Let's Talk Design

I'm emerging from the haze of newborn-dom to give you this blog post that was supposed to go up in November. Ah well, the best laid plans...

While I'm on maternity leave, our awesome event designer expert, Kim, put together some great design-focused blog posts for you. So without further ado, take it away, Kim!!!

Hey everyone! This is Kim, resident event designer at The Plannery. If you haven't heard by now, Katie is on maternity leave through February, so you'll be hearing from me for the next few months! I'll be discussing all things wedding design, so check back monthly for a new topic.

Before we dive into wedding-specific design, here's a little background about me:

I started collaborating with The Plannery in 2015, a few months after Katie coordinated my wedding. I enjoyed designing and planning my wedding so much, I reached back out to Katie to see if she needed help with her day-of coordination. She did, so I assisted her with a few weddings. Then, because of my background in graphic design, we came up with a plan to offer event design services through The Plannery, which has been up and running for the past year or so. The Plannery offers two design packages now: Moodboard Design and Full Design. You can read more about those here.

I'm a full time in-house graphic designer at a large consulting firm in DC. My role there encompasses many: I plan and design internal employee events and design marketing campaigns and materials that range from signage to booklets to websites. I also have previous work experience in advertising, print production, and editorial design.

One of my favorite parts about design is creating an entire suite of materials that are visually cohesive to support a brand or story. So, naturally, I was drawn to weddings as a way to tell a couple’s story through design.

I’ve helped a handful of clients since we started design services, and each couple has been so unique! Take a look at some of the moodboards we’ve done:

I hope you’ll follow along during the next few months to learn about the basics of wedding design, and pick up a few tips to help design your wedding on your own!

Maternity Leave

Photo by This Rad Love

Photo by This Rad Love

I'm officially headed out on maternity leave soon, so thought I'd drop a quick note here to remind folks of what's going on with The Plannery for the next few months.

Tarra had her handsome son in mid October, and I'm hoping to be greeting my little one any day now. So... we aren't working at all for the rest of 2017. But we'll be back and ready to coordinate and plan come 2018. Couples interested in 2018, please still feel free to reach out to us via our contact form here on our site - just understand my response time may be delayed more than usual. I appreciate your patience!

I won't be taking on as many full and partial planning clients as usual, but my 2018 has not yet booked up, so again - please reach out if you're interested!

While we're gone we've tried to schedule some new blog posts as well as a look back at old posts to keep things interesting! Happy winter to you all and wish us mommas luck!

Victoria and Brian's Modern Non Traditional Newseum DC Reception

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Last week we took a look at Victoria and Brian's beautiful, traditional morning ceremony at the Murugan Temple of North America (if you didn't see it - go check it out!).

Post ceremony, Victoria and Brian headed back to the Hotel Monaco for a complete costume change, complete with new hair and make up for Victoria! And what a change. Victoria reemerged with one of my favorite dresses of all time - a short white cocktail dress - with pockets! (and ridiculously stunning shoes, I might add).

Victoria and Brian wanted their reception to be really intimate and simple - they didn't want any dancing, so we opted for an extended cocktail hour out on the Newseum's beautiful terrace (and with jazz music by Sage Jazz Quartet) followed by a great meal for socializing. Wolfgang Puck worked closely with us to create a great menu that would give guests lots of options, including an Italian food buffet, and an Indian inspired one!

The leisurely meal was followed by more mingling with dessert and drinks.

Elegance and Simplicity did a stunning job of styling the event - Victoria and Brian really wanted to embrace the modern and glass vibe of the Newseum (those views!) so they incorporated some beautiful hanging candles throughout the room, various lounge furniture vignettes, and modern floral arrangements with fun pops of color. 

It was such an honor (and such fun!) to be a part of this long but wonderful day. I loved that this couple embraced some tradition, while also really making modern choices for their reception. It was a lovely balance and made for an awesome event. Thanks and congrats again to Victoria and Brian!

Victoria and Brian's Vendors:

Planner: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Venue: The Newseum

Caterer: Wolfgang Puck

Music: Sage Jazz Quartet

Florist: Elegance and Simplicity

Photographer: Shandi Wallace

Transportation: RMA Limo

Hair/Make-up: Bridal Artistry

Victoria and Brian's Murugan Temple of North America, MD Wedding Ceremony

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Victoria and Brian were full planning clients of mine - we started working together back in January for a September wedding. I was so excited to work with them because their wedding day was going to be very eclectic - they'd start off with a traditional wedding ceremony at Murugan Temple of North America in Lanham, MD, and end the day with a non-traditional, modern reception at the Newseum. I decided to split this wedding into two blog posts cause it's just too good not to :) So today we'll focus on the morning ceremony and tomorrow we'll dive into their modern reception!

The day started off with Victoria getting ready at the Hotel Monaco. They then proceeded to the temple for various ceremonies throughout the morning (including a saari change!), followed by a luncheon of delicious food post-ceremony at the temple.

I just adore the beauty captured by Shandi Wallace - so much color, joy, smiles, and detail! Enjoy this look into their stunning ceremony and come back next week for a look at their reception...

