Penny Wise, Pound Foolish!

Dan Hawkins has been a full-time professional DJ for 31 years. His company, MusicMasters, provides DJs for all kinds of events. They regularly win awards for their work. They’re not cheap, starting at just under $1,000, nor are they over-the-top expensive. Dan and the DJs who work for him are frequently seen at weddings and events all around Baltimore. I know Dan, like his work, and think the world of the guy. He’s kind, has integrity, and is very, very good at what he does. Dan posted the following story on Facebook, which he has given me permission to use […]

Spark Joy

Americans, myself included, are obsessed with stuff. We cram our living spaces with clothing stuff and kitchen stuff and entertainment stuff and family stuff and recreation stuff and, well, you get the idea. At some point, all of that stuff starts to make us crazy. You probably know by now where this is going. Two words: Marie Kondo. She’s a stuff expert from Japan, a culture where their understanding of possessions is very different than that of ours in the United States.  Ms. Kondo’s KonMari Method of tidying up people’s houses is all the rage these days, and appropriately so. She […]

The Money Discussion

Are you expecting – or hoping – that your parents will help pay for your wedding? If you are, you need to know when to talk with your parents about money, and how do you prepare for that conversation. Most parents want to do everything they possibly can for their children. This often includes paying for their wedding. It’s wonderful if your parents can write a check for ten or 15 or 20 or 30 thousand dollars (or, yes, sometimes even more) without some mental preparation. Most can’t. That’s a lot of money for most families. They need to work […]

Don’t (Always) Listen to Your Mother

When you tell people that you’re getting married, they often think of the wedding they had, the wedding day they wish they had, the wedding they’d have today, the wedding they want you to have, and maybe, if you’re lucky, they’ll think about the wedding that you want to have. This isn’t very helpful.  It only gets worse when it’s your family.  Some family wedding “traditions” have little grounding in what makes for a good wedding. It’s been my experience, working with many hundreds of couples, that families, however well meaning, sometimes perpetuate antiquated customs and misunderstandings about proper wedding […]

Nine Great Money Saving 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 1) 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, […]

Picking Great Wedding Pros

A confession: I’m crazy about getting good customer service. It always has a strong influence on my buying decisions. I stopped by a Mazda dealership a while back while I was out and about, ’cause I’m a Miata guy and the new one is outstanding. I made a point of checking what time I started looking at the cars out on the lot, taking bets with myself on how long it would take a salesperson to come out and talk with me. You know what? Nobody ever came out. That impressed me – in a good way – so I […]

Five Hot Wedding Tips

Want to make planning your wedding easy and stress-free? Here are five great tips on what you can do to get started right, and make the best use of your wedding professionals. 1) Know your numbers – The two most important numbers in your wedding planning are your guest count, which is the number of people you plan to invite; and your budget, which is the amount of money you have available to spend. These two parameters guide every planning decision. It’s really important to know these numbers before your start planning. You and every wedding professionals (or if you’re […]

Ten Not-So-Complicated Steps……for planning your wedding, Part 2

In the last issue we talked about the first five steps to planning your wedding. Here’s a quick recap: Step 1 – Think about the wedding you want. Step 2 – What’s your budget? Step 3 – How many guests do you plan to invite? Step 4 – Where in the world do you want to get married? Step 5 – When do you want to get married? Now we’re going to put those first five steps to work and start shopping! Here’s where you’ll make use of those budget and guest count numbers, the decisions you made in step […]

Ten Not-So-Complicated Steps……for planning your wedding

If you’re getting married in 2019 or 2020, there’s a one in three chance that you’re going to get engaged in the next six weeks. How exciting! Planning your wedding can be just as exciting as your engagement, full of joy and wonder and discovery. The key to successful wedding planning is to be thoughtful, thorough, and loving. That’s it! I’m going to walk you through a deliberate, step-by-step process that will help you avoid lots of potential stress and heartache. Here’s how to do it: (Spoiler alert! This is part one of two.) Step 1 – Think about the […]

Creating a Great Wedding Ceremony

I’ve attended a lot of wedding ceremonies at Chase Court, the wedding venue I own in Baltimore. Hundreds of them. Some have been magnificent. Many have been unremarkable. And some have been deeply, tears-in-my-eyes, moving. What makes the difference between forgettable and memorable? That’s easy to answer. It’s really very simple. Thorough, thoughtful planning, and superb execution. Your wedding ceremony coalesces all that you believe about marriage as a state of being. It is a public celebration, in words and actions, of your intentions for your marriage. It is a sacred ceremony, with sacred in this case meaning highly valued, […]