If there’s one thing WED co-founders Natalie Pinney and Moira Thompson want you to know about their full-day wedding planning experience, it’s that it is not an expo.
“It’s really about educating and empowering people,” Pinney said. “People are almost surprised that we’re giving away the information.”
Taking place on March 31, the event is made up of three speaker sessions, each followed by a corresponding panel, and punctuated by breaks that allow guests to connect with vendors in experiential installations.
WED’s lineup includes planners who have been deemed the best of the best by the likes of Brides Magazine and Vogue. Pinney said she and Thompson, who are the owners of local wedding planning, event design, and floral studio WHIM Events, sought out experts that were both experienced and transparent.
“We wanted to curate the best of the best,” Pinney said. “We didn’t want it to be — and I mean this in a good way — we wanted it to be more than just Boston, because this is about the content.”
Michelle Martinez and Christy Matthews, wedding planners and co-hosts of The Big Wedding Planning Podcast, will serve as emcees. WED’s first speakers of the day will be Teissia Treynet and Alia Wilson of Firefly Events.
“They’re going to be talking about budget, determining budget, priorities, timelines, real hands-on guidance of what things cost, what couples should expect, and laying the foundations at the beginning,” Pinney explained. “A lot of people don’t really do that to start, which then leads to the stress.”
A panel about curating vendors will follow. Then comes the first break, featuring a champagne brunch by Boston Weddings. The magazine will also set up a photobooth where attendees can look like they are on the cover of Boston Magazine.
The second speaker, founder and creative director of experiential design agency Rye Workshop Molly Hartman, will discuss “design and envisioning a guest experience,” according to Pinney. She will be followed by a panel who will delve into “planning with intention and details that matter.”
A second break includes beer, cocktails, and lunch, as well as a space for guests to have face time with speakers in an “Ask Us Anything” Lounge.
Loli Weddings & Events owner Lauren Fremont serves as the third speaker, providing a “blueprint for finessing the final details.”
“A lot of people don’t realize how much there is to do in the last months of wedding planning and they leave it to too late, so she’s really going to set them up for success early on,” Pinney said. “And then we’ve got another great group of vendors and panelists who are going to be talking about how to essentially set yourself up for success in the last couple of months.”
Finally, a keynote address will be delivered by Aleah and Nick Valley, owners of Valley & Company Events.
In between or even during those sessions, guests are welcome to interact with an array of vendors. Longwood Venues and Destinations will consult couples on city or destination weddings at the Venue Concierge. Fete Collection will help guests find “their personal style when it comes to paper,” according to Thompson, in a Paper Rx. Vendors such as boutique Your Dream Bridal and a beauty stylist from Tada will offer consultations in the event’s Bridal Lounge.
“And we didn’t want to forget about the men,” Thompson said. “There’s going to be a Gentlemen’s Lounge.”
Additional experiences include cake tasting with Mayflour Confections, cotton candy spun by Le Petite Pouf, wooden signs customized with calligraphy by Antea Amoroso, a live show by The Big Wedding Planning Podcast, and a DIY Challenge by Lux Box Co.
To ensure things run smoothly, Pinney and Thompson have devised a system which allows guests to book 20-minute appointments.
“About a week prior to the event, we’ll be sending out a scheduling system where they can book little appointments with these vendors and have those experiences so that way they don’t feel like they’re waiting in line the whole time or they’re missing out on something,” Pinney said.
WED tickets are available online, and on sale through Friday, March 15.