Feminist Bachelorette Party Ideas


Hopefully you all saw my post on Magic Mike Live, what I consider to be the ultimate feminist bachelorette party experience of all time. If not, get thee over there and read it, pronto.

But for those who can’t afford Vegas or who want to avoid travel all together (there is ZERO reason bachelorette parties need to cost an arm and a leg), I wanted to put together a round-up of some other ideas to consider, for those feminists in your life who are getting married and still want to celebrate, but sans penis straws.

  1. The most important part is that the celebration celebrate the person themselves. Ask what they want (and more importantly, don’t want) and tailor it to THEM

  2. Rent Magic Mike XXL, have a slumber party and drink boat loads of champagne. If you can’t go to Vegas, bring Magic Mike to you

  3. Speaking of movie rentals, a Wonder Woman themed bachelorette would also be effing amazing. Costumes optional.

  4. Head to a karaoke bar - or organize your own lip sync battle

  5. For those who aren’t night owls and don’t want a party atmosphere, spa it up, followed by brunch, boozy or not

  6. Co-ed party - Baby showers are going co-ed (I had one) and so should bachelor/bachelorette parties

  7. Wine tasting at a local winery. But hire transport - safety first

  8. Organize an afternoon of volunteering for your favorite local organization - or use the party as an opportunity to raise money and donate to Planned Parenthood or other worthy, feminist causes

A couple of other suggestions:

Don’t call it a “last hurrah” or other awful references to marriage being the end of fun or independence or freedom. Marriage is neither the beginning nor the end - it’s a moment to celebrate. Period.

not cool

not cool

I generally recommend staying away from gay bars and drag shows as a straight, cisgendered woman. As Skylar Baker-Jordan wrote, “true allies understand that they are not entitled to a marginalized group’s space or time or companionship.” But if you are cisgendered and want to go, please keep these tips in mind (more details here):

  • As Miz Cracker wrote in Slate, gay bars “provide a haven from the heterosexual gaze. In small towns and big cities alike, these spaces allow queers to talk, flirt, and unwind without drawing sneers, slurs, curious stares, or even unwanted support—My son is gay, too!”  So if you’re determined to go, just remember to be respectful that you’re entering someone’s safe space and the LGBTQ community do not exist to entertain you.  

  • Help offset the decline of queer spaces by putting your money where your mouth is and tip well.

  • If you meet someone new, use gender neutral terms unless they’ve told you how they identify

  • Don’t act like a tourist. Don’t gawk and always ask permission before taking a photo of someone

  • Don't get up on a stage uninvited

  • Don't expect the music to have been selected for you

The Ultimate Feminist Bachelorette Party


This is the first of two posts I’m planning about feminist bachelorette parties. A round-up is forthcoming (with lots of other ideas), but this one focuses on one special option that blew my freaking mind. I do want to briefly mention that I am a cisgendered woman - and though feminist, this perspective is certainly a cisgendered one.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post since last May, when I took a trip to Vegas with my sisters to celebrate their 40th birthday. My sisters and I stumbled upon what I truly believe to be an excellent feminist bachelorette party option. In a sea of penis straws and strange, bedazzled “Bride to Be” sashes, this experience was empowering, super fantastic fun (my face hurt from smiling), and jaw-droppingly feminist.

Our trip was centered around going to the newly opened Magic Mike Live show which opened in Vegas in March. And no, I’m not joking. For those of you who may not be aware, the second Magic Mike movie (Magic Mike XXL) was - truly - one of the most feminist, revolutionary films I’d seen in a while. Please take a moment to read these articles to learn more (here and here) - but suffice it to say, though the plot was ridiculous and somewhat non-existent (I didn’t say it was a GOOD movie), the film at its core was about men’s earnest desire to please ALL women, or as Andrea Grimes writes, “Magic Mike XXL is about a whole LOAD of dudes who have two main priorities: think up new ways to make women happy, and dance.” I’ve never seen so many different women - black, white, large, small, old, young - in a movie, not to mention being PLEASURED in a movie. If you haven’t watched the movie, do so now. No seriously, now, and then come back and read the rest of this post.

So. Fast forward to Vegas. Despite our love of Magic Mike, we really didn’t have high expectations for this show. Our main hope was that the men would actually DANCE and it would be a slightly less sleazy version of a strip club.

Without giving too much away, feminism in the show abounds to an insane degree. First, there are men of all types, shades and styles - as well as dancing of all kinds, so everyone who attends will find someone or something that they love (aka all women will be pleased and find someone to crush on). The show opens with a deliberate attempt to thwart the typical Village People male stripper experience, in a twist so lovely that even I, the person who always figures out the end of movies, didn’t see coming. The MC is female, so she is in a position of power and control, and represents the every-woman and what she (ie “we”) wants. They discuss how consent is sexy (!). They literally use the word “misogyny” as crappy guys threaten to take over the show. They provide you with fake money so that the exchange of money isn’t an issue. And that money has “You’re Welcome” on it, which is basically the theme of the show. As my sister so brilliantly put it, “instead of “You’re Welcome” implying that we should be grateful for something, it meant all women are welcome in this space. That women are safe in this space. That women for once don’t have to worry that admitting or expressing their sexual desire means they’re asking to be harassed or assaulted or raped.” Revolutionary. Truly. Get thee to Vegas.


