Its been awhile and this mini blog series has been a long time coming! Ryan and I got engaged 18 months ago in Iceland. Side note: you can check out our wedding website, which is still live for the long version of our engagement story! One of the first things people would always ask: how does a Baltimore wedding planner go about planning her own wedding?
I thought I knew the answer since I had all the vendor connections but boy was I wrong. It happened with lots of wine, dream sketching, hard conversations (cue the money talks!), a great support system (our families) and an incredibly talented planning team!
Most importantly, my hope for this series is to be completely transparent. I’ll revisit the ups, the downs, the fun parts, the hard parts, the struggles, the breakdowns, the design process and the day itself… Our BEST DAY EVER!
So, why am I just getting around to blogging this now?
We were married in April for goodness sakes! All I can say is that time isn’t always on my side. I thought up this series while we were planning. I was through it would be neat to reminisce about the road we took in the future. It sounded like it would be an easy task, but time escaped me between planning our own wedding and planning for our amazing clients. I wanted to ensure I gave THEM the attention for their big day instead of worrying about mine. That is the God’s honest truth.
First things first, location!
From the very beginning, both Ryan and I agreed we wanted to host our wedding in the Baltimore area, ideally downtown. Our relationship (or as Ariel would say, our #tinderellastory) started and continues to grow here. We live in the beautiful Federal Hill area. Being a Baltimore wedding planner for six years now, I know Baltimore is home to tons of amazing venues. The only problem? Spaces that hold upwards of 200+ wedding guests aren’t as common as one would think. This brings me to.. Dun dun dun..
The Guest List
Our first list was well into the 300’s… YIKES! A number that like will lead anyone with a budget to have tough conversations. I’ll be the first to tell you it’s hard to cut anyone from the list, especially those you were once very close to. I emphasize once because there were people on my side that 10+ years ago would have been there. WOW, I feel like I just dated myself a little since that was back in high school. I feel like it was just yesterday!
Alright, back to the guest list- the people I had to cut, are still people I love and could jump right back where we left off if we took the time to meet up for lunch or drinks. Writing that is hard because I still feel some guilt in not inviting them, but the budget simply didn’t allow for 300 guests.
Why did I go into that?
Again, transparency about this process. The guest list is the second biggest struggle for our couples, coming in close to budget. This was our first road bump in the planning process! I had to remind myself how I always put it to clients: If you take your entire wedding budget divided by the number of estimated guests, that is your cost per person.
People tend to forget there are costs beyond just your food and beverage. Each guest needs a chair, and eight chairs equal one new table. Tack onto that a table another linen, centerpiece, table number, and additional candles. That one extra table could even mean more servers and bartenders. Consider things like guest transportation and your dance floor. Dance floor size is actually dependent on the number of guests, therefore, the bigger the floor needed with a bigger guest count. Yes, I realize that there are fixed costs. The truth is you’ll still get a better overall cost per person to divide the entire wedding budget by guests versus assuming the food and beverage price. Breakdown the math, it’ll blow your mind and help you make some cuts off the top.
In closing out this first blog in the series, my goal is for our readers to take away a sense of clarity and understanding from my experience. There was more fun, love, and excitement in this process over everything else, and I ended my journey married to my best friend and partner-in-life. What more could I have asked for?
Next week I’ll get into how and WHO (hint: not me!) picked our wedding venue and the struggles we had with budget and church. There. Was. Drama.
Ryan & I in Iceland where we got engaged!
How a Baltimore Wedding Planner Plans Her Own Wedding Blog Series | Entry 1