USNA Chapel Wedding and Elegant Officer's Club Reception

It was a hot summer day on the grounds of the United States Naval Academy this June but this couple kept it cool with their elegant look, great attitudes, and lots of smiles! Surrounded by their friends and family and a very fun bridal party, Cara and Carrington’s day was beautiful, meaningful, and (from the looks of the dance floor) a really, really fun time!

Cara and Carrington opted to do a first look moment prior to the ceremony. We always feel this is a great option for couples that want more relaxed timeline to take photos together and not miss cocktail hour. Don’t their relaxed, happy faces say it all? We were in love with this perfect setting that Nikki Schell Photography captured for the moment!

The ceremony was awe inspiring in the large chapel and Cara looked stunning in her elegant, clean lined gown with her floor length veil that was the perfect match for the grandeur of the chapel. The ceremony ended with the traditional sword arch which is something all guests look forward to and is also a lot of fun for the bride and groom!

After the ceremony, the guests then walked over to the adjacent Officer's Club where the reception was being held. Once there, guests enjoyed cocktails and the regal decor of the historic building. The groom opted to change out of his Navy dress white uniform into a classic black tux for the rest of the reception.

Once the party started, there was no stopping this group! The dance floor was packed all night long and the DJ did a fantastic job. The end of the night always comes way to soon, but was made extra fun with a glow stick exit, don’t you love the picture? We sure do!

Cara and Carrington, thank you so much for letting us be a part of your special day, it simply was our pleasure. Congratulations on a fantastic day!

Nikki Schell Photography

“Our wedding would not have been what it was had I not hired Gina. Gina and Katie saved the day MULTIPLE times on the day of our wedding. From setting up our entire reception, getting family members where they needed to be, bustling my dress, fixing my hair, holding ice packs to my back when it was 96 degrees, and so much more. My husband and family could not stop talking about how amazing they were. They thought of things before they happened and were beyond prepared with things I would have never thought to bring, they also kept me so calm and reassured me when I started to become anxious. Gina even created a timeline and passed it out to the bridal party and family with the timelines being down to the minute. I will never be able to say thank you enough for all they did for me! The best decision I made was hiring them. I have already recommended them to several brides getting married in the near future!” ~ Cara, Bride

Credits:

Two Month & Day Of Coordinator- Gina of Wedding Savvy

Hair and Makeup - Alison Harper & Company

Ceremony Site - USNA Chapel

Reception - USNA Officer's Club / Naval Academy Club

Photographer - Nikki Schell Photography

Videographer - In Motion Video

DJ - Wroyal the DJ

Florist - Fantastic Flowers

Cake/Dessert - Graul’s 

Bridal Party Transport - Z Best Transportation


Intimate Maryland Eastern Shore Summer Wedding at The Inn at Perry Cabin

Don’t you just LOVE a small, intimate wedding? Add in a magical location like St. Michaels which was named one of USA Today's Top 10 Best Small Coastal Towns, and you have the recipe for a magical weekend for all in attendance! Jennifer and Roger choose St. Michael's to host their intimate summer wedding because it is a favorite getaway spot for them. The relaxing waterfront location was the perfect spot to celebrate their special June wedding day surrounded by friends and family. Senior Consultant Leslie Jefferson had the pleasure of working with Jennifer and Roger to create their personalized intimate wedding and reception on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. A fun filled weekend was planned for guests to enjoy the most of their weekend away with a fun sailboat trip for all guests on Saturday ending with a crab feast at the Crab Claw and then an elegant afternoon wedding ceremony & reception. The ceremony took place along the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay and was followed by an elegant dinner reception. An upscale and elegant reception with nautical inspirations was the theme of the occasion.

Laura's Focus Photography

Credits:

Partial Planning Wedding Coordinator - Leslie Jefferson of Wedding Savvy

Hair & Make up -Amie Decker Beauty

Ceremony Site and Reception -The Inn at Perry Cabin

Photographer - Laura’s Focus Photography

Quartet for Ceremony &  DJ for Reception: C & J Entertainment

Florist & Decor - Event Pro

Cake -TurnBridge Point

Officiant:  Ceremony Officiants - Rev. Laura Cannon 

Stationary - Little Bit of Heart


Waterfront Rustic Wedding with the Right Mix of Classic & Fun!

