wedding planning advice

Guest Post: The Difficult Decision to Change Your Wedding Date (& Going With Your Gut in General)

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We’re back to blogging after finally getting caught up from vacation and heading into an awesome (but not at all relaxing) weekend. I had my 2nd wedding of the season (and there’s already an amazing same day edit video AND some image sneak peaks from the day. total vendor dream team), and then we day tripped to Philly to surprise our two best friends for their 30th birthday party. A lot of driving, but always worth it to see good friends.

For today we have a great wedding planning advice piece about changing your wedding date. I like this post because it can be more broadly applied to most wedding decisions in general – the fact that you REALLY have to go with your gut on them … no matter how hard or difficult it might seem to make a change. It also shows how, even if it’s tough, it’s never too late to change your mind – you have options. It’s better to make a tough call after a few weeks of planning, than have a huge regret later. Weddings cost too much and take too much time to plan, to regret ANY of the choices involved. So here’s Carolyn with her story on changing her wedding date.

Changing your Wedding Date | By: Carolyn Thomb

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Life is never cut and dry, there will always be hiccups and things thrown in your path that you need to overcome. The same applies to wedding planning. No matter how organized and prepared you are, there are just some things you can’t control. This amazing thing that was thrown into Jon and I’s path was not a bad thing, but an amazing opportunity.

Back in November Jon applied for a great job and is currently still going through the application process. One thing we have found out is that if he gets the job his training is from July till October. Yes, and we had our wedding set for a gorgeous Friday in September. We also found out that they are very unlikely to let Jon have the Thursday and Friday off to get married. So for a few months I was sitting on pins and needles wondering what we were going to do. We couldn’t move the wedding to earlier or before he left and I didn’t want to make it later, not knowing what his work schedule would be like.

Finally, I made the call and asked all the essential people involved about a new date and if it was at all possible. So then came a week of so many emails and texts to family members, bridal parties and vendors. Thankfully we are surrounded by very supportive family and friends and they had no problem with it at all. The vendors were all amazing as well and assured me there was no issue with moving the wedding from the Friday to the Sunday and keeping the timing all the same. Right then I was reassured even more with my choices for vendors and was finally able to breathe and continue on in the planning.

We are now just sending out the Save the Dates, which is being done a little later than I wanted to, but it is better late than having to send out a separate note with the change of date.

My advice to anyone out there facing this predicament is to just look at all of the possibilities and then choose the best option for you as a couple and then take into consideration the rest of the essential people involved in the decision process. Try and do the deciding sooner rather than later so you don’t have to lose any of your deposits or vendors.

If any of you couples out there are going through this, don’t worry you aren’t alone! Everything will work out how it is supposed to and as long as you are with your honey you can get through anything.

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When to Hire a “Day Of Wedding Coordinator (Hint: It’s earlier than you think)

me at Joel and Christine's wedding

Image: Elizabeth Fogarty Photography

I get inquired as a day-of coordinator at all different times in a couples’ wedding planning journey. Sometimes I get inquiries for weddings that are well over a year away and other times an inquiry pops in my inbox for a wedding that is just a few weeks away. And while there is no simple, one-size-fits-all, answer to when the right time to hire a day-of coordinator is, I can offer at least some guidance around it to help you make the best decision for you.

But before we get to timing, the very first step would be to decide whether you need a full-scale wedding planner or a wedding coordinator. Not sure what you need? Check out the podcast I did with Put A Ring On It to help you decide! Simply put, if you need a lot of hand-holding, want someone to make & drive your decisions, and do a lot of the actual PLANNING on your behalf, chances are you need a wedding planner. If you are down with making decisions, going to meetings & talking to vendors yourself, but need some help & guidance and someone to tie it together on your wedding day, a wedding coordinator would probably be the best for you.

So now that you’ve decided between the two, and landed on the coordinator option, my advice to you would be to book him/her as soon as you can. And here is why:

> Coordinators, even if their main focus is just your wedding day, book out just like other vendors – 6 months to a year in advance (maybe more for your popular months like April/May and September/October), so if you wait, chances are the coordinator you want, might not be available!

