Same-Sex Wedding

The Personal Is Political

Photo by Paired Images Like many of you, I woke up Wednesday in absolute horror. I’d slept a mere 4 hours. I woke to the sound of my daughter singing “Twinkle Twinkle” to herself in her crib and burst into tears. I also had that brief moment of legitimately considering a move. Americans value my worth and the worth of so many, so little? Fine, I’m done. I’m out. I was ready to shut down The Plannery. Get away from the DC area. Attempt to find some solace in solitude.

We are living among people who are silent (or not so silent) racists and/or misogynists. That is clear. Our new president has been an advocate of sexual harassment and misogyny, xenophobia, racism, and has been beyond vocal about his anti-Muslim, immigrant and LGBTQ leanings. Our rights are going to be threatened beyond anything we’ve ever seen.

So I need to be here for them. And I need to be here for you. Because though I’m a teeny, teeny, teeny tiny blip in this completely effed up, overwhelmingly terrible world, I believe that maintaining the strong voice of acceptance, love and equality that The Plannery has always had from day one is something I have to keep doing. I think it does actually matter that when a same-sex couple is searching for someone to support them, that they see my site filled with inclusive language and photos. That when an interracial couple is looking for assistance, they see this post. That someone looking for help who feels their rights, lives and love threatened, sees that there are businesses - and more importantly, people behind those businesses - who support them 100%. The personal is political. The world is so overwhelming right now, that I have to think small. I have to focus on what I can control. I have to believe that the small, personal choices I make every day will make a difference.

I have no idea how the wedding industry is going to change based on the tidal wave of shit I see coming. I have no idea if The Plannery will be able to survive. But I will try. Because while it’s nothing - nothing - compared to what so many people in public service and non-profits do every day, I have to believe my little company, my small voice that says “you matter, your love matters, I am here for you” might change someone’s day, someone’s life. We need to take time to mourn, but then we need to continue to celebrates life’s joys. I hold that thought close to my heart when my young daughter looks up at me and smiles, oblivious to what’s happening around her. I hold that in my heart when I head off this weekend to work a wedding, and hopefully bring a small bit of a joy to a family and community that has had an extremely tough week.

Much more important than this tiny company, I urge everyone to donate to the organizations that are going to need support and will be fighting way harder than I am to help make this world right again. Jezebel put together a wonderful list of options that I plan on donating to - both my money and my time. Please check it out and take action. Our time, our money, our actions matter. Sending peace and love to you all.


Oscar and Blaine // Mexican Cultural Institute Wedding, Washington, DC // DC wedding coordinator

Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah The Plannery's fab coordinator, Tarra, brings you this blog post about Oscar and Blaine's wedding at the Mexican Cultural Institute. I was so bummed I was unavailable for this one, but was very glad Tarra was able to assist these wonderful men. Take it away, Tarra!

Blaine + Oscar = Bloscar! This is the one case where I would say merging the couples’ names together was sheer genius. In many ways, Blaine and Oscar are complete opposites…Oscar love to dance, Blaine does not.  Blaine is very (self-admittedly) Type A, Oscar is not…but Bloscar truly had a personality of his own! Evidenced by a wedding full of details representing both Blaine and Oscar’s personalities and backgrounds.

On the one hand, this special day represented your traditional style wedding (tuxedos, bowties, a formal Episcopal service, etc.)  On the other hand, this wedding gave off a modern, laid-back yet sophisticated vibe - and of course it was extremely FUN!  I think this blend is exactly what Bloscar was going for.  The perfect Greek and Mexican amalgamation. Notable examples include the beautiful Greek crowning tradition performed at the ceremony, and the reception held at the Mexican Cultural Institute featuring a kick ass mariachi band! Even the menu created by Spilled Milk was inspired by Greek and Mexican cultures.  The best part was the Mario Bros photo booth theme!!! Granted, the Mario Bros are Italian, but still somehow it fit in like a glove!

The final thing I will mention about this fantastic wedding was the crazy déjà vu experience I had.  Same-sex marriage + Impeding Hurricane Joaquin = Tarra wondering how the heck she was in this boat again! What are the chances I would experience this two times, in two different roles…first as a bride, then as a wedding coordinator?   Never fear, Bloscar was in excellent hands if I do say so myself!  And it truly my pleasure working with them - Congrats again, Oscar and Blaine!

Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

Oscar and Blaine's Vendors:

Coordinator: Tarra, The Plannery

Venue: Mexican Cultural Institute

Catering: Spilled Milk

Photography: Khalid Naji-Allah

DJ: Khelan Bhatia

Lighting: Protech

Photobooth: Snapshot Moments

Cake: Touche Touchet Bakery

Food Truck: DC Slices


(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

Tarra and Jessy's Baltimore AVAM wedding

Hey folks! This is the last post from our awesome new associate coordinator, Tarra. When I first met her she mentioned she'd gotten married at AVAM and I asked to see a pic. I was blown away and thought you all would be, too! So enjoy this beautiful Baltimore wedding, and the lessons Tarra learned - hurricane and all! **The final photo took my breathe away. Officially convinced the best wedding photos are rainy day photos

**Also, can we talk about how gorgeous these two ladies are?? Ok, I'm done now

I cannot recall dreaming about my wedding day as a child. I do, however, remembering orchestrating countless marriages between my Barbie and Ken, so at the very least I understood the concept weddings and how involved they can be. I also remember really enjoying the coordination aspect of it all, so much that I would literally try to assume every character there was in the “Barbie and Ken Wed” play –mother of the bride, bride, planner, limo driver, officiant, florist, caterer, cake baker, and DJ. It’s no wonder my sisters never liked to play with me! But there was no other way to do it. Things had to be right. I knew Barbie and Ken needed me to be detailed and meticulous…and I delivered!

So even though I initially headed in a different career path (Criminal Justice to be specific), this story shows that the planner has always been in me. When the time came for my very own wedding, that planner finally showed herself again!

The Venue

Jessy and I were married on October 28, 2012 at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore, MD. It was a pretty easy venue choice for us. Baltimore Inner Harbor – check! Non-traditional/unique – check! Artsy/quirky – check! AVAM provided indoor and outdoor options, which we really liked. Yes, we hoped for a freakishly warm fall day so we could have an outdoor ceremony, but that was totally not the case. It was all good in the end, because the gorgeous staircase inside the museum made the perfect ceremony stage for us!

Richard Veytsman Photography

Richard Veytsman Photography

The ‘fits

One of the most important things for Jessy was our outfits…specifically the dress choices. While we did not want to see each other’s selection before the wedding, we just had to. She was adamant about us not clashing with each other as many bride-bride couple tend to do. Since I picked my dress out first, I thought maybe we could get away with me shopping with her and her trusting me that I would not steer us wrong. NOPE! I ended up describing my dress which was very unique and the sales consultant said, “I have something like that, let me bring it out and we will go from there”. What does she come walking in with….yup, you guessed it…my exact dress! She slapped that bad boy on a mannequin and Jessy tried on dresses and stood next to my dress until she found the perfect bride-bride match!

Richard Veytsman Photography

Richard Veytsman Photography

Richard Veytsman Photography

Richard Veytsman Photography

Catering vs. Coordinating

We used Absolutely Perfect Catering (APC). I have only great things to say about the delicious food, presentation and service in general. One of the major selling points about APC was the fact that our point of contact would act not only as a lead caterer, but also as a day-of coordinator for no additional cost. I felt this too good to be true, so the thought to hire a separate wedding coordinator absolutely crossed my mind. APC, however, insisted that it would not be necessary. I should mention that I was not at a wedding planner/coordinator at the time…not even close…so I was a new to the process as most other brides. With that said, I trusted that our contact could act as both a lead caterer and coordinator. Again, while I have nothing but great things to say about APC including our contact’s services…going with a great catering company that offers coordination services definitely has its limitations. Typically, such coordination services extend only to the reception, falling short on the ceremony and all pre-ceremony preparation.   In other words, catering coordinators are not going to review all your vendor contracts before the wedding, make sure you and the rest of your wedding party are dressed in time, confirm transportation services for your guests, cue the ceremony, or make sure you don’t spend too long taking pictures during cocktail hour. Needless to say, I learned the hard way!

Richard Veytsman Photography

Sandy, oh Sandy!

They say rain on your wedding day is good luck! Well Jessy and I must be the luckiest people in the world because Hurricane Sandy brought on boatloads of rain the night of our wedding. As the storm was approaching the East Coast, I was in complete denial. It wasn’t until the phone calls started to come in from various guests apologizing because they were going to make it that I began to FREAK OUT. I knew the threat was very serious when the AVAM venue manager called to discuss potential flooding of the harbor and how we would be forced to cancel. [Editor's Note: Hey remember that post I wrote about having to cancel your wedding and insurance?] Around 7:00 AM the morning of the wedding, we were able to make the final decision that the show would go on!! Sandy was not scheduled to hit the Baltimore area until after midnight, well after our wedding send off. The rain started as we arrived to the venue and continued throughout the night. The air was pretty chilly and boy was it windy. The saddest part of it all (next to absent family/friends) was the lack of outdoor wedding photos…but our AMAZING photographers, Richard & Tara Veytsman, had such a great eye and awesome idea to drag us outside for some INCREDIBLE shots.