You are in for such a treat! Katie & Zach’s wedding was one of a kind and filled with love, fun and personal details galore! It was a lovely Annapolis private home waterfront wedding overlooking the picturesque Severn River creating the perfect backdrop for Katie & Zach to say “I do”! With a warm, rustic feel with a fun classic twist, this wedding was one we are in love with!

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The couple said “I do” under a gorgeous oak tree on the family property overlooking the scenic Severn River. Katie looked stunning in her lace detailed gown as she officially joined the family. The Groom’s party had fun arriving in classic cars down the narrow, forested road and it made for such a romantic feel!

After a stunning ceremony, it was time to party! Katie & Zach wanted a laid back, comfortable yet elegant feel and for all their guests to enjoy good food, good tunes, and a great time! I hope you’ll agree they accomplished that in spades! With food trucks for cocktail hour and a main menu featuring a slider bar with chicken, beef, and crab cakes PLUS a mac and cheese bar, guests were in for a down home Annapolis Style menu that would please every bit of their stomachs and heart and souls!

The night ended with a fun dessert bar with cupcakes, Whoppi Pies (yes you read that correctly — eat your heart out!) and so much fun and dancing. Katie & Zach’s laid back yet elegant event will be one that everyone will remember for a lifetime! Thank you Katie & Zach for letting Wedding Savvy be a part of your big day and positive memories! You guys are the cutest!

xo,

Wedding Savvy Team

Credits:

Two Month & Day of Wedding Coordinator - Wedding Savvy

Caterer - Main & Market

Tent/dance floor - Express Party Rental

Decor rentals - Honeywood Rentals

Photographer - Sarah Price Photography

DJ - District Remix

Florist (family Friend) Tory Burnett

Videographer - By Design Films

Hair & Makeup - Hudson Bridal

Restroom Trailer - gotugo

Sherwood Forest Magical Minimalist Wedding

Becca and Cassin were so excited to come back to their hometown to get married. Cassin grew up “in the forest” and Becca just across the Severn River in St. Margret’s. Becca, an event planner by trade, had her vision from the start and with the help of her Navy wife and planner extraordinaire Mom, these two ladies put together an amazingly stunning day that was just what Becca had envisioned! Our groom Cassin was happy to share his childhood stomping grounds with his beautiful bride’s family and friends as well as his and her friends that were able to make the trip out to Annapolis to enjoy this picturesque warm September day. We were so honored to help bring the day of details together so this planner extraordinaire and her handsome hubby & families could relax and truly enjoy the day without a worry!

The Brides family got ready at a house in Sherwood that was the perfect relaxing backdrop and start to the bride’s day. They then made their way via golf cart (of course!) to the ceremony which was held in Stewart Hall. With the help of Event Dynamics, beautiful greenery was hung from the existing chandeliers and an elegant ivory pipe and drape backdrop was created for a clean look for the ceremony. The altar was complimented by real trees that the mother of the bride brought & will plant at her house following the wedding! Great thinking, Diane! This Navy mom definitely knows a thing or two about planning :)

The reception for 200 filled the large clubhouse perfectly with four long tables flanking each side of the dance floor. The bride and groom thoughtfully assigned seats to each place setting with individual succulent plants so each guest did not have to wander along a long table to find their seat. The decor was simple yet elegant - all white with lush greenery down the middle and a touch of light blue peeking out of the water glass at each setting.

Guests enjoyed a choice of three delicious entrees from Atlantic Catering and then danced the night away with a great DJ from Brian George Entertainment. The couple had a rock star departure by running though cell phone flashlights and jumping into a thoughtfully decorated “get away cart” by the brother & sister of the bride!

photo by Britany Clause Photography

photo by Britany Clause Photography

Becca and Cassin, congratulations on a SUPER FUN and beautiful day! It was our absolute pleasure to meet and serve your family on such an important day. Wishing you continued blessings and lots more fun days like this one ahead!

