Carol and Andy's Shenandoah Woods Wedding

Photo by Jess Latos Photography

Photo by Jess Latos Photography

Now that Tarra and I are emerging from maternity leave, we're looking back at some of our great weddings from this past season. Here's Tarra to discuss this beautiful Shenandoah Woods wedding. The couple wanted to maintain some privacy so you won't see any faces here - but the photos by Jess Latos Photography are still a must-see! Take it away, Tarra...

It was a pleasure to work alongside Carol and Andy in the weeks leading up to their amazing wedding.  All of their hard work and dedication paid off in showing their friends and family a truly amazing night valley in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Shenandoah Woods offered a romantic, relaxed atmosphere with the most magical views.  It felt like I was camping under the stars with 150 new friends!  [Sidebar: I am super excited to return to this incredible venue for another Plannery wedding in August 2018.]

Carol and Andy were a joy to be around with her kindness and warmth and Andy’s passion. The event was filled with laughter and tears. I was particularly moved by their inclusion of a private memorial honoring departed family members. With their closest loved ones present, they carefully placed marked roses within their gorgeous DIY chuppah. This is a testament to how deeply devoted this couple is to their family and each other.

The ceremony was officiated by their two witty friends bringing in both Catholic and Jewish elements, which was super-amusing.  Other cool elements that I really enjoyed about this event included the very chic wedding party attire, the stunning flowers by Beyond Asian Antiques & Floral, and the delicious dessert spread by Triple Oak Bakery.  Oh and I can’t forget about the good ol’ fashioned s’mores by the fire pit.  Enjoy this wedding that was captured so perfectly well by Jess Latos Photography - and congrats again Carol and Andy!

Britt and Chris's Decatur House DC Wedding

Photo by Love Life Images

Photo by Love Life Images

Britt and Chris were Partial Planning clients of mine that I adored - sadly, due to my pregnancy, I had to pass off coordination to the fab Rebecca O'Donnell and wasn't able to be there on their wedding day. They were such a fun couple to work with because in some ways they wanted really classic DC elements - black tie optional, a beautiful, historic venue - while also keeping things modern (I loved their green/white floral vibe, provided by Love Blooms). 

Their day started off with a ceremony at the historic and stunning Christ Church in Alexandria, VA. There were some protestors near Christ Church because they were about to take down some plaques memorializing Robert E. Lee - but luckily they were able to run them off so they weren't in the photos! From there they all ventured over to the Decatur House - one of my favorite DC venues for cocktails, dinner and dancing. Dinner was tented outdoors and Amaretto Band did an awesome job - even playing a last minute request of "Hang on, Sloopy" for the Ohio State fans in the crowd.

Congrats again to Britt and Chris - I was so sorry to not be there and see this come to fruition, but Matthew D'Agostino's photos from Love Life Images are the next best thing!

Britt and Chris's Vendors:

Planning: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Coordination: Rebecca O'Donnell, Blue Canary Events

Venue: Christ Church and Decatur House

Caterer: Main Event Caterers

Photographer: Matthew D'Agostino, Love Life Images

Band: Amaretto Band

Florist: Love Blooms

Transportation: RMA Limo

Hair/Make-up: Modern Bridal Studio

Nasheed and Chris's Non Traditional NMWA Wedding

Photo by Ayesha Ahmad

Photo by Ayesha Ahmad

Ok are y'all ready for part 2? (if you missed part 1, check it out here)

Nasheed and Chris's wedding was insanely awesome. Here are some examples of what you have to look forward to - then scroll on down and enjoy the photos by Ayesha Ahmad of this unique, non-traditional DC wedding: 

  • A first look with fab protest signs and beautiful shots from all around DC

  • Two of the National's Mascots (Abe and George, of course) as their ceremony ushers

  • An elaborate ceremony processional to music such as "Gangsta's Paradise" and a parade of babies who filed in to the tune of "Prince Ali" from Aladdin

  • A uniquely non-traditional, super personal (and hilarious) ceremony which included references to the Hunger Games ("may the odds be ever in their favor"), a vow to "make America great again," and a reading which turned into a performance from Book of Mormon

  • A ceremony that also gave nods to both their backgrounds, with the exchange of garlands and the breaking of the glass (by both of them, thank you very much)

  • A costume change for BOTH the bride and the groom (and check out her BOOTS - and his socks!!)

  • An elaborate first dance which ended in my most favorite song of all time (seriously), "Grow Old With You" by Adam Sandler from The Wedding Singer

  • The kick-ass cover band Go Go Gadjet who rocked it out, along with glow in the dark bracelets the couple provided to guests that would flash and change color in sync with the music

  • Basically the best wedding ever... enjoy!

Nasheed and Chris's Vendors:

Coordination: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Venue: National Museum of Women in the Arts

Caterer: Main Event and Aladdin Catering

Photographer: Ayesha Ahmad

Band: Go Go Gadjet

Florist: Scentsational Florals

Draping/Platform: Fabrication Events


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!