Small Business

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 :)

ForBabyMorgan-CMYK

 

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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

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The Plannery Event Design - the details

KM-all For those of you who have been following along this week, we've been rolling out the exciting new event design services we'll now be offering as add-ons here at The Plannery. Below are more details, and you can also always find even more info here!

Moodboard Design:

Can be added to any of The Plannery’s planning packages. This design option is for the couple who likes to do more of their own design work, but needs help narrowing down a visual theme. About five months out from your wedding date, we’ll set up a meeting to go over your style, likes and dislikes, and colors. After this discussion, Kim creates a one-page moodboard filled with cohesive images and colors that convey the overall mood you’re looking for at your wedding. Once you’re happy with the direction of the moodboard, you’ll use it to convey your style and colors to your creative vendors. It also helps you make design decisions on your own that fit the visual theme. Exact Pantone color codes are provided so you and vendors use the same colors throughout. Kim will be available for unlimited email correspondence if you need help making decisions.

Full Design Plan:

Can only be added to The Plannery’s full or partial planning package. With this option you’ll receive everything that comes with creating the moodboard (see above), plus a multi-page PDF with exact specifications for all things design. We’ll start the design process seven to eight months out from your wedding date. Sample pages could include designs for invitations and paper products, florals, tabletop settings, place card display, ceremony setup, attire, and any other details you’d like included. The design plan includes links for where to buy any miscellaneous decor and other items that have been specified.

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More about Kim - The Plannery's new event designer

Photo by Jay Westcott  

Today I'm excited to tell you a bit more about Kim, our new event designer!

A trained graphic designer and a lover of all things visual, Kim’s favorite parts of planning her own wedding included picking flowers, invitation styles, colors, and wrangling various design elements.

Her eye for design and penchant for organization led to many of Kim’s friends tapping her for design advice when planning their weddings—which led her to realize she could share her skills with others! Looking for a way to broaden her design expertise, she reached out to Katie (who she had hired as her month-of coordinator) to see if she’d be interested in starting a design arm of her company. Katie loved the idea and after a few planning meetings and emails (OK, a lot of emails!) event design at The Plannery was born.

Kim holds a B.A. in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University and is currently a full-time graphic designer at a large consulting firm. She contracts with Katie for clients interested in adding design services on top of a general planning package. She currently lives in Fairfax with her husband in their newly purchased townhouse that she’s enjoyed decorating. In between her day job and wedding designs, Kim enjoys going to barre classes, watching documentaries on Netflix, and discussing Myers-Briggs personality types. She’s an ISFJ, if you’re wondering!

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Announcing - Event Design with The Plannery!

ND-moodboard-v3edit Event design is coming to The Plannery!

Many of you know that ever since the beginning, I have always viewed myself as a logistics-only person. While I do think I have a fairly good eye, and I've obviously learned a lot over my years of planning weddings about what works well and what doesn't, I have never studied design. I often get the question from potential clients as to whether I also do event design. And that answer, for a long time, was "no." Not considering myself anything close to an expert in the area of design, I've never felt comfortable calling myself an event designer. But I was disappointed that I couldn't provide those services to my clients.

And then Kim came along. I actually coordinated Kim's wedding. She was awesome to work with, and did some amazing DIY design pieces for her own wedding (see here). She reached out to me post-wedding to express her interest in partnering with The Plannery. She, unlike me, is an actual designer. As in, she holds a B.A. in Media Arts and Design and is a full time graphic designer - she therefore has a killer eye and is great at creating cohesive visual plans for event design.

As many of my current clients know, we've been testing out the relationship and the process this past year. Slowly rolling it out to see what works and what doesn't, and whether clients were even interested!

And so I'm thrilled to finally announce that The Plannery will officially be offering some great add-on packages to our current services to those interested in event design assistance. Many of my clients are very hands-on, but find they want resources and assistance to narrow down decisions. We're taking that same approach for event design and I'm really excited to offer my clients these new design options! More info is on our website now, and we'll be doing a series of blog posts this week to tell you more, including hearing from Kim herself and more details on the services!

 

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Looking for day-of assistants!

plannery_0071b Hello everyone!

The Plannery team is looking for some new day-of assistants for this Fall and 2017! If you have some event background and want to get more experience or if you're thinking about making the transition into events and think you have something to offer, please reach out. We're looking for rad, reliable people who want to pick up some weekend events work - and we're always interested in people who might like to continue to grow with The Plannery in the future and work towards becoming a coordinator. Please be professional, proactive, and a great communicator. If you think you fit the bill, send a cover letter and resume to me at katie (at) theplannery.com.

Thank you thank you!

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How The Wedding Industry Has Changed

For a variety of reasons I’ve been thinking lately about how much things have changed in the wedding industry in last 5 years or so. What has gotten better, what has stayed the same, and where it’s headed next.

I think the biggest shift is that, generally, sane vendors have infiltrated the industry. And by being in business and providing sane options, couples realize that they have choices - and those choices don’t have to be one extreme or the other.

I think back on my own wedding, and it almost felt like a teenager’s rebellious phase. It was at a moment when people were finally calling out the wedding industry, but we didn’t have other vendors to choose from. And so we rebelled. Everything had to be anti-wedding industrial complex. You couldn’t hire a florist, you had to DIY your flowers. You couldn’t go to a traditional bridal gown store. You couldn’t even have a traditional structure to your wedding - you had to mix it up somehow, make it a cocktail reception, have an alternative venue - all to give a big middle finger to the industry. Looking back on it now, it felt desperate (but, it WAS desperate - it’s awful to not have options or feel you have choices). And that rebellion was necessary. (and without it my business wouldn’t exist!).

