There are details about Stephanie & Kyle’s wedding that made it a perfect fit for Capitol Romance. Thought it appeared on the more traditional end of the wedding spectrum at first glance, it was the bride’s explanation about their wedding day that really got me. She said, “From the beginning, we knew we wanted our wedding to be full of meaning and to truly represent us together so we focused on “simple” and “true” and tried to check our ideas against these two words.  I know everyone says that but we really put a lot of care into each decision.”

And it’s SO apparent that they did this – from the handmade signs,  to the reception venue selection and down to the importance of having a friend marry them – even if it meant getting married during their first look instead of at the actual ceremony! That’s right! Kyle & Stephanie wanted their friend Scott to marry them, but due to Virginia’s crazy laws, he couldn’t legally marry them at Mt. Vernon Inn – so instead they got married during their intimate first look, right outside the Capitol — it doesn’t get more “Washington DC wedding” than that!

Stephanie & Kyle’s Classically Elegant & Simple DC Wedding at Mt. Vernon Inn

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Photographer: Carley Rehberg Photography | Hair Stylist: Alison Harper & Company, LLC | Event Planner: JEM Events | DJ: Mike Blaufeld | Reception Venue: Mount Vernon Inn | Officiant: Wedding Ceremonies by Jeff | Flowers: DIYed by Mother of Bride | Bride’s Hair: Styled by Step Sister | Chalkboard Signs: Hand drawn by Bride’s Brother | Submitted via Two Bright Lights


It takes a village – Kyle & Stephanie’s family pitched in tenfold to help make their wedding day special & customized:

We are incredibly fortunate to have a whole team of family and friends who rallied around us throughout our relationship but especially during the engagement and wedding planning.  Kyle’s best friend since grade school was our officiant at our first ceremony in DC and helped facilitate part of the ceremony with our pastor in Virginia.  My mother arranged all of the flowers and Kyle’s mom helped us create a lot of the décor elements including handcrafting the gorgeous macramé backdrop for the altar.

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My brother created our beautiful signs, my step mother made gorgeous bows for the aisle way and my step-neice helped ice the cookies I baked for the bags to greet out of town guests.  Our good friends graciously let us store our wedding supplies at their house (which had more space than our apartment) and also helped us with many projects from cutting and staining wooden altar pillars to painting the chalkboard signs.  My father and Kyle’s father ran a million errands the week of the wedding to help pick up supplies for the rehearsal dinner we hosted, pick up our flower order and more.

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My step sister who is an amazing hair stylist in California did my hair!  Most all of our friends and family helped in some way leading up to the big day.  We are truly blessed to have so many talented and gracious people in our lives supporting us without hesitation.

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Click inside for SO MUCH more of this classically elegant & personalized DC wedding from Carly Rehberg Photography!

On their venue selection:

Since we met and fell in love during graduate school at George Washington University, we thought Mount Vernon Inn was the perfect location since it is on George Washington’s estate.  We also just loved the charm of the colonial atmosphere- very laid back and welcoming.  In choosing this venue, we did not have to do too much for décor since it is already pretty well decorated so we were able to keep things like centerpieces very low key (as in, I only had simple low, white hydrangeas on a few tables and just used the venue’s hurricane vase candles for the remainder).  This helped keep the focus on the importance of the day, for us and our guests.

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Admittedly, a lot of the wedding was fairly traditional but full of meaningful touches.  However, we did have two ceremonies in one day which is not typical.  While we loved the venue in Virginia, we were surprised to learn that the Commonwealth’s marriage law is pretty antiquated.  As proud District residents, we wanted to get married in our city, by someone we love, trust and respect and in a community that supports marriage for everyone.  So, we had a first look and very short ceremony with just the two of us and Kyle’s best friend since grade school (and our Best Man) marrying us while our parents watched from a distance.

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It was exhilarating, intimate and everything we could have ever wanted.  In fact, I always wanted to get married under a magnolia tree but the venue we picked did not have one and when I was meeting Kyle for our first look, he noticed one near our meeting place and arranged it so that we could marry under it!  It was so special!

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After our first ceremony, we took photos on the Capitol grounds and headed off to Mount Vernon for the big to do.

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Despite our earlier first look and ceremony, we were both full of butterflies and joyous tears when I met him at the end of the aisle that afternoon. During our ceremony with friends and family, it was really important to us to have our guests not only witness but participate in our union, since they have been and will continue to be some of the people we love and lean on the most in our lives.

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The guests were asked to state their support for our marriage after a series of questions and they all responded in unison with “We do and we will!”.  During the “support of family and friends” portion of the ceremony, we also had them each channel their love and good wishes for us into oathing stones that we now keep as a lasting reminder of their presence on that day.  It meant the world to us to have our loved ones from near and far be with us for this commitment and including them in the ceremony made it even more special for us.  I tear up just remembering that moment with everyone!


One very big handmade detail was the backdrop for our ceremony.  I had searched for inspiration and executable ideas for this and kept struggling with cost or difficulty with DIY.  Kyle’s mother had done macramé decades ago and was inspired when she found a wall hanging online and suggested that she could make something similar for us, if we wanted.  Boy did we ever want something that beautiful, bohemian and classic to frame us during the most important vows of our lives.  Our backdrop was definitely a labor of love for her and we adore how it turned out.  We plan to hang it on the wall over our bed in our new house too, which is even more awesome and special for us!  I love that it is handmade by his mother and that it is a new take on the traditional wedding arch that adorns most people’s yards later.

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We had many DIY and handmade details that made our wedding planning, day and décor all the more special for us.  Our families and friends were integral to each DIY which was really fun and meaningful for us too.

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For our chalkboard signs, Kyle’s aunt graciously allowed us to reuse some of her old windows when she had them replaced last year.   Kyle and his father carefully removed all the glass from the windows and then worked with our friend (and best man and officiant!) to sand and paint them and transform them into chalkboards.  My brother who is a tattoo artist with Algood Ink in California then designed the signs to welcome guests and provide relevant information.  We placed them throughout the venue and have plans to use the “Welcome” and “No seating plan” ones in our new house.


For our centerpieces, Kyle and I hunted for inexpensive vases at Goodwill and other thrift stores regularly throughout our engagement and then his mother and I spent a few weekends together spray painting them to have the vintage mercury glass effect.  Then my mother composed all of the floral bouquets and centerpieces the day and night before the wedding.  We all (parents and us) divided up the vases after the wedding so we each have a few in our homes which is a fun home decorating bonus and small reminder of our special day.  As a side note for brides currently planning their weddings, getting the flowers the day before from a wholesale retailer, thrifting vases and also intentionally choosing not to have flowers on each dinner table, we saved a TON of money!

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Another handmade element was our guestbook quilt.   The mother of the best man selected fabric in our colors, prepped the squares, and organized the signing table for guests to share sentiments with us on a square.  She then flew them back home with her to Kansas and crafted the most beautiful wedding quilt for us!  We absolutely cherish it and USE it regularly now that it is cold out.  I love wrapping up in their love all year round.

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Congratulations Stephanie & Kyle – thank you for sharing all the beautiful details of your DC wedding & Mt. Vernon Inn reception with us! A special thanks again to Carley Rehberg Photography for submitting this to us via Two Bright Lights!

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