Nasheed and Chris's Non Traditional Holud

Photo by Ayesha Ahmad

Photo by Ayesha Ahmad

Guys. This couple is so near and dear to my heart. I worked with them last year, doing month-of coordination for both their holud and wedding in May of 2017. They reached out to me a YEAR in advance and I immediately booked them even though I normally don't book that far out. That's because their email mentioned their non traditional backgrounds (he's half Italian catholic/half Jewish, and Nasheed's parents are from Bangladesh and Muslim) in addition to references to Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, lip sync battles, and other insanely wonderful non traditional ideas!

So this obviously has to be a two-part-er. Come back on Thursday for their ridiculous wedding. But now, onto the holud. In addition to the holud being co-ed, their email mentioned that it "may or may not include a lip sync battle, roast of the bride/groom, airing of grievances, feats of strength, and/or white people awkwardly trying to do synchronized dances to Bollywood music in lieu of whatever is actually supposed to happen at those things." YES.

It was all of those things, and so much more. Josephine Butler Parks Center was the venue and it was a huge DIY affair. Big thanks to Nasheed's fantastic friends who created her "stage" decor, as well as to my lovely associate Tarra who assisted the hell out of it (including putting out a small fire with her bare hands. That girl is fierce). 

While there were some traditional elements, such as the henna and delicious food, there were also amazing untraditional moments - like all the performances, including a Circle of Life recreation with a very unwilling Simba, lip sync battles (my all time favorite activity), and much, much more. Enjoy this colorful, hilarious evening captured by Ayesha Ahmad Photography!

Nasheed and Chris's Vendors:

Coordination: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Venue: Josephine Butler Parks Center

Photography: Ayesha Ahmad

Catering: Ravi Kabob and The Italian Store

Staffing: Wright Staffing Company

Henna: Henna Ink

Claire and Sam's Stone Tower Winery Vineyard Wedding

Photo by Anne Lord Photography

Photo by Anne Lord Photography

Claire and Sam were partial planning clients of mine. They were my last wedding pre-baby (!) and it was so wonderful to end my wedding season on such a high note. A fabulous, friendly couple to be around, their wedding day was equally awesome. Stone Tower Winery is such a gem (just check out these stunning photos by Anne Lord Photography as evidence) - and the rest of the vendor team, A La Carte Catering, Love Blooms, and DJ Andrew Logan, were a dream to work with as well. Enjoy these lovely pics and dream of warmer days while you do!

Congrats again, Claire and Sam!

Claire and Sam's vendors:

Planning: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Venue: Stone Tower Winery

Caterer: A La Carte Caterers

Photographer: Anne Lord

DJ: DJ Andrew Logan

Flowers: Love Blooms

Ceremony and Cocktail Music: Loudon Quartet

Hair/Make-up: Alison Harper & Co

Transportation: Point to Point Limo

How to Pick Your Wedding Colors

Arguably the most prominent element of design is color. It’s what most design clients want help with—whether it’s choosing a main color, or making sure secondary colors work together with the main color to create a mood or feeling.

With so many colors it can be hard to know where to start when trying to decide on a color scheme. Here are a few of the questions I would ask at a design consultation to help narrow down colors:

What kind of mood do you want to set at your wedding? Casual, glamorous, playful, fun?

Have you already chosen our venue? What does it look like, and what colors are already there?

What colors are you most drawn to?

What colors are you least drawn to?

What season is your wedding taking place?


What colors are brought about in your mind after answering these questions? Color is a very personal and unique experience—no color combination is inherently wrong. Of course, some colors clash when used together, and some are displeasing to the eye, but it’s ALL personal preference. So don’t overthink it!


There are many, many ways to mix and match colors. Without going too far into the nitty gritty details of color theory, let’s focus on these three attributes of color: hue, tints, and shades.

Hue: The main property of color. How we describe colors. Ie. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, etc.

Tint: White is mixed with a hue.

Shade: Black is mixed with a hue.

Knowing this basic terminology will help you better communicate your color preference with your vendors. Which brings us to....

Why being specific about your color preference is important.

When talking with your vendors, it’s critical to be specific about the colors you want in your wedding. Just saying you want green and pink incorporated can mean different things to different vendors. Emerald green or spring green? Magenta or dusty pink? The more adjectives you use to describe your colors the better your vendors will be able to narrow down exactly what color you mean. Then, on your wedding day you won’t be surprised by a color you didn’t want included.

Remember, don’t overthink your color choices. If you like the combination, go for it and be specific when communicating it.

Happy color picking!

The Elements and Principles of Event Design

For our first wedding design post, let’s start with the basics and discuss the elements and principles of design.

As a graphic designer, this was the first thing I learned in school, and it’s relevant to any design field-- including event design.

The elements of design are the pieces that make up design. There are six elements:

  • Color: light reflected off objects.

  • Line: a mark with greater length than width

  • Shape: a closed line. Shapes are flat.

  • Form: a 3-D shape

  • Texture: surface quality that can be seen or felt

  • Space: the area between or around objects.


The principles of design are how the elements are used together to make a complete piece of work. Let’s look at real wedding images to help define some of the more prominent principles:

1. Balance: the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space. Here, balance is created with the long rectangular tables, paired with the smaller round tables.  

Photo by Olivia Jacob

Photo by Olivia Jacob

2. Proportion: when all parts of design (size, number) relate well to each other. At this wedding, the tall floral arrangements fill the space between the tabletops and the ceiling, giving the room and decor a sense of proportion to each other.

Photo by Charles Archambault

Photo by Charles Archambault

3. Emphasis: the part of a design that catches your attention. At Julia and Phil’s wedding the white globe lanterns are the largest piece of design and immediately draw your eye up into the reception space.

Photo by De Neuva Photography

Photo by De Neuva Photography

4. Movement: the path your eye takes around a design or space. At Katelyn and Matt’s wedding their florist added bunches of flowers at the top of each column in the tent and floral globes at the peak of the ceiling. This helps guide your eye around the entire reception space.

Photo by Jessica Latos Photography

Photo by Jessica Latos Photography

5. Repetition: when an object is repeated. This can create patterns and help the design feel cohesive. At Nisha and Derek’s wedding, their custom table runners were placed at every table, creating a pattern and making the room feel cohesive. The string lighting is also an example of repetition in the space.

Photo by Photo Lady Love

Photo by Photo Lady Love

6. Variety: the use of several elements to hold your attention and guide your eye. This wedding incorporated plenty of variety! They’ve woven together many complementary colors, different style plates, and mismatched chairs. It adds interest and personality.

Photo by De Neuva Photography

Photo by De Neuva Photography

7. Unity: a feeling of harmony between all parts of a design, which creates a sense of wholeness. At this wedding, they chose a neutral palette of tans and greens. The burlap tablecloths paired with tins of garden-like greenery create a cohesive modern-rustic look that doesn’t feel overdone.

Photo by Amber Wilke

Photo by Amber Wilke

There are many different ways to incorporate design principles into your wedding, so don’t be overwhelmed! Just being aware of them will help you better communicate your design vision to your vendors. But, if you’re still not confident you can execute your design vision on your own, check out The Plannery’s design services. We’d love to help!

Our next post will dive into everyone’s most discussed element of design: color!

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