Tag Archives: Cost Saving Wedding Tips

Zeffert and Gold Catering of Baltimore’s Suggested Wedding Planning Timeline

Baltimore Wedding Planning and Catering

Upon getting engaged, there are a number of questions that brides often wonder. Questions like, “What is the next step?” or “When do I handle certain tasks for the wedding?” These are normal questions to ask, and we have answers to make wedding planning a little easier. Obviously, certain tasks can be done outside of this timeframe, but this is a great guideline to follow when considering all that needs to be done for a successful wedding.

12-16 Months Before:

  • Choose your wedding date
  • Decide on wedding budget
  • Select wedding venue for ceremony and reception
  • Hire Caterer
  • Contract Photographer/videographer

8-10 months before:

  • Select bridal party
  • Secure wedding officiant
  • Hire band or DJ
  • Start compiling names and addresses for guest list
  • Set up gift registry
  • Start looking for wedding dress
  • Engagement party

5-7 Months before:

  • Finalize guest list
  • Arrange accommodations
  • Select wedding cake
  • Begin preparations for honeymoon
  • Book florist
  • Shop for wedding bands

3 Months before:

  • Send out invitations
  • Select tuxedos
  • Finalize menu items with caterer
  • Arrange transportation
  • Order wedding favors

2 Months before:

  • Choose wedding music
  • Select location for rehearsal dinner
  • Schedule dress alterations
  • Confirm order with florist

1 Month before:

  • Design wedding programs
  • Apply for marriage license
  • Final gown fitting
  • Finalize details with all vendors, including hair and makeup

1-2 Weeks before:

  • Call any non-RSVP guests
  • Give caterer finalized headcount
  • Pick up marriage license
  • Finalize song choices with DJ or band
  • Confirm rehearsal plans
  • Confirm vendor delivery times and dates
  • Confirm arrival for guests
  • Confirm honeymoon arrangements
  • Confirm rehearsal plans
  • Pick up formalwear

1 Day before:

  • Ensure all final details are squared away
  • Pack wedding-day emergency kit
  • Get manicure and pedicure
  • Put wedding attire and accessories together
  • Give rings to best man or maid of honor
  • Get a good night’s sleep!

Wedding Day:

  • Eat something and get plenty of water
  • Get hair and makeup done
  • Have someone check reception site
  • Get dressed
  • Take pre-wedding photos
  • Eat, drink, mingle and celebrate marriage

After the Honeymoon:

  • Have wedding gown and flowers preserved
  • Enjoy any leftover food given by caterer
  • Write thank-you notes
  • Change your name
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Baltimore Wedding Planning Tips; Budgeting for the Wedding: 10 Hidden Wedding Costs

It’s all those pricey extras that slide in under the radar. We’ve asked the experts to clue us in on their insider secrets for avoiding those little-known financial pitfalls and sticking to your wedding budget.

1. Wedding Band Equipment

Why it’s hidden The cost of the wedding band includes fees for the musicians’ time and the minimum amount of equipment needed. If your reception space is extra-large, then additional speakers and microphones could possibly be required to project the best sound quality.
The cost Anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars
How to avoid it Before booking your wedding band or DJ, you need to clearly explain the layout of the space (or have them check it out, if they’re willing) so the vendors know exactly what they’re working with. If they want to add in extra equipment, you should have them explain why it’s necessary before you sign a contract or agree to pay for anything else.

2. Postage Stamps

Why it’s hidden Stationers don’t advertise the shipping costs; if they did, you might decide to go with simpler (read: cheaper) invites.
The cost Oversized, awkwardly shaped and bulky invitations will most often run you as much as $2 each to mail.
How to avoid it Skip the fancy boxed invitations and multilayer cards, which can bulk up quickly and cost a lot more than you bargained for.

3. Wedding Dress Alterations

Why it’s hidden Wedding dresses are pretty pricey and stores don’t want to scare away clients by listing alterations as part of the total cost.
The cost A simple hem can be less than $100, but completely rebuilding a bodice or moving zippers can send the price soaring.
How to avoid it Ask about what the store charges for every alteration you may need before you purchase the gown.
If it’s too much, don’t be afraid to take your dress to a less expensive seamstress to have alterations done.
4. Photo/Video Overtime

Why it’s hidden Your wedding photographers and videographers are booked for just a certain amount of time, so if your wedding runs a little longer than you expected, they’ll charge per hour.
The cost Starting at $250 per hour
How to avoid it When planning the day, factor in extra time for getting dressed and taking photos. You’ll get a realistic sense of how long everything should take. Refer to this itinerary when booking your photo/video vendors.

