Wedding Planning Timeline

It happened. The person you’ve been with, the person who makes you happier than anyone else in the world- has finally proposed. You’re ecstatic. You’re not sure if you’ve ever felt happier in your entire life, and you can’t wait to spend the rest of your life with that person. Your person.

You immediately call your closest family and friends, and they share that feeling of happiness with you. They feel ecstatic for you, and can’t wait to celebrate your love and happiness.

Maybe a day goes by, or a week, or weeks. Then that feeling turns from ignorant bliss to a little more anxious and stressful. You realize that you have to plan the wedding. You have to find a venue, a caterer, a band; or wait, do you want a DJ? Do you want to get married in a church, or having something nontraditional? Who do you invite? How big should your wedding be? Wait, how much is this going to cost?

There are a thousand more questions running through your head. It can be extremely overwhelming, and stressful. We’re here to help alleviate that stress. We broke the wedding planning process down, month by month to help keep your planning on track. Although we’re a catering company, we specialize in event planning, as well. You’re not alone in this process, and seeing your checklist in a wedding planning timeline, should help relax and maybe even help to enjoy the wedding planning process a bit. Even though this timeline is based on a 12-month period, you can apply it to however long or short of time you have to plan your wedding. View this timeline as the order of how you should tackle your wedding planning process.

Wedding Planning Timeline

12 Months Before

  • Book Venue: Venues book up quickly—in some cases, up to a year in advance. We work all over Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. For a list of some of the venues where we work, click here.
  • Draft Guest List: Doing this in a Google Doc spreadsheet is a great idea, so that your family can easily access the list and update as needed. It also avoids the issue of having multiple versions of the same document floating around in your email.
  • Engagement Party: This is completely optional. Traditionally the parents of the bride host the engagement party.
  • Register: It’s better to do this sooner rather than later so people know what to get you if they want to send you an engagement or shower gift. You can always go back and edit your registry so don’t feel like you’re bound to everything you register for. Try to register to 2-3 different stores to get all your must-haves.

10 Months Before

  • Pick an Officiant: Like venues, officiants book up fast.
  • Select Bridal Party: This can be one of the toughest decisions because it can be difficult to include all of your closest friends. Nevertheless it’s good to get this out of the way early so your attendants can plan accordingly.
  • Choose Vendors: First and foremost, book a caterer. We often close dates for additional business up to a year in advance. ESPECIALLY in the fall. I would also choosing a photographer and a florist at this point, too. The rest can be booked later. Use Wedding Wire or the Knot to read reviews on vendors!
  • Take Engagement Photos: This is optional, although many couples like to include an engagement photo in their announcements or save the dates. If you do not wish to include a photo in either, you can take them at a later date or not at all.

8 Months Before

  • Order Your Dress: Believe it or not, a wedding dress can take up to 7 or 8 months to receive after ordering—especially if you are doing something customized.
  • Block Hotel Rooms for Guests: If you have a handful of guests coming in from out of town or you’re doing a destination wedding, you should book a block of rooms at a local hotel for your guests. Typically hotels will give you a discounted group rate if you meet the minimum room block requirement.
  • Cake Tastings + Order Cake: We offer cake tastings at our office if you are interested in Sugar Bakers, Baltimore Cakery or Patisserie PouPon.
  • Begin Hair & Makeup Trails: Once you’ve ordered your dress, it’s a good idea to begin thinking about your beauty look. If you are doing your own hair and makeup, be sure to test out a few styles with some serious staying power. Also, if you are going to get an airbrush tan, I suggest testing out a few different places. Once you find a tan that works for you, book your wedding appointment at least 48-hours before your actual nuptials take place.

6 Months

  • Send Save the Dates: If you are doing a destination wedding, it’s a good idea to send these out with as much advance notice as possible—10 months prior to your date should be sufficient. Otherwise, it’s important to give your guests at least 6 months notice so they can save the date on their own calendars and plan accordingly.
  • Book Honeymoon: Figure out where you want to go and begin researching transportation options and accommodations.
  • Order Bridesmaids’ Dresses: These can take up to 5 months to receive after ordering. Your maids will also need time to get any additional alterations done so it’s wise to order these sooner rather than later.
  • Purchase Wedding Bands: If you are customizing your bands with an inscription, it’s best to order them in advance in case there are any issues with sizing.