“Raquel and her team provided stellar service. Raquel knows what she is doing and provides a service that is so necessary in the wedding process. She kept us organized, on schedule, handled all vendors and last minute issues with the ultimate professionalism. Truly money well spent! When she says "Just let me handle it and go have fun", she means it! She delivers! Her team was there on the day of the wedding as promised and the day was absolute perfection. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful memory thanks to the Wedding Savvy team!” -Becca, Bride

CREDITS:

Two Month & Day of Coordinator - Wedding Savvy

Hair - Tough Love Salon

Makeup - (Friend of the Bride) Jennifer Linnekin

Photographer - Britney Clause Photography

Officiant -(family friend of the Groom) Bob Ireland

Ceremony & Reception Site - Sherwood Forest

Caterer - Atlantic Catering

Decor / Lighting - Event Dynamics

DJ & Strings /Ceremony Music - Bryan George Music

Florist - Costco 

Cake/Dessert - Sugarbakers 

Transportation - ZBest Limos

Margarita Machine - TikiTime Tropical Treats

 


5 Tips for a Stress-Free Wedding Planning Experience!

When I meet someone new in a non-work setting and tell them I am the CEO of a Wedding & Event planning company, I am usually greeted with a few stories of wedding nightmares.  I am amazed to find, that over my seventeen years of holding this position, this one part of my life never seems to change. Sometimes it’s wedding day nightmares: during the ceremony a killer storm popped up and ripped over the bay bringing lightning and hail, or the cake that was made by a friend and collapsed during the first dance (both true stories, by the way).  Other times, it’s about the planning experience in itself: They hired a friend to help out who didn't do anything, and the things she did do, she did wrong (she did not ask the rental house if they could host a reception there -- they couldn't -- and they were out a $1500 deposit and needed to find a new reception spot, ouch!). Or, they didn't hire anyone and they bickered with their mother, mother in law, sister, maid of honor (insert role here) and are no longer speaking to them or their relationship has never been the same.  

These are of course, extreme examples but non the less, I hate to hear about wedding nightmares. I and our team get to be a part of so many beautiful, happy, and successful weddings. I truly wish everyone could have a positive wedding planning experience and stress- free, fun wedding day that leaves them with fond memories for sincerely an eternity.  That is why I decided to offer 5 simple tips for a stress-free wedding planning experience! Note I didn’t say perfect or use the word perfect …(skip to #5 for the spoiler!)

Tip #1: Hire a Professional, Experienced Wedding Planner

  • “A good wedding planner is worth his/ her weight in gold” - say EVERYONE

What I didn't mention in my story above, is that there are always a few folks who meet me that RAVE about the positive experience they've had with their wedding planner.  “She took care of everything so we didn't worry about a thing” or, “A hurricane was set to hit the day of my wedding. My planner called all the wedding professionals and made all the appropriate adjustments including making sure the band didn't back out!  We were so thankful for her”. How do you know you have a great planner?

  • They've taken some formal training - this shows they are committed to the industry and learning

  • They have great client testimonials - from more than just one or two of the same weddings

  • They have a diverse portfolio -- they can do everything well, not just one niche

  • wedding professionals refer them - they have seen their work and think enough of it to send their clients to them!

  • Their pricing is fair.  If it seems too good to be true -- it probably is.  An inexpensive planner can sometimes be over committed -- which translates into less time for you and your needs.  This can be extremely frustrating, and I actually gain a lot of clients that have gotten fed up with the “great deal” of a planner they've secured.  Also, on the other side of the equation, A planner out of your budget range will leave you feeling jilted that you can’t get all the wedding professionals and bells and whistles you want.  A good planner will be upfront and steer you towards a package that is in your budget (hourly, day of, partial or full service) because they too want it to be a win win!

Remember when investing in a planner,  they will not only help you stay in budget, but save you tons of time and energy.  Well worth the investment at any level of service.

Tip #2: Hire Other Great Wedding Professionals and Listen to What They Have to Say

  • It’s important you are working with the best wedding professional you can afford, and also you can reach a bit for a wedding professional you adore so long as you are willing to cut back elsewhere.  Don’t overreach -- that doesn't leave anyone happy! How do you find a great wedding professional?  