> Coordinators can help you with SO MUCH MORE than just your wedding day. I love to give vendor recommendations, and advice on issues my couples come across as they are planning – it saves them time & sanity, and enables me to help them create a stress-free day.

> Coordinators can actually help you save money! So while some couples wait until the end of their wedding planning, to see if they have enough room leftover in their budget for a coordinator, it might make more sense for you to find that room in the budget early for a coordinator, and then let them help you cut costs in other places that you haven’t even thought about!

There are probably a lot more reasons – and I will let my readers and fellow vendors sound off in the comments below with them, but the main moral of this blog post story is that just because we have the phrase “day-of” in front of our title, does not mean that we work only on the “day-of” your wedding day. The earlier you can hire a day-of coordinator, the earlier you can start reaping the benefits of having a trusted, experienced, knowledgeable wedding pro at your side to help you through the wedding planning process!

Guest Post: Our Bride to Be Guest Blogger Says Yes to the Dress

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We’ve got our girl, bride-to-be guest blogger, Carolyn back on the blog today to share ALL the details of her wedding dress shopping excursion! She shares not only the background of what went into planning it (the dress she wanted, finding the right shops, etc) but HOW to go about the process of finding the right one.

I’ll admit – the idea of a dress store overwhelmed me entirely, so I opted for a completely hand-made dress that enabled me to skip the dress shopping experience completely. This worked for me, but some people want a dress you can only find at a shop, so I hope that Carolyn’s advice on shopping this way for your wedding stress, takes some of the stress out of it! Here we go :)

Choosing Your Wedding Dress | By Carolyn Thombs

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When I went into this wedding planning whirlwind, the one thing I knew was what style of dress I wanted. The only difficult part was going to be finding it, and actually being able to afford this amazing dress I had designed myself (before I actually got engaged, not crazy, right?!).

The reason I decided to design/draw up my dream dress was because I have seen so many gorgeous dresses, but each one was either missing that one major element or a few of them that would make it MY perfect wedding dress. So I decided to combine all of my favorite elements that I have seen into one dress. Once I had it visualized it was treasure hunting time!


The first dress that took my breath away was a gorgeous navy satin Zac Posen dress, definitely not a realistic option. But this dress has just always stayed with me, so when I saw that Zac (yes we are on a first name basis…I wish!) and David’s Bridal were doing a collaboration I nearly lost my mind!!!! So I hopped online immediately to check out the collection, only to my dismay. All of his wedding dresses just didn’t have that same sexy elegance that was perfectly portrayed in that initial dress I fell in love with. However… One of his dresses for his formal collection was pretty close to perfect, but it only came in red. Obviously this collection just was not working out for me.


One evening I was watching one of those addicting prime time shows with my mom and I was checking my email and came across an article about great wedding dresses under $900!!! Now this article was singing my tune! When I opened up the article in a browser, the first dress that popped up made me double take and catch my breath. It was the basic shape, material and cut that I had been searching for! My mind immediately added the other elements that would take it to the next level and I saw it… I saw THE dress!!!


Wedding Planning Advice: Trust Your Gut When it Comes to Initial Vendor Meetings

me at Joel and Christine's wedding

Image: Elizabeth Fogarty Photography

Haappy Hump Day Romancers! Today I thought I’d share some wedding planning advice for all you engaged readers out there (or maybe soon-to-be engaged! It is engagement season after all).

Now this one sort of seems like a no-brainer; it’s helpful in its simplicity. But I think it needs to be repeated, because I hear it from my friends and clients time and again – that feeling inside that the vendor they met with maybe isn’t the right fit, or says something strange, or feels a bit gimmicky, or perhaps sucks at responding.

So let me tell you once and for all – TRUST YOUR GUT. It’s probably the best thing you can do when it comes to booking your wedding vendors. If a vendor is flakey in the beginning via email, chances are they will be flakey throughout the planning process and even on your wedding day. If the vendor is crappy at responding to your questions, they will most likely continue that behavior as well.

Your gut is more valuable than you think when it comes to picking your wedding vendors, so trust it and you will be in a much better position with regards to your wedding planning.

