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 :)






Happy Holidays from The Plannery!

This has been quite the year for The Plannery. Owning and managing The Plannery as a small business afforded me the privilege to stay home with my daughter when she was an infant. But 2016 saw me slowly being able to get back to work, pick up speed again, and sign on more and more clients. I have to thank my amazing team: Tarra has been such an incredible part of our business this year - she took on a ton more coordinating jobs - and kicked a$$ at them all. I look forward to her continuing to take a bigger and bigger role in the coordination side of things here at The Plannery. She's excellent at her job and I hope 2017 means lots of more wedding coordination for her! And of course, at the end of this year we also launched our new event design services, thanks to Kim! In 2016 we tested and tried the services out, and I'm excited to see how that branch of the business can grow in 2017 as well.

Big thanks to all of our amazing clients, past, present and future, for being so wonderful to work with, and for trusting us with organizing your important day. Happy Holidays to you all and a very Happy New Year as well!

Photo by Danielle Hunter




T's 1st Birthday Party

IMG_7778 As some of you who follow me on Instagram know, my daughter recently turned 1 (which, as a side-note, is totally nuts... can't believe how fast that flew by!). I often like to share personal posts about parties I host in order to keep it real - to show you what I do to keep the stress low and the good times high. We ended up doing what you aren't supposed to do for a first birthday - invite a ton of people. But my husband's extended family all lives in the area, and we thought it would be a fun excuse to get family together. We did, however, try to embrace it being a casual affair, what with it being a 1 year old's birthday party!

To keep things simple, we ordered food from Pork Barrell BBQ - a great BBQ joint in our Del Ray neighborhood. We picked up some pulled pork and buns, mac and cheese, cole slaw and other fixings and it was a huge hit. My husband made some deviled eggs, and we had some simple chips and dip and salsa out for guests when they arrived. Beer was on the back porch in coolers. And we used paper plates and napkins and utensils (except we did use real wine glasses since not too many people were drinking wine and it's just so much nicer to drink out of real glasses!). My husband baked the cake which I decked out in some Target treasures - a yellow "1" candle and mini gold bunting.

For decor I also tried to keep it simple. We went with a yellow (her favorite color), pink and gold theme. I picked up some simple bunting (again, from Target), and we got some balloons from a nearby party store. My Mom swooped in and saved the day by helping me repurpose some of the bunting she made for my baby shower (!), adding pink "1's" she cut out and glued on (while I napped. Best. Mom. Ever). Similar to the food, we decided to also delegate the flowers and I reached out to one of my favorite florists, Emily at Love Blooms, to see if she'd be willing to make a fun pink and yellow centerpiece (and did she ever!).

Tallulah was enough entertainment, but in addition to her cake eating (which, btw, she ended up picking up the entire slice of cake and diving in... killed me!), I put out some notecards and asked guests to write a note for her to open on her 10th birthday. I was so surprised and delighted by how many people took it really seriously. I'd see family members go off in a corner, deep in thought - and one of my friends wrote on the front and back! This was a really simple way to create what will hopefully be a fun treasure for her later in life. I like to go for meaningful activities and this one was perfect.

So there you have it. Enjoy some glimpses into the party details below - and remember that even event planners take it easy when it comes to throwing a bash!






IMG_7941  IMG_20160207_134000677




(un)convention 2015 recap

Photo by Betty Clicker Early last month I had the honor of attending (un)convention Brooklyn - part business development workshop, part community-building/networking, part inspiration overload, ALL feminist bad-ass wedding vendors. As their site explains it, a "coalition of progressive, equality-minded wedding professionals, who love working with cool, creative, crazy-in-love couples." YES.

I was asked to speak on a panel about "How to be a Wedding Space Disrupter" - an overwhelming, but fab topic near and dear to my heart. I was joined by Kellee Kahlil of Loverly, photographer Oriana Koren, and blogger Kate Schaefer of H&H Weddings.


Photo by Betty Clicker

I struggle with the fact that my seemingly practical and down-to-earth way of doing things - from my website design, marketing, business practices, and actual wedding planning itself - is seen as disruptive or revolutionary. Yes, it felt that way 5 years ago. It sometimes still feels that way when I run into the odd vendor here or there who responds with a thinly veiled reason as to why they don't work with LGBTQ clients. But I couldn't help feeling disbelief that so many of us around the country still feel alone in the industry, feel odd for wanting something new to be reflected, feel scared to express our true feelings. It's like when my roommate and I were called "alternative" by a preppy douche in 2003 for having short hair. Whaaa???