    • Get referrals from friends, other wedding professionals, and online

    • Check references -- not just online, but ask for some people to call

    • See samples of their work and find out what the cost of that service was

    • Pay a fair price -- if you are wheeling and dealing with a wedding professional, sometimes you might not get the best service or the service that originally brought you to them.  I’m not saying it’s impossible to bargain, but let the wedding professional lead and work with your budget. If it’s not a match -- it’s better to find someone that is a match and will be happy with the amount you’re willing to spend.

Tip #3:  Set a Budget & Decor Guideline

I hear lots of complaints about overspending, or not spending enough.  Just like any major project in life, I think it is important for you to decide BEFORE you start shopping how much you want to spend.  When buying a house or car, you would never ask a realtor to show you around or step into a showroom without knowing how much you want to spend.  With wedding planning, I ask you to take it one step further and not only decide how much you want to spend, but break it down into wedding professional categories.   I am happy to share with Hannah’s readers an exclusive look at Wedding Savvy’s suggested wedding professional breakdown by clicking here.   This is a general guideline and will need some tweaking as you start meeting wedding professionals, but it is a great place to start!  

In addition to creating a budget outline, I think it is equally important to create a decor outline.  This can easily be done by creating a Pinterest page you can share with your wedding professionals! Please keep in mind that almost EVERY client has many or some ideas on the page that wedding professionals are going to tell you- -are out of your budget range.  However a good wedding professional can make suggestions as to how to fit your ideas into a realistic budget.


Tip #4:  Be a decision maker

  • Pink napkins or Fuchsia?   Gold Chivaris or Black? You can drive yourself crazy by obsessing over small and large decisions alike.  That is why I suggest creating the budget and decor documents to serve as a guiding force in your decisions.    I always tell clients to trust their instincts, listen to great wedding professional advice, then set it and forget it.  It’ s no fun obsessing over small details. If it is a very bad idea, people will tell you. If lots of people (wedding professionals) are telling you a bad idea…. then start listening!


Tip #5:  It’s NOT going to be Perfect. That is ONE thing I can GUARANTEE you!

  • Did you notice in the opening paragraph I didn’t say ‘perfect” wedding day? Let’s get away from that term all together. Well, let me rephrase that. Your wedding day will be PERFECT for you, and that might include someone jumping out of a trolley window to get your wedding ring that accidentally flew off when you were laughing having fun with your bridal party (another true story). The earlier you come to terms with there is no such thing as a “perfect” wedding where everything is 100% the way you planned, people do what you expect, and mother nature and the traffic Gods are at your beckon call, the more enjoyable your planning process will be. Little things happen. Do your best to plan for success and then let go. 95% of the time the only people who know that something did not go as you planned are you and your planner (and trust me, she IS sweating it and doing whatever she can in the background to make it work for you!) T

    The other 5% of things that guests do notice, they want you to be happy and will do nearly ANYTHING to make that happen. Stand outside in 50 degree weather so you can say “I Do” by the water line instead inside on the ballroom dance floor? Check. Not mention the fact that the Best Man tripped on his way up to make his toast and took down a tray of champagne in the process? Never happened! The band that called the Groom Mike instead of Matt? Who cares (and the videgorapher can edit that out).

    Now that’s not to say that if something is contractually wrong with a wedding professional that had a large impact on your day that you don’t have recourse. I do suggest you follow up with that professional after the wedding day and have a conversation about where you feel they fell short. But don’t take care of it on your wedding day and certainly don’t let your joy be stolen by the fact that the salad dressing was on the salad and not in boats on the table or their was too much peach in your bouquet and you wanted it to have more pink. Trust me, I get it, it’s important and disappointing, but not important enough to steal that smile from your face. I’ve literally been in a snow storm in October and had to move a tented wedding into an unfinished basement and I will tell you guests (and the couple!) had a knock down drag out good time and if it wasn’t for the bride and groom having such a happy attitude, I’m not sure guests would have enjoyed it as much. The happiest brides and grooms I work with let the small stuff roll off their backs and remember, in the end, they are got married!  That is the real purpose of the gathering and they choose to have a positive memory of their day and know it truly was “perfect” for them :)

I hope you have enjoyed my tips for a stress- free wedding planning process and it has added value and perspective to your wedding planning experience. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts!