Richard Veytsman Photography

There is nothing I would change about our wedding. I consider all of the minor oversights/mistakes and misfortunes as invaluable lessons. Everything that was stressful and challenging about wedding planning was exactly what I loved about it. Strange, maybe? But that is me. I love worrying about everything and thinking through the solutions! And I really love seeing it all come together as perfectly as it was supposed to. Not even Sandy could hold us back…and the way I see it nothing can stop me from working hard to make others’ weddings just as remarkable as ours!

Wes and Brian // Hotel Monaco Wedding, Washington, DC // DC Wedding Planner

I’m not really sure where to begin with Wes and Brian. They hired me for full planning - after a hilarious meeting in which one of them forgot what secret word they were going to use to indicate to the other that they liked me and wanted to hire me on the spot. So I left and then immediately got called back to their beautiful apartment with the news that I was hired!

From there, things just got better. We did site visits at which Wes bought a painting from a gallery. I learned they were going to have a Best Man and a Best “Bitch”. We drank lots of wine over photographer meetings. We complained about people who shall not be named. We basically had a blast.

Wes and Brian originally wanted to do a courthouse ceremony but after seeing the sad trellis that adorns (if you can call it that) the DC courthouse, decided to do an intimate ceremony at the War Memorial. After some post-ceremony photos, they had a cocktail hour and blow-out reception at Hotel Monaco in DC. Wes and Brian settled on gray and red as their colors (Brian may or may not be from Ohio, and red is a lucky color in the Chinese culture), and Mike Bell from MyDeejay rocked it along with Emily from Love Blooms and her modern floral arrangements.

So sit back and enjoy these fantastic images from the super talented ladies at Paired Images. Some of my favorite moments include:

  • Jess from Paired Images stepping up and tying their bow ties cause they’d forgotten to research how to do it. She is the sh*t.

  • Wes and Brian’s gorgeous cake from Fluffy Thoughts and their adorbs cake topper.

  • Me wrangling big, red balloons. And being super relieved when one that had escaped due to some rough play by the kiddies popped mid reception rather than float into Hotel Monaco’s beautiful dome (whew).

  • The insane, raucous dancing.


So thrilled for these two - Congrats again, Wes and Brian!!

Wes and Brian's Vendors:

Wedding Planner: Katie, The Plannery

Venue: Hotel Monaco, DC

Photographers: Paired Images

DJ: Mike Bell, MyDeejay

Florist: Emily, Love Blooms

Cake: Fluffy Thoughts

Uplighting: I Want Ambiance

Photobooth: SillyShotz

Balloons: Balloon Affairs of Frederick

Melissa and Tashia // Josephine Butler Parks Center Wedding, Washington, DC // DC Wedding Planner

In case you couldn’t tell, wedding season hit. Hence the silence on this here blog. The good news, however, is that the photos from the rad, beautiful and fun weddings I worked on this spring are rolling in and I have one of my favorites to share with you today - Melissa and Tashia’s Hollywood glam wedding at Josephine Butler Parks Center, with photos by Chris Ferenzi.

I met Melissa and Tashia way back when at last year’s Say I Do Expo (which I was sadly unable to attend this year due to another wedding). They hired me to help them nail down some of their major decisions and vendors, and then work with them on month-of coordination.

Here’s the thing about Melissa and Tashia - they are one of the sweetest couples you’ll ever meet. Their love for each other is truly palpable, they’re both insanely smart and ambitious, and they’re just a joy to be around. Not to mention - I finally got myself a bride in pants!!! (in case you weren’t aware of my obsession, see here). And good grief, what a hot bride in pants Tashia was (and that vest, and that lace… I could go on). Melissa rocked it equally hard with a stunning dress that featured a bolero she removed for the reception (hot hot hot) and those smokin’ red lips. She also had ridiculously hot shoes that somehow weren't photographed but trust me when I say they were beautiful. I had to get that out of the way cause I was completely obsessed with their bridal attire.


