my best- better than I ever have in my entire life- for the wedding. I’m supposed to be thin, toned, have fluorescent white teeth, long nails, flawless skin, and voluminous hair, because what kind of bride wouldn’t put effort into becoming perfect for this once in a lifetime event? Who would want to marry a woman who didn’t look like a photoshopped cover girl? Regular-looking girls don’t deserve love, right?

dc courthouse wedding elopement

But what if I don’t look like a model on my wedding day? What if I just look like… me? I’m not perfect, and to the best of my knowledge, my flaws are part of what my fiancé loves about me. Rather than reverting back to my old ways of restrictive eating and over-exercising, and obsessing over my “flawed” face in the mirror, I decided to live out my engagement as if it were any other phase of life. I vowed not to give into unrealistic expectations of brides, which are ultimately fueled by the beauty industry’s desire to make money off of our insecurities. I knew that I couldn’t live a life dedicated to self-acceptance, but make an exception for my wedding.

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My fiancé has been the biggest supporter of my journey toward self-love and positive body image, and if anyone didn’t want me to lose weight for the most important day of our life together, it would be him. As a child, I always envisioned myself looking perfect on my wedding day. But then, I also envisioned myself looking perfect at prom, my college graduation, the first day of grad school, my first interview, and on the day I fell in love. I didn’t look perfect for any of those special events, but my memories of them are no less fond and fulfilling. Ultimately, it won’t matter what I look like on my wedding day. I will likely be filled with such joy and excitement that something as inconsequential as my waist size will be the least of my worries.

glen echo park vintage portrait pictures

We spend so much time and effort focusing on what we look like. I have enjoyed my engagement so much because I haven’t gotten too wrapped up in the superficial details. My ability to brush off questions and comments about my weight with regard to wedding preparation has become a source of pride. Instead of crash dieting or working out 6 days a week, I have maintained my usual wellness routine (eating what I want and exercising when I want), and I’ve been much happier because of that. I would much rather enjoy this exciting time with my fiancé and other loved ones, celebrating a relationship that is founded in something much deeper than looks. I will be the happiest bride as I walk down the aisle next month, looking into the eyes of the man who finds my happiness to be the most beautiful thing in the world.

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Thanks Shalini! Hoping this article helps any CapRo reader out there that might be doubting their appearance for their wedding day. You are GORGEOUS just the way you are.

Capitol Advice: The F Word Revisited | Friends as Wedding Vendors – The Good, Bad & Ugly

This topic is no where close to new in the wedding industry. Time and time again, vendors & bloggers tackle the “heinous crime” of having your friend serve the duty of a wedding vendor on your wedding day. Now these posts always bugged me because they never seemed to show more than just the side of the one vendor posting the article. What about the times where a friend was exactly what was needed and things worked out perfectly because it was done right? I always wondered if other people got turned off a bit, like I did, when you read a vendor telling you to hire them instead of hiring someone else. Well DUH they want you to hire them!

Now, before the entirety of the wedding blogosphere storms my house and tries to burn me at the stake, don’t mistake what I am saying here. I will 100% advocate (just like I did with my post on DIYing your wedding flowers) that a professional vendor is and always will be the best and safest choice for your wedding. Wedding Professionals know the intricacies and complexities that wedding days require and they will ALWAYS be the best choice for your wedding day vendors. You cannot compare a professional vendor’s services and outputs to that of a friend/novice. This is also a reason why you should work with experienced professionals and not “I have an iPhone so I can shoot your wedding” photographers – but that is a whole other blog I will someday write.

But what about all the countless couples (including yours truly) that have asked friends to serve as wedding vendors for their big day – and it worked out just fine? What if you just don’t have the budget to hire a professional for EVERY aspect of your wedding day? Well then, let us share some real insight, from REAL couples that used a friend as a wedding vendor so that you guys can see ALL sides of this argument, not just one.