4 Months

  • Select Groomsmen Attire: Whether the groomsmen are renting or purchasing, it’s a good idea to get this sorted out a few months before the wedding to avoid any last minute mishaps.
  • Plan Rehearsal Dinner: Traditionally the groom’s family hosts the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding.
  • Confirm Vendors: Confirm and book additional vendors (lighting, cake delivery, sound equipment, furniture rentals, etc.).
  • Decide on Hair & Makeup: Finalize your look and make sure you have the appropriate makeup for touchups on the day of the wedding.

2 Months

  • Mail Invitations: Wedding invitations are typically sent out 6 to 8 weeks prior to the wedding.
  • Write or Decide on Vows/Ceremony: If you are writing your own vows, it’s a nice touch if you memorize them.
  • Purchase Day Of Accessories: Figure out what you will be wearing with your dress—shoes, jewelry, hairpieces, veil, etc. Also, don’t forget the old adage: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue!”
  • Confirm Day Of Transportation: Determine how you, your bridal party, and your families will be getting to and from wedding locations.

6 Weeks

  • Apply for Marriage License: Check US Marriage Laws for your local requirements and details.
  • Get Everything Printed: Make sure you have all of your menus, nametags, wedding programs and the like printed and ready to go.

1 Month

  • Bachelorette Party: There isn’t a textbook rule of thumb as to when you can have your bachelorette party. Just find a date that works for your bridal party. Typically the Maid of Honor plans this with the rest of the bridesmaids.
  • Bridal Shower: Traditionally, the groom’s mother’s close friend hosts the bridal shower. Or your bridesmaids can host a shower as well.

2 Weeks

  • Final Dress Fitting: Be sure to test out how all of your accessories look with the dress and make any changes as needed. Also, it’s wise to start breaking in your wedding shoes at this point.
  • Give Shot List to Photographer: Figure out what photographs are important to you and put together a list of shots you would like taken for your photographer.
  • Review Music with DJ/Band: Touch base with your band or DJ to finalize the playlist and confirm special request songs.

1 Week

  • Final Headcount: Once you have reviewed your RSVPs, you will then need to confirm the numbers with your rental companies (chairs, tables) as well as your caterer.
  • Finalize Seating Chart: Sit friends and acquaintances together whenever possible.
  • Get Facials & Waxings: Sometimes these treatments can cause unforeseen breakouts, so be sure to give yourself a one week grace period post-treatment to give your skin some time to calm down before the wedding. Also, you never want to get waxed after you get spray tanned…unless you’re going for an intentional zebra look.

48 Hours Before

  • Get Tan: If bronzed skin is important to you, get an airbrush spray tan. Aside from tanning beds being incredibly bad for your skin, the risk of getting a last minute sunburn isn’t worth it.
  • Have Nails Done: You want your manicure and pedicure as fresh as possible so try to get this done as close to the wedding as you can. It may be fun to take your bridesmaids with you for mani’s and pedi’s, or this could be used as your bridesmaids’ gifts.
  • Wrap Bridesmaids & Groom Gifts: Don’t wait until the last minute to wrap these—better yet, wrap them upon purchase to avoid any headaches later on.

Day Before

  • Rehearsal Dinner: Attend and enjoy! Drink more water, than alcohol. You want to be fresh & feeling good on your wedding day!
  • Give Bridal Party Gifts: Typically the day before the wedding the bride will give her bridesmaids’ a gift.

Day Of

  • Get married & live happily ever after! No wedding is perfect and things might go astray. Just remember to enjoy the moment (it goes by fast) and have fun! Things that you notice as “incorrect,” or didn’t go as according to plan will NOT be noticed by your guests. Remember to EAT & take time with your partner, as the day will be filled with talking to other guests.If you have any questions about this timeline, please don’t hesitate to talk with your event designer.
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Baltimore Award Winning Caterer

Baltimore Award Winning CatererBaltimore Award Winning Caterer
It’s hard to believe that it’s December, and 2014 is almost over! We have had an amazing year of events. Our events this year have also led us to win the Knot’s Best of Weddings award for 2014. We’re very proud of this Baltimore catering award that is based on the reviews of the bride’s and groom’s, who have used us as caterers for their events in the past. When we meet new clients, we always recommend that they read our reviews on the Wedding Wire and the Knot because we want them to receive first-hand testimonials from our former clients.