~Raquel Shutt, MBA, CWP, SCWC

CEO, Wedding Savvy, Inc.


United States Naval Academy Chapel Wedding & Annapolis Waterfront Hotel

The smiles on these two faces say it all … it was a perfect August summer day that was not too hot and beautiful clear skies. Kendall & Kyle’s wedding was one that everyone (especially the bride and groom!) enjoyed and it was our pleasure to help plan their magical day with them.

It was a fun morning with the ladies getting ready together an at the bride's family's rental house. The ladies then hopped on the trolley to head to the ceremony at the Naval Academy Chapel which was regal, as always. After the ceremony, the bridal party enjoyed taking photographs around the yard, while guests headed over to the cocktail hour at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel.

The weather was absolutely perfect on the patio at hotel overlooking the infamous ego alley. The impressive round white bar, courtesy of Event Pro, was the focal point of the cocktail hour and made quite an impression. Guests enjoyed the view as they played “patio” games and soaked up the amazing weather!

The creative and talented couple hand made details for their wedding day; including all of the sweet signs and table numbers. Throughout the entire day, you could feel the love and what was so important to them, family and fun! Please enjoy these special moments from Kendall & Kyle’s wedding day and we hope they inspire you to have the perfect August Annapolis wedding!

Kendall & Kyle had fun with their spunky bridal party

Kendall & Kyle had fun with their spunky bridal party

annapolis-wedding-planner

Credits

Partial Planning Wedding Coordinator - Gina with Wedding Savvy

Ceremony Site - United States Naval Academy Chapel (USNA)

Reception - Annapolis Waterfront Hotel

Photographer - Hannah Lane Photography

Videographer - Reflexion

DJ - C&J Entertainment

Decor & Florist - Event Pro

Hair and Makeup - Up Dos For I Dos

Photo Booth - The Prop Stop

Cake/Dessert - Cakes and Confections

Bridal Party Transport - Towne Transport

Boho Sherwood Forest Wedding

Boho Sherwood Forest Wedding

Ever dream of getting married on the water? Take a look at Kate and Chris' simple, yet beautiful day at Sherwood Forest for some inspiration.

Natalie and Sam's Boho Backyard Wedding

Natalie and Sam bought a house on the water in Annapolis with the vision of hosting their wedding reception there. With lots of love and thoughtfulness, thier day came together just the way they envisioned and created a lifelong memory! Hats off to Victoria Selman for capturing these amazing images of Sam & Natalie’s magical May wedding!

NatalieSamWedding_Ceremony-117.jpg

The ceremony was performed in a clearing on the property that had the feeling of an enchanted forest. The couple created a wire web to hang drapes to cover the area as well as a wooden aisle to lay carpet over for the most unique and special feeling in the forest! Guests were absolutely in love with the magical feel of the space and we completely agree :)

Natalie and Sam had a family friend provide the family style catering and Natalie & Bridesmaids personally arranged the flowers for the centerpieces in the vintage containers Natalie had been collecting. So much thought and personalization went into this wedding that made it meaningful and special to both the couple and their guests! We would be remiss to not mention the amazing DJ skills of Pedro from Mixing Maryland that kept EVERYONE on the dance floor all night long — it was hard to keep our coordinators’s toes from not tapping!

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It was such a pleasure to be a part of this magical wedding day as a day of coordinator allowing Natalie, Sam, & their family and guests truly enjoy the big day!

Credits

 Coordinator: Wedding Savvy

Hair and Makeup: Behind the Veil

Ceremony Site: Client's home

Catering: Pam the Butcher

Tent: Eastern Shore Tents and Events

Linens: Allied Rentals

Photographer: Victoria Selman

DJ: Mixing Maryland

Florist: Butterbee Farms

Restroom: Maryland Restroom Rentals




A Chic Celebration at the Westin Annapolis

A Chic Celebration at the Westin Annapolis

Karen & Jake were a savvy couple that were ready to tie the knot in style with a focus on PARTY!  It was our pleasure to be a part of their big day as a day of coordinator putting together all of their thoughtful details.

