Meet Sara Skinner, Scarlet Plan & Design's Founder | Charleston Wedding Planner, Designer & Bridal Stylist

Sara {aka G. Dubs} is the sassy smart mouth, wild hearted girl-boss and creative genius behind Scarlet Plan & Design and Revolution Wedding Tours. This Jersey Girl wants to live in a world where her Hogwarts acceptance letter came on time, sarcasm & champagne burns calories and Pinterest projects turn out just like the pictures. As founder she travels a lot for our full-service clients, mentors all the new hires, and handles all the big-picture decisions for SPD like where we're heading next, who to partner with and all the other businessy stuff that goes along with her fancy-pants, grown up title. 

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We don't do "gay" weddings | Charleston, Atlanta & destination nontraditional wedding planner & designer | LGBT wedding planner

I have a feeling this blog is going to ruffle a few feathers but I'm ok with that. This has been on my mind for quite some time and I feel like I need to just go ahead and get it out in the open. I'll likely lose a few friends and a few likes on our Facebook page, but, again, I'm ok with that.  

I've been working with this one wedding vendor for years and years and absolutely adored working with them. I recently inquired about a date for one of my couples and they were totally available...until they found out I had a same-sex couple. Then all of a sudden the convo got super awkward and they had to "check their schedule" and would have to get back to me. Ultimately they passed on the wedding without any real explanation.

Now, I'm not here to point any elbows or start any drama, but I do feel like I need to get something out there.

We don't do "gay" weddings. There, I said it. Now hold up a second, before you go and get all bajiggity about it, you should also know that we don't do "straight" weddings, "white" weddings, "black" weddings, "Chinese" weddings, "Jewish" weddings or any other wedding you're tempted to label.

You know what we do?  

We do weddings.  Period.  

We do big weddings. We do small weddings. We do medium sized weddings. We do weddings with two grooms. We do weddings with a bride & a groom and weddings with two brides, too. We do pop up weddings and elopements. We do incredible, authentic, unique, breathtaking, heartfelt, swoon-worthy weddings. We do weddings so filled with love and heartfelt joy that our entire team straight up Ugly Cries as the couple exchanges their handwritten vows.  We do super unique, weird, quirky weddings.  We do weddings steeped in tradition.  We do Muslim nikkahs.  We do fusion weddings combining time honored traditions with new traditions that our couple has created.  We do weddings where the clients want to hang cakes from the ceiling with circus performers swinging around it.  We do weddings with food trucks and ultra luxe weddings with seven course meals presented by white gloved servers in tuxedos.  We do weddings where instead of exchanging rings, they both get tattoos.  We do weddings where the bride is escorted down the aisle by her children and they have a "family ceremony" where they all pledge to love one another and to go forth as more than just a husband and a wife, they go forth as a family.  We do weddings where it's just the couple, their officiant, me and a killer photographer on a cliff overlooking the sea.  We do weddings where the couple has their best friend in the entire world get ordained so he can legally marry them using a ceremony script the three of them wrote together.  (That wedding hit us right in the feels.)

I guess my point is, yes, of course we do same-sex weddings (and straight ones and black ones and white ones and all the other ones too)! And for us it's really about everything but the orientation of our couples, cuz let's be honest, that's none of our damn business anyway. #amiright?! 

We don't care how you love, the only thing we care about is that you love.

We love loveWe love it in all its many forms. We love helping our couples celebrate their love for one another more than anything and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank the good Lord for allowing me to do what I love.

And speaking of Him, I believe with all my heart that the greatest commandment we were ever given was to love one another (Matthew 22:36-40) and that's exactly what I intend to do.  I'm confident that when I'm called to account for my life in front of my Creator, all He's really going to care about is that I did my best to love folks without judgement and helped them celebrate their love for one another.

Now how about we all enjoy some photos of a few weddings that just make us happy, happy, happy?! You can't tell me that seeing people this happy makes you do anything but smile!

mike allebach, the creative genius behind the lens for this photo, is available for travel to all 50 states and abroad

mike allebach, the creative genius behind the lens for this photo, is available for travel to all 50 states and abroad

the couple's best friend, Alan, officiated the nuptials in this photo

the couple's best friend, Alan, officiated the nuptials in this photo

mazel tov!

mazel tov!

a ceremony filled with love and the promise to go forth as a family was just perfect for this couple

a ceremony filled with love and the promise to go forth as a family was just perfect for this couple

scarlet plan & design
who says you can't wear a tuxedo with flip flops?

