Friday, April 17, 2009

Local notions

Since we moved to Baltimore's Federal Hill neighborhood and realized the convenience of actually being able to walk to things, we've also started to make an effort to support local businesses (largely because there are so many here, versus Columbia where you have every big box store and chain restaurant known to man).  Where possible, we're trying to continue this trend with our wedding.  Here's how we have so far or could supply our entire wedding with vendors within a five minute walk:
  • Proposal: On Federal Hill.  You can pretty much see the rest of these places from the top.
  • Ring: Morstein's Jewelers; I had actually contacted several jewelers further afield because they came up on a map search for custom jewelry.  When I dropped the word custom, Morstein's came up, and were in fact quite willing to do custom work (it even says so on the web site; hopefully by linking from this post I can slightly increase their linkiness with the word custom).  It's a family business that's been there over a century, and the proprietors are extremely friendly - exactly the sort of people we feel good giving our money to.  The owner is also active in local community business organizations.
  • Rentals: If we wind up at a location where we need to find our own rental company, we'll most likely wander down the street to ABC Rentals.  I haven't priced them against anybody else yet but their costs didn't seem unreasonable and they appear to be locally owned and all that.
  • Catering / Wedding Cake: there are a million restaurants and a thousand bakeries in Fed Hill, so it would be easy to find someone who'd be willing to cater and someone else willing to do a wedding cake.  We're also trying to find caterers who source things locally where possible, particularly produce and beer and wine.  I've been talking to one that serves Clipper City, which is awesome.  That side of things obviously won't be as ultra-local as the other vendors above - I don't think there are too many farms within walking distance.
  • Venue: there are a couple of places we've talked about that are pretty nearby, although nothing we've visited yet - Inner Harbor museums and restaurants, but there isn't a whole lot in Federal Hill itself - maybe a gym in one of the recreation centers, or the American Visionary Arts Museum.  Or one of our churches, I guess
  • Flowers: there's a shop in Cross Street Market that we could go to for these.
  • Invitations:  Tu Vida Jewelry and Design.  For some reason they do both jewelry and invitations here.  I don't get it either.
  • Attire: There isn't a wedding dress shop, but there are several vintage boutiques, a Goodwill store, and one of a kind shops that might be good for a bride seeking an "alternative" dress.  Google Maps isn't giving me a place to buy a (new) suit or rent a tux but I don't entirely believe it.  There's definitely a men's shoestore on Charles just north of Cross St though.
  • Beauty: ClipArt Hair Design on Fort Ave does wedding updos.  There are a handful of other salons and beauty parlors around too, and at least one barbershop (I tried to find a different one once and the address from Google was in the middle of a residential block so I'm a little skeptical that there's more than one).  
  • Dry cleaners and tailors: Ellie got a jacket altered at Young's and wasn't altogether satisfied with it but there are a bunch of others close by.
Now, we definitely won't be using all or possibly even most of these that we haven't used yet; Ellie already got her dress, and since her preferred stylist left ClipArt she's followed her to Fells Point.  I doubt we'd use the art museum as a location.  But the point is that we could source our entire wedding within walking distance of our apartment, and that's pretty darn cool to me.  It almost seems worth doing for its own sake.

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