Wedding Planning In A Pandemic

My parents used to love to take long rides in the car. Sometimes, like on many Sundays, it was just to drive around and see the world. There were other times when we were going someplace specific. I don’t remember much of where we went or why, but I do remember that I was in the back seat and generally bored. So, it was not unusual that I asked, “Are we there yet?” The answer was almost invariably one word. “Soon.” To my young brain soon was, well, soon. Within a matter of minutes, to be sure, and preferably within […]

Moving the Milestone

I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone this past week. As the coronavirus has spread in the United States, so has the need to respond to it. Here in Maryland, the government has responded with ever more tightening restrictions in order to contain the virus. What that means in my world is that many weddings—those fabulous, joyful experiences that I have the pleasure and privilege of helping create—have had to be postponed. Weddings are not life or death situations, to be sure, but they are important events in our lives. Many tears have been shed this week as […]

The Venue / Catering Relationship

Catering is a big deal when it comes to your wedding. It’s important to understand the several different ways that wedding venues handle catering before you go shopping for either. On one end of the spectrum, the venue is run by a single caterer that you are required to use. On the other end, the venue is totally uninvolved. Between these two are several other common ways that venues handle catering. Let’s look at them all and the pros and cons of each. In-house catering – The venue is owned or operated by a catering company, so they do all […]

The Great Outdoors

Are you thinking about an outdoor ceremony? Wonderful! Outdoor ceremonies are truly special. They connect us to Mother Earth and the natural world. They also have their own special set of planning considerations. So, once youve found what looks like a Pinterest-perfect ceremony space, its time to ask a lot of questions. One of the most important questions is will your guests be seated or standing? While youll only be present for the duration of your ceremony, guests arrive ten, 15, 20, or if its your uncle whos always early, even 30 minutes before your ceremony starts. That can be […]

Nine Great Money-Saving Wedding Tips

There are lots of ways to save money on your wedding. Some are great, others court disaster. These nine tips can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars while still giving you and your guests a fantastic experience. The guest list: Invite only the people you love – One of my favorite pieces of wedding advice comes from Miss Manners: “Invite the people you love and who love you.” Really, who else do you want at your wedding? Keeping the guest list tight is the single most effective way to save money on your wedding. Why? Because catering, which […]

Ten Pounds of Flour

There are two “hard limits” around wedding venue selection. Your anticipated guest count – which is to say, your guest list – and your budget. These are numbers that bring quantitative definition to your wedding. They are boundaries within which your wedding must stay. Your hard limits cannot be exceeded. Nothing that anyone says or does, save for someone adding to your budget, can change them. Establishing these two hard limits before you start touring venues, entering contracts, and spending money will save you a great deal of pain and suffering. I’ve seen lots – and I truly mean lots […]

Leading with Your Gut

If you’ve started to consider prospective reception or ceremony-and-reception venues for your wedding, your head is probably spinning like a dreidel. The number and variety of venues can seem endless. There are things you like about each one, and things you don’t. Every single venue sets their fees differently, so it’s nearly impossible to compare apples to apples. On top of that, there are a lot of details to understand, and even more questions to figure out and ask. What’s a person to do? I’m here for you! We’re going to spend the next few columns together working through everything […]

How to Book a Church Wedding

There’s a lot to know about planning your wedding! There are many, many details, and a lot of decisions to make. In the next few issues I’m going to walk you through the first and generally the biggest wedding planning decision: choosing your ceremony and reception venue.  Why do this first? Because once you have your venue you’ll have your wedding date, time, and place. Almost all of your planning depends on those three things, and they all come with booking your venue. So let’s get right into how to do that! If you’re planning a church wedding followed by […]

Congrats, You’re Engaged!

Where do you need to start with your wedding planning? Based on my experience working with thousands of couples, the two most important things to know – two things you have to know before you spend a dime – are how many people you plan to invite, and how much money you have available to spend. Every aspect of your wedding planning is related to those two things: your budget and your anticipated guest count.  Your budget – Your budget represents the total amount of money you have to spend for absolutely everything. That includes your venue, catering, photography, entertainment, […]

Navigating Venue and Catering Fees

The first purchasing decision you’re likely to make when you’re planning your wedding is your venue. The second is your caterer. These are generally your two largest purchases, and it’s best to make them in that order.  Sometimes the venue is a stand-alone cost, and sometimes it’s combined with catering. There are pros and cons to each. For the purposes of the moment, we’ll consider venue and catering separately. In Maryland, venue fees start with a no-cost home wedding and continue up into the low five-figure range. Costs can vary by season; by day of the week; and on weekends, […]