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Wedding Vendor Tipping and Day of Final Payments

One of the most common questions we get as our clients wedding day gets closer is what wedding vendors should we tip.  While there are many different variables that can come into play, I wanted to share some general advice and suggestions for what to consider when putting together your vendor gratuities.  

First, there are of course some vendors that require a gratuity for their staff, and most often this is written into your contract and added to the final balance.  These vendors usually include your caterer or reception venue, transportation, and beauty team.  Make sure to check your contracts with these vendors to see if your gratuity has already been included, or if there is a required amount you are responsible for. Outside of that, gratuities should be considered for those vendors who have helped you make your day special.  The most general summary I can share, is that if the vendor is working for someone else (for example, a photographer shooting for a larger company), it is more common to give them a gratuity.  If they are the owner of the company, it is less common to give them a gratuity.  My personal opinion, if you’re grateful for that persons role in your big day, it’s never a bad thing to show your appreciation!  If you have had issues or concerns, don’t feel the need to give them a gratuity.

Expected

Catering/Bartenders/Wait staff

Hair & Makeup

Transportation

Officiant/Church

Ceremony Musician

Optional

Photo/Video

DJ/Band

Planner

Baker

Florist

Photobooth/Entertainers

Rental Companies

Venue Coordinator  

Now, how much do you tip?  The only real “protocol” would be the standard 15-20% that you would consider in the rest of the hospitality world.  However, if you paid $4,000 for a photographer, they are definitely not expecting a $600-800 gratuity.  What I typically recommend is to consider how much this vendor assisted you throughout the planning, and anywhere between $50-200 would be appropriate.  Your budget might not allow for you to tip all the vendors you would like to, so as an alternative you can consider a different thank you to show your appreciation.  If you know your DJ loves a certain kind of beer, or your photographer loves a good glass of wine, pick up a case or bottle as a thank you for them.  Pair this with a nice thank you card and review of their services online, and they will be very grateful!  

One other note to make while we’re talking about vendors and wedding day payments is about any final payments that you might need to make.  While most of your vendors will require final payment in full well before the wedding day, some will allow you to make these last payments on the day of.  I strongly recommend that you take care of these payments beforehand anyway, most won’t have an issue with this.  The reason is, if you or whoever has been designated to pass out the gratuities gets distracted and forgets, it’s not uncommon to mail them to the vendors after the wedding.  Final payments, however, are required, and it’s no fun for anyone to have a limo driver or DJ ask you in front of your wedding party or guests for money.  It’s much easier to just take care of it beforehand to avoid any inconvenient or embarrassing moments on the wedding day.

Take it all in!

After all this planning, wedding week is finally here!  You’ve probably heard many people tell you that it just flies by, and they are absolutely right.  After working with hundreds of couples and families over the last 14 years, here are a few suggestions that we have for you to keep in mind while going into this final week:

 

  1. Schedule time to visit with out of town family and friends.  You’re going to be pretty busy this week wrapping up final details, but make sure to put some time in the calendar to hang out with family and friends that you don’t get to see very often.  It’s tempting to think that you’ll have time to catch up at the wedding, but you’re time will be quite divided that day, so and you probaby wont have time for much more than a quick hello.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed by trying to fit in visits with everyone, plan on meeting up with everyone for lunch or a happy hour a couple of days before. No need to “host” or pay for this, think of it as just a regular meet up with friends, not an extension of the wedding festivities.
  2. Prioritize your to-do list.  There’s no doubt that you’ve been adding to your “to-do” list on a daily basis over the months of planning.  While some of these things truly will need to be done, don’t feel bad about deleting some of those less important items to save time for everything else.  Take a look at what’s left to be done, and list them in order of importance for what you’d want to make sure gets done.  If those amenity baskets in the bathroom would be nice, but you’re not going to be devestated if you don’t have them, but them at the bottom so you make sure you check off those tasks that are more important to you first.  Also remember, your guests won’t know what they are missing, so save your sanity and time by skipping some of these tasks
  3. Delegate.  While you’re prioritizing that list, think about what things you can ask your family or wedding party to help you with.  You’ve probably had quite a few people ask “what can I do to help?”, so take advantage of their support!  Send your aunt to get those amenity basket items, or to do an airport run.  Look into services like TaskRabbit, LawnGuru, or Handy to take care of some of your household taks that you just don’t have time for.  If you’re hosting any family or friends at your home, schedule to have a house cleaner come at the begining of the week so you don’t feel the pressure to get everything in order yourself.  You can also order small catering trays (think fruit/cheese/veggie trays, small sandwiches, pasta dishes, etc.)  from a local grocery store so that you don’t have to spend your time in the kitchen.  
  4. Relax!  We mentioned this before, but the week before the wedding is a perfect time to schedule a visit to the spa with your girls.  While making it a full massage/facial experience would be ideal, taking time for just an extended pedicure with a foot rub can work wonders for the spirit!
  5. Let it go.  You have spent months putting together the details and perfect vendor team for your wedding.  You’ve done the hard work, now is the time to put your trust in everyone to make it happen for you!  Having at least a Day Of Wedding Coordinator on your team will make sure that everything is happening on time, and take care of those little things that will come up.  Try to resist the feeling that you need to check in on everyone, and just be in the moment with your family and wedding party to celebrate.  Things might run late, rain might mean you’re ceremony is moved inside, or something might spill on the dress.  Don’t let things like this ruin the day, keep the big picutre in mind.  You and your fiance will be married by the end of the day, and a stain on the wedding dress will seem insignificant down the road.  