Nowadays, it feels like couples have matured. They’ve calmed down a bit. Because cool, down-to-earth vendors exist, couples aren’t as upset at the wedding world. No big EFF YOU’s are necessary. Now, they can embrace some of the traditions that work (ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner and dancing works for a reason), and get rid of the ones they don’t. They don’t get enraged when they try to find a wedding dress that fits them or their style, when they want a planner that doesn’t tell them what they “have” to do, when they want a non-diamond engagement ring (or no ring at all). Because they take a deep breath, and low and behold, those options are visible, are available, and are attainable (thanks interwebs!). I’m constantly seeing things and thinking “goddamn it, wish I’d had that option when I got married!”

All that being said, as our friends at Catalyst Wed Co are well aware of - and as I mulled over in a post after their great (un)convention - the wedding industry still needs disrupters. We all need to keep showing those options, providing validation, and reminding people over and over and over again that they have choices. But as I see and feel the ease from the clients I work with, as I more and more notice that they’re feeling quite confident in their decisions and quite happy with their options, I’m optimistic that we’re on the right track.

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(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

Meet Tarra!

As I mentioned last week, I'm so excited to welcome The Plannery's new associate coordinator on board. Here's Tarra in her own words providing a little more information on her background so you all can get to know her better. And stay tuned for a post about her AMAZING wedding next week! Take it away, Tarra! What a journey it has been crusading throughout the east coast for the better part of this century trying to find my calling.   I spent the majority of my high school years thinking I would become an expert in forensics and criminal profiling - not surprising being the daughter of a veteran police officer in Springfield, MA. By the time I graduated in 2002, I was D.C. bound and scared to death of majoring in anything remotely related to science, which of course is a necessary evil for forensics. I was resolved with psychology and graduated from Howard University in 2006. New York bound, I enrolled in a PhD program in Criminal Justice at John Jay College in 2007. At this point, my inner creativity and passion for all things artistic, beautiful, and musical began to seep out. It’s hard for it not to being in such a vibrant inspiring city teeming with style. Still, I kept my head in the books and went on to do some important criminal justice research, specifically in the area of terrorism. In 2010, this research landed me in yet another colorful east coast city – Baltimore. By then I had been pretty involved with my wonderful partner Jessy. So we bought a dog (Mudd, the extremely handsome American Bulldog) and moved in together for the first time. AS SOON as we were settled Jessy was summoned to Charlottesville, VA for a new job. I followed life’s new curve ball and moved to Charlottesville in 2011.

Weddding Guests

Tarra Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weddings, weddings, weddings, were in the air! This was a combination of being that age when all of your friends are getting engaged or married (myself included) and living in the Mecca for Central Virginia weddings. By then, I had completely had it with grad school and was in search - no, in NEED - of something more stimulating and rewarding. I called a friend, owner of a FANTASTIC wedding venue in the area and asked if I could lend a hand. I felt comfortable and competent in being able to help with events considering my very organized and detailed-orientated nature in grad school and after planning my own wedding in 2012…but I of course recognized that I had a ton to learn. In fact, even now, two years into coordinating weddings I recognize that I still have plenty to learn…and always will. Not one single event or couple or trend is alike and therefore this industry is dynamic and ever-changing.

Photo by Eric Kelley Photography

Photo by Carly York Photography

I am thankful for and look forward to each day that I have the opportunity to be in this career. I am SUPER excited and beyond grateful for Katie in allowing me to join The Plannery. She is such an amazing person and planner down to her realness, thoughtfulness, and good ol’ get’er done attitude. Katie is an authentic communicator and what I like to call sweetly stern, which is yes, you guessed it, a necessary evil in coordinating weddings. I’ve learned so much from her already and cannot wait to continue this amazing journey in the Northern Virginia area.

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New additions at The Plannery

So in addition to my new addition at home, I also had some other big changes up my sleeve for 2015. I'm so excited to announce that I've brought on a new Associate Coordinator, Tarra Morgan, to The Plannery family to help assist me on some of my 2015 weddings, as well as take on some Month-Of Coordination clients of her own! Tarra helped me out this Fall and was absolutely fantastic - she was so proactive, rad, and most importantly - damned great at the job. I'm really thrilled for Tarra to join our Plannery team and continue to grow with us. In the next few weeks we'll be introducing her a bit more - with a blog post of her own about her background, as well as a post on her own stunning wedding to her beautiful wife.

Tarra Morgan

Tarra Morgan

In the meantime, a bit more about Tarra:

Like many others in the industry, Tarra fell in love with weddings after planning her own in Baltimore.  At that time, she was actually pursuing her PhD in Criminal Justice and then it hit her…she was totally in the wrong field.  She knew from then, with every caring, creative, organized, and detail-oriented bone in her body she would dedicate herself to helping others make their wedding day dreams come true!

Tarra's wedding coordinating journey began in the breath-taking Charlottesville, VA region.  Her MO is pretty simple:  Listen, Imagine, and Execute.  Her style is completely opposite of the pushy, know-it-all, you are just another client approach to wedding coordinating (hence, she's a perfect fit for The Plannery).

With a BS in Psychology and a MA in Criminal Justice under her belt, Tarra is continuing her education in the Event Management Certification Program at George Washington University School of Business.  Tarra is a laid-back, quirky, and eclectic New Englander.   She is a planner through and through, though she is open to a little spontaneity here and there.  She is fond of all things creative including art, poetry, photography, and music…especially music.  She resides in Fairfax, VA with her best friend/partner Jessy and their extremely handsome American Bulldog named Mudd.

Please join me in welcoming her!