Guest Post: Choosing Your Wedding Party


Image: George Street Photo

We’re back today with another guest post from our bride-to-be blogger, Carolyn.

Choosing your wedding party | By Carolyn Thombs

What things do you need to take into account when you choose those few or many special people for your wedding party? Eenie meenie minny moe! Luckily for me I have 3 sisters, so they obviously made the cut, not just because we are bonded by blood, but because I actually like them! Next was my cousin who is pretty much like my sister in regards to closeness. After that I decided hey! I actually really like Jon’s sister Raquel so I really want her to be a part of this. The hardest part was deciding who of my friends to choose. Just look at recent friends? Only long time friends can be contenders? Who is expecting me to pop the question? Who is the most important to me and really knows me? All of these are questions that went through my head when deciding which friends to choose, after all I did not want to have a 20 person bridal party (not saying it is wrong, just not for me).

Landers-Nelson Wedding - October 25, 2014

Image: Aimee Custis Photography

The answer came out to be three of my closest buddies, one from childhood, one from high school – college and then my college roomie! They have all been with me through so many different stages and I couldn’t image not having them as a part of my bridal party. I also know all of the ladies I have chosen will help create a fun, yet stress-free wedding day!

In conclusion, when choosing your wedding party think about the different personalities involved and what their effect is on you. Are they your true biddies that always have your best interest at heart? And last but not least do they know how to have a good time?


Image: Stephen Gosling Photography

I hope this helps all of you out there! How did you decide on your bridal party?



Introducing New Recurring Video Blog Series: CapRo Therapy

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 Image: This Rad Love

One of my blog goals for this upcoming year is to add more video content to my business. Either through Periscope with the weddings I am working, or events I am attending, or through creating my own (DIY videos!) videos. One such video idea I am planning on starting is a new Vlog series called “CapRo Therapy” (thanks to my mom for thinking of the name!). I get a lottttttttttttttttttttttt of reader questions. Whether it’s about specific posts, general wedding planning, where I got my rug, or even the realtor I used to find my house, I LOVE helping people out and giving them my answers & 2 cents.

So I thought it would be fun to share the questions I get, and the answers I give with EVERYONE through these video posts. They will be short, fun, and hopefully helpful.

And now I will ask for YOUR help! In order to make this new vlog series a success, I need your questions. What do you want to hear from me? It can literally be ANYTHING. Things like:

  • what should we tip our vendors
  • why did you name your business capitol romance
  • what’s your favorite social media platform
  • where do you get your hair done
  • why is your dog so old
  • why did you start a blog
  • what should we ask a wedding venue

Seriously. Ask away either by emailing me (bree[at] or on social media using the hashtag #caprotherapy .

I can’t wait to see what you guys want to know about! First episode coming sooooooooooooooooooon!

Wedding Advice: The #1 Thing Not to Say to Wedding Vendors You Are Persuing

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Image: This Rad Love

This one is for all you engaged couples out there that are just starting the wedding vendor inquiry process. Yes, I understand it’s a long and (sometimes) stressful process to find, vet, and confirm all your wedding vendors. But I have to let you in on a little secret. A little cautionary tale and one whopping piece of advice.

The absolute, #1 thing you SHOULDN’T say to any wedding vendor you are inquiring about, is that you are looking to work with them because of their price. I won’t speak for ALL wedding vendors here, but I can tell you that when I get this in an inquiry, I am almost ALWAYS completely turned off to the inquiry.

Here’s another secret I’ll let you in on: there’s a reason I have “Why do you want to work with Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination” on my contact form. I judge inquiries based on their response to this, because it’s the easiest way to begin the filtering process of inquiries that I know might be a fit, and ones where I am not at all a match for the couple.

But engaged couples, put yourselves in our shoes for a second. Think about what YOU might think if someone told you they ONLY wanted to work with you because of your price point. That that was the #1 reason for wanting to hire you. How would that make you feel?

