Liz and Kyle's Blind Whino Washington, DC Wedding

Photo by Carly Arnwine

Photo by Carly Arnwine

Liz and Kyle were married on the most perfect summer day in D.C. in August at The Blind Whino (now CULTURE HOUSE DC), their kickass venue that I swear has a life of its own. While I was busy setting up for their ceremony and reception, this couple along with their fun-loving and ultra-fashionable wedding party, took some absolutely stunning pre-ceremony photos. Can someone please get me a room at the Canopy by Hilton Washington DC aka The Wharf?! What a hotel lobby and what a pier, their first look could not have been cooler. If that wasn’t cool enough, we all know the Blind Whino for offering some of the best photo ops in the city.

My specific favorite elements of this wedding were the dresses, the ceremony florals, live band, and candy bar. Liz’s dress was out of this world - modest, tasteful, and drop dead gorgeous as were her bridesmaids. One I will remember for a long time.

The vast greenery designed by Sill Life really made this ceremony for me. It was so dramatic and so unique. Just breathtaking and perfect for this venue. There were some concerns about the lighting or lack thereof in the space particularly during the ceremony, but I found everything to be quite warming and theatrical in the best way.

The jam band that Kyle found and made sure would play at his wedding was something everyone from this event will remember. They were phenomenal! I believe a DJ was important to others involved, so I especially liked our compromise and plan to have the band play pre-ceremony as guests arrived as well as through cocktail hour making it extremely lively and fun. After dinner, guests returned downstairs for dancing and CANDY! After all of the weddings I’ve done, I am pretty sure this was my very first time setting up a candy bar and I loved every bit of it.

Congrats again to Liz and Kyle!

Liz and Kyle’s vendors

Coordinator: Tarra, The Plannery

Venue: Blind Whino

Catering: BLin

Photographer: Carly Arnwine Photography

DJ: DMV Premier Entertainment

Band: Power Source

Make-up: Amie Decker Beauty

Florist: Sill Life

The first steps in researching a wedding venue

Photo by Jess Latos

Photo by Jess Latos

This week we're talking about all the things to consider when picking a wedding venue.

Your Budget

The first thing is: have a budget. You cannot start looking at venues without one. Do not torture yourself with venues you can't afford - it's not worth it! You will find one that's right for you and your partner, your vision AND your budget

Get Organized!

The next step in your venue search is to get organized! I love all of the various venues this area has to offer, but the unfortunate thing is, much like the college application process (!), they all provide different information, in different formats, in different locations. To avoid going crazy, create a venue spreadsheet with all the major details so you can easily see what each venue has to offer. And don't be afraid to reach out to them for more info - many offer limited immediate info on their websites, but have packets of details ready to sent you. You can learn more about what that spreadsheet could look like here.

Venue Availability

The third step when beginning your venue search is the venue's availability! Were you dying to get married in the fall so you can have the foliage as your backdrop? Make sure they're free then. Alternatively, maybe you have a venue you want more than anything, but don't mind getting married in the winter if it means you can get wed there. Keep the time of year, which year (!), and your priorities in mind.

Consider your wedding guest list

Does this venue’s capacity fit my estimated guest list? Sometimes venues stretch what’s possible in order to make themselves more attractive to all couples. So you've got to make sure your venue can handle all of your guests. One way to discreetly figure this out is to ask at the site visit: “What number of guests is most successful in this space?” Just because you CAN fit 150 people into a room, doesn’t mean you should.

Venue layout

The final question to ask when looking for a venue, is does this venue’s layout/available space fit my needs? For example, if you’re doing ceremony, cocktails, and reception all in one venue, does it have three separate spaces for all of those events? If not, do they recommend a “flip?” The typical “flip” is changing the ceremony space into the reception space during cocktail hour, when guests are in another area. Flips are a great way to make a venue work for you. However, make sure they are done at the venue often, and ask how they are done: Where are the reception tables and decor stored? Will it require renting pipe and drape (a faux fabric wall to hide these items from guests)? Does it require a space that is weather dependent (such as an outdoor space)? This is where you can recognize potential hidden costs and hidden issues.