who says you can't wear a tuxedo with flip flops?

a traditional church wedding with 11 bridesmaids and 9 groomsmen at peachtree road united methodist church in atlanta

a traditional church wedding with 11 bridesmaids and 9 groomsmen at peachtree road united methodist church in atlanta

jumping for joy!

jumping for joy!

matching boat shoes?  i looooove!!

matching boat shoes?  i looooove!!

scarlet plan & design boone hall plantation wedding

How to Get Your Body Ready for the Wedding Day in 3 Easy Steps! | Scarlet Plan & Design Charleston, Atlanta & Destination Nontraditional Wedding Planners

OK, friends, I'm going to help you get your body ready for the wedding day in 3 super ridiculously easy steps! Ready???

photos by catherine ann photography

photos by catherine ann photography

Step 1. Buy a wedding gown. Step 2. Put it on. Step 3. Get married.

It's just that simple.

The other day I read a blog on another planner's website (I'm not pointing any elbows, but you know who you are, jerkface) on their new partnership with a fitness studio with the sole purpose of getting engaged women "slimmed down and fabulous for the wedding day". Seriously. The tagline was actually something like "Lose your big booty in time for the big day!" Aca-scuse me?? Y'all, I've got myself a serious badonkadonk kind of derriere. I mean, it's the kind of booty you can see from the front. So I was just a little offended. Then they had tips at the end for skinny chicks to gain weight so they wouldn't look "wasted away" cuz, ya know, that's how skinny chicks look, right? Ummm, nope.

Now before you  go getting all bajiggity, let me tell you that this is not a blog post aimed at bashing folks one way or the other. 

So fast forward a couple days and I'm flipping through a super high-end bridal magazine and one of the ads was from a plastic surgeon's office and the model was literally covered head to toe in little red circles highlighting all the things some asshat thought was wrong with her and that she, obviously, should change {insert serious sarcasm font here}. Nose job. Lipo. Botox. Boob job. Tattoo removal. Booty implants?! Are you for real? The chick in this ad was MAYBE a size 0-2, drop dead gorgeous, not a single line, freckle or dimple to be found, had obviously been photo shopped to the MAX and yet, even she should still make a zillion changes in order to fit someone else's idea of perfection. It even suggested that she consult them on tightening her, erm, uh, ya know....her lady junk... Yeah. It went there. My jaw hit the ground so hard it was halfway to Australia before I could blink. 

What is that ad saying to all the women reading it? What's it saying to the average sized chicks? What's it saying to all the tiny girls? What's it saying to the thick girls? How about the chicks with tattoos? What if people with tattoos actually {gasp!} like their tattoos?! 

Why isn't anyone pissed about this?

Well, guess what? I'm pissed. I'm pissed that anyone would have the audacity to tell a bride-to-be that they should change who they are or what they look like for their wedding. I get it, you want to look your absolute best, right? And if those are all changes you want to make for yourself, I got your back. I'm 100% on board for whatever makes you feel amazing in your own skin, but don't you ever think that you need to change everything (or anything!) about yourself in order to get married. That's just batshit.

You're perfect. 

And let me be clear, again, just in case we've got trolls in the dungeon {like my Harry Potter ref?} this is not some skinny/fat bashing blog post so don't bother commenting and taking some uptight, bajiggity stand right now. And if anyone uses the totally overused word "shaming" in conjunction with anything I say on this blog you will get a high five in the face with a chair. You've been warned so go sit down, trolls. I'm not shaming shit (God help me, I hate that effing term). I'm simply telling you that you're absolutely perfect exactly the way you are. 

Go take a look in the mirror. You see yourself right this second? That beautiful girl staring back at you is exactly the person your dearly beloved wants to marry. Not the you 20 lbs lighter. Not the you after you've had a nose job and botox and lifts and tucks and this and that.  Not the you with with tighter, rejuvenated, vajazzled skiddlyboop. Your fiance loves you. The you with tattoos. The you with no makeup on. The you that hits the gym on the daily and even the you that doesn't. The natural haired you and the you all relaxed and sleek. The you that proudly owns that dookie booty and the you with the teeny weenie toushie. The you who loves junk food and the crunchy, vegan, health nut you. The you who runs for fun and the you who only makes wine runs.

Just you. And I just wanted to tell you that you're absolutely perfect.

Now go buy yourself a wedding gown and let's plan a wedding!

We started a Revolution! | The Scarlet Wedding Tour is now Revolution Wedding Tours

This blog was first posted on Revolution Wedding Tours.