Well it doesn’t make ME feel very good and chances are, I most likely won’t be available on your wedding date if that’s all you put in your contact form. For me, the couples that mention Harry Potter fandoms, that they found me through my blog, or that they are just looking for someone to help them throw a personal party to celebrate their nuptials, are the ones I gravitate towards and end up having SUPER awesome experiences with.

So engaged peeps – keep this in mind as you begin your wedding vendor search. Take the time to find vendors that fit your vibe AND your needs, not JUST your wallet requirements.

Capitol Advice: Tips & Advice for Planning a Wedding with Divorced Parents

photography by anna clark

Image: Photography by Anna Clark

Let me start off by saying that I don’t have divorced parents, so I cannot really speak from first hand knowledge on this wedding advice post. I have, however, been a wedding coordinator for many couples that have divorced parents and have family members with spouses that have divorced parents, so while it isn’t directly affecting me, it’s something I felt compelled to write about.

I felt compelled to write about this because I thought some of my past clients could help other engaged couples navigate the somewhat tricky territory of planning a wedding with divorced parents. And let’s be honest, a lot of these pieces of advice are useful for dealing with family members and wedding planning in general (listen! be patient! be communicative! etc).

As always, I have to thank my amazing readers and Facebook Fans that came out in droves with responses to my call for help on writing this piece. You guys are rockstars. So here goes…

Tips & Advice for Planning a Wedding with Divorced Parents

To make this a bit easier, I thought I would break it down into a few sections with different topics. Within each topic are advice and experiences from REAL couples in the DC area that planned a wedding with divorced parents.

“Quickly we learned that we weren’t going to please everyone and that at some point I was going to be the middle man to hear the concerns from both sides. I always tried to have understanding in the back of my mind.” – a recent Groom

#1. Consider Foregoing Traditions

ben and sophia photography

Image: Ben & Sophia Photography

Certain wedding traditions can make for awkward situations when you have divorced parents. The father-bride dance, who walks who down the aisle, the “parents table”, and so on. To help alleviate potential stress or hurt feelings here, consider foregoing any of these traditions and just doing ones that make sense for you.

“I had always loved the idea of incorporating photos from parents’ and grandparents’ weddings into the decor. However, we decided to nix this idea in order to avoid any awkwardness. As for logistics — the groom’s dad walked his wife (groom’s step mom) down the aisle and the groom’s Stepdad walked the groom’s mom down the aisle during the processional. We made sure to list both sets of parents in the program & mention them in all speeches.”

“If certain traditions are not important to you, and make it easier – skip them!  We skipped announcing the parents when we entered the reception and did the bridal party only because we didn’t want to worry about order, name announcing, etc.”

#2. Take Seating Arrangements into Consideration

Love Life Images

Image: Love Life Images

Even adults need space sometimes and even the simple act of seating divorced parents with a “buffer” could help during the reception.

“We were originally going to have a “Parents Table” but we ultimately decided to have each set of parents (both of the groom’s parents are remarried) sit at their own table, surrounded by extended family/friends. We put my parents in the middle table – between the groom’s parents – as an extra buffer to avoid unnecessary drama.”



Image: Sarah Gormley Photography

Listening is one of those things that is crucial to wedding planning no matter the status of your parents. This is important for dealing with vendors, your soon to be spouse, your friends, your wedding party AND your parents.

“Listen to their concerns. Listen to their ideas. Listen to them vent about the other side. I think I realized that the majority of the time, they just wanted to be heard. Make some of your ideas their own if they really have to have a say. We didn’t realize until way too late that one parent wanted to have something to call their own – the ability to say “I planned that part of their wedding, wasn’t it great?” It would’ve been a lot easier if we had talked about it with both sides early on, so that we wouldn’t have been so caught off guard.”

#4. Plan Ahead & Communicate

lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012)

Image: Sarah Bradshaw Photography

Again, another one that fits universally for wedding planning advice – the earlier you and your spouse can sit down and be on the same page with regards to a “plan”, the better. As a recent groom explained, planning helped to limit surprised and possible hurt feelings.

