Review: The #SWPlanner by Southern Weddings

If you know me by now you know that I am a huge sucker for anything Lara Casey. Not only do we share a name (Lara is my nickname and what people called me up until I graduated college), but she is just so inspirational! Lara Casey is rooted very deeply in her faith and talks openly about her struggles. They are real struggles, not just turning points in a plot line in order to make you buy things. She is truly an authentic, modern woman and one of my favorite bloggers. I’m a huge fan and not ashamed to admit it!

Anyway, I’ve posted about wanting the #SWPlanner before and have reviewed her amazing goal setting worksheets, The Powersheets, in detail. A couple of weeks ago the Southern Weddings Mag (which she owns and edits) had an instagram flash sale and I nearly jumped out of my seat. The #SWPlanner was listed for a discount, and I’ve been following SWMag for a long enough time to know that this is a very rare occurrence!

Yes, you’ve caught me… I’m not a Southern Bride at all. I’m a West Coaster living on the East Coast. But I’m a huge fan of Lara Casey’s, and I feel like Southern is kind of a state of mind! Anyway, I took the leap and made the purchase anyway.

The Southern Weddings Planner is truly beautiful to look at. 

The planner comes with…

  • 10 Sections of full color, butter soft pages
  • A cotton white cover with gold foil calligraphy and gold edge bumpers
  • D-ring binder
  • 10.5 wide / 11.5 tall / 2-inch spine

SWPlanner Wedding planner review WHB (32)There are definitely a lot of pages in this planner. However, I wouldn’t say that all of them are completely useful. Maybe because I am already a year into the process, but nothing goes into detail to the point where I feel like it all fits together. It still reads like a magazine – just enough info until the next issue comes out.

SWplanner wedding planner reivew whb (3)There is a detailed timeline (although that is generally standard with any wedding planner and can be found near the front of any wedding magazine), lots of place for brainstorming, and a few worksheets. However, most of the planning worksheets seem so silly to me. I can’t stand to do any spreadsheets or information collecting if it isn’t logged on a computer for me to easily refer to no matter where I am. The other non planning worksheets are nice, but I notice they’re really more for brainstorming. Mike and I have already discussed most of these things in detail, so there’s no need for another worksheet asking us about our favorite colors and how that might tie into the big day.

SWPlanner Wedding planner review WHB (4)

Unfortunately, I have a lot of complaints with this particular product. I really wanted to love this planner, but in the end it turns out it wasn’t for me.

  • The white binder itself is gorgeous, but I am terrified to use it. It feels like it is not meant to be written in – I literally keep it in the plastic for fear of accidentally placing it on an unknown coffee ring. It will make a beautiful keepsake some day, but my need and purpose for a wedding planner is for it to be used. I need sometimes to carry with me to and from vendor appointments.
  • The tabs are not as sturdy. Again, it really does not feel like this is meant to be used.
  • It’s a lot of information and advice, but not a lot of useful planning. It should just be an extended edition of the magazine, not an actual planner.
  • The order of everything is a little bit weird, and I’m not a fan that we’re not allowed to make our own tabs. This just adds to the feeling of it not being user friendly. I need something that I can organize my own way.
    • For example, the “Tips on Tipping” portion is under the “Budget” tab. Yes, technically this is money, but tipping vendors is not something that should be thought about on the same day as budgeting every single thing out. At least not in this great detail. Tipping is an important thing to think about, but going into the logistics of who handles it and at what point during the wedding? That is definitely save for later kind of stuff.
  • I definitely think this could benefit from the entire planner being a timeline. Tabs to look at and content to consider 12+ months before the wedding (inspiration, budgeting), 9-12 months before, 6-9 months before, etc. A lot of these categories technically make sense, but not in term of a wedding. It should be spread a part based on where you are in the planning process.
  • The marriage planning part is nice, and maybe it’s just me, but I feel like this is also incredibly lacking. There should be more detailed worksheet sections in here – one written in the beginning of the process, one followed up on half way through the process, and one the week before the wedding. Wedding planning is very stressful and can take a lot out of a person. It is one of many times any couple will face challenges together as a team. I think the marriage planning portion really missed a wonderful opportunity here: yes, we all know it’s important to remember to have fun as a couple. Playing couples mad libs is cute. But what about the other important things, like how to help a partner deal with stress? Or how to effectively communicate throughout this process? I would have liked more of these kinds of worksheets, and less “fluff.”

SWPlanner Wedding planner review WHB (3)

I will say that the binder itself is beautiful, and the content is not all together useless. I stand by my statement that it should be organized better in order to make sure brides don’t feel overwhelmed by things before she needs to. I know that I was actually more stressed out flipping through these pages. Additionally, I think I just purchased it at the wrong time. I should have bought it when we were newly engaged – not a year later/9 months before the wedding. I think at this point all the fun stuff is sort of out of the way – we know what our theme is and what our priorities are. It’s about a plan of action and making all those deposits right now!


So unfortunately for me I won’t be getting much use out of this planner. It will always be a lovely thing to look at, but for now it just isn’t what I need.