We’re very thankful to the Knot for featuring our Best Baltimore Catering award in the Knot magazine. The Knot’s Best Weddings gave awards and distinctions to all different kinds of vendors within the wedding industry. We were fortunate enough to be the only Baltimore caterer to receive this distinction.

So, what makes us a Baltimore award winning caterer? Rather then give you our opinion, let’s see what our clients had to say. Don’t forget to check out our reviews on the Wedding Wire too.

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American Visionary Art Museum Wedding Catering

American Visionary Art Museum Wedding Reception
This past weekend, we had the pleasure of catering Laura and Matt’s American Visionary Art Museum wedding. This unique Baltimore venue is located in Locust Point and offers guests the chance to view artwork that is unlike any other museum showcase. We are one of the exclusive companies that are on the American Visionary Art Museum Wedding catering list.

The ceremony took place in the American Visionary Art Museum’s barn, which features enormous sculptures created by talented artists. If you never thought having a giant pink poodle as part of the backdrop of your wedding was possible, you need to think again. After the ceremony, guests headed to the fourth floor of the American Visionary Art Museum for cocktail hour and the rest of the reception. For appetizers we had our famous crab dip, roasted vegetable bruschetta, olive muffaletta bruschetta, tomato bruschetta, Natty Boh cheddar cheese fondue and crudite vegetable shots. We also had passed appetizers for guests to enjoy including our chicken satay with Thai peanut sauce, mini Reuben roll with thousand island sauce, shrimp tostada with mango salsa, spanakopita, and our harvest canape.

After cocktail hour, it was time for the bridal party introductions and the first time Matt & Laura were introduced as “Mr. and Mrs.” Laura and Matt went straight into their first dance, before their best man and maid of honor made their wonderful toasts. Now came the main course of the night, which was boneless breast of Parmesan crusted chicken with a basil beurre blanc, or sesame crusted ahi tuna with wasabi cream sauce, or roasted vegetable strudel with fire roasted red pepper sauce. The guests’ choice entree was accompanied with Yukon gold mashed potatoes with smoked Gouda cheese and a medley of sauteed baby root vegetables.

After dinner, Laura had her father-daughter dance and Matt had his mother-son dance with their parents to kick-off the dancing for the rest of the guests. Once guests worked off some of their dinner, it was time to cut the cake and toss the bouquet. Laura & Matt knew that their guests were going to work up an appetite dancing, so we served a late night snack of grilled cheese.  We had a great time at this American Visionary Art Museum Wedding Catering event. Congratulations to the lovely couple!

American Visionary Art Museum Wedding Menu

American Visionary Art Museum Wedding Ceremony
American Visionary Art Museum Wedding

American Visionary Art Museum Wedding Cake

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Farm To Table Baltimore Catering

Wedding Shutter Menu
Last Monday, we had the pleasure of catering the National Association for Catering and Event’s Baltimore meeting at Ten Oaks Ballroom in Columbia, Md. For our menu, we went with a farm to table concept to showcase locally farm-raised meat and produce. Our catering company utilizes fresh, local products in our menus whenever possible. Our recipes have even been featured in the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Buy Local Cookbook for their outstanding flavors and for utilizing locally grown Maryland ingredients.

Keeping with using local Maryland ingredients, we served a variety of sliced meats, chicken liver pate, pickled vegetables, coarse grain violet mustard, bacon jam and balsamic jelly for appetizers. The appetizers were placed on a gorgeous, rustic farm table that fit the theme perfectly.

After the NACE board elections and a great lecture from Avish Parasher, Innovation Speaker and Motivational Improviser, it was time to serve our farm-to-table menu. With such a large venue, we were able to entertain with a stations style menu. At one station, we had our Creekstone Farms Braised Beef Cheeks with a port wine pan sauce and parsnip puree. With such a tender meat, we served this entree in martini glasses.