“Planning helps a lot. It helps to limit surprise interactions and possible hurt feelings. We knew where each parent would sit, how they would be introduced, and the order of family photos among other things. When either side would try to insert themselves differently, we could fall back to “the wedding plan.” Talk to each parent early on in the process to find out their expectations. Be prepared with your plan, but also listen to what they had been thinking, and try to incorporate at least a little of that into your plan.”

Another recent bride in the area found an ally in her brother and found help with talking to him ahead of time to help her guide conversations with her parents.

“Anyway, finding an ally in a sibling is helpful! And framing the conversation to be about family (meeting the new family, reconnecting with other family members) outlines the importance of the wedding weekend: it is not just a party, it is about a life commitment and joining families together.”

And in the end, remember that though it can be stressful and difficult at times, the end goal is marrying the love of your life!

Almost all the couples I talked to mentioned that while it wasn’t easy to plan a wedding with divorced parents, in the end, everyone was happy and enjoyed themselves on the wedding day.

“It seems like the end of the world at the time, but in the end, that is not the part they are going to remember.  We had our share of issues, and when I think back to our wedding, all I really remember are the happy parts…”

Capitol Advice: Tips, Tricks, and Advice for “DIYing” Your Wedding DJ & Music

emily clack photography how to DIY your wedding band

[Image: Emily Clack Photography]

A few months back Slate wrote a somewhat infuriating article titled, “Can’t decide between a band or a DJ? Easy: pick neither“. There was so much in this article that was OBVIOUSLY written by a very uneducated person when it comes to the REAL logistics of wedding music/entertainment. I was so angered by it that I couldn’t write a rebuttal anytime soon. But after working my last wedding a few weekends ago, which was sans-professional DJ/Band and “DIY”ed, I felt compelled to finally respond to that Slate article.

And no, not with anger, but with the reality of what it’s like to actually DIY your wedding music and opt out of a professional DJ or Band. I’ve worked a few weddings now that have gone this route and I can tell you it’s not nearly as easy (or cheap!) as the Slate article portrays. I also asked my Facebook fans for some input to see if they had any other advice or thoughts on going DIY with your wedding DJ or Band. What we are left with is a REAL look at what it takes to successfully “DIY” your wedding music – the good, the bad, and the ugly! Let’s break it down.

the girl tyler how to DIY your wedding music

[Image: The Girl Tyler]

1. Quality Sound System

If you hire a professional band or DJ they should (hopefully) be bringing along with them a PROFESSIONAL grade sound system. This means multiple speakers, (in case you want music for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception … and they are all in difference places) a microphone for the ceremony (this is huge), the ability to actually fade in and out of songs, and someone that knows how to setup and work this sound system, and probably a ton of other things that I don’t know of because I am not a professional DJ or Band member.

I cannot emphasize enough that this is the most important item if you are going to DIY your wedding music. Being able to actually hear the music (that you will undoubtedly spend countless hours planning) is the whole point of having wedding music, isn’t it? And no, that Bose speaker you have is NOT loud enough. If you want to DIY your wedding music the right way, so that people can actually hear it, you will need to rent a quality sound system, which includes a microphone for your ceremony. I cannot stress this second point enough. Even if your “I can project and I am loud enough” officiant thinks they can talk over 80+ people moving, whispering, laughing, etc, they can’t. And I cannot tell you how awful it is for a guest to not be able to hear your wedding ceremony – you know, the whole REASON you are having a wedding. So I implore you, if you are going to DIY your wedding music, PLEASE rent a proper sound system.

And if you chose to rent a sound system, you will also need to appoint someone on your wedding day to:

  • lug HEAVY boxes of said equipment into your wedding space
  • setup all the equipment
  • test the equipment
  • ensure the equipment works during the wedding
  • troubleshoots the equipment if it fails

Still think it’s “easy” to be a DIY DJ or Band like Slate suggested?