The Plannery Event Design - from inception to reality


We’ve previously showed you some examples of how our event design services go from mood board, to action and reality. We have another one to show you this week, from Janine and Jenevieve’s wedding at The Torpedo Factory. Janine and Jenevieve loved how unique the Torpedo Factory was and wanted to play on that artsy vibe. They liked how modern the factory felt, and that it housed actual working art spaces, so Kim incorporated some of those feelings into the imagery in the moodboard. They both loved purples and blues but also wanted to add a warmer color for contrast. Lastly, they were really into playing up the lighting in the space, and wanted a more organic flower style that incorporated several colors. 

As you can see, the florist took this mood board and created lush, romantic, organic pink and purple flower arrangements, both for the ceremony and the centerpieces. We incorporated candles, darker lighting, and pink uplighting to bring a romantic feel to the space. They also took the artsy vibe of the venue - the painting/brush stroke element in the mood board - and brought that into their printed materials (like their escort cards, pictured here), and also used romantic cursive writing. Finally, their family and wedding party wore shades of purple as well, to tie in with their color theme.

Hopefully this side by side comparison, as well as some other photos below help to give you a sense of how this mood board can be a real guide to execute a look and feel for your day! You can learn more about our design services here!

Photos by Shawnee Custalow

How to start planning your wedding

Photo by Jess Latos

Photo by Jess Latos

Talk about your wedding priorities

So you're engaged! Now what? This week we're discussing the first steps every couple should take to get started planning their wedding. First step? Talk to each other and any other family that will be involved (generally parents). It's important to set aside time to really discuss what matters most to you - your priorities and expectations when it comes to vibe, location, and the number of guests. Take notes and see what type of wedding it's shaping up to be!

Establish a wedding budget

So you know your priorities and expectations - what's the next step in getting started with planning your wedding? Budget! Everyone's favorite subject. If you don't have a planner (like us!) to help you, there are lots of sample budgets available online to help you get started. My main piece of advice is to be realistic about both what you CAN and what you WANT to spend. Budgets are also where your priorities come in handy - you may need to cut corners here or there, so decide what matters most so you know where to allocate the most funds

Create a wedding guest list

The third step in getting started with wedding planning is creating your guest list! Create a guestlist spreadsheet with your partner so you can see who you (and other family) really want to invite. You can't pick a venue before you've finalized your guest list - no one wants to find themselves in the bad situation of having to disinvite people because they won't fit, or having too few folks in a huge venue!

Wedding venue

After you've narrowed down your priorities, guest list and budget, the next step is the venue and location. Local wedding cause all family is local and you have a huge family? Destination wedding to a location that matters to you both? Your hometown? Indoor or outdoor? Consider and talk through all the possibilities and what matters to you and your family.

Hire a planner!

The final step in how to get started planning your wedding... is hire us! :) Seriously though - it doesn't have to be us, but a wedding planner is truly a wonderful resource that can help you get started - we help you navigate all the conversations (from wedding vibe, guest list and location), we help you create a budget, and we help to narrow down your options so the whole process isn't overwhelming

Jenevieve and Janine's Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA Wedding

Photo by Shawnee Custalow

Photo by Shawnee Custalow

Hopefully you all saw and heard about this wedding on my social media accounts ages ago, when it was featured on Bustle (and if not, check it out now). Jenevieve and Janine had a truly special love story, and I was honored to be a part of it. After postponing their wedding so that Jenevieve could transition, I was so thrilled to finally see their marriage happen, almost a year after it was originally supposed to occur. 

Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate so instead of having an outdoor ceremony at the Alexandria Waterfront park, we moved it and were still able to have it outdoors, but underneath the tented patio at Torpedo Factory. With the beautiful arbor by Barbara at Growing Wild, no one noticed :)

After a personal and beautiful ceremony, there were cocktails under the tent, followed by a wonderful dinner and dancing inside Torpedo Factory, one of my favorite unique venues in the area. 