So the room filled of 60 wonderful vendors both gave me hope and inspiration and also made me shake my head in disbelief that it's 2015 and we need a convention to discuss this. But we do. We so obviously do. And I was so glad to be there because it re-inspired me to do more to truly change the industry - while my blog posts and my leading by example are great, I could be doing more. I could be asking those vendors who refuse to work with LGBTQ clients - Why? I could be submitting more of my diverse weddings to blogs (blog submitting in general is something I... just don't do. But now I feel like I have more of a purpose for doing it!). I could be brainstorming and partnering with more like-minded vendors to create new content, new events, and new ideas.

Mostly, I was struck with this idea that actually hit me when I became a new mother. A couple months after having my daughter, I told someone "I could hear 'you're a good mom' every day and it still wouldn't be enough." Now, I'm not saying I actually think I'm a shitty mom. But I was talking about all of the constant jabber in our ears about being the perfect mom, and you have to do this and be this and don't do that and must do that. It's tough. I like to think of myself as a fairly strong person, and those doubts seep in on a daily basis.

Now take that and apply it to the wedding industry. Couples are hearing and seeing a barrage of must-do's, have to look like this, need to do thats. It's endless. And despite way more opportunities to feel supported than we had even five years ago (like Catalyst Wedding Co, A Practical Wedding, and Offbeat Bride, to name a few), I believe those couples need the constant reminders, much like "you're a good mom," except in the form of "you do you" - you have the wedding you want, here's what really matters, stay grounded and stay real and stay you. I used to think I could do just one blog post expressing my discontent or trying to remind couples of what their true motivation should be (um, marriage anyone? That thing that happens after a wedding?). But I'm realizing now I need to consistently disrupt. I and other wedding vendors like me need to consistently add our voices to shout through the wedding industry's incessant drone.

Trying to wrap all these ideas up into a neat little package, I find myself thinking of feminism in general. That at ALL of these big life moments - adolescence, dating, getting engaged, married, buying a house, having children (or none of the above!) - we often doubt ourselves based on what society is telling us we are supposed to do or supposed to be. The only way to combat that is to remind ourselves and each other that we have choices. That you can be childless and blissfully happy. That you can propose to your boyfriend. That you can wear a yellow wedding dress. Seeing and trusting that those choices are available and valid and real are essential to change. It's incredibly hard to trust in yourself without support. If I can help one person feel confident in their choices and supported at a very stressful time of life, I may not start a revolution, but I can at least be part of one.

Photo by Betty Clicker

Photo by J McCallum

Photo by Betty Clicker

The "styled" issue

Photo by Paired Images I had a bit of a revelation the other day. A hosting revelation. An event epiphany, so to speak. I’ve been fairly vocal on my blog about trying to ease the pressure to be crafty, keeping things simple when it comes to party and wedding decor and DIY projects, and even sharing my own personal holiday and party decor to show that it can be easy and uncomplicated. However, I wasn’t sure where this desire to calm people the eff down about decor came from. Why was I so anti-decor and making tables and centerpieces and events look nice? I realized the other day that it’s about the motivation. It’s about staying true to WHY you want your table to look beautiful.

I attended a small event recently that was really lovely. At the event was a beautiful dessert and drinks table that was “styled” by a local event stylist.

I got the creeps.

In today’s age of instagram and twitter and blogs, I had the sneaking suspicion that this styled table was not for the guests’ enjoyment. It was to be viewed through a filter. It was to be enjoyed by those who could not be there. For those who maybe wish they’d been invited.

Now, I obviously don’t know this for a fact. And I realize I’m walking a very thin line here. Why does it matter if we make things beautiful for ourselves, for our guests, or for instagram followers? Maybe it doesn’t. But I think trying to stay as genuine as we can, in any celebration, is really important. Our motivation to host should be real. It should come from a grounded place. It should reflect the desire to meet, and celebrate, and interact and socialize - not take photos of a table with our phones. We should be motivated to please our guests, absolutely - but to the point that they feel like an effort was made, and you care - not to the point that they’re afraid to reach for a bite of food.

I’ve always had a negative reaction to the word “styled” in the wedding industry, so I realize I’m biased (when I make my dinner table look nice, I don’t tell my guests that I “styled my table” just for them). Styled shoots are not my cup of tea. I prefer real weddings. Real parties. Real people. The fact is, if it’s a good party, shit’s gonna get messy. The cake will be eaten. Crumbs will be dropped. Drinks spilled, and food consumed. I’d really love to see more “after” shots in this industry. The first-looks are great, but some of my favorite photos are of the sweaty couple at the end of the night, hair disheveled, tie undone, dress hem dirty. I realize photos of a picked-over buffet or an empty plate aren’t glamorous. I really do get it. But in our over-styled world, our curated and filtered lenses can blur things sometimes.

So I want to emphasize that if the food is good, if the drink is plenty, and the company is great, people will have a good time. You don’t need a styled dessert buffet if the pie is the bomb. You don’t need an elaborate Thanksgiving centerpiece if you have your loved ones around the table. If you want to spend 2 hours arranging decor for your next event, do it - just make sure you're doing it because it brings you and your guests true pleasure, and not so that you can get 1,000 likes on Instagram. We can’t live our lives and enjoy our celebrations in a “styled” frame of mind. Because life is beautiful and messy.

