Here’s What to Do When Your DIY Wedding Needs Extra Help


Meet Lula Mae Special Events: wedding planning superstar and enthusiastic supporter of geekery, feminism, diversity, and glitter—with rates starting at just $75

by Keriann Kohler, Advertising Manager

Bride and groom with Meigh in front of iridescent pink backdrop

Photo by Hot Pink Photo Booth

No one was born knowing how to plan a wedding. Also, no one was born knowing how to perform a triple bypass. But yet, there’s still this highly gendered assumption that if you’re a woman, you know all about planning a wedding, and you’re just dying to do it. But um, no. Unless you happen to be an event planner, you probably don’t have an innate understanding of how wedding planning works, and your enthusiasm may range from “Hell yassss” to “Dear god, noooo” with quite a few, “Making centerpieces sounds fun, hauling chairs sounds awful, and I already have a full-time job” in the middle. If this is you, you might really want the assistance a wedding planner/day-of coordinator who totally gets the wedding planning enthusiasm spectrum, and will jump in with as much or as little assistance as you need—and have the budget for. Never heard of such a person? Meet Meigh of Lula Mae Special Events in Washington, D.C.

Meigh, who is a self-proclaimed “stress-defender, chair hauler, gown bustle-er, idea consolidater, relative wrangler, disaster averter, and listening ear for my couples,” was one of the very first planners to hang out on APW years ago. Back then, she was one of only a few pioneers offering sane, supportive, and affordable wedding planning and day-of coordination. Now, quite a few years later, she remains just as enthusiastic about helping create all kinds of weddings and just as committed to serving a diverse community of APWers, while being that much more experienced. But bonus! Her rates still start at just $75.

Photo by Amber Wilkie Photography

White round cake with colorful confetti on clear cake stand with "best day ever" gold topper

Photo by Olivia Jacob Photography

Meigh and Christina of Lula Mae Events with clipboards outside of reception room

Photo of Meigh and Christina by Kelly Walsh Loss Photography

One of the coolest things about Meigh and Lula Mae Special Events is that Meigh has been reading APW for something like eight years now, so not only does she really get youshe (and her wife Christina) also were you:

I was an APW reader long before Lula Mae Events was a thing, and my very first clients were APW folks, so it’s been a lengthy love affair on my end. APW readers are fantastic because we already share a language and a general set of priorities for a wedding: authenticity, sanity, budget-friendliness, ridic amounts of fun, etc. APW readers are also so much fun to work with because they are incredibly smart and thoughtful about the wedding process, and without exception, they are just really interesting people. I LOVE getting to know families for a weekend and hearing my couples’ love stories, getting to work with my amazing wife, and knowing at the end of each wedding that we’ve helped someone have an incredible, stress-free day on one of the most significant days of their life.

Bride and groom kissing under greenery arch with purple flowers

Photo by Douglas Pettway

While there are many things to say about why working with Meigh is awesome (she gets your priorities, she can organize a great party, and she’s a pro at managing both logistics and high-maintenance family members), here’s our favorite: no judgment. Meigh will be there throughout the process to support you doing you, 110 percent, no matter what:

My answer to “Can we even do this?” is always an emphatic “YES!” My weddings are always client-driven; some planners do the same wedding over and over, or treat it like it’s their own wedding. Friends, I already had a wedding (it was great!), and nothing I do for a client ever has a formula. I want my clients’ wedding to be so them that nobody could ever mistake it. I love cheerleading your vision while organizing the moving parts so everything comes together seamlessly. Pizza truck? YES! Irish dancing? Sure! Balloon drop? Absolutely!

I am an enthusiastic non-supporter of stress, drama, guilt, and budget shaming, and an enthusiastic supporter of geekery, feminists, any/all gender identities and sexual orientations and relationship configurations (somebody give me a poly wedding!), glitter, body positivity, flowerpups and other non-human wedding participants, dance parties, non-dance parties, brunch weddings, brunch in general, piñatas, and hilarity.

I’m thrilled to work with couples of all gender permutations (I married my spectacular wife/quasi-silent business partner back in the pre-marriage equality days, so I have a lot of insight on getting married in D.C. as a same-sex couple), and I am also excited I get to work with lots of interfaith and intercultural couples on creating a day that honors multiple heritages while still feeling cohesive. This year we’ve worked with more same-sex couples, more couples combining different ethnic and religious traditions in their wedding, more dogs(!), more clients from outside the D.C. area (from Canada, Chicago, Brooklyn, and Australia), more couples with families traveling in from outside the U.S. (Ireland—twice!, Korea, Kenya) than ever before, and we’re not even halfway through the season!

Two brides kissing

Photo by KSant PhotographyGroom kissing bride's forehead in field

Photo by Olivia Jacob Photography

Whether you’re just starting to plan and need advice (an affordable venue in D.C. is not going to find itself!), or whether the day is fast arriving and you’re realizing you need manpower or DIY support (it’s totally okay to not want to arrange your own chairs or google how to make centerpieces, you know), Meigh has enthusiastically got you covered with a whole slew of options for professional support:

Consultation: $75/hour
You and Meigh chat for an hour and she applies the benefit of her professional experience to whatever is stressing you. Thorny etiquette problems solved, design dilemmas deciphered, timelines structured, hands held, advice advised.

