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, […]

Time is a Thing

You can plan your whole wedding within a few weeks, if you’re seriously organized and have the stomach for it. But most people have neither the desire nor the intestinal fortitude to go that way. So, setting that kind of whirlwind planning experience aside, let’s talk about a less stressful planning timeline for your wedding. When should you start planning? Pick a date – Is there a particular date that you have in mind for your wedding? If not, how about a month, or a time of year, or even a year? One way or the other, pick a moment […]

Small is Beautiful

In weddings, size is everything and nothing. People fret over their guest lists more than anything else when they’re planning their wedding. Who to invite, who not to invite, who must be invited. And if that’s not enough to make you crazy, there’s the whole money thing. Weddings are often the third most expensive thing people buy in their lifetimes, right after a house and a car. Ten, twenty, thirty thousand dollars or more can go into your wedding. Or not. There was a time, from the mid-1910s until 1938, that Maryland was the quickie state. Most of the surrounding […]

Backyard Blues Part 2

Here’s more, continued from the July 19th issue, on the good, the bad, and the ugly of planning for a backyard wedding. More details, details, details… Parking is also a consideration. Wedding guests often arrive in pairs, so for that 75-guest wedding, about 35 cars would have to be put somewhere. Nothing upsets neighbors more than messing with their parking (or parking on their lawn!). Lack of parking is a deal-breaker, so right now, very early on in the planning process, is a really good time to have some friendly conversations with your neighbors about your intentions. If it rains […]

Backyard Blues Part 1

Caroline Hax, who writes an advice column for the Washington Post, recently answered a question from a bride who wanted to have a “small backyard wedding with about 75 guests” in her grandmother’s backyard. The bride thought that such a gathering was no big deal, which is to say that she said that all they would need t Two o do is “get some chairs and everything will work out.” Can you see where this is going? As it happened, the bride’s family was far more aware of what a wedding for 75 guests requires, as well as the impact […]

Hot DIY Wedding Tips

Doing things yourself can be a great way to save money on your wedding. Trading money and convenience for time and effort can build camaraderie and give you genuine joy in the doing.  First, a caveat: If you’re a deadline-driven person like me, especially one who struggles with procrastination (also like me), think twice before taking on a big or complicated DIY project for your wedding.  The closer you get to your wedding, the more there is to do. What looked like a simple, fun project 12 months ago can become a stress-inducing, screaming burden in the last few weeks […]

Five Hot Wedding Planning Tips

Want to make planning your wedding easy and stress-free? Here are five great tips on how 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 rockin’ Do It Yourself, […]

Eight Tips on Writing Great Wedding Vows

“I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband / wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.” One single sentence pledging a lifetime of of love and devotion. What could be simpler! Your wedding vows are your promises to each other of how you will comport yourself as a marital partner. The vows are generally composed […]

Make Your Ceremony Special

Your wedding ceremony bares your heart and soul to the people you love and who love you, inviting them into your marriage to support you and your beloved in your journey together. Your ceremony celebrates what you believe about marriage and proclaims those things that are essential to your marriage. It is your public declaration of your love and devotion to your partner. Memorable ceremonies are often rich with symbolism. The act of walking through your assembled guests to a special place, the order of that procession, the blessing and exchange of rings, the kiss – these things and more […]

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 […]