You're Engaged, Yay! Now What? Wedding Planning!

by Erica Starr 22. February 2013

 

Relax and enjoy the moment.

Wooohoo! He asked, you said yes…welcome to the wonderful world of wedding planning! But not so fast - before you start envisioning your wedding day place settings, stop, take a deep breath and ACTUALLY enjoy the moment. Too often, brides-to-be don’t take the time to actually enjoy being engaged, and before they know it, they’re up to their eyes in wedding planning and wedding costs. So why not REALLY let yourself experience the engagement phase before jumping into the wedding planning phase? Trust me, there is a huge difference. You’re only doing this once, remember? Enjoy it!

Call your mom.

Believe it or not, she’s been waiting for this moment for as long, if not longer, as you have. As a matter of fact, call everyone that is important to you and your new fiancé. Yes, CALL (read: a voice conversation) all of these important individuals before you even consider hitting the social media highway. As much as Aunt Cathy likes to keep up with what is going on in your life via Facebook, finding out that you are recently engaged is NOT one of the things that she’d like to discover. Trust me, Christmas dinner will never be the same.

Get the ring insured.

What’s the first thing people ask when they find out that you are engaged? They ask to see the ring. This ring, ladies and gentlemen, will be the single most important ring of your lives. It symbolizes your love for one another and all that will come in your future life together. That being said, what can go wrong most likely will at some point or another. While nothing will ever replace the sentimental value of “the ring” if something were to happen to it, it’s always comforting to have peace of mind knowing that IF Murphy’s Law occurs, you can at least get money towards a replacement.

Contact your insurance agent to price out getting the ring added to your homeowners or renters insurance plan. However, many homeowners and renters insurance policies only cover up to a certain amount. If this is the case for you, you can look into a personal property insurance policy extension that covers particular items. Another option is to look into insurance companies that specialize in jewelry items. Whatever your preferred plan of attack, don’t take the risk of waiting…he put a ring on it, so you’d both better make sure there’s an insurance policy on it.

Ballpark your date.

The second most popular question that you’ll hear after getting engaged is, “Did you set a date?” Do yourself a favor and at least have a ballpark estimate of when you’d like to get married. It doesn’t have to be a specific date - it can even be an entire season (i.e. summer of 2014), but at least have some sort of answer for your fan club.

Start a tentative guest list.

Ah, the guest list...depending on the size of your families, the guest list can be the most fun or the most stressful part of the wedding planning process. Either way, you’ll want to get an early jump on it. The earlier you figure out your “tentative” guest list, the sooner you can start looking at venues (depending on the size of your wedding, some venues may not be big or small enough), pricing out menus and playing the lovely game of “Do we REALLY need to invite so-and-so?” Most importantly, once you have a tentative list you can begin to develop your budget.

Develop a budget, prioritize and start saving (in that order).

At the end of the day, the budget that you, your fiancé and your families come up with will be the deciding factor in all future decisions to come. I strongly encourage sitting down with both the bride and groom’s families to have an initial conversation about who is paying for what. While traditionally the bride’s family is mainly responsible for the wedding, nowadays the groom’s family often takes on more responsibility as well as the bride and groom themselves. It’s very important to have all involved parties on the same page early on in order to prevent any drama or misunderstandings moving forward.

Next, prioritize, prioritize and prioritize some more. Depending on your budget, you will more than likely have to start sacrificing the less important things for the more important ones. For example, if you both have big families, you may have to sacrifice the expensive venue in order to pay for everyone you care about to be invited. Is having a full open bar at the reception important to you and your fiancé, or will beer and wine work? These are all conversations and decisions that you’ll come across as you move down your wedding planning checklist.

If you and your fiancé have been discussing getting married in the near future, chances are you’ve probably already started saving for the big day. If you haven’t, now is the time to start. If you are like most people, after the sticker shock of the average cost of a wedding in 2013 wears off, you’ll quickly realize that you have drastically been under budgeting for the past twenty or so years of your wedding day fantasizing life. Sit down and talk with your fiancé about the best approach to start a wedding fund. There are lots of flexible interest-bearing savings accounts out there that make it extremely convenient to start putting money away for the big day.

Rinse, repeat and revisit your budget.

Before you know it, you’ll quickly start to move down your wedding planning checklist. From finding a wedding photographer to spending endless hours on “wedding ideas on a budget” boards on Pinterest, you may find yourself so caught up in the fairytale that you forget to consult your budget. Every time you are tasked with making a wedding related decision, always, always, always consult your budget before falling in love with the idea. Wedding planning is emotional enough. Don’t set yourself up for heartbreak by not reminding yourself of your financial priorities and limitations.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out these related articles:

I Do...But Maybe I Don't Want to Share My Money

The Imaginary Mortgage - Fake It Til You Make It

The Cost of Love

Super Bowl 2013: MVP Joe Flacco Leads the Ravens to a 34-31 Harbowl Victory

by Erica Starr 4. February 2013

Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl Billboards

Oh! Boy, What a Joe!

We think it’s safe to say, he’s not your average Joe – perhaps your “elite” Joe Flacco, or your Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, but average, he is not. Not many outside of Baltimore expected the Ravens to make it as far as Super Bowl XLVII; however, Baltimore fans thought otherwise, and the Baltimore Ravens proved otherwise.

Despite the “lights out” technical difficulties that seemed to impact the incredible momentum that the Ravens had built up, “General” Joe Flacco drove his “team of destiny” up and down the field, throwing 22-of-33 passes for 287 yards and 3 touchdown passes, earning Super Bowl MVP honors for leading the Ravens to a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. With Joe putting up numbers that rival some of the biggest names in the NFL, Baltimore Sports Report has officially declared Joe Flacco to be elite.

Baltimore fans celebrate a Ravens Super Bowl Victory in Canton Square

Meanwhile back on the ranch, while the Baltimore Ravens celebrated their Super Bowl victory in New Orleans, thousands of Baltimore Ravens fans rushed the streets of Charm City to celebrate. Screaming the “Seven Nation Army” chant that Baltimore fans have associated with the Ravens (this chant also oddly incorporates the Baltimore Orioles’ “Oh!” that you could hear loud and clear during Alicia Keys’ performance of the National Anthem), fans hugged each other, jumped up and down and continued to celebrate till the early hours of the morning.

So did Baltimore fans get all their celebrating in last night? Of course not! According to the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore city officials announced today that the city will host a victory parade for the champion Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday beginning at 10:45 a.m. at City Hall. The parade will proceed from City Hall south on Commerce Street, continue to Pratt and Howard Streets, and end at the Raven’s stadium, where a celebration including the team will continue, Baltimore-style!

Local Baltimore Wine Experts Suggest Their Top Picks for Affordable Wines to Celebrate the Holiday Season

by Erica Starr 24. December 2012

Holiday Wines

There is no doubt about it - When it comes to the holidays, there is bound to be food, family, friends, cookies, and a bottle or two of good wine.

Even if you and your family aren’t planning on partaking in the consumption of said bottles of wine, a good bottle wine is always perfect for a last minute gift or even just an easy grab-and-go contribution to your neighbor’s holiday party.

That being said, we went around to some of Baltimore’s well-known wine and spirits experts to get their recommendations on a few affordable wines that will wow people without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.

In general, according to Tim Coburn of Beltway Fine Wine & Spirits in Towson, the $7-$11 red wine is popular around this time of year for office parties, Secret Santa gifts, and hosting. Red wines are generally the go-to as they go well with the colder temperatures. But that doesn’t mean you can’t splurge on what is considered “the norm.”

Chateau la Bastide
Blanc 2011 - Corbieres, France - $13.00

Although red wines are more popular during the winter, Mitchell Pressman, owner of Chesapeake Wine Company located in Canton, says that a wine that goes with variety of foods is key when it comes to holiday wines. “A blend of 50% Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Vermentino, this ripe, juicy-dry (think fresh peach), mouthwatering, refreshing white can stand up to a wide variety of holiday foods.”

Cloud Break Chardonnay
California Barrel Fermented - $7.99

“If you are looking for a white, chardonnay is king,” says Coburn. The Cloud Break Chardonnay is rich with flavors of toasted oak, vanilla, butter, apple, pear and hints of coconut. 100% malolactic fermentation is used to give it nice body and texture. Refined acidity and hints of green apple linger on the elegant finish.

La Bastide
Syrah '10 Vieille Vignes "Les Genets" - Vin de Pays d'Hauterive, France - $12.00

Benotto
Nebbiolo '09 "Nebiul" - Monferrato, Italy - $17.00

When it comes to red wine, Pressman suggests two wines that both fall below the $20 a bottle range. “this is full of fragrant berry (La Bastide), spicy smells and flavors. Fruit from old vines planted in the right place usually brings more character and complexity to the wine. “

In regards to the Benotto, Pressman explains that “Nebbiolo is the most illustrious grape of the region (Piedmont) - it is the grape of Barolo and Barbaresco, two of Italy's most famous and expensive wines.”

How is this version so affordable you ask? Pressman says this version “comes from a small plot of 90 year old vines planted near the town of Asti - a village not so well known for its Nebbiolo - which helps to explain how a wine so full of dark cherry/orange peel/mineral/meaty smells and flavors could be so inexpensive.” Another remarkable value for only $17.

KAMIAK
Bordeaux Blend ’07 – Gordon Brothers - Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah blend – USA - $10.99

As reds, whites and blush wines are the more popular way to go in regards to your favorite vino, Coburn hints that blended reds are fast growing in popularity and are generally more affordable.

This cabernet, merlot, syrah and malbec blend has big, dark, toasty tannins and plenty of ripe fruit. Meaty and rich, it shows plenty of power, along with some earthier notes.

Adami
Prosecco "Garbel" - Treviso, Italy - $17
When it comes to a more wallet-friendly way to ring in the new year, Pressman suggests a Prosecco straight from none other than the grape vines of Italy.

“Prosecco (the name of the grape) is - or should be - full of fruit, frothy and fresh - just like this one from the Adami family, one of the best producers. It makes for a great ice-breaker to start off festivities, but also works great with much of the food on a holiday table.”

In addition to the recommendations from our local experts (Mitchell Pressman of Chesapeake Wine Company, and Tim Coburn of Beltway Fine Wine & Spirits) check out the suggestions from wine sommelier Gary Vaynerchuk’s 12 Wines of Christmas.

 



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