Hiring Friends as Wedding Vendors – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

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[My friend Dorothy on the left, helping my sister with the processional | Image: Live It Out Photography]

First let’s start with a note of caution. The all-important warning that just because hiring a friend worked for me and some others, it DOES NOT MEAN it will work for you. This is not an all encompassing post. This is a reflection of a handful of real couples that used friends as vendors to help YOU decide if it MIGHT be right for you and your partner too!

The [Cautionary] Good: It Worked For Someone Else [But that Does NOT Mean It Will Work For You]

Recent DC area bride, Ashley, hired her friend to serve as her day-of coordinator. For Ashley, this decision worked out perfectly! She shared:

“One of the hallmarks of our wedding was the way that our friends and family were so much a part of it. I had never considered a traditional coordinator (and frankly, felt that I would be more stressed out by one), so to have a friend that was willing to take this on was a gift indeed. She helped me feel confident about any decisions I second-guessed, she asked questions I didn’t think to, she handled some rather upsetting vendor issues effortlessly. ” – Ashley

Another former bride, Rachel explained that they also had success with hiring friends. She attributes her success to mainly 3 things. 1, that she was a fairly laid-back bride, 2, she was also highly organized, and 3, her friends that were involved were also pretty experienced at what she was asking them to do!

“I was laid back in that I was up for anything, but in general I was more so highly organized with checklists and timelines and charts (such as: “who is driving in what cars to which parts of the wedding” WITH pictures all neatly tacked up on the food cabinet… I got a lot of flack for that haha). I don’t recall setting out to have friends so involved in my day, but a few offered and we ended up reaching out to a couple others and it just happened that way! The friends that I involved in the day were already very experienced and very talented in what I asked them to do.” – Rachel

hiring friends as wedding vendors

I would second Ashley & Rachel’s sentiments. Personally, I asked a friend to help coordinate our wedding – she helped us make favors, decorations, and served as a day-of coordinator for us. Dorothy had a professional background in design and managing bands – two key items that lent itself to making her a great wedding coordinator. The other two things that set us up for success were:

1- Just like Rachel I was HIGHLY organized bride (is anyone surprised by this?). I had binders, budget spreadsheets, a calendar view schedule, and I even had a weekly meeting with Andy … including agendas that we had created (hah, I wish I was kidding). I was really hands-on and involved in my own wedding planning, so I did not feel I required the full-scale help/assistance that a planner might want to give me & Andy.

2- My catering company also provided us with a day-of coordinator that had worked with us from the minute we hired them to ensure our linens, tablescapes, escort cards, and decorations were all laid out properly. I do not think this is normal – but I could not say enough about what Catering By Uptown‘s Jeff did for our wedding day. He seamlessly decorated and setup a lot of our DIY details and decor – something that Dorothy might have had to do if not for them!

Click inside for The Bad & The Ugly …. and advice if you are still going to do this any way ;)

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We Decided to Put Social Pressures Aside to Plan a “True to Us” Wedding

As I mentioned last Wednesday, we are trying our hardest to re-focus our content a bit on some more advice-driven pieces that share real, first-hand accounts of wedding planning in and outside of the Washington, DC area. Last week we had a real bride share some post wedding planning reflections (re: regrets) and this week we have a bride to be that is sharing a super personal post on how her and her fiance found themselves planning a wedding they didn’t actually want to have.

I met Laura through my wedding coordination biz – she originally reached out to me for an inquiry into my services. A few weeks later though, her plans had changed and I was really interested in learning why. Not because I no longer had a potential client on my hands (though I did love the sound of her wedding! hah), but because I thought her story and reflection with her fiance was totally worth sharing.

Laura emailed me to let me know things had changed after a lot of soul searching. They decided that their original plan didn’t actually reflect who they were. They scraped the traditional, 200+ wedding and are doing a low-key, chapel ceremony with just immediate family instead.  I thought Laura & her fiance were insanely brave to do this – and even braver still was Laura when she agreed to share the soul searching they did here. I hope you guys read this and share this (if you want), as I think it’s a CRUCIAL part of the wedding planning process. Before you fall head over heels into planning, take some time to really think about AND discuss with your partner what you want for your wedding day … and why.

