Today’s Real Capitol Wedding is one that I have been so excited to feature ever since I saw it on the Washington, DC Wedding Photographer’s blog, Abby Jiu. This intimate sailboat wedding had all the makings of an offbeat, nontraditional, and DIY extravaganza and that was even before I got ALL the inside (and let me tell you, tear jerking & big time smiling) deets from the bride, Erin, herself.

I just had to add Abby’s own comments on shooting a wedding on a boat:

Photographing on a sailboat definitely added a new dimension of maneuvering around a boat, photographing and trying not to go overboard.

A special thanks to the talented Abby Jiu for sharing the pictures and to Erin for sharing all the details of her day!

Erin shares…

Nick and I are both from Texas but have been living in Norfolk, Virginia for the past 2 and half years. Nick is a Naval Aviator and stationed in Norfolk. We had been planning on getting married in early 2011, but a series of events caused us to have a much shorter engagement than anticipated.

With Nick’s schedule, he is gone a lot & had an upcoming deployment, so it was hard for us to know what dates would actually work for us. My family lives all over the country, but my Grandma, who lives in China, was planning a trip to visit my parents in Richmond, Virginia over the summer.  My brother (who lives in Southern California) was making a trip to Virginia to spend time with my grandma while she was in town. On Nick’s side of the family, his sister recently was accepted into a MBA program and was moving to France in August. His grandparents recently passed away and they were having a memorial service at Arlington Cemetery.

They were able to secure a day in late July, so his family would all be in the DC area. Long story short, Nick and I felt as though all the stars aligned and that this would be the perfect opportunity to have a small, intimate wedding on the one weekend all the events overlapped- July 24th. One thing I left out was that this weekend was 6 weeks away….

Nick was out of town all of June and leaving the week after our wedding, so everything was left up to me.  I was Googling some venues and up pops Schooner Woodwind Weddings. After looking at the website, it seemed like the perfect option for us… fun for everyone, beautiful scenery, very casual and laid back, limited the number to 40, and didn’t require much preparation. Plus, we thought it was really cool that it was the sailboat from Wedding Crashers!

We had a crab feast earlier in the day at Cantler’s and gave people time to change, relax, nap, explore Annapolis, then met up at the sailboat for the sunset cruise. We exchanged vows (was very short), had cake and champagne on the boat and visited with all our friends and family.


I knew with the sunset cruise and the beautiful boat, there wouldn’t be much need for decorations, but I still wanted to have a fun, “whimsy” feel to it.

I thought it would be cute to have the “here comes the bride” banner for my cousin Willa to hold before i walked onto the boat with my dad and the cute little flags would be cute to have at the end to go along with the “whimsy” feel. My mom and I made the banner and flags and my aunt graciously offered to make the “erin & nick/just married” banner.

I knew I wanted a comfortable, casual dress for my wedding dress. Nick wanted to wear shorts so I wanted to make sure to have a knee length casual dress. My mom and I made a trip up to DC one weekend and spent all day at Tyson’s Corner … our last stop was to Neiman Marcus and found the dress on sale for $170. It was perfect and exactly what I wanted. I found my headband from an Etsy shop!

We purchased the flowers the day before the wedding at Whole Foods and a girlfriend put together the bouquet.

Friends and Family were able to make it from all over the country and world and spend the weekend with us. Even if we had a year to plan our wedding, we would have done it the same way. But for us, the 6 week engagement was perfect! It allowed us to keep it simple, the costs down, allowed us to do a few fun diy projects and most importantly kept me from being overly stressed :-)

Basically, it was probably one of the most, low key, casual weddings ever but it was such a perfect day! It was the perfect wedding for me and Nick and fit us perfectly.

SERIOUSLY…. wow. just wow. Abby, Erin, & Nick – I cannot thank you all enough for sharing your pictures and details with us!! This has been one of the coolest and most down-to-earth weddings I have ever seen! Best wishes to you both, and safe travels to Nick!



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