Huge props to the super rad Shawnee Custalow for the gorgeous photos. Enjoy these shots and drink in this beautiful wedding! Congrats again Jenevieve and Janine!

**Also check back next week to see another post about J&J’s design. They used The Plannery’s design services and I’ll be showing you their initial mood board and the final product!

Janine and Jenevieve’s Vendors:

Venue: Torpedo Factory

Planner: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Photographer: Shawnee Custalow

Caterer: Catering by Seasons

Band: Take Cover

Lighting: John Farr

Flowers: Growing Wild

Cake: Baked and Wired

Kylene and Tony's The Line Hotel, Washington, DC Wedding

Photo by Jess Latos Photography

Photo by Jess Latos Photography

Kylene and Tony were married at the virtually brand spanking new Line Hotel in the heart of Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C. It was pretty clear that having the city as the backdrop (literally) to their wedding was very important to this ridiculously delightful couple. In their own words, D.C. is where they met in 2013, where they fell in love, and where they call home. The Line Hotel’s rooftop offered jaw dropping views for all to take in during their touching ceremony and Jess Latos Photography killed it with capturing all of the feels! The city skyline was also represented on their remarkable 4-tier wedding cake by Buttercream Bakeshop

It would be criminal for me to reminisce about my wonderful experience working with Kylene and Tony without also reminiscing about the Mother of the Bride - aka the GOAT! Special shout-out to Kylene’s mom who was an infectious ball of energy and so much fun to work with. I mean, hello, she ordered blinged out microphones as dance floor props! With Kylene and Tony along for the ride, all of their attention to detail in planning and all of the blood, sweat, and tears paid off. The worrying was all for naught because the day was absolutely incredible.

Congrats to Kylene and Tony! And thank you so much for adding the scrumptious, uniquely flavored popcorn by Stella’s PopKern as wedding favors, they were a huge hit!

Kylene and Tony’s vendors:

Coordinator: Tarra Morgan, The Plannery

Venue and Catering: The Line Hotel

Photographer: Jessica Latos Photography

Band: Encore

Florist: Growing Wild

Wedding Cake: Buttercream Bakeshop

Wedding Favors: Stella’s PopKern

How to make a DIY confetti sign!

How to make a diy confetti sign.png

This post is several months in the making - I’m still working on getting blog posts up while still taking care of a baby! But - said baby turned one (WHATT??) this past November, and I did a couple DIY projects I thought you all would enjoy.

So I’ll be posting a couple easy, peasy projects (remember, I hate the pressure to be crafty) and then will do a final wrap up of the party, which was so much fun :)

Today we’re talking about how to make a DIY confetti sign. Delta’s 1st birthday theme was confetti. Full disclosure: I did this because I had extra confetti lying around the house! So rule #1 is look at what you have available and work with it!

Step #1.png

The first thing I did was buy the size canvas I wanted (canvas is super easy cause you don’t need a frame, plus the white background shows off the colorful confetti really well), and a piece of cardboard to create my stencil. This was for Delta’s 1st birthday, so I used a ruler to draw out and then cut the number I wanted on my sign.

Step #2.png

I then gathered the rest of the materials I needed - namely the confetti (again, I had some lying around which I cut into smaller pieces), mod podge (the queen of DIY craftiness) and a cheap sponge brush.

Step #3.png

After aligning the stencil and taping it on with painters tape (which could then easily be removed once everything dried) I painted on the Mod Podge. I used the beveled edge of the brush to help keep within the stencil lines.

Step #4-3.png

Then, the fun part! I sprinkled the confetti! At first I let it fall wherever it fell. As things took hold, I started being a bit more strategic, to make sure the colors were fairly even - so I’d use my fingers to apply small squares here and there. But mostly I just let loose and had fun!

Step #4.png

I then blew off the excess confetti, and kept the stencil in place while it dried! I told you, easy peasy. I decided once it was done that I wanted to add a couple confetti pieces around the one to tie it all in - and voila!

FYI, I attempted to go back over the confetti with Mod Podge on TOP, just to see how it went - and the confetti paper was so thin, it didn’t love being saturated by the Mod Podge and the colors ran a bit. So I don’t recommend it!