The next station was our Arborio Risotto Bar with assorted toppings that guest could choose from; in addition to, arugula pesto and a traditional risotto sauce. Our chef was making each risotto plate to order, so guests could customize their risotto entree.

Last but not least, our third station featured our chicken roulade in an apple cider reduction with an apple and cranberry stuffing. We served this with our creamy grits and our cinderella pumpkin bisque. For dessert, we served our pumpkin bites with maple bacon icing. Yes, these are as dangerously-good as they sound.

Although we provided the food, it can’t go unsaid all of the other amazing vendors that made this NACE meeting so great. It was a pleasure working with Party Plus Rentals, Innovative Party Planners, MLC Designs, Bialek’s Music, Gary Jackson Photography and Maryland Productions. We look forward to attending the next NACE Baltimore event in December.

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Baltimore Event Planners Luncheon

Baltimore Event Planners Luncheon This has been a busy week for us here at Zeffert and Gold Catering. We’ve been fortunate enough to attend some fantastic events within our industry, including the Baltimore Event Planners luncheon at Evergreen Museum & Library. This luncheon took place last week when it was so warm and pleasant outside that it was difficult to believe it was November. Not so much the case now, but nevertheless, the afternoon at Evergreen was a wonderful time for event planners to tour the Evergreen Museum & Library and meet other vendors who are fortunate enough to get to work at Evergreen.

Among the vendors were other caterers, florists and decorators. If you’ve been to Evergreen Museum & Library then you’re already aware how beautiful this historic estate is, but for those of you who have not it is truly a breathtaking venue. Owned by the Johns Hopkins University, this 19th Century Gilded Age estate leaves you in disbelief that you are minutes from downtown Baltimore. Although beautiful on any ordinary day, the Carriage House was decorated so tastefully for the luncheon to inspire all Baltimore event planners and designers for our own future events. The gorgeous antique furniture was provided by Vintage Affairs LLC and the flower arrangements were provided by My Flower Box Events, LLC. The decor wasn’t the only special part of this Baltimore Event Planners Luncheon, as a variety of Evergreen’s Museum and Library’s caterers each provided delicious food for the event planners to enjoy. We provided the apple cider sangria for the Baltimore event planners to enjoy upon arrival in the courtyard. Originally we had planned to serve hot apple cider, but when it’s 70 degrees in November, we are happy to adjust!

Continuing with the fall theme, we had apple and sweet potato soup with candied bacon. As you can imagine, the candied bacon is sincerely out of this world. Of course, what is soup without its favorite companion? You guessed it — grilled cheese. No ordinary grilled cheese though. We had our Maryland Apple Butter and Tillamook Cheddar grilled cheese. The combination of the two fall flavors complimented the soup so well. Guests had the difficult decision of whether to dip their soup with their grilled cheese, or the candied bacon. Now those are the kind of problems you welcome during a work week. To top it off, we had an assortment of macaroons for guests to enjoy. Although, each flavor went over well with the crowd, the pistachio flavor seemed to be the overall favorite.

Thank you to Evergreen Museum and Library for organizing such a great Baltimore Event Planners Luncheon. We had a fantastic time catching up with friends and relaxing after a busy fall wedding season! Thank you also to Jennifer McMenamin Photography for these wonderful photos from the event. Baltimore Event Planners Luncheon Baltimore Event Planners Luncheon Baltimore Event Planners Luncheon Baltimore Event Planners Luncheon

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The Knot 2015 Best of Weddings Award Recipient

Best of Weddings The KnotWe have some very exciting news to share on this rainy, dreary Monday. For the fourth consecutive year, we have been awarded The Knot’s 2015 Best of Weddings award. As many of you know, The Knot is a very popular wedding planning website that provides wedding planners with tools to plan their wedding online, and vendor information for every part of the planning process. Arguably, the best feature of the Knot is that brides and grooms provide ratings of each vendor, so that future brides and grooms have the inside scoop on how a vendor really performs on the big day.

That same concept is the foundation of the Knot’s Best of Weddings award. The Knot 2015 Best of Weddings award is based on brides ratings and reviews of vendors and venues. In the end, a list of the top wedding venues and top wedding pros is compiled. We’re honored to be on a list among such creative and dedicated companies within our industry.