Month-of Coordination: $1250
For when you’ve got it all planned but need someone to run the show so you can actually sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. This package includes:

  • Face-to-face meeting prior to wedding day to address timeline, vendors, special requests, etc.
  • Venue walkthrough with relevant vendors
  • Vendor confirmation prior to the wedding
  • Rehearsal coordination
  • Emergency kit o’ doom
  • Full coverage on the wedding day, making sure everything runs smoothly from start to finish

**APW READER FAVORITE** PARTIAL PLANNING: STARTING AT $2500 for a one-day event, custom pricing for wedding weekends/multi-day events.
Meigh has found that a lot of couples want to do “some” work on their wedding so that they feel ownership, but not so much that they’re overwhelmed. Enter Partial Planning! She creates a custom plan to get you started, and then acts as a resource, so every time you have questions you have a “wedding buddy” to bounce them off of. This package also includes all the month-of-coordinating helpfulness. Contact Meigh for more info and to come up with a plan of attack customized just for you.

FULL PLANNING: STARTING AT $6000
For folks who don’t have the time/energy/interest to plan a wedding, and just want to enjoy their wedding day with zero hassle, Meigh takes on a few full planning clients each year, and all packages and pricing are custom for each client.

MAKE STUFF!: STARTING AT $75/HOUR
Got some DIY projects you don’t want to tackle alone? Meigh’s your girl. She’ll provide instruction and supplies, you provide the person-power, and together you can get all those ideas off of your Pinterest Board and into reality.

MAKE FLORAL STUFF!: STARTING AT $300
This is an awesome excuse for family and friends to get together before the wedding. You and Meigh take a trip to the flower market here in D.C. to create a design plan and budget, and then have a making party the day before the wedding to put everything together. Meigh provides design support, supplies, instructions, and transportation of the finished items, and the clients provide the flowers and person-power. We hear even the non-artistically inclined folks are surprised at how great things turn out!

Behold some Make Floral Stuff awesomeness:
bridesmaids holding bouquets

Photo by Olivia Jacob Photography

closeup of greenery and purple flowers arch

Photo by Douglas Pettway

Meigh told us that lately clients have been loving her partial planning and DIY floral options, and recent bride Kelly was no exception:

We LOVED working with Meigh—she was amazing and I can’t recommend her highly enough!! In the lead up to the wedding, Meigh did an amazing job helping us think through the details and checking in to make sure that we were on track. She truly was the MVP of our event, and was such a calming presence throughout the entire process. Meigh had a total can-do attitude even for some of our stranger requests and was genuinely excited to help us bring our vision to reality. On the day of the wedding, she made everything run smoothly—if something did go wrong, I have no idea what it was because Meigh and Christina handled absolutely everything without batting an eyelash. She even came to the rescue and sewed my dress when the delicate lace straps were no match for the amount of dancing I did throughout the night.

In addition to her day-of coordination services, we also took advantage of Meigh’s DIY flower package. She took me to the flower market, took my not-so-well-articulated vision and turned it into something amazing, helped me put together the order, and worked with us to put together all of the flowers (centerpieces, bouquets, etc.). I was so happy with how everything turned out, and we would not have been able to do it without Meigh. —Kelly, April 2017

Meigh putting corsage on woman's wrist

Photo by Douglas Pettway

Photos by A Lovely Photo

Not all that long ago, you only hired a wedding planner if you were mentally and financially prepared to work with someone like that eponymously titled J.Lo character. Said planner was way more likely to tell you chair covers matter and budgets don’t, than to validate and defend your choice of a food truck wedding. But thankfully, you lucky ducks can just hire Lula Mae Special Events and get as much—or as little—help as you need. And whether that’s $75 for an hour of logistical advice at the beginning to save yourself some money and frustration at the end OR $1,250 for the priceless heavy lifting of that last month, when you work with Meigh, you’re also getting someone who takes care of you emotionally. Someone who knows what your priorities are and understands that they’re not the chair covers (duh) or even the taco truck. They’re family, and friends, and… love.

LULA MAE SPECIAL EVENTS IS AVAILABLE in WASHINGTON, D.C., and BEYOND!

Keriann Kohler

After spending her formative years in a monastic pursuit to become a professional ballet dancer, Keriann has since embarked on a mission to make up for lost time by doing All The Things. A reader since way back, the APW community has taught her wanderlusting, commitment-phobic self that while exploration is good for life experience, marriage isn’t so bad for a relationship, and she’s been happily married since 2011.

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  • Jane

    Man – if you weren’t in Seattle instead of D.C., I would have LOVED that floral DIY help!

    • Clare C

      I feel you. It’s great hearing about awesome vendors, but then finding them in your area can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Seems wedding planners in Melbourne run more towards the JLo type and don’t get our community hall wedding.
      Meigh’s services sound perfect, but she’s not gonna fly to Oz to help me arrange my flowers…is she?

      • Late to the party, but Clare, when you do end up finding those needle in a haystock vendors (I feel you, I got married in Long Island, NY which definitely doesn’t “get” low key weddings), send them APW’s way! The vendor directory has free mini listings now so they can hop in and they will have a total monopoly as the only Oz vendors. (I do my best to show the handful of Australian vendors that email me that we do have a ton of readers there, but it’s tough for them to get past us being an American site.)

      • Jane

        It can be tough even in Seattle, which has low-key weddings – I imagine it’s because people still don’t associate low-key and/or DIY with hiring a wedding planner. We have a very organized friend as DOC, but otherwise we would be hiring one. Being able to hand off the responsibility is what allows it to feel low-key!! Anyway, good luck!

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