Overall it made for great decor over our mantle to showcase our little girl and I was really happy with the results


Laura and Bill's Silver Swan Bayside, MD wedding

Excited to share this wedding that Rebecca worked, along with the gorgeous photos from DuHon Photography! Take it away, Rebecca!

Laura and Bill got married at Silver Swan Bayside - they unfortunately had to cancel their mini-moon to the Outer Banks because of Hurricane Florence - which affected the wedding as well, but only by bringing a TON of rain and wind! Luckily, it gave them some awesome moody weather photos, thanks to Cassidy DuHon!

Laura is a big musical theater buff, evidenced by their Tangled cake topper, her "A. Ham" hat during their introductions, and their Hamilton sing along during the reception "To the groom! To the bride!!!"

They had a cutting cake from Fields of Heather Bakery, but for guests had an INSANELY delicious Smith Island Cake Buffet with 4 flavors -- carrot, coconut, chocolate peanut butter and traditional -- all of which were AMAZING!!!

All of the vendors were in on the bride's surprise to the groom -- Testudo, University of Maryland's mascot! Enjoy all the wonderful photos from DuHon Photography - and congrats again, Laura and Bill!


Laura and Bill’s Vendors:

Coordinator: Rebecca, The Plannery

Venue: Silver Swan Bayside @thesilverswanbaysideqam

DJ: DJ Dan Goldman, who kept the party bumping: @djdangoldman

Florist: Atelier Floral Design: @atelierfloraldesign

Photographer: DuHon Photography: @duhonphotography

Hair and Makeup: The Spa at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club @chesapeakebaybeachclub

Transportation: Limos, Inc. @limosinc

Videographer: Just Hitched Films @hitchedfilms

Happy Holidays from The Plannery!

Photo by Danielle Hunter

Photo by Danielle Hunter

Hello All! It’s been quite the year - cannot believe this time last year both Tarra and I were on maternity leave! Things are finally getting back to normal (somewhat!) and we’re all so excited about 2019. I’ll be back to work full time in the Spring, and as you all hopefully know Rebecca O’Donnell joined The Plannery team and has already been taking on a bunch of 2019 clients which I’m so thrilled about!

I appreciate everyone’s patience and support this past year as Tarra and I added to our families - really looking forward to what 2019 brings us. We’ll be kicking off the new year with some more blog posts sharing some of our final weddings from last year.

Til then, wishing you all a happy holidays and a very happy new year from me and The Plannery (and these nuggets that are the reason things have been a bit chaotic!). Thanks again to you all!


Introducing... our new Planner and Coordinator!

Photo by Duhon Photography

Photo by Duhon Photography

I’ve been hoping to add to The Plannery’s team for some time. But as you may remember before Tarra joined our team… I’m picky as hell. The Plannery is my first baby, and I’m very protective of it. I want to make sure anyone who joins is fully on board with our vibe, our high quality, our no-nonsense approach, and - obviously - gets sh*t done.

Which is why I’m thrilled to announce that Rebecca O’Donnell will be joining The Plannery as a Senior Planner and Coordinator. I’ve been obsessed with Rebecca pretty much since I met her years and years ago. In a sea of sugary sweet (and, frankly, bland) planners, she stood out for how direct and hilarious she was - and after she assisted me for a wedding where I needed help last minute (and also saved my butt), I also discovered that she’s a damned good planner. Very talented, gets it all done, kind and generous, funny, but also will be the driving force you sometimes need when making decisions (or dealing with difficult family or vendors).

Please join me in a hearty “welcome” to Rebecca - and head on over to our updated About page to learn more about her (including her own amazing wedding which I’m pretty much obsessed with). And don’t forget to check out our updated testimonials page to hear what clients say about her (and you can also always visit her old Wedding Wire page to see some reviews from past clients there as well!).

Rebecca, The Plannery is SO lucky to have you and cannot wait for all the sh*t we’re gonna get done for couples in 2019 :)