Gorgeous Annapolis Destination Wedding: USNA & Hidden View Farm

Senior Planner Leslie Jefferson so enjoyed working with Naval Academy couple Alana and Roscoe making their Annapolis destination wedding a dream come true and a weekend to remember.

The couple wanted to keep things simple yet elegant and chose an ethereal, organic color scheme and venue.  The United States Naval Academy & Hidden View Farm were the perfect spots to WOW guests in from across the country.  Photographer Krista Jones did a great job of capturing the love and the special feelings throughout the day.

“My wedding day took place over 6 months ago, and my husband and I still daydream about the day. Wedding Savvy, Inc. was a game changer for me, especially since I was planning my wedding from California. Leslie was a fairy godmother, who thought about everything, and planned every detail, so that I didn't have to think about it, and I could go about my daily life without the worry of planning a wedding by myself. My stress was so low because of her, and I can't thank her enough. From the constant communication, to the recommendations, to being the go-between with vendors, she was incredible. And to top it all off, she and her team created a fairy tale reception for us! I cannot even describe the ease that I felt the day of the wedding, and it was all because of her. It was such a neat moment to arrive to our reception, with no idea of what the event would look like (because I didn't lift a finger in the coordination), but to have complete trust that our vision would be fulfilled. Yes, it was expensive, but we wouldn't have had it any other way. I did not want to assemble table arrangements, or craft the days leading up to my wedding, because I would much rather pay for the convenience and sit back and enjoy the festivities. Wedding Savvy was a gift from above, and I would use them over and over again.” - Alana

Credits:

Ceremony Site USNA chapel

Reception Site Hidden View Farm

Caterer Ken's Creative Kitchen

Florist Rhonda Kaplan Floral Designs

DJ C and J Entertainment

Photographer Krista Jones

Cake Fiona's Cakes

Hair and Makeup Behind the Veil

Transportation American Limo Trolley

Valet Right Way Valet

Ashton and Roddy's Boatyard Wedding

Ashton and Roddy's Boatyard Wedding

Ashton and Roddy turned a family boatyard into a dream wedding venue. See for yourself…

The Quintessential Annapolis Wedding

The Quintessential Annapolis Wedding

Thinking about getting married in your backyard? Sara and Nate’s day will have you in awe.

A Timelessly Elegant Wedding: USNA & Gibson Island Yacht Club

A Timelessly Elegant Wedding: USNA & Gibson Island Yacht Club

Feeling chilly after these snowy days? Check out Sam and Sarah’s beautiful August wedding at the USNA.

Cambridge Hyatt: Black and White and Elegant all Over!

Cambridge Hyatt: Black and White and Elegant all Over!

Jill & Josh of Candy Kitchen make a living making others ‘ lives SWEET! Well this October day was one where they were able to enjoy the sweetness of friends and family smiling and sharing a special day with them! J & J had a love for their pug, beauty & glamour and most importantly - each other. Enjoy this once in a lifetime wedding at Cambridge Hyatt in Cambridge, Maryland overlooking the beautiful Choptank River. From the stunning ceremony to the ultra cool lounge area, this is one wedding you’ll be SWEET for!

Whitehall Summer Wedding

Whitehall Summer Wedding

The event ended with guests dancing the night away on the black and white checkered dance floor. It was a magical event and we are so lucky we got to be a part of it. Congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. and may your new life together bring you so much happiness. 

Chart House Annapolis Waterfront Wedding

Chart House Annapolis Waterfront Wedding

This is how you do a monogrammed dance floor! This Annapolis wedding is the definition of showstopper! 

Rustic & Elegant Private Home Wedding

Rustic & Elegant Private Home Wedding

Teresa and Jason were married on Jason's family farm in Thurmont, Maryland and it was a picture perfect fall day.