We would like to also take this opportunity to thank our clients for making this year one of the best for Zeffert and Gold Catering. After months of the planning process, transforming a venue to your dream wedding, or your dream Mitzvah, or any special event is why we love what we do. We enjoy working with each one of our clients and hope to make the planning process as fun and stress-free as possible.

So, thank you to the Knot for the 2015 Best of Weddings award. We will use this distinguishing honor to continue to grow as one of Baltimore’s top catering companies, and improve to help more clients in 2016.

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Corporate Fall Holiday Party

Corporate Holiday Party The fall season is such a lovely time in Baltimore. Based on how busy we are, I think everyone agrees that having an event during the fall season is a great time of year to have one. We had the pleasure of catering a corporate fall holiday party for the M Group in Reston, Virginia. This corporation of architects and interior architects had a social fall gathering to celebrate their accomplishments throughout the year. We were happy to make the trip to cater their corporate fall holiday party in Reston, Virginia.

The event took place in their spectacular corporate office. Every inch of the building was designed beautifully with very modern, high-end renovations. Of course, we had to design a menu that would be as spectacular as the venue where we were serving the food. Since the corporate fall holiday party took place early evening, we had a variety of butlered and stationary appetizers for guests to enjoy. Our butlered appetizers included our mini pork tacos, jerk chicken skewers with pineapple curry sauce, samosas served with coriander dip, and our harvest canape with granny smith apple, smoked mozzarella, caramelized Vidalia onions in a Phyllo pastry cup.

We served our stationary appetizers in their large conference room. Our bang bang shrimp, beef tenderloin canapes on garlic crostini drizzled with Bearnaise sauce, antipasto of marinated olives, artichoke hearts, provolone cheese drizzled with balsamic glaze, Genoa salami, pepperoncini, mushrooms, and roasted red peppers were a huge hit with guests. We also served tenderloin martinis, which included sliced tenderloin of beef on garlic mashed potatoes, topped with caramelized onions, then drizzled with Cabernet sauce. All served in a martini glass. No, this was not your typical corporate catered party.

The M group also had sushi served at their corporate fall holiday party, which was the perfect touch to this sophisticated corporate party menu. For dessert, we served a variety of assorted cheesecake shooters and fresh strawberry bruschetta on crostini. Trust us, with this quality of a menu it will truly be the break that your employees are wishing for. We have a select number of days still available in December, if you are still planning your corporate holiday party. Contact us at 410-944-4481.

Corporate Holiday Party
Corporate Holiday Party
Corporate Holiday Party
Corporate Holiday Party
Corporate Holiday Party

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Enoch Pratt Library Wedding

Enoch Pratt Library Reception
We are so excited to share Sherry and Steve’s Enoch Pratt Library wedding. Sherry and Steve were such a fun couple to work with, which is evident in these wedding photos. The wedding ceremony and reception took place inside Enoch Pratt Library, which is one of the oldest free library systems in the United States. Aside from it’s historic appeal, this venue is gorgeous with ample room for your guest tables and a dance floor.

Sherry and Steve had so many unique wedding decorating ideas like their own custom wedding canopy. The beautiful custom wedding canopy was built by Sherry’s father, Teddy. The flowers adorning the canopy were in loving memory of Steve’s mother, Debbie. The sides of the wedding canopy were covered in small vinyl records. The records, with their variety of labels, added the perfect array of color on the alter.

The theme continued at the Enoch Pratt Library wedding reception with vinyl records as the table numbers at the guest tables. The table settings were eloquent with ivory table linens and black napkins. The splash of color from the vinyl record table number, and the beautiful flower arrangements complimented the table so well.

Of course we had to design a delicious menu for this Enoch Pratt Library wedding. For appetizers, guests enjoyed hot Maryland crab dip, sweet and sour cocktail meatballs, roasted vegetable bruschetta, muffaletto olive bruschetta, tomato bruschetta, mini beef tacos, bang bang chicken, buffalo chicken wontons, Indian samosas with coriander dip, roasted garlic and saffron risotto cakes served with sun dried tomato aioli. For the main course we had a vegan entree of a portobello mushroom stack with a balsamic glaze, and a dual entree of sliced peppercorn beef tenderloin with port wine sauce, and Parmesan crusted chicken breast with basil beuree blanc for the meat-eaters.

