Author: Michaela Watkins

Ask The Experts

Congratulations, you’re getting married!!  I bet by now you are starting to realize that the wedding industry is just that — an entire industry that exists solely to service your big day dreams.  WOW, it can be overwhelming. Most couples and their families are busy people, and the thought of running around trying to coordinate several vendors can seem daunting.   Where to start? What to ask? How much to pay? These are all great questions that I would love to help provide an answer for.    

I had the pleasure of speaking with some of our very seasoned and talented local pros that had some great information to share.


Reception Site

  1. Your Name, Company, Title:  William Grace, Westin Annapolis Director of Catering
  2. What line of Business are you / your company in? Hospitality
  3. One thing you would like Brides and Grooms to know about your vendor category in general that they don’t already know, that would help them when researching your vendor category.  Always hire a wedding planner. They will assist in all avenues to make sure that your day is stress free. Our hotel is the only hotel that has an open air kitchen concept in the ballroom. The Annapolis Ballroom is a contemporary feel space, with windows throughout. If you are looking for a space that is a restaurant feel but wanting a ballroom is a perfect fit.
  4. What is an average price range for your vendor category? $120 per person and above for plated meal before service charges and taxes
  5. Your favorite thing you’ve  seen at a wedding: My favorite item that I have seen at a wedding is when a bride and groom make the wedding theirs, and not your typical ABC wedding.
  6. Anything else you would like to share: Annapolis is a busy wedding destination.  Make sure you do not take too much time looking at venues if your heart is set on Annapolis.  



  1. Name : My Flower Box Events
  2. Business: Event Floral Design Company specializing in Weddings and Grand Openings
  3. One thing you should know : You do not need to have picked everything out to come see a florist. Our creative consultation appointments  are ones of exploration and education on floral selection and design options.
  4. Average Price:. In the state of Maryland we advise couples to reserve 10 percent of their overall wedding budget for floral decor which includes ceremony and reception “ 
  5. Favorite thing:  Floating lotus pond as escort table



  1. Your Name, Company, Title – Christina Hamilton / Hamilton Photography / owner,photographer
  2. What line of Business are you / your company in? Photography (we specialize in weddings)
  3. One thing you would like Brides and Grooms to know about your vendor category in general that they don’t already know, that would help them when researching your vendor category. On top of high quality photography, make sure the company has superior customer service for both the ‘Pre’ AND ‘Post’ needs of your wedding!   It amazes me how many photographers only provide great customer service until the contract gets signed! You want great service from beginning to end! 
  4. What is an average price range for your vendor category?  It varies depending on quality, experience and what comes with the package but broadly speaking $3000-$6000. At Hamilton Photography, the average price a couple spends is $4000-$5000.
  5. Your favorite thing you’ve seen at a wedding? I love seeing weddings that have amazing family bonds.  When the siblings and parents are super excited for the couple and you can just tell that they have a great family life. It gets me every time.  
  6. Anything else you would like to share? Smile, laugh and be yourself around the camera. Capturing the joy and emotions of the day is what we do. Have fun, it’s your wedding day! 



  1. Name : Jennifer Reitmeyer: MyDeejay, President
  2. Business: Wedding entertainment
  3. One thing you should know : There’s definitely a “sweet spot” between respecting your music tastes and helping you to create the kind of celebration you want to have. A good DJ will partner with you to build a playlist that you love, and that will also result in the atmosphere and energy you want for your reception. That way, your dance floor will stay packed, while the soundtrack is one that makes you smile.
  4. Average Price: An average price range for professional DJs, depending on experience and quality, would be $1000-2000 for four hours.
  5. Favorite thing:  My favorite moments are anything that include an element of sentimental surprise – for example, when a bride has our DJ create a custom mix of special songs she can dance to with her dad, or when members of the wedding party plan an unexpected performance just for the happy couple. We’ve assisted with everything from flash mobs to choreographed toasts complete with original songs and dance routines, and the shock and joy on the newlyweds’ faces never gets old.
  6. Anything else you would like to share? I’d love for every couple to know that, in every vendor category out there, there are professionals who share their tastes and vision, and who will be so wonderful to work with that the couple will consider them a friend by the time the wedding is done. There are so many talented wedding pros, most of whom have tons of awards and great reviews – that personal connection and compatibility, on the other hand, can be much harder to find. Taking the time to get to know your vendors to be sure they’re a great fit for you can make all the difference, not only in how smoothly your wedding is executed, but also in how much you enjoy the planning.