How We Decided to Put Social Pressures Aside to Plan a Wedding That was True to Who We Are

I’m not much of a writer, but when Bree asked me to write about my recent soul searching with my wedding plans, I couldn’t say no.  I had invested so much time and energy into this process that I thought it would be therapeutic to put it down in words. 

First and foremost, I love weddings.  I love being apart of such a time of love and unity.  I love having such a wonderful excuse to get together with friends and family to celebrate, reminisce, and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s basically a big family reunion.  I love it.

dc courthouse wedding intimate[A DC Courthouse Wedding via Sarah Gormley Photography]

My now-fiancé and I have known each other for some time.  We have been in each other’s lives in some way, shape, or form for over 12 years.  In the last couple of years we realized we were ready for each other and a future together.  We began to talk more openly about getting married.  It became a matter of when, not if. 

As Pinterest began to take over, I got caught up in all its glory.  And as a wedding seemed more and more likely in my future I couldn’t resist browsing the ‘wedding’ category.  Oh was I in trouble.  Gorgeous pin after gorgeous pin; I couldn’t stop!  But I decided to take a step back until I was officially engaged.  Fast forward a few months later and while hiking one of our favorite trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains, my boyfriend (now fiancé) popped the question.  It was perfect!  We spent the recent of our mini-vacation basking in our love and excitement.  It was crazy how nothing had really changed, but everything had changed.  It was wonderful!

[Kirsten & Christian’s Small Budget VA Wedding via Porter Watkins Photography]

Then the reality of wedding planning set in.  Those wonderful photos I had pinned on Pinterest were no longer gorgeous, but daunting.  How do I actually make these ideas happen?  How do I get this fabulous relaxed backyard wedding?  Everyone seems so happy and calm… doubtful!  The more I looked into these ideas, the more I realized they weren’t going to happen.  Not on our budget.  And not on how much time and energy we were willing to put into this event.  Don’t get me wrong.  We want it to be the best day of our lives, and it will be, but it took a lot of soul searching to realize we don’t need to put our (or our family’s) life savings into this one day to make it special.  It’s special because we love each other and we get to show the world how much.  It’s special because we get to have our favorite people in the world around us all at the same time!

So back to the soul searching. And first a few things you need to know about us – our families are HUGE (looking at easily 175 for just aunts, uncles, and first cousins) and we have both lived all over and have some friends that go back to when we were babies.  When all said and done, we had a list of 250 people on our “essential persons” list for the wedding!  We are also both pretty private people and having a traditional ceremony and reception felt a little too overwhelming to us. 

[Ben & Jen’s Super Local, Offbeat DC Wedding via Leslie Maron Photography]

Even knowing this about ourselves, we still began to look for very traditional options: big church ceremony and reception to follow (making each guest on our list suddenly seem very costly).  Simply put, we really couldn’t afford (or didn’t feel comfortable affording) a wedding that fit this bill while still seeming somewhat unique enough to feel true to us as a couple.  But over and over we tried to find a solution.  The love and excitement of the engagement was quickly overtaken by the stress and pressure of creating this wedding that didn’t even seem to match us.  We tried and tried to fit a square peg into a round hole.  We tried to compromise on location, guest list, food, date, cost… but no matter what “solution” we came to, it never sat right with us.  After many a stressful night (and yes some tears), we always came back to the same thing: we just want to be married to each other.  Eloping was making a lot more sense to us as time passed, but that didn’t sit right either.

So back to the drawing board; one night we sat down and made a short list of things that were most important to us about our wedding.  Top things on the list were inclusivity (having all essential persons there), laid back and outdoor celebration, having part or all of it in our neighborhood, making it as convenient as possible to guests, and having an old family friend (a priest) officiate.  Again, not easy to meet this set of criteria either. 

But then one day it just all came together.  If what we really want is to be married without all the fuss, then let’s just start there.  Let’s just start with what this is really all about.  So we approached our family and told them our plan:  we wanted to get married in the small chapel in our neighborhood by our family friend with all of them (our parents and siblings) there to witness it.  It just felt right.  For the first time in weeks, I was happy again about the wedding. 