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Personal: Thoughts on motherhood and work/life balance

Photo by This Rad Love As you all know there have been a lot of changes around here, what with me becoming a mother. Juggling motherhood and my business has been tough - and frankly, at 6 months into this new mommy gig, I’m still figuring it out.

My husband has been awesome, helping along the way as we continue to shift our schedules so that I can help raise Tallulah but also not completely abandon my other “baby” - The Plannery (there have been multiple attempts to find what works best!).

While we continue to work on it, I will say that the addition of Tarra (my awesome new coordinator), has helped immensely. I’m able to send some jobs her way that I no longer have the availability for. I’m hoping to continue to grow my team here at The Plannery so that I can focus on planning and running the business.

Overall though, I think it’s been a great lesson (especially as someone who likes to plan things!) that sometimes things take time. And sometimes they’ll just continue to shift and change and grow and it’s best to roll with it and trust that you as a businesswoman and as a mother and wife will make it work. I don’t believe in the perfect work/life balance. I do think there are days and weeks and months and years where things will ebb and flow and giving in to that has helped me a lot.

So those are my personal ramblings for the day. I just wanted to share that I’m still here (!) and if any other big changes occur in the world of The Plannery, I’ll be sure to let you all know. In the meantime, had to share some of these great lifestyle shoot pics Sarah from This Rad Love took of my awesome family. Feeling really blessed and lucky these days… despite the lack of sleep!

Photo by This Rad Love

Photo by This Rad Love

Photo by This Rad Love

Photo by This Rad Love

Photo by This Rad Love

Photo by This Rad Love


A quick hello to introduce the latest member of the Wannen household, Tallulah Kay Wannen! IMG_2560

We had a very tough labor and delivery, but she finally arrived on February 3rd. After some initial health issues she's on the mend and we're so thrilled she's here!

I also wanted to remind everyone of my maternity leave which is obviously now in full effect. Details on what you can expect, as well as my availability for 2015 and 2016, can be found on my Contact page. I've planned a look back at some of my favorite blog posts while I'm away so expect to see those on social media over the next few months. And once things settle down I may be popping in here and there with some other fun and exciting updates on The Plannery!

Til then, wish me sleep - and wishing you all the best!

Our co-ed baby shower

10419429_10152672112119086_6990401396968443375_n Preggo brain has apparently hit - I meant to run this post weeks ago and forgot all about it. So… since we're still waiting for this baby to make its appearance, lets do this! As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving blog post, our family threw us a great co-ed baby shower the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Since my family was in town we thought it was the best time to get everyone together and celebrate.

What was so freaking lovely about it was that I didn't plan it! I can't tell you how refreshing it was to attend a party and not have any idea what to expect, how it all got done, and just sit back and enjoy. And enjoy I did!

It was held in Evening Star's private room - a space I highly recommend if you're looking for a local place to have a party. It was the perfect size, with a built-in bar and lots of furniture for people to sit but still space to mingle. Plus, the food was fantastic. We had deviled eggs, mini-tacos, and my favorite of favorites, their fried chicken sliders on sweet potato biscuits with gravy. HEAVEN. Oh, and cupcakes from Buzz Bakery. YESSSSS. It was perfect. I insisted on no games (are you surprised?) but the room had a pool table and table shuffleboard, not to mention the football game on the tv, so I think everyone was happy!

Though we're not going overboard with our "colors" for the baby, our general theme is gray and yellow and my family jumped on that, with some yellow and silver balloons throughout the room, adorable hand-made bunting (which I'm totally going to reuse in the baby's room), yellow and white flowers, and a hand-made "Baby" sign (which, again, so reusing in the nursery).

It was an awesome, easy afternoon, seeing family and friends and enjoying everyone's company.

I'm a big supporter of co-ed showers. My husband is just as involved in this baby as I am (except for that whole she's in my uterus thing), not to mention the other men in our lives (fathers, uncles, cousins, etc). I thought it was great to have everyone there to celebrate, rather than just focus on the ladies. It takes a village - not just to raise a baby, but to celebrate a baby, too! Thanks again to our whole family and all our friends. It was such an awesome afternoon!






Guest post on marriage

I got pretty personal over on Capitol Romance today - talking about what Fiji taught me about marriage. Please head on over there and check out my guest post - I hope you like it! Please enjoy my snorkel hair selfie as well. Keepin' it real. And in case it gets you in the marriage mood, a reminder of some past posts from my own blog about marriage and relationships:

Freedom in Commitment

And for you Bachelor fans, a post about The Bachelor (but really about staying firm and confident in your own relationship): When You Don't  Conform