  1. Name : Select Event Group – a full service party equipment rental, tent and event production and design company.
  2. One thing you should know : Planning a wedding can be a long and often confusing process.  Finding a reputable company that has the products you like is crucial, but establishing a relationship with a company that delivers outstanding service is paramount.  Selection, quality, and service will vary from vendor to vendor.  To ensure you understand the quality of product you are renting, visit their showrooms. 
  3. Average Price: With every rental equipment company there will be a range of prices.  The best sales consultants will help guide you towards making the most impact within your budget. There are many necessities but also extravagant extras that make your wedding pop, and it’s important to know where to cut back without losing your vision.  Working with a planner or a sales consultant helps!
  4. Favorite thing: When planning your reception, set aside a place for casual seating around the dance floor.  A couch or two will encourage guests to get up after dinner, mingle and join the party!
  5. Anything else you would like to share? The biggest change I have seen over many years in wedding planning is that there are no more “rules!”  Couples should make their wedding personal to reflect their style and vision.  Lean towards elegance, trendy touches are great, mix it up, make it romantic, and make it fun!

  • | Joy Michelle Photography
  • | The ShutterBee Effect
  • | Drawn to the Image
  • | Krista A. Jones Photography
  • | Tunji Sarumi
  • | Tunji Sarumi
  • | Kate Fine Art
  • | Rachel Kendall Events
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • |
  • | Meghan Elizabeth Photography
  • | Audra Wrisley Photography
  • |
  • |
  • | Kate Fine Art Photography
  • | Audra Wrisley Photography
  • | Hannah Lane Photography
  • | Wendy Hickok Photography
  • |
  • | Wendy Hickok Photography
  • | Nicole Barr Photography

These two were so fun, affectionate, full of laughter and photogenic! They really made the cold weather enjoyable!

Like most couples who have never been in front of the camera before, they arrived feeling a little anxious. Well, Casey did. Alex gets credit for being the calming influence in their relationship. But within minutes they were enjoying a romantic moment and laughing all the awkwardness away!

Casey has a naturally elegant pose, and Alex was more than willing to nuzzle just to keep his nose warm! These two were such a delight to work with, and Annapolis offered a more than perfect location for this engagement shoot. Historic brick facade, store fronts, a waterfront pier and just enough fall foliage. I could have spent hours more exploring the city with this sweet happy couple.

Congrats, and I can’t wait for your wedding next Fall!

  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography
  • | Robyn Brown Photography

Wedding Checklist

The excitement of saying “Yes” has slightly lapsed and you realize – I have a wedding to plan!

Don’t fret. We’ve partnered with some of the area’s most professional wedding vendors to provide you with a foolproof, step-by-step wedding checklist. Scroll down to view it!

10-12 Months Out:
Budget – determine how much you are looking to spend
Guest List – create an excel spread sheet with all of your guests. Include columns such as contact info, RSVPs, gifts, menu item, etc.
Venue – decide on separate locations for ceremony and reception or the same place.
Caterer – if your venue doesn’t offer its own catering service, enjoy tasting multiple options
Officiant – meet with your officiant and map out the ceremony
Photographer – ensure the individual you hire is open to doing the shots you want
Planner – if you wish, hire someone to help out with the run-of-show
DJ/Band – attend gigs or acts to see how they interact with the audience
Florist – pick a florist that works with your budget

6-9 Months Out:
Save the Dates – let your guests know your big day is coming
Pick your wedding party – let those special someone’s know they are a part of your special day
Engagement Party – throw an engagement party if you wish. But, only invite future wedding invitees.
Dress – you will need to schedule enough time for at least three fittings before the big day
Wedding Party Attire – allow at least six months for the wedding party attire to be ordered
Hair/Make up – book trials with both your hair and make-up artist to go over the final look
Baker – some bakers require a long lead time given your needs
Register – pick a range of items from bath towels to china and a Keurig to vacuum cleaners
Purchase Rings – this will give you plenty of time for resizing and engraving

3-5 Months Out:
Hotel/Transportation – pick at least two hotels with different price points and consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, etc.
Honeymoon – make sure your passports are up-to-date and you are ready for fun
Vows – if writing your own, give yourself plenty of time to write something personal
Rehearsal Dinner Plans – confirm the location, number of attendees, and menu of the rehearsal dinner
Choose your music – what will be playing during the ceremony, dinner, dancing, etc.
Order favors – if desired, make sure your guests have a memorable keepsake
Finalize the readings/toasts – determine who will speak and what they will read

6-8 Weeks Out:
Invitations – make sure to do produce a test run of the invite first. Send these out two months in advance
Day-of Timeline – draw up a schedule of the event and send it to your vendors
Wedding Décor – purchase your guest book, toasting flutes, cake servers, etc

3-5 Weeks Out:
Marriage License – make sure you order several copies
Contact vendors – confirm everyone is good to go and is aware of the plan
Rehearsal Dinner Invites – make sure everyone who is invited has the details
Seating Chart – after RSVPs are gathered, create the layout of the room and share with your caterer

1-2 Weeks Out:
Final Count – give your caterer/venue the final guest count
Finalize Details – make sure all wedding-day items are packed and ready to go
Payments – have all your finances in order to make your final payments to the vendors

Wedding Day: