Saturday, July 19, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Tipping for Wedding Services

Who should I tip and how much is a usual question our consultant's are asked.  Our advice is preceded by a reminder that tipping should always be about a job well done.  Consider this basic premise when allocating dollars for tips and increase or decrease from the following guidelines based on the service provided.  For simplicity sake, it is usually best to entrust tips to one person - the bride's father or the best man on the wedding day and to have the amonts prepared in advance and in labeled envelopes for distribution wherever possible.

Here are some service providers and suggested guidelines for gratuities.
  • ·         Hair stylists - 15% -20% of the fees, plus 5% for the shampoo assistant.
  • ·         Makeup artists - 15% to 20% of fees
  • ·         Valets - $1 -$2 per car to be divided among all valets
  • ·         Coat Checkers - $1- $2 per coat to be divided among all checkers
  • ·         Chauffeurs - 15% - 20% of transportation bill
  • ·         Catering staff - up to 20% of catering bill to be divided among all staff
  • ·         Bartenders - 15% to 20% of bar bill if tipping by guests was permitted as in a cash bar, or up to 30% if guests were not permitted to tip.
For officiants at ceremonies and musicians/soloists check with your ceremony site contact about the usual fee.  If they say "free will offering" here are usual guidelines. 
  • ·         For civil ceremony officiates - $50 - $75 - and for religious officiants the same.  The best man can handle distribution of these for the couple.
  • ·         Ceremony soloists or pianist/organist - $35 to $75
Even florists, photographers, videographers, bakes, seamstresses may sometimes deserve tips under extraordinary circumstances.  Remember to include a line item in your wedding budget for tips to insure that no one will be forgotten.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Seven Tips from Wedding Planners

Professional wedding planners and designers from WEDDINGS BEAUTIFUL WORLDWIDE (WBW) have lots of helpful hints for brides as they plan their weddings.   While they may not guarantee a bump free road, some preplanning can minimize the likelihood of problems on your big day.

*If you really can't afford a wedding designer or have dreamed of doing much of the wedding planning yourself, consider hiring a wedding planner that offers a "week or day of" coordinator.  Especially if your wedding is large and will be held at multiple locations, the coordinator can be a life saver and will insure that all the plans will be carried out without bumps.

*When looking around for a wedding site, consider a single location for the ceremony, the reception and hotel accommodations.  It will not only minimize travel complications, but may turn out to be more cost effective than having guests and the wedding party traveling all over town to get to events.

*Attend bridal shows early in your engagement.  They can be fun and the source of super ideas and resources.  Don't plan on attending too many, that will only result in information overload.  Pick a couple early on in your planning phase and then stop.

*Number the backs of RSVP cards to correspond to the guest address lists.  When the cards come back to you you'll know who has responded and who hasn't, plus it will help to decipher illegible handwriting.

*If your wedding venue has multiple weddings on your weekend, check to see what rentals the other brides are using.  You may be able to use rented greenery or tables and chairs at a special rate.  You won't know until you ask.

*Bring extra shoes in your wedding case.  You have chosen your wedding shoes clearly, but you never know.  Bring heels, a pair of wedges and a pair of flats.  Heels have been broken just before the trip down the aisle.  A few pairs of footwear options are very reassuring.

*Pack your emergency kit.  Include tissues, double stick tape, medications, sewing kit, scissors, band aids, and breath mints.  Also tuck in a single knee high nylon stocking.  It works wonders to remove deodorant marks on dresses.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - New Versions of Old Ideas

Today's brides find themselves wanting both a tie to traditions and a wedding that reflects their unique view of life.  Our brides have shared their concerns and wishes with our consultants over the years and this is what we have learned from them.

*It's the bride's big day.  That's true, it is a big day for her.  The bride is the centerpiece and every bride is beautiful.  But wielding that concept can easily slip into "It's all about me and what I want" mentality.  When in fact, a wedding is "our" big day.  The bride wouldn't be a bride without the groom and he would not be a groom without his bride.  This is a day to celebrate the couple and the new family they are creating.  A wedding is the union of two families and this event is a celebration of that reality.

*Guests need favors.  They really don't need to take home a box of candy, or flower seeds, nor are they likely to plant a tree that they got from a wedding (the parents of the bride may or the couple may).  Most guests would prefer to nibble on wedding cake at the reception and not carry a slice home in a beautifully wrapped package.  Really think through the whole concept of favors.  If you love gifting guests, go for it and find the perfect picture frame or monogrammed bottle of wine or handmade truffles.  But guests don't need a gift.

*The groom can't see me before the ceremony.  Yes he can!  Especially if you have multiple venues to drive to as part of the wedding day plans.  More and more couples complain that the day goes by in a haze as both bride and groom seek out guests and go from event to event.  Some of the most meaningful time couples have spent is time together before the wedding.  Dressed in their wedding garb, they take the time to be together, to contemplate what they are about to do and to relish in their love for each other.  He will think the bride is beautiful in her gown whether he sees her before she walks down the aisle or as she does.

*This is THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF MY LIFE.   No it isn't!  It is an important day, but your life together is just beginning.  There will be milestones throughout your lives together.  Your life will be filled with many memorable and important days.  This one is the first - not the only.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Wedding Day Energy

It will be an exciting and event filled day, but it is also a long day and one that can leave you very, very tired once the adrenalin rush subsides.  Your day may begin with hair and makeup appointments and even if the wedding is an evening one, you'll be busy all day with cameras flashing and video rolling. Here are some suggestions that can help conserve the energy necessary to get through the day in style.