Of course we can’t forget about dessert. Sherry and Steve had a selection of Charm City Cakes for their guests including peanut butter cup (vegan), carrot cake (vegan), and pumpkin chocolate chip yellow cake. Congratulations to Sherry and Steve! See below for Sherry’s feedback of the wedding.

Enoch Pratt Library Wedding
Enoch Pratt Library Wedding
Enoch Pratt Library Wedding
Enoch Pratt Library Wedding Reception
Enoch Pratt Library Wedding

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10 Creative Halloween Party Menu Ideas

We wanted to get in the spirit of Halloween and share 10 creative Halloween party menu ideas that will impress — and hopefully spook your guests. While we may not be serving some of these fun Halloween party menu ideas, we love incorporating the fall theme in our menus this time of year. From our hot apple cider to our apple cider sangria, there’s plenty of ways to warm up your fall menu. We love adding fall twists to our popular menu items like with our acorn squash bruschetta and our pumpkin bruschetta. Our pumpkin bisque topped with pepitas is almost as incredible as our Gorgonzola and Pear Ravioli with a Pumpkin Marsala Alfredo Sauce. Of course you can’t forget about dessert. Especially when it involves pumpkin s’mores, apple fritters drizzled with chipotle caramel sauce, and pumpkin bites topped with maple bacon frosting. We are always coming up with new menu items, which is why we design customize menus just for your event. Contact an event designer today to start planning your fall event.

Now on to the 10 creative Halloween Party Menu Ideas…

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Walker’s Overlook Wedding

Walker's Overlook WeddingAll photos in this blog post belong to Richard and Tara’s Photography 

We love sharing the first time we work at a location, especially when it is as beautiful as this Walker’s Overlook wedding. Walker’s Overlook is a large historic property on a gorgeous farm in Walkersville, Maryland. Taryn and Brad’s Walker’s Overlook wedding was the perfect combination of eloquence and rustic charm. The ceremony took place outside with the perfect mid-September weather. We placed two of our wine barrels behind the bridal party, and placed beautiful flower arrangements on top. It added to the theme of the wedding, and was the perfect rustic touch to the wedding ceremony. This Walker’s Overlook wedding reception took place under a lighted wedding tent that was complete with white paper lanterns. To off-set the white, the guest tables had navy table linens with a burlap table runner. With ample outdoor space on the farm, Taryn and Brad had plenty of lawn games for their guests to enjoy. Corn hole, ladder golf, and jumbo Jenga were among the options.

Of course we had to design a menu that would be as fun as the wedding entertainment. For cocktail hour, guests enjoyed macaroni and cheese balls with marinara sauce, Asian spoon with seared tuna, Asian slaw, avocado, and wasabi sauce, miniature shrimp tacos with avocado, pretzel crusted chicken with honey mustard. graham cracker crusted squash squares and coconut chicken with mango sauce. Taryn and Brad’s signature wedding drink was a Caramel Apple Sangria. If only every drink could be as delicious, right?

Taryn and Brad had a stations style menu with a slider stations. On another station, we had teriyaki glazed salmon and chicken marbella. To round out the menu, we had a salad station which featured our Asian noodle salad, quinoa salad, and field green salad. We also had kosher meals for those who requested a kosher meal. We are always happy to accommodate any type of food request.

Since guests couldn’t solely rely on the Caramel Apple Sangria as dessert, Taryn and Brad had an adorable wedding cake from Sugar Bakers that was flavored dulce de leche and chocolate mousse. They also had an assortment of cupcakes including carrot, yellow cake, cannoli, and smith island flavored cupcakes. We enjoyed catering Taryn and Brad’s Walker’s Overlook Wedding so much. Congratulations to the both of you!

Walker's Overlook Wedding
Walker's Overlook Wedding
Walker's Overlook Wedding
Walker's Overlook Wedding
Walker's Overlook Wedding
Walker's Overlook Wedding
Walker's Overlook Wedding

To see the all of the photos from Taryn and Brad’s Walker’s Overlook Wedding go to,

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