Melissa and Tashia DIY’d a lot of their wedding and you’d never freaking know it. Melissa’s mother did the flowers (can you believe it?), Tashia’s cousin DJ’d, and they created all their own signage and a great record guest book!

After some getting ready pics, a first look, and fun family and bridal party shots, they had their ceremony. Filled with tears, laughter and rainbow tissues, it was simply beautiful. I can’t get over the smiles on their faces.


Cocktails were followed by a delicious meal by Main Event Catering - and then they danced and danced and danced.

I’ll let the rest of the photos speak for themselves, except to mention that M&T hired Tiny Paper Portraits to do hand-cut portraits for their guests. It was a huge hit and they were such a pleasure to work with. Such an awesome, classy alternative to the photo booth. Get on that, people.

Congrats again to Melissa and Tashia! You're such a beautiful couple, inside and out.

Melissa and Tashia's vendors:

Wedding Planner and Coordinator: The Plannery

Photographer: Chris Ferenzi

Venue: Josephine Butler Parks Center

Caterer: A Main Event

Make-up/Hair: Modern Bridal Studio

Cake: Sweet Black Orchid

Silhouette Artist: Tiny Paper Portraits

Becky & Melanie's DIY Arlington VA Wedding

Photos from the weddings I’ve worked on this year are slowly coming in and I’m so excited to share them with you!

First up are Becky and Mel, two fabulous ladies who are not only total sweethearts, but DIY goddesses. Seriously. I’ve never met a craftier bunch (as you’ll see from the photos, below). These wonderful women contacted me in January wondering if it was possible to plan a wedding in 4 months, and a DIY one at that. As you know, there aren’t many rules in my planning book, so I of course said that anything was possible.

Becky and Mel got married and had their post-ceremony reception at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, VA. All you thrifty brides and grooms out there should know that St. George's has a meeting hall that they rent out even to those not performing their ceremony in their church. It’s a great deal and a great space as long as you’re willing to give it a little TLC (which Becky and Mel were - with a little help from yours truly).

The wedding day was captured beautifully by Crystal at Lily B Photography (And did I mention this was the first wedding she’s ever done? She was a friend of the brides and a member of the church and while a super-talented photographer had not yet done a wedding. I thought she did an amazing job).

First of all, you have to love Becky and Mel because they had fabulous green shoes. That just needs to be mentioned straight away.

They got dressed (with a minor wardrobe malfunction which I was able to remedy) and then headed off to pre-ceremony portraits.

Followed by the ceremony in St. George’s beautiful sanctuary

Earlier in the day, and during the ceremony, I, along with some hired servers and awesome friends of the brides, were putting the reception together. This was a big job. Becky and Mel were the ultimate DIYers in that not only did they do all their own decor (down to the most amazing details), they self-catered their brunch reception as well.

There was a bloody mary bar. A waffle bar. A candy bar.


Basically - a ton of great food, awesome details, and a big ton o’ fun.

And did I mention the photobooth?

There was a photobooth


There was also Becky’s father who talked me into the photobooth with him


All in all, a really wonderful start to my wedding season, and a great day! And the best part about DIYing your wedding? You get to keep all the leftover booze.

Becky and Melanie's vendor team:

Venue: St. George's Episcopal Church
Photographer: Crystal Hardin, Lily B Photography
Photo booth: SillyShotz
Rentals: DC Rentals
Event Coordinator: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Musings on Equality

“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.” It's been a pretty great day. DOMA was overturned and the ruling on Prop 8, though not the complete victory it could have been, at least means Californians get the marriage equality laws they want and most likely gay marriage will become legal there. Inequality is still out there (my marriage is recognized in GA while other same sex marriages are not), but I think the steps taken today are huge and important and historic.

My decision to be quite open about my support of same sex marriage wasn't a difficult one for me to make (as I've discussed previously here). But I've recently been reminded that it's a decision that others appreciate. I had an amazing time at the Say I Do Expo recently, and met some truly remarkable couples (that I'm dying to work with - call me, please!). Beyond that, I recently had a vendor at a wedding take me aside at the end of the evening. He said he'd taken a look at my website and that he wanted to thank me for being so open about my support, because he was going to his sister's wedding the following week. She was marrying another woman. His quiet and simple thank you really struck me. It reminded me that though my support is easy and I don't give it a second thought, there are a lot of other people out there who still don't support marriage equality and same sex couples. So here's hoping today is yet another step in the right direction. Love is love. And rights are rights.

p.s. Edith Windsor rules