We've been quietly working on launching RWT for months now and I'm overjoyed to finally share this with the world! I know we unveiled the name and logo and such at the last Tour, but now we get to show off the whole sha-bang!

Before we go any further, though, I need to just to clear up a few things. My planning company Scarlet Plan & Design absolutely still exists and we're all still happily planning and designing gorgeous weddings and events over there. Scarlet Plan & Design is still and will always be one of the Tour's biggest sponsors but the Scarlet Wedding Tour is now Revolution Wedding Tours. A company all its own (and mine, too, *wink wink!) with the sole purpose of inspiring engaged couples and promoting small business.

Which leads me to explaining our name change. With the success of the Tour and us bringing it to cities all over the US in 2016 we knew that it needed it's own website and whatnot and at first I was vehemently opposed to removing "Scarlet" from the name. After all, the Scarlet Wedding Tour was SPD's baby and if "Scarlet" wasn't there, how would anyone know that?!

But then I got to thinking and realized that changing the name might not be such a bad idea. However the thought of a cutesy, or girly, or froofy forgettable wedding related name made me wanna barf. We're not that kind of company and I'm certainly not that kind of girl. So the Tour definitely couldn't have some sissy name. What we are doing is cutting edge. It's daring and epic and unique and creative and revolutionary. Nobody anywhere is doing anything even remotely like our Tour.

In case you're unfamiliar, I have what some might call an obsession with George Washington. Like I can easily point out nearly every place he's been here in Charleston, I've been to all kinds of forts and battlegrounds up and down the East Coast, I even went to history camp {yes, it's a thing} in Trenton, NJ one summer when I was a kid with the sole purpose of tracing the footsteps of old G Dubs {I never said I wasn't a nerd, guys}, anyway, you get the point, right? So there's a great new show out on AMC right now that centers around Washington's spies {TURN is great, y'all!} and, naturally, I'm a big fan and one night as I'm watching it the word Revolution hits me like tea hitting the cold waters of the Boston Harbor. 

And I realized that we had started a revolution! A revolution in wedding shows!

REVOLUTION {rev-uh-loo-shuh-n}

NOUN: A) a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people's ideas about it: {a revolution in wedding shows and what they mean to engaged couples and wedding professionals}; B) a moving in a circular or curving course around a central point.

But it's even kind of a fun double play on words. Our goal is to shake up the established norm of how and what makes a "wedding show" by turning it on its head and rethinking everything. And that's what we've done. A wedding show doesn't have to mean rows and rows of booths and tables. A wedding show doesn't have to happen in a big old auditorium or hotel ballroom. And you'll never find any of those things at one of our shows!

Also, in terms of movement, a revolution goes in a circle around a central point and that's exactly what our tours do! They start and end in the same location and travel around the city in a round robin.

And thus, the Revolution was born!

Photographers on Scarlet Wedding Tour are The Click Chick Photography, Sea Star Arts, You Are Raven & Catherine Ann Photography! | The Wedding Show On The Go (TM) | Charleston Wedding Show Alternative

Eeeeeek! I am so excited to start spilling the beans about the amazing vendor lineup we've got for the next Scarlet Wedding Tour!!! Today's post is all about the incredible photographers shooting at the venues our guests will be touring. Guests will be given the unique opportunity to get an up close look at how these talented folks work at events all while getting to know them better in an intimate setting. Although they all have very different styles, every one of our photographers is incredibly talented and we're beyond overjoyed to have them all on the Tour!

In case you're unfamiliar with our amazing Tour, we've rethought the traditional wedding show at the SWT, y'all. On our Tour you'll be skipping the enormous crowds, and you definitely won't find vendors stuck in rows of booths with only a few seconds (if that!) to chat with you while clawing past other brides-to-be for a small bite of shrimp and grits or a tiny sip of a weak watery cocktail. Guests will be split into small groups with other super fun newly engaged couples and shuttled aboard amazing vintage buses to tour 4 unique venues for tours and tastings all in one incredible afternoon.  Read more about it HERE.

happy planning, loves!


tickets available here

First up we've got a veteran of the last SWT, my sweet friend Mackenzie Clark of The Click Chick of Photography! She will be shooting at my venue, Cannon Green. Her style is fresh, fun, playful and vibrant.  Her eye for detail and styling her shots to perfection has made her a go-to photographer in Charleston and we're so happy to have her on the Tour again! Read more about her here.