*Get a good night's sleep the night before.  If your rehearsal and groom's dinner are the night before the wedding, it may be tempting to stay out late and party, but try to get home and snuggled in before the midnight hour.

*Eat breakfast!  Go for a combination of carbs and protein.  The carbs will give you an initial burst of energy to get you going and the protein will keep you feeling full longer.  Not a fan of a big breakfast?  Try a combo of whole wheat toast, fresh fruit and Greek yogurt.

*Stay hydrated.  Although drinking plenty of fluids can increase bathroom trips (which combined with nerves are not fun for brides in gowns), it is important to have enough fluids in you.  Being dehydrated can result in headaches, weakness, dizziness and can make you cranky.  Don't try to front load all the fluids before noon.  Consume water throughout the day.

*Pack some snacks.  You may get busy and have no time for lunch.  If yours is an evening wedding, you may go all day without food.  Take neat finger foods that can be nibbled like trail mix.  Avoid any messy foods that can drip on your clothing or may get stuck in your teeth.  Stash some nibbles in the limo or whatever mode of transport is taking you to the reception.

*Try to avoid a caffeine binge.  Avoid those energy drinks.

*Eat dinner.  You paid for it, enjoy it.  And watch the alcohol intake. You've worked hard to create a memorable wedding for your family and guests.  A bride with too much to drink is not one of the memories you want to create.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Writing Your Own Vows

As a special way to make their wedding unique, some couples are attempting to write their own vows. If that is in your plans, here are some things to keep in mind as you consider this.
  • This can be a huge undertaking.  It is like being an author/poet and public speaker at the same time.  Some people can pull it off and others can't.  Think about it clearly before you commit to making it an integral part of your ceremony.
  • Make sure it's even possible.  Many churches don't allow personalized vows.  Couples are required to recite a specific and traditional set of vows.  Even officiants who OK the concept may want to have final approval of what you have chosen to say.
  • Start early.  You may have learned to cram for finals in college, but this is not the time or place to just "jot down a few ideas the night before and wing it".
  • Make sure that both of you are on the same page.  The bride may have something serious and somber in mind, while the groom is thinking funny and light.  Talk about the tone of the vows that will work for both of you.  Pick a common theme to guide you both.  Consider this - do you want to know what he/she will say before the ceremony or is it to be a surprise?
  • Feel free to copy words or ideas from books or plays.  Quote a famous poet or author whose work resonates with you.
  • Remember that you are speaking before a large audience.  Don't make the vows so personal that no one knows what you are talking about.  Your guests have been invited to witness your vows in order to make the marriage bond public.  If you have more material than works in the profession of vows, save it and use it for toasts during the reception.
  • Don't go on and on.  Note how long it takes to say required vows and time yours accordingly.  One minute or so is usually enough.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Legal issues related to weddings have a long history.

At one time, the mere act of living together made a man and a woman husband and wife.  But over time, unions required more legal status.  As civilizations developed and matured, laws were enacted that shaped the traditions and requirements.

The earliest known marriage certificate in existence is of a Hebrew marriage in Egypt in the 5th Century B.C.  By the lst Century A.D. Jewish religious laws stipulated that a marriage without a contract was neither proper nor legal.  The certificate defined a husband's duties and provided for the wife should he divorce or predecease her.  It detailed the date and place of marriage and since surnames were unknown, the bride and groom were carefully identified.  The groom was responsible for writing the certificate, which had to be read publicly at the wedding.

The early Christian church adopted this custom and adapted the text by adding the obligation that the wife "love, cherish and honor" the husband.

For ancient Romans, the kiss was a legal bond.  They held a betrothal ceremony at which the bride and groom joined right hands.  The bride received a ring and then the couple kissed.  The Christian church incorporated much of the betrothal ceremony into the marriage ceremony - including the kiss.  It was transformed into the liturgical kiss of peace, which was to remind the couple of the sanctity of their union.

We are reminded that marriage is both a civil/ legal union and a personal commitment of two individuals to share their lives.  Our consultants can help you understand the origins of many of our current traditions as well as guiding you in creating some new traditions of your own.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WEDDING NOTES™ - Announcements and Gifts

We are often asked questions by guests as well as brides.  Brides want to know when to send announcements rather than invitations, or even if they need to send announcements,And guests who have received an announcement want to know "Do I have to send a gift?"

The answer to both is "You don't have to do anything".  However, announcements are a very nice way to inform distant relatives and friends who would love knowing about your wedding but would be unlikely to attend the ceremony.  If you are planning a smaller wedding, announcements may also be sent to people you see on a regular basis but who would not be included in the guest list.

Announcements are mailed immediately following the ceremony and should never duplicate the invitation list.  People get one or the other.

Since wedding announcements do not obligate the recipient to send a gift, brides should feel free to share their good news with everyone they care about.

On the other hand, receiving a wedding invitation does have other implications.  Technically, receiving a wedding invitation to the ceremony only does not obligate the invitee to send a gift.  It is obvious that guests send wedding presents to any couple they care for, but if a person receives an invitation to both the ceremony and the reception but declines to attend, he/she is officially relieved of the obligation to send a wedding present.  If one does attend, it is expected that a gift will be sent.