[Charles & Scott’s Offbeat, DC Wedding via Red Shoes Photography]

But we also knew that we would want an opportunity to celebrate our new marriage with those other 250 essential persons.  We figured this would be the chance to still have that laid-back celebration we also wanted; the backyard family reunion style BBQ.  Somehow I happened upon a farm outside of DC that provides just that.  We could have a whole day completely catered of BBQ, booze, lawn games, dancing, and most importantly, quality time with the ones we love most. 

For us, separating these two events was most essential to our happiness.  We could then keep the ceremony intimate and stress-free and truly about the joining of our lives together surrounded by the essential of essentials.  We could also get the most intimate celebration possible with 250 people by having the all-day event at the farm.  This would allow everyone to gather under the pretense of our love and new marriage but wouldn’t completely focus on us the whole time.  Without all the fuss of a traditional reception, we would be able to mix and mingle freely with our guests giving them the quality time they deserved for making the effort to be with us at such an important moment in our lives.  

[Cecelia & Wasim’s Modern, Hip DC Wedding via Megan Noonan Photography]

For us, this wedding is less about a day and more about a lifetime.  We want to start our marriage off right.  And for us, it is about being true to ourselves and who we are as a couple.  We are both genuine and private, but completely and utterly thankful that we have so many people that love us.  They understand us enough to know that we will get more from spending a relaxing day on a farm with them rather than a formal evening in a banquet hall.

I can’t thank Laura enough for sharing this personal piece with me and my readers! There is SO MUCH of this post that I wish I could just plaster all over Pinterest, Big Wedding Blogs & Facebook. I hope everyone that is planning a wedding finds something in here that rings true to them. Thanks for reading everyone one!



Wedding Advice: Lessons Learned from a Destination Wedding Bride

We’re kicking off the first of a long-line of weekly guest and personal posts in the upcoming weeks. I am working on trying to better focus my content, and one of those goals involves more advice/educational/personal pieces. There are a million places to find inspiration for weddings on the internet, but not necessarily a million places to find good advice, tips, resources and real education on planning and executing a wedding.

I hope to also have some include more on marriage, love, and relationships in general – stemming from our decision to not name this blog something after a bride, or solely weddings – it was always about the more important part of a wedding, the marriage (or really, the love & romance of two people).

So without further ado, I give you some really awesome lessons learned from a bride that got married just over 3 years ago and opted for a destination wedding!

Wedding Advice: Lessons Learned From a Destination Wedding Bride

wedding advice lessons learned


Photography: Saperstone Studios | Venue: Le Kliff, Puerto Vallarta | Flowers, Decorations, Centerpieces: Arranged by Le Kliff | Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Suit: Bachrach (BCBG) | Vest: Men’s Warehouse | Makeup: DIY

My husband and I were married 3.5 years ago in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While our wedding was indeed destination, I believe that my lessons learned apply to non-destination weddings too :)

wedding advice lessons learned

What Anna learned about wedding photography:

While I loved my wedding photos because my photographer delivered exactly what they said they would and were incredibly reliable, I wish I would have invested the time to research other options. Thankfully my best friend, Saperstone Studios, was a guest at my wedding and she was able to capture many creative and beautiful moments. These images are what I would have wanted would I have known there were different styles of wedding photography out there.

Again, not that I don’t love my wedding photos but seeing now all these wonderful creative photographers out there, I wish I would have hired someone with a more creative/artistic approach to wedding photography because that is more our style (my husband and I). Also- knowing now what I didn’t know then, investing in photography is key. I would have paid quite a bit for the creative photographer of my dreams. After all is said and done, your wedding photos are what you have left of the day.


What Anna learned about wedding Videography:

Now, I really regret not hiring a videographer.

At the time I didn’t want to hire a videographer because I had the idea in my head that I would get a DVD with a 2 hour long video and I didn’t want that at all. I didn’t know that you could get a mini show real of your wedding day (sneak peek: 2 minutes, mini video: 15 minutes).

I really, really, really regret this now. Really!

Click inside for the rest of these lessons learned and advice from a real bride!

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