The Language of Catering Explained – Part 1

One of the most daunting tasks about planning a wedding is hiring a caterer. There’s a lot of money involved, and caterers have their own language, which can be difficult to understand. Here, then, is a glossary of the wedding industry language used by caterers, and how to use it to get the wedding you want. Off-premise – The caterer travels to your location – home, wedding venue, wherever – with all that they need to set up, prepare, and execute your event. They generally bring staff, kitchen equipment, food, and beverages. In Maryland, they need a special license if […]

The Waiting Game

To quote Marvin the paranoid android from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “The first ten million years were the worst,” said Marvin, “and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million years I didn’t enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.” If you’re planning a wedding right now or, bless you, had been planning one for last year, it’s hard not to feel like Marvin. Not being able to have your wedding when you want, or having to drastically cut it down in size, feels terrible.  After […]

Pandemic Wedding Lemonade

If you’re one of the more than two million couples in the United States who planned a wedding for 2020, my condolences. I feel your pain. We’ve been walking two sides of the same road. On my side is a wedding venue that has sat empty since March. In fact, this past Thursday was the first time we’ve had a wedding here since March 14.   On the other side of the road are Tess and Kaare, who, like many other couples, had a big wedding planned for this August. In their case, it was going to be held in […]

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 […]