5. Welcome-Bag Delivery

Why it’s hidden Most hotels don’t factor in a welcome-bag delivery fee when you block rooms. And they may fail to mention the rate unless you ask — they’ll just add it to your final bill. Inquire within; they may even charge you a fee for holding the welcome bags if you drop them off before the guests arrive!
The cost Up to $7 per bag
How to avoid it During the booking process, ask about the hotel’s policy on receiving and delivering welcome bags to guests’ rooms. It may be free or cheaper if they hand the bags out at the counter as guests check in. If you don’t want the extra charge, you can distribute them at the rehearsal dinner.

6. Rental Transport

Why it’s hidden You’d assume that the rental companies would include these extra fees in the per-item costs (do they honestly think you’re going to fit 150 chivari chairs in your own car?), but surprisingly, they don’t.
The cost From $50 up to more than $500
How to avoid it Ask the rental company what their shipping and packaging fees are up front — if the cost is too high for your budget, shop around a bit. You just might find that you’ll actually save some money by renting items from a more expensive company that includes delivery costs at no extra charge.

7. Taxes

Why it’s hidden Even though these aren’t exactly hidden — we all know that there are taxes on almost everything — most couples don’t think about how much they’ll end up owing during the planning process.
The cost This will depend on the total amount of money you’re spending as well as the location of the event (taxes vary in different areas).
How to avoid it There’s no getting around paying taxes, but paying the entire bill in one lump sum can help lower the overall price, especially in the winter when vendors have fewer weddings to cover their bills.
8. Cake-Cutting Fee

Why it’s hidden If you use the cake provided by your reception site, the charge is typically wrapped into the cost. Going with an outside baker can jack up the price. Why? Because your venue’s workers are responsible for slicing and serving each piece, then cleaning the dishes. This means more work for their staff!
The cost From $2 to $5 per guest
How to avoid it Choose Zeffert and Gold! Zeffert and Gold does not charge a cake cutting fee. Regardless of whether the cake is provided by the host or us, we do not charge to cut and serve your cake.

9. Coat Check

Why it’s hidden When you book your venue in the summer, it’s easy to forget just how cold it’ll be in winter months like December.
The cost The damage starts at around $200.
How to avoid it Union rules may dictate the number of people who are required to work the coat check (and the amount they get paid). Have a good approximation of your total guest count when you book the coat checkers.

10. Gratuities

Why it’s hidden Many couples often think that the “service charge” is a tip for the event staff when it’s actually an additional fee that the catering halls charge. For what? To cover their own cost for hiring servers.
The cost Typically 15 to 20 percent of the event’s total food and drink fee
How to avoid it Choose Zeffert and Gold. Zeffert and Gold does not charge any fees for service, gratuity, or even china, glassware, flatware and linen rental. All of these costs are included in your per person price. That is why we say that our price is all inclusive.


Adapted from Tia Albright of theknot.com



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Caroline and Brad’s Beautiful Baltimore Wedding with Zeffert and Gold Catering at Cloisters Castle

On Friday May 18th the weather could not have been more perfect for the celebration of Caroline and Brad’s wedding. Family, and friends enjoyed the delicious food, plentiful drinks, and lively entertainment while taking in the sites and scenes of the gorgeous Cloisters Castle. We were happy that Caroline and Brad chose to have us be a part of their special day. We wish the happy couple all the best in what is sure to be a beautiful married life.

All Photographs are courtesy of La Rue Photography

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Budgeting for the Wedding: 30 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding


1. Cut the guest list. This will slash your catering costs and save on invitations and even the number of centerpieces.
2. Think off-peak season and save thousands!
3. Hold your ceremony and reception in one spot — it will cut travel time for vendors you pay by the hour.
4. Skip the Saturday wedding.
5. Have bigger tables so you need fewer centerpieces and tablecloths.
6. Shop the off-season for extra decor — get modern black vases on sale after Halloween and pretty pink ones after Valentine’s Day.