Real wedding experience: “I made the cardinal sin of DJs. I thought since I had a small wedding I could set up the whole system before the event and not have to tend to any problems during the reception. BIG MISTAKE. I will strongly suggest getting someone to assist you so you are not having to leave your bride when something needs attending. Notice I said WHEN something needs attending and not IF.”

sarah gormely how to DIY your wedding DJ

[Image: Sarah Gormley Photography]

2. Appointing an MC

This has got to be the #1 thing I see when my couples want to go the DIY DJ route. They COMPLETELY forget that a DJ or Band ALSO serves as your wedding MC. They help push your timeline, they make announcements, they keep the flow of your wedding going. I have had to be the MC for one of my weddings (never again!) because the couple never appointed anyone and needless to say I now ensure that any of my couples that do DIY music re-select a trusted friend or family member to serve as the MC. I also advise them to write a script for the MC, so that the MC doesn’t say anything too off-book (or doesn’t pre-prepare and then has nothing to say at the actual wedding).

So if you are going to DIY your music for your wedding, make sure you also have a wedding timeline of when you want certain things to happen. Think about the weddings you attend, do you:

  • Want someone to announce the wedding party? You and your partner?
  • Want an announcement for Toasts, parent dances, the cake cutting?
  • Want someone to run the anniversary dance? the shoe game?

If you responded YES to any of those questions, then you need to plan for this and find someone to be your MC.

Real wedding experience: “I would recommend writing and giving the script to your friend who will be doing the announcing AT LEAST a week ahead of time. We had a few botched last names, but nothing we don’t laugh about now.

leo druker how to DIY your wedding music

[Image: Leo Druker Photography]

3. Keeper of the iPad

Another thing about a band or DJ that you might forget is that they control the music. That means they will ensure that your playlist/must-have songs are played and the “do not play” songs are not. Sometimes, when a couple decides to use an iPad or a playlist, things can get a little hairy. I’ve seen guests takeover the iPad (and thus you hear the same song a few times, or maybe only 30 seconds of another song) and the result isn’t always great – sometimes it kills the vibe and can lead guests to be a little confused.

If you are going to DIY your wedding music, and use an iPad (or the like) then I do highly recommend the WeddingDJ App (I’ve helped couples use this app at a few weddings). But more importantly, I recommend entrusting a friend or family member with being the “keeper of the iPad”. That means fending off guests (usually the drunk ones) that just HAVE to hear Timber (that would so be me) or want to search for a very specific song that nobody else really wants to hear. You might also want to consider not placing the iPad in a highly visible place and ensuring you have a back-up iPad in case the one you plan to use dies.

Real wedding experience: “We did our own using pre-made Spotify playlists and borrowed speakers from a friend who was in grad school for music and is now a DC DJ, producer, etc. Somehow the music during brunch got switched to a Frank Sinatra xmas playlist (as you may remember), which was more of a laugh than anything. During the dance party people started picking and choosing their own songs, which was fine bc it kept the dancing/sweating/fun going, but we have noticed over the last year that because of that a few of our favorite songs were missed. It’s really nothing to cry about, just something to note if it would bother someone else.”


[Image: Ken Pak Photography]

 In sum, whenever I write these types of posts, it’s not to really sway you from doing one thing or the other – the point is for you all to make an educated decision about whether or not DIYing is really the best route to go – in this case with your wedding music. Most people claim that it is cheaper (and yes, DIYing usually is…) but they never seem to mention the things you still need to buy, the friends/family you need to lean on to make the “DIY” vendor action happen, and the things that could go wrong if you leave something like your music, up to a friend instead of a professional.

So now that you know some hard facts, some advice, and some real life wedding experiences, you will understand that a DJ or Band’s job isn’t so easily replaceable (as the Slate article makes it out to be). So I’ll leave you with this last  real wedding experience and leave the decision up to you!

“We rented some speakers and my husband’s groomsmen had no problem setting them up earlier in the day, hooking up our laptop w/pre-made playlists for the cocktail reception and dancing. Neither my husband, nor I, like being the center of attention, so we didn’t have any big announcements to make (e.g., just went from dinner to dancing, no cake caking…). It definitely helped that we had access to the venue all day, with amazing family and friends to help set up everything!! I still love listening to the playlists we made for our wedding.”

Did we miss anything on our “how to DIY your wedding music” post? Got any other personal experiences to share? Sound off in the comments!


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