So if you’re looking to celebrate your or your friend’s marriage, but are tired of the old cliched activities and ideas, head to Magic Mike Live and have your feminist mind blown. And BTW, I saw the show stone cold sober (and a little queasy cause I was pregnant) so just imagine what a cocktail or two would do ;)

**I will state for the record here that this is not in any way a sponsored post (though hot-damn, I wish it were - send me back to see the show again, Channing Tatum!). I just want to spread the revolutionary, feminist stripper love

Stay tuned next week for a larger round up of other feminist bachelorette ideas!

The Plannery's make over

Trying to keep on trucking - so today I'm celebrating The Plannery's new look. This fall, The Plannery is going to be 5 years old! So I felt it was time for a bit of a website overhaul (and who doesn't love a makeover?). Thrilled to welcome you to our new look - hopefully we've maintained the down-to-earthdom our last site had, while making it a bit more modern, and easy to navigate and read.

Huge, huge thanks to Kim Lofgren - our event designer AND graphic designer extraordinaire - for the new logo and the new look. We've been working on this for quite a while and I'm so glad it's finally up and running - couldn't have done it without your vision and help!

Hope you all enjoy poking around and checking out all that's new - but don't worry, our favorite tagline is still the same ;)

new website, same world


Well - today was supposed to be the launch of The Plannery's new site. And it still is. Cause it's up and running and I've just got to keep on keeping on.

But after this weekend's events in Charlottesville, I really feel odd just going on business as usual without addressing it. Cause it's deeply effecting me and I'm sure many of you.

I'm not gonna lie - I feel really stuck. And really, really angry. And really, really privileged.

I read somewhere that love and fury can coexist - that's sort of where I am right now. Cause while I'd like to focus on "love trumps hate" and remind you all that the good in this world (love, weddings, marriages, families, friends) will overcome all the bad... I don't really have faith in that at the moment. I'm grateful that my job will force me to remember. I'm grateful that my child and husband will force me to remember. But I also have to be honest that I'm not quite sure where to go from here.

Part of my problem is that I'm pregnant. With another baby girl. And while my problems are nothing compared to so many, I'm really struggling being pregnant during this truly effed up time. Struggling with the racism, sexism, misogyny, hatred and ignorance I see every. damn. day. Trying so bleeping hard to focus on the fact that if I work hard, and do everything in my being to raise good, proactive, anti-racist women, that IS something. But...right now it doesn't feel like enough. I'm struggling with self care vs. action and feel like I'm failing on all fronts.

So just keeping it real here. I'm going to do the small things I can - donate, educate, make proactive choices to raise my daughters with more knowledge and empathy, awareness of their white privilege and the inherent racism all around us. And hopefully faith that when my pregnancy is over and my girls are older I can do more and be more and do better.

More on the new website tomorrow. Much love to everyone.

Event Design in Action


As many of you know we launched an event design branch at The Plannery recently. Ann and Stephen were one of our first test subjects (!), so I thought it would be fun to take a look at how their moodboard from Kim came to life. Ann and Stephen wanted a colorful, modern wedding to fit in with their somewhat unique venue, Clarendon Ballroom. Kim came back to them with some beautiful bold colors in various shades of pink along with a deep blue, and accented by gold and green. As you'll see, Ann's bridesmaids dresses played into the darker pink tone, while her florist brought out the brighter pinks and green accents. We went with the dark blue linens which perfectly matched Kim's design board - as did Stephen's suit! The gold chairs, and gold table numbers were great gold accents - and though we didn't get photos of it, they served sparkling rose to their guests pre ceremony!

Please be sure to ask us about our design services whether you're a coordination or planning client!

Photo by Shandi Wallace
Photo by Shandi Wallace
Photo by Shandi Wallace
Photo by Shandi Wallace




There are some things you just can't plan...

Photo by This Rad Love 2017 is turning out to be quite an odd year for The Plannery. It's actually a wonderful lesson in what you can and can't plan. Tarra and I are, if I do say so myself, great planners and coordinators. We'll organize the heck out of your wedding. But sometimes in life, there are things that - try as you might - you just can't plan perfectly. And so it's with great excitement that I share that BOTH Tarra and I are expecting babies this Fall!

Tarra is due in mid October, and I am due in early November. While I'm super thrilled for everyone involved (especially Tarra and her wife cause this is their first - and that is just so darned special), it does mean The Plannery is taking a bit of an unplanned sabbatical this fall! We've had to transfer some of our wedding jobs over to other coordinators in the area (and thank goodness for the wonderful community of DC wedding vendors, you guys), and it means that much like the year I had my first baby, I'll be cutting back a bit on the amount of work and the number of jobs I take on. In addition to the new baby, Tarra is taking on another adventure and moving to the Baltimore area this summer (so reach out to us, you Baltimore couples!).

We'll be ready and eager to get back to work in 2018 for all you in the DMV area - so please don't hesitate to contact us about 2018 weddings!

Big congrats again to Tarra and her wife - and wish me luck as I attempt to wrangle a headstrong toddler and a newborn baby :)