7. Use more greenery than flowers.
8. Swap out costly flowers — did you know peonies can be five times more expensive than roses?
9. Stick to just one or two kinds of flowers.
10. Buy flowers that are in season.
11. Include non-florals, like lanterns.


Food & Drink

12. Serve entree duets.
13. Skip the main course — apps and drinks are fine too.
14. Offer beer, wine, and a signature cocktail instead of a full bar.
15. Serve comfort foods like barbecue chicken, mac and cheese, and corn. It’s fun and often cheaper.
16. Skip the champagne toast.



17. Order a small one or two-tiered cake and then supplement cake with a larger sheet cake (hidden back in the kitchen).
18. Keep the add-ons simple.
19. Use fresh flowers, not sugar ones.
20. Reuse ceremony flowers for the cake table.
21. Skip exotic fillings like guava and mango.

Stationery & Favors

22. Get single-page invites to save on postage.
23. Give out one favor per couple.
24. Make your cake the favors.
25. Have favors double as escort cards.
26. Email your save-the-dates.
27. Make your own menu cards, escort cards, and wedding favor packaging.

Photo, Video & Music

28. Have a photographer you love but can’t afford the prices? Ask them if they have an associate shooter who will do your wedding for less.
29. Opt for a smaller band.
30. Hire a band or DJ who can do both the ceremony and the reception.


By: Meredith Bodgas http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-budget/articles/30-ways-to-save-money-on-wedding.aspx

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Baltimore Wedding Planning Tips From Zeffert and Gold Catering: Finding the Perfect Venue Continued

We wanted to piggyback on our previous post about finding the perfect site for your wedding by providing some questions that you should definitely ask when venue searching.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Tea Photography www.sweetteaphotographybylisamarie.com

Will our event be the only event taking place at your location that day?

If the site has more than one reception a day, find out if there will be any difficulties regarding timing. You do not want to feel rushed during setup nor do you want to feel rushed to leave towards the end of the event. Also, if extending the party is a possibility this could present a problem.

Are there any spaces in or around the venue that we do not have access to or that cost any additional money?

Some venues rental price includes only certain rooms. If there is an area you are thinking about utilizing for the ceremony, as a bridal suite, during the cocktail hour or as an after party hangout, you want to make sure these spaces are included in the base rental price.

Are there any special rules or restrictions that we need to follow?

If you are looking to set up extensive decorations, such as hanging lights, or elaborate food stations, with open flames, it pays to make sure this is allowed. Also, some common rules such as no red wine, beer only allowed in glasses, and no lit candles are important to know.

How much parking is available?

The last thing you want on your wedding day is for guests to struggle to find parking for your event. If no parking lot is available, it may pay to hire a valet service or make arrangements with a parking lot or garage to ease the day for your guests.

Will our guest count fit into this space comfortably?

The number of guests that a room will comfortably fit and the number of guests that the fire marshal allows in a room should be DIFFERENT. Remember, not only are there going to be guests siting at tables, but you will most likely need room for a dance floor, food stations, a bar, etc..  You want to make sure that you can fit all of the things you need for your party in the room without guests feeling cramped.

Can we use any vendors we want?

Some sites have exclusive contracts with certain caterers, florists, entertainers and other wedding professionals. If a venue has a list of a few preferred vendors, this may help shorten your search. But it may also prevent you from using a wedding professional that you prefer.

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Baltimore Wedding Planning Tips From Zeffert And Gold Catering: Finding the Perfect Venue

Just got engaged? Trying to plan the perfect wedding on a tight budget?

Listen to these helpful hints which could free up some money in your wedding budget.

 One of the first steps in planning your wedding is finding the perfect venue. If that venue puts a strain on your wedding budget, than this tip might be just what you are looking for. If you are not committed to selecting a wedding date in the middle of prime wedding season, April-June and lately September-October, you could save a considerable amount of money. Most venues have different rates for rentals that occur in the months that are not during peak wedding season. Additionally, if you are willing to have a wedding on a Friday, Sunday or one day during the week, you could potentially save even more. When looking at venues for your wedding, make sure to ask them if they offer discounts for booking events in the off season or on days other than Saturday. This idea will also hold true with many wedding vendors, who like venues, are able to offer discounted rates during non-peak dates.

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