How do you want to feel on your wedding day?

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Photo by Shandi Wallace

I recently talked on my InstaStories about exercise, and how tangentially that related back to wedding planning (check my ramblings out here in my highlights, if you want the original source material!). Basically, I was thinking about how I, as a typical type-A person, suffer from anxiety and I’ve recently been using exercise to help manage my mental health, keeping me feeling good and happy.

I was then thinking about all you poor couples out there - brides and grooms who are so often marketed to about how you’re going to LOOK on your day. How to lose the weight for your wedding, fit into the dress, all that bullshit (including this recent NY Times article that sent me into a rage spiral). And not only that, but what items you’re going to have at your wedding that can be photographed and then blogged about. What the centerpieces will look like. What the venue looks like. Looks, looks, looks, looks, looks.

Which brought me back to feelings (cue “feelings…”). At The Plannery, as much as we care about how things look and that your florist or event designer is doing what they should and everything looks as you want it to look, what we actually care about, and what I consider my JOB - is that you feel good. Our main priority is how you feel, NOT how you look. If you’re feeling calm, relaxed, stress-free, able to have fun and in the moment then I have done my job.

Photo by Go Kate Shoot

Photo by Go Kate Shoot

And so though how you feel is what I believe sets us apart as wedding planners, that’s really hard to Instagram. I don’t have a lot of pretty pictures to show you what feeling good on your wedding day looks like (though I certainly can try, and sometimes the awesome photographers I’ve worked with capture just that!). But I’ll just ask you to step away for a moment from the social media, the wedding magazines and blogs, the mood boards (though we do love ourselves some mood boards), and think about this question that very few people ask you: how do you want to feel on your wedding day?

And then hire people who will make the process of planning a wedding, and your actual wedding day, feel really damn good.

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Photo by Shandi Wallace

Dodi and David's Shenandoah Woods Wedding

Photo by Josef

Photo by Josef

David and Dodi were wed in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain on a dreamy summer day in August. On that very morning, in the very same spot they exchanged vows, I saw the cutest brown bear roaming around just hours before guests arrived.  The only reason I didn’t freak out and am able to call it cute is because there was ample distance between myself and the furry guy as I worked to set up David and Dodi’s event. The Pavilion at Shenandoah Woods is such a gorgeous venue, offering magnificent views and sightings! 

The vibe of the event reflected both David and Dodi’s lively, beautiful, kindred personalities equally. It was rewarding as a planner/coordinator to watch their ideas and visions unfold and come to life. In working with David and Dodi, it was clear that their plans were driven by passion, which in turn led to the most magical, meaningful, memorable day. The major highlights would have to be the following: 1) Dodi’s show stopping lace romper worn at the reception and 2) The Silent Disco!!! 

As they celebrate their one year anniversary (boy does time fly!), I can only hope that they are still basking in newly wed bliss and that their passion is just as fierce as the day I met them! Congrats again, Dodi and David!

Dodi and David’s Vendors:

Coordinator: Tarra Morgan, The Plannery

Venue: Shenandoah Woods

Catering: Valley Pig Pickin

Photographer: Josef Sullivan Photography

Silent Disco: Headphone Disco

Bartenders: Garnished Events

Florist: Vivian’s Flowers

Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

Caitlin and Michael's Dumbarton House, Washington, DC wedding

Photo by Love Life Images

Photo by Love Life Images

I must begin by acknowledging what an incredible job Love Life Images did with this joyous wedding between Caitlin and Michael. This may be my all time favorite shoot. Elisha Maria has such a magic eye and is so much fun to work with! Of course all of her subjects were simply beautiful to capture - and I do mean all…the stunning bride, dapper groom, doting parents, gorgeous St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church, and charming Dumbarton House.  

Being a boutique wedding planning and coordination company, we get our fair share of beloved offbeat couples that plan rad, offbeat weddings. #loveoffbeat! That said, when a super classic, traditional wedding comes my way it always makes for a very special treat. The major highlights of this event included Caitlin's gown and lace trimmed veil, the vintage car, and personalized wax sealed notes for each guest!

The other touching part about this wedding was the role of Caitlin's dad. Dr. Amborski fully embraced the notion of his little girl getting married - he took wedding planning to a whole new level! At times I was taking notes from him ;-) No stone was left unturned and his number one objective, which was without a doubt accomplished, was to make Caitlin and Michael's day as beautiful, perfect, and memorable as ever. 

Congratulations to Dr. & Mrs. Taylor!

Coordinator: Tarra Morgan, The Plannery

Ceremony Venue: St. Mary Mother of God

Reception Venue: Dumbarton House

Catering: Main Event Caterers

Photographer: Love Life Images

DJ: Entertainment Exchange

Hair/Make-up: Alison Harper and Co

Florist: Growing Wild Floral

(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