Adam and Ryan's Carnegie Institution of Science DC Wedding

Photo by Justin McCallum

Photo by Justin McCallum

Adam and Ryan signed on to work with me back when I was about to have my 2nd baby! I helped them get started - nailed down the venue and some of the major vendors, had my baby (!), then came back to help them out with the rest of their planning. And I’m SO blessed and thankful that they took a chance on a very pregnant woman. This might have been one of my favorite weddings of all time. They were so much fun to work with and I knew that their love and their wedding would be so special. Justin McCallum’s awesome photos capture every moment, big and small. They started the day with some photos around the Carnegie Institution of Science. Then after signing the license with friends and family, they had a beautiful ceremony in the round. One of my favorite details was that they’d ordered two custom gobos - one for during the ceremony (which listed both of their “maiden” names), and one after, pronouncing them, The Hunters :)

After the cocktail hour, their wedding party had some of the most fabulous entrances I’ve ever seen, including their officiant walking in to Like a Prayer, the ring bearer dancing, and of course, Ryan clacking that fan.

Dinner by Main Event Catering was delicious, as was their stunning custom cake (which incorporated their married logo) by Fluffy Thoughts.

And then… it was the best part of the night. Adam and Ryan did their first dance to Beyonce’s XO, and then announced the incredible Riley Knoxx. This infamous Beyonce performer surprised the guests with a 20 minute set and kicked off the dance party like no one else. (and BTW, she also appears in Taylor Swift’s new music video!). It was legit one of the best weddings I’ve had the honor of being a part of - I need more Beyonce in my life (who doesn’t??).

Thank you and congrats again to Adam and Ryan for allowing me to help plan and organize this awesome day! And a special shout out to Scorpio Entertainment. They not only kicked ass as DJ but had a ton of other elements to coordinate - like Riley’s performance/lighting/sound, the special logo lighting, etc - and nailed it all.

Adam and Ryan’s Vendors:

Planner: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Venue: Carnegie Institution of Science

Caterer: Main Event Caterers

Photographer: Justin McCallum

DJ, Lighting, and Sound: Scorpio Entertainment

Florist: Highway to Hill

Cake: Fluffy Thoughts

Hair/Make-up: Ebonie Jones

Performance! by Riley Knoxx

Claire and Mike's Mount Vernon Inn, VA Wedding

Photo by Casey Crowe Taylor

Photo by Casey Crowe Taylor

Claire and Mike’s wedding took place on a breezy, cool day in early November. So many elements of their special day were truly timeless. Casey Crowe Taylor absolutely outdid herself with documenting every moment for them. So blown away! I acknowledge that my blogs are getting redundant regarding praising the photography.  Very grateful to have worked with some of the best photographers in the game this past year. 

Following their early afternoon ceremony at Catholic University in DC, we all crossed the Potomac River later that evening to their reception at Mount Vernon Inn. Claire and Mike’s ride being the most fashionable of all in a blue 1962 Cadillac provided by Camelot Classic Car.  

Mount Vernon is a place near and dear to Claire and Mike’s hearts. The place where they had the very first date. As a coordinator, a lot of times we can be spoiled with an easy laid out, straightforward venue. Other times, venues are not as easy or straightforward and require a little more forethought.  We had a great final planning meeting and came up with a great flow for how to best work in a compartmentalized space.  And well if I am being honest, in this case I was still spoiled because the staff at Mount Vernon are total rock stars!  Great food, great company, great band, it is my hope Claire and Mike are beyond happy with how everything turned out on the day they committed to each other in marriage. Congrats to them!


Claire and Mike’s Vendors:

Ceremony Venue: Catholic University

Reception Venue and Catering: Mount Vernon Inn

Coordinator: Tarra Morgan, The Plannery

Photographer: Casey Crowe Taylor

Band: Lucky Pocket (formerly Empty Pocket) from Sam Hill Entertainment

Cake: Swiss Bakery

Hair/Make-up: Modern Bridal Studio

Florist: Thurman & Fig

Guest Transportation: Fleet Transportation

Car for Couple: Camelot Classic Cars

Invitations and Programs: Artisan Matchmaker

Ellie and Nicholas, Longview Gallery, Washington DC Wedding

Photo by Sarah Gormley

Photo by Sarah Gormley

Ellie and Nicholas got married at Longview Gallery, one of my favorite non-traditional wedding venues in DC. They were such a unique couple - their wedding hashtag was #acrosstheaisle - a nod to the fact that she’s a Democrat, and he’s a Republican. You can’t get more DC than that!! Their day started with some photos in the area (by the incredible Sarah Gormley). After a beautiful ceremony, they had cocktails in the back gallery while we flipped the ceremony space into the dining room - so they could eat the incredible meal from Well Dunn! Dancing and sweet treats (including mini Jeni’s ice creams…yummm) followed. He is in the military, and they honored that part of him not only by using his sword for the cake cutting, but with their cake toppers (incredible yoga soldier statues! Yoga for her, soldier for him). My most favorite detail, however, was their “guest book” - two posters for guests to sign: one of Reagan, the other of Obama.

Enjoy this awesome DC wedding! And congrats again Ellie and Nicholas!

Ellie and Nicholas’s Vendors:

Venue: Longview Gallery

Coordinator: Katie Wannen, The Plannery

Caterer: Well Dunn

Photographer: Sarah Gormley

DJ: DJ Evan Reitmeyer

Florist: Uncloudy Studios

Ceremony Music: Tiffany Rose Violin

Hair/Make-up: Ariel Lewis

What does a wedding coordinator actually DO?

Photo by Jess Latos

Photo by Jess Latos

This week we're talking about wedding coordinators!

What to look for in a wedding coordinator? I firmly believe all wedding vendors should make the PROCESS (not just the day-of) easier. Look for a coordinator who is a clear communicator, easy to talk to, friendly, real and who also reflects your values (#loveislove folks!)

Does a coordinator only help out on the day of? NO! We are usually involved months ahead of time, to help couples with their timeline, look for any red flags in the structure and organization of the day, coordinate all details with all vendors, and do a final walk through of the venue. There's no way to do a good job on the day-of without prior planning and involvement.

Coordinators are also important because we help run the rehearsals, along with your officiant. We help line up and organize all wedding party members, talk through (and physically put them!) where they'll be during the ceremony, and cue both the music as well as the actual processional and recessional. All those small logistical details matter!

One of a coordinator's most important jobs is to make sure everyone else is doing their job! We are there at load-in to make sure the caterer, venue, sound/music, lighting and all other vendors are there on time, setting up as they're supposed to, and everything is going according to plan. Trust me, you want someone ELSE worrying about whether the DJ is an hour late (which has happened to me - it all worked out) :)

So what does a coordinator do during a wedding? I always say we think of it as a cueing system - we're always 5-10 minutes ahead of what's actually happening, thinking ahead to the next transition and what needs to happen to make it run smoothly. So why have a coordinator? So your DJ doesn't announce the toasts while the bride is in the bathroom (something I've seen happen at a wedding I didn't coordinate!). A coordinator helps all those seemingly effortless moments happen.

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

JJ-BeforeAfter.jpg

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