Next we've got Raven Shutley of You Are Raven Photography shooting at The Cedar Room, designed by Sara & Regis. Quirky and playful, we're pretty much obsessed with all things Raven and couldn't be happier to have her on the Tour!

How long have you been in the event business? I've been a photographer for around 8 years, and started focusing on weddings & portraits about 6 years ago. Weddings are my FAVORITE thing to shoot, now!

What inspires you? My couples! Everyone is different and every couple is different as well, their love manifesting and appearing differently depending on their story both as individuals and together. So though I always stay true to my style, I shoot every couple slightly differently depending on the vibe I get from them. I'm also super inspired by locations! I love finding really great textures, colors, or shapes that help me say a little something about my couple.

What will guests of the Scarlet Wedding Tour be seeing from you? They'll be seeing how I work with an awesome couple and as a bonus, how I work an event space! With every group that comes in, I'll be challenging myself in new ways to show them how I work, my style, and my personality. We'll be exploring the space, utilizing it in new and wacky ways with each new wave of people.

What do you love most about this industry? I have met, worked with, and photographed some of the most amazing people in the entire world. Not only are the people I work with always kind, generous, genuine, fun, hilarious, and laidback, they all greatly appreciate art and highly value creativity. Equality and purpose are incredibly important to them, and I adore that. My fellow vendors and I are working hard to change the world, one wedding at a time, to make it a happier place where everyone feels welcome to be themselves, and I think that's all kinds of amazing.

What do you hope guests of the Scarlet Wedding Tour will take away from this experience? I hope that their minds expand and are filled with so many ideas of how their personal perfect day can be created. How the things that make them who they are can take physical form with a talented team of creatives who understand what they're looking for and get them as people.

Another veteran of the first Tour, Katie Capo of Catherine Ann Photography will be filling her pockets with salt when she shoots Amy's haunted venue, Old City Jail. Clean, elegant and timeless are just a few of the words I'd use to describe Katie's style and I can't wait for our wonderful couples to meet her in person!

How long have you been in the event business/and/or business for yourself? I started shooting weddings in 2009, but didn’t really establish myself as a business until 2013. 

What inspires you? Dreamy natural light & historical places for sure! But authentic moments are my favorite thing. Nothing makes your photos shine more than being joyful and honest with your emotions on your wedding day. 

What will guests of the SWT be seeing from you? They’ll be seeing Jay & I in action, capturing the details of the Old Jail & the models, as well as candid moments of the guests. They might even see some sneak peek photos of the set up while on the tour!

What are some of your favorite venues to work at? My favorite venues are outdoor garden areas & historic places. If I had to name a few, I would say Lowndes Grove, Middleton Place, and Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. I think the Old City Jail will make that list after the tour for sure!

What do you love most about this industry? Definitely the other vendors. They’re always willing to help, pass on referrals, and I can always count on them to go out for dinner and chat! Most of us work alone, so others in the industry act as our ‘co-workers’ and I think thats important. You need a ‘team’ to succeed, even if you’re not all doing the same thing. We’re all in different departments (-; 

What do you hope guests of the SWT will take away from this experience? I hope that guests will see how important it is to hire professional wedding vendors if they want to bring their wedding visions to life. If you’re going to spend the money on a wedding (which IS a costs next to nothing to actually get married) then you might as well hire the best people you can and not skimp out on one area, while splurging on another. No point in spending so much on a spectacular venue and wedding gown but then skimp on the flowers and photography! I also hope it inspires them to think outside the box for their wedding venues. I never would have thought to have a wedding at the Old City Jail, but now I think its an amazing spot and will definitely be memorable to guests. 

Name on thing/place someone coming to Charleston from out of town must see or do. Oh dang, this ones hard! I suppose taking a history tour (be it walking or a horse and carriage). Charleston is so full of history and is interesting to learn about. You’ll see so much of the city that way and you’ll have a knowledgeable local telling you about everything.

And last but certainly not least we've got Jeni Becker with Sea Star Arts will be the photographer with Alicia at the stunning Wingate Plantation on Johns Island. This sweet new mom's style is warm, fresh and filled with emotion.

How long have you been in the event business? I have been photographing weddings for a decade now. Having a creative business is exciting!

What inspires you? Light. Sparkling light that is in someone's eyes, coming through the trees, dancing on the water... light! It is nature's way of sharing emotion.

What will guests of the Scarlet Wedding Tour be seeing from you? The SWT guests will be treated to polite southern charm. With a side of humor and sweet photographs to remember the fun day!