What to pack for your honeymoon

It’s super easy to forget about the honeymoon when you are caught up with all the wedding plans.  Don’t forget to put together your packing list so you don’t leave anything behind! 

Honeymoon Packing List:

  • Airline Tickets ( printed or digital copies)
  • Passport, Drivers license
  • Credit cards/ cash
  • Any reservations confirmations
  • Emergency contact information
  • Camera
  • Any medications- motrin, allergy medications, tums, etc.
  • Chargers for all of your devices
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Aloe Vera
  • Band-aids (small first aid kit)
  • Deck of cards

Things to leave behind to loved ones:

  • Photocopies of driver’s’ licenses and passports; confirmation numbers; any important documents including travel insurance, credit card numbers, traveler’s check receipts
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of any hotels you will be staying in and accompanying check-in/check-out dates
  • List of emergency contacts and other important contact information
  • Optional: consider leaving your engagement ring at home if you are worried about losing it during travel. Some women choose to wear only their wedding band or even buy faux rings for travel.

 

Leah Moss Q & A

We often get asked about calligraphy for invitations and other wedding details, and I always encourage this when possible.  It adds a level of detailed elegance to the event that is truly customized for your wedding.  We chatted with Leah Moss, our “go-to” calligrapher about the process, and what you need to know before booking your calligrapher!

How did you get your start in the industry? I had dabbled in lettering and other art forms as a hobby since high school. In 2012, I started working as the executive assistant to the CEO of a venture capital firm – it was stressful. Calligraphy became my way to decompress after long days at work. Knowing it was relaxing to me, one of my close friends asked if I’d help address her wedding invitation envelopes. I said “of course,” but then other people who had been invited to that wedding asked who her calligrapher was. Inquiries began popping up… It’s grown as a business from there!

How do you ensure your templates are so precise? Do you use any helpful equipment? For envelopes and other small paper goods, I use a light box with a guide-sheet under my piece or a Slider Writer (it’s a laser!). For large signage work, it’s a good ole’ fashioned yard stick and a healthy dose of patience. The adage “measure twice, cut once” is definitely applicable – I always double check my measurements before writing anything.

How far in advance should couples book for your service? I take clients on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you know custom stationery or calligraphy services are something you’re interested in, get on my production calendar early! For custom design services, plan on a couple of months of working together on getting your design ready, plus another month for the printing process and envelope addressing. Add in another week for assembly, and all of that needs to get done in time to mail those beautiful invitations to your loved ones eight weeks prior to the wedding date.

What calligraphy services do you offer? 1. Custom design – I start from scratch with you to come up with the paper items of your dreams. I incorporate calligraphy, drawings, paintings, and digital elements to create a fully custom, totally unique stationery set for your big day. Illustrated maps, custom crests, floral tidbits, venue illustrations – you name it, we can make it happen! 2. Envelopes and other paper details – the “typical”… addressing envelopes, writing out escort cards, transcribing vows, lyrics, poems, and personalizing gift items on paper. 3. Signage – Mirrors, chalkboards, wooden boards – you name it, I’ll write on it! Hand-lettered signs are great for welcoming guests, reminding them of an unplugged ceremony, alerting them to sign the guest book, describing your signature drink, serving as seating charts, or giving a rundown of your menu. Lots of options for these and they’re always a beautiful addition.

