Meet Chanda Daniels, Vice President of NGWA and Owner of Chanda Daniels Planning and Design
When you talk to Chanda Daniels, her enthusiasm and passion are contagious. She is one of those people with the rare ability to make you feel positive for having spoken with her.
Chanda's mission is to ensure same-sex couples have a stress-free wedding filled with a series of deeply personal and meaningful moments. "The perfect wedding experience starts with the initial connection between the wedding planner and the couple," says Chanda. Building that reputation is one of her favorite parts of the planning process. She loves to listen to what the couple envisions for their wedding and then works to bring their vision to life.
There arent any rules to follow when planning a same-sex wedding, but there are situations that the couple may need to talk through. For example, will people who attend be comfortable with seeing a same-sex couple kiss? Chanda says she has had that conversation many times with couples, and it can be pretty emotional. Chanda encourages her couples to have those difficult conversations; in the end, she encourages them to do what makes them happy rather than worrying about what might make someone else uncomfortable. These are critical discussions that planners, who have only worked with "traditional" couples, may not have to consider.
"You just don't want to have any unexpected anxiety on the day of the wedding," she says. "That's why building a trusting relationship throughout the planning stage is so critical." A good wedding planner is part visionary and part counselor, she says, walking the couple step by step through the process.
Chanda saw the magic of an empathetic ear early on. Her mother owned a beauty salon, and as many women know, a weekly visit to the hairdresser is a sacred form of therapy. As she was growing up, she saw firsthand the power of a listening ear. Her mother's customers viewed her as a trusted confidante. Chanda embraces that role as a wedding planner and is "that person" for her clients.
"It's not unusual for there to be tears throughout the process," she says. "I always tell my clients, 'If you're crying, I'm crying!' We are just going to cry it out together!" Chanda delights in creating seemingly impossible and unexpected moments. One bride told Chanda she wanted to incorporate the song "Cheerleader" into the wedding ceremony as a tribute to her partner. Chanda arranged for a small brass band to stay hidden during the ceremony. Once the brides kissed, the band popped up and burst into song:
"When I need motivation
My one solution is my queen
‘Cuz she stays strong.
Oh, I think I found myself
"Those are the moments that people always remember," she says," the kind of memories that are talked about for years to come." These are the unexpected moments that light the world on fire, the type of moments that take your breath away.
Chanda listens during the planning process as her couples reveal their story. She then sifts through the words and weaves their hopes, dreams, and wishes into a giant tapestry, revealed piece by piece on their wedding day.
Chanda revels in organizing the minutiae of details to bring the big picture ideas into sharp focus, creating an unforgettable day.
Chanda's skills for creativity and flawless execution have not gone unnoticed. Chanda is recognized as one of the nation's leading LGBTQ+ wedding experts, featured in many national publications, including Martha Stewart Weddings, Bride, The Knot, and Today's Bride. In addition, Harper's Bazaar, Martha Stewart Weddings, and BRIDES Magazine have all named Chanda a Top Wedding Planner.