What are some of your favorite venues to work at? Have you seen Charleston? I mean really seen this town? I have traveled all over the world, photographed venues in many states, and I always come home to the most beautiful place on earth. So favorite venue? Any and all along our precious waterways. 

What do you love most about this industry? We have a terrific group of vendors that truly live for the wonderful experience of a wedding. Everyone I have worked with all have one goal in mind, to take care of the couple getting married and make it a once in a lifetime experience. It is thrilling that so many people truly care about the events and the guests while taking grand care of the two saying their vows!

What do you hope guests of the Scarlet Wedding Tour will take away from this experience? I truly hope that the guests that invest their time in the SWT find new friends, exciting ideas, and inspiration from the light that will shine in each venue. There is truly something for everyone!

Name one thing/place someone coming to Charleston from out of town must see or do. EAT! You get all of the senses excited! Amazing food in really cool places with lots of history and charm! My favorite thing to do with my husband is just walk around sampling drinks and appetizers while strolling down alleys and holding hands under live oaks and Spanish moss. 

7 things to do the morning of your wedding | wedding planning advice | charleston, atlanta, new york nontraditional wedding planner

OH MY GOODNESS!  Today is the Big Day!!!  What are you doing the morning of your wedding?  All too often when I ask this question my sweet brides start listing a million things they have to finish up and I just want to beg them to take it easy so I figured it was probably high time for a blog on this subject.  The only things you should be doing the morning of your wedding are relaxing with your nearest and dearest and being pampered by your makeup artist, but here are a few of our tried and true suggestions!

photo credit :: VUE photo

1. Eat a big old breakfast!  Then eat a big old lunch!  You're probably not going to have another chance to eat for a very long time so eating now is essential.  And odds are, your bridesmaids have lots of champagne ready to be poured so avoid getting tipsy on an empty tummy and eat up!  Tip: make sure its high in protein and complex carbs to keep you going for hours.

2. Spend the morning with people you actually want to be around.  There's no law or rule saying you have to spend the whole morning with every single person in your immediate and extended family, bridal party and well meaning visitors, so if a big huge group is not really your scene, ditch the crowd and just kick it with your mom and bestie!  And guess what?  If you want to sneak out and have coffee with your soon-to-be hubby, that's just fine too!  The one and only person who was able to calm my nerves the morning of my wedding was Tony and thank god he stopped by the house to pick up his forgotten tie and check in on me.  One hug and a smooch from that handsome fella was all I needed to soothe my frazzled nerves and get my day started right!  So throw the rules away, smooch your sweetheart and dance on the bed with your bestie!

3. Stay hydrated!  For every glass of champagne (or coffee) you have follow it with a glass of water.  No, it will not make you look bloated but it will keep you from getting a headache or getting tipsy too early in the day.  Seriously, nobody wants to be that hammered bride at her own that for your bridesmaids weddings!

4. Write a sweet card or letter to your love!  Have your wedding planner or a bridesmaid deliver it to him with your groom's gift.  Or better yet, exchange the letters with a door between you to keep from seeing each other and read them at the same time.  Bonus points if the photographer catches either of those things in motion!  #swoon

5. Steal one of your sweetie's favorite button down shirts to get ready in.  When getting your hair and makeup done the morning of your wedding the last thing you want to do is wear a tee shirt that you'd have to pull over your beautiful hair and makeup risking smudges and smears and ruining your lovely hair.  By snagging one of his beloved button downs your hair and makeup will be safe and your getting ready shots will be even more special.  Bonus points if its one of his college team shirts!

photo credit :: dana cubbage weddings

6. Do a "First Look" with your parents or just your dad.  Everyone is always talking about the First Look with the groom, but the first time your mom and dad see you all made up and in your wedding gown, the tears are bound to flow and stunning heartfelt, tear-jerking photos are usually the result!

7. Take a few minutes alone to let it all sink in.  Pray, meditate, cuddle with your dog, do whatever brings you peace when everything around you is going at full speed.  You've spent months, maybe even a year or longer, planning a wedding and now that it's finally here, try to slow down for just a few minutes and find some quiet.  This day is going to fly by and if you don't stop to enjoy it, it'll pass you by in the blink of an eye.  Let the joy that this day is filled with come into your heart and just try to focus on the new life you and your beloved are forging from this day forward.  

Well, there you have it!  Those are our favorite tips and suggestions for the morning of your wedding!  What are some of yours?  

Happy planning, my loves!