What is the average cost for calligraphy wedding services? For individualized pieces (envelopes, escort cards, etc.), the estimates are priced per unit. So, the price would be very different for 50 envelopes versus 250 envelopes. For an order of 100 envelopes, plan to spend a few hundred dollars on addressing. The investment for custom design services/printing for invitation packages begins at $1,000.

Is there anything couples should know before booking your services? Your invitation is the first impression you give your loved ones about your wedding. Bringing that to life on your behalf is an honor, and it’s one I don’t take lightly. Customer service is of the utmost importance to me and I go out of my way to ensure that every detail is 100% perfect. As it should be.

When should I send out my Wedding Invitations

Tifany Wunschl of Gourmet Invitions is back to share her expertise on putting together your wedding invitation timeline!

From Tifany: 

I get asked this question probably more than any other question. When to send out wedding invitations is a pretty straight forward answer but we’ll explore some things to consider. Let’s get started!

If you want to skip to the end, we have an infographic to pin to Pinterest!

when to send out wedding invitations

 

To figure out when to send out wedding invitations, we have to go to the end and work our way backward.

  1. When are your seating arrangements due?

    Typically, your seating arrangements are due to the venue or wedding planner or the person doing your escort cards will be two weeks before the wedding date.  If you are don’t have a due date from anyone, I would still make your due date to yourself of two weeks.  This way you aren’t doing your escort cards or place cards the night before your wedding!

  2. Set your rsvp date two weeks before your seating arrangements are due.

    Without even realizing it, you just answered another question: “What date do you put on your response cards?” Two weeks is going to give you the time you need for the response cards to trickle in. You also need to call ALL of the people who didn’t send in their response cards. Finally, you need to make all of your seating arrangements. A response date of four weeks before the wedding might seem like a long time. But trust me, you are going to be so grateful you have the two weeks before your seating arrangements are due to get together your guest list and make the seating arrangements.

  3. Mail out your wedding invitations 4 weeks before your rsvp date.

    Four weeks?! I know, that sounds like so much time, doesn’t it? But the post office isn’t called “snail mail” for nothing and in the last few years, the “snail” has gotten slower. So let’s figure a week for the invitations to get to your guests and another week for the response cards to be returned to you. Four weeks now doesn’t seem so long.

  4. Should I mail out international invitations earlier?

    Yes – like maybe a week or two earlier. But PLEASE don’t send out your stateside invitations 6 weeks before the RSVP day. If you send out your wedding invitations too early, your response rate is going to go down significantly.  The longer your guests have the invitations, the longer you are giving your guests to forget to return the response cards.

  5. What about a destination wedding? Should your invitations be mailed earlier for a destination wedding?

    If you are having a destination wedding, I suggest that you send out save the dates 6 – 8 months before the wedding.  Then send out your invitations 8 weeks before the wedding. If you aren’t sending out save the dates, send your wedding invitations 6 – 8 months before a destination wedding. Everyone who is close enough to you to travel to a destination wedding knows when your wedding is and has already made plans. If your guests don’t know about your wedding, then, in reality, they aren’t going to travel to attend your wedding. So my short answer to this question is, send out something 6-8 months before a destination wedding to let your guests know the date!

If you scrolled to the end for the fast answer, send out wedding invitations 8 weeks before your wedding date!

Here is a pinnable infographic explaining when to send out wedding invitations.

when do you send out wedding invitations

 

 

 

 

 

Accessories for your Wedding

It’s time to start purchasing the attire accessories for your wedding day!  Here’s a list of some of the common items most brides and grooms will purchase.  Don’t forget the wedding party, they’ll need some of those details too! 

Bride:

  • Veil or headpiece
  • Shoes to match your dress
  • A comfortable alternate to your wedding shoes so you can dance all evening
  • A bridal garter if you’re sticking with tradition
  • A jacket, sweater, or shall in case of cooler weather
  • Wedding evening lingerie
  • Your engagement ring as well as matching jewelry (necklace, bracelet, etc.)
  • Wedding band

Groom:

  • Tie, bowtie, or cravat
  • Cufflinks
  • Handkerchief
  • Wedding ring
  • Socks (get creative with these!)
  • Shoes (make sure you are comfortable dancing in these)

Wedding Party:

  • Wedding party thank you gifts  
  • Corsages and boutonnieres
  • Flower girl basket and wedding ring cushion
  • Bridesmaids’ jewelry (possible thank you gift)
  • Bridesmaids’ shoes that are coordinated but comfortable