Which Vendors to Tip at Your Wedding | Ask a Wedding Planner | Charleston, Atlanta, Philly Nontraditional Wedding Planner

Which vendors should I tip at my wedding?

Today we're talking about the yucky stuff...money.  Usually our blogs are about the funsies and picking out the pretty stuff or yummy cakes, but today is all about the moolah. Most of our clients are usually pretty in the dark about who to tip at the wedding and thus end up asking us.  So we figured it was about time to get a blog up on that subject! Keep in mind tips are always optional but several vendors will expect them. Make sure you give the envelopes to the planner or the best man before the event to be given out at the end of the night and/or service performed.

Firstly let's talk about tipping your planner, and no, this is NOT a plug for us to get more money out of you! 

Sure, a tip is AMAZING and always very appreciated, but something a bit more personal for the gal (or gent) you've spent tons of time planning this special day with is probably in order. I'd suggest getting her a generous gift card for a restaurant you know she loves or a gift card for a pair of Tieks (anyone who spends hours on their feet should totally own a pair...or four!) or a gift basket filled with her favorite wines and cheeses would be divine!  Whatever you do get her, make sure it's personal and well thought out and you'll certainly make her feel loved! Side note, I would suggest tipping her staff individually. $50-100 per person is perfect.

Should I tip the wedding photographer?

Photographers don't expect to be tipped if they own the company, but if they only work for the company we suggest tipping them anywhere from $50-200 per person. Same rule applies to their second shooters, we suggest tipping them as well. As for a nice thank you for the photographer, try to send them something well thought out and personal. 

Should I tip the wedding hair and makeup artist?

Hair and makeup artists are definitely expecting to be tipped.  We usually suggest 15-25% of the total at the end of the appointment.

who to tip at your wedding | scarlet plan & design charleston wedding planners

Should I tip the officant?

Officiants usually expect to be tipped as well but it's a bit of a gray area as to how much.  Some people feel that if they're charging you to officiate then that's good enough, but we usually suggest tipping them 10-15% of the total, and if you're only asked to make a donation it should be at least $200.

atlanta nontraditional wedding planner, scarlet plan & design

Which other vendors should we tip?

Ceremony musicians

If you've used a larger choir for the service and they haven't charged you a large fee, we'd recommend making a donation to their church for a small amount (around $100 is good) and giving them some cupcakes or cookies when the ceremony ends.

Definitely plan to tip anyone playing an instrument for the ceremony. Whether they're playing as a group or a soloist, we suggest between $50-100 per person.

Catering

Check directly with the caterer when it comes to tipping the catering staff. They typically have their gratuity and/or service fees built into the contract so ask them if that goes to the staff. If the gratuity isn't given right to the staff, we recommend tipping each of them. We suggest 2-5% of the total bill, and have your wedding planner give it to the banquet captain or catering manager at the end of the night.

Bartenders should be tipped if they didn't have a tip jar out for the guests to tip them. We suggest $150-200 each.

Transportation

Another person that will expect a tip is the transportation driver. We suggest 15-20% of the total.

Reception musicians and/or DJ

The band or DJ are technically optional tips, but usually recommended. If they've done an especially good job and really kept the party on its feet, we suggest $50-100 per musician and at least $200 for a great DJ.

Rental staff

We always suggest tipping the rental delivery/set up staff. Usually about $20-30+ per person is perfect for them. They don't expect it, but if they're delivering a ton of stuff, moving things multiple times or coming back for a super late pick-up it's a very nice touch.

Miscellaneous vendors

We suggest generously tipping anyone who falls into one of the more specialized categories below:

  • Cake or specialty dessert vendor
  • Photo booth operators
  • Live wedding painters
  • Henna artists
  • Performers

We hope this helped clear up the great tipping questions we're sure you all have!

7 things to do the morning of your wedding | wedding planning advice | charleston, atlanta, new york nontraditional wedding planner

OH MY GOODNESS!  Today is the Big Day!!!  What are you doing the morning of your wedding?  All too often when I ask this question my sweet brides start listing a million things they have to finish up and I just want to beg them to take it easy so I figured it was probably high time for a blog on this subject.  The only things you should be doing the morning of your wedding are relaxing with your nearest and dearest and being pampered by your makeup artist, but here are a few of our tried and true suggestions!

photo credit :: VUE photo

1. Eat a big old breakfast!  Then eat a big old lunch!  You're probably not going to have another chance to eat for a very long time so eating now is essential.  And odds are, your bridesmaids have lots of champagne ready to be poured so avoid getting tipsy on an empty tummy and eat up!  Tip: make sure its high in protein and complex carbs to keep you going for hours.

2. Spend the morning with people you actually want to be around.  There's no law or rule saying you have to spend the whole morning with every single person in your immediate and extended family, bridal party and well meaning visitors, so if a big huge group is not really your scene, ditch the crowd and just kick it with your mom and bestie!  And guess what?  If you want to sneak out and have coffee with your soon-to-be hubby, that's just fine too!  The one and only person who was able to calm my nerves the morning of my wedding was Tony and thank god he stopped by the house to pick up his forgotten tie and check in on me.  One hug and a smooch from that handsome fella was all I needed to soothe my frazzled nerves and get my day started right!  So throw the rules away, smooch your sweetheart and dance on the bed with your bestie!

3. Stay hydrated!  For every glass of champagne (or coffee) you have follow it with a glass of water.  No, it will not make you look bloated but it will keep you from getting a headache or getting tipsy too early in the day.  Seriously, nobody wants to be that hammered bride at her own wedding...save that for your bridesmaids weddings!

4. Write a sweet card or letter to your love!  Have your wedding planner or a bridesmaid deliver it to him with your groom's gift.  Or better yet, exchange the letters with a door between you to keep from seeing each other and read them at the same time.  Bonus points if the photographer catches either of those things in motion!  #swoon

5. Steal one of your sweetie's favorite button down shirts to get ready in.  When getting your hair and makeup done the morning of your wedding the last thing you want to do is wear a tee shirt that you'd have to pull over your beautiful hair and makeup risking smudges and smears and ruining your lovely hair.  By snagging one of his beloved button downs your hair and makeup will be safe and your getting ready shots will be even more special.  Bonus points if its one of his college team shirts!

photo credit :: dana cubbage weddings

6. Do a "First Look" with your parents or just your dad.  Everyone is always talking about the First Look with the groom, but the first time your mom and dad see you all made up and in your wedding gown, the tears are bound to flow and stunning heartfelt, tear-jerking photos are usually the result!

7. Take a few minutes alone to let it all sink in.  Pray, meditate, cuddle with your dog, do whatever brings you peace when everything around you is going at full speed.  You've spent months, maybe even a year or longer, planning a wedding and now that it's finally here, try to slow down for just a few minutes and find some quiet.  This day is going to fly by and if you don't stop to enjoy it, it'll pass you by in the blink of an eye.  Let the joy that this day is filled with come into your heart and just try to focus on the new life you and your beloved are forging from this day forward.  

Well, there you have it!  Those are our favorite tips and suggestions for the morning of your wedding!  What are some of yours?  

Happy planning, my loves!

Sara

Scarlet Wedding Tour | Kate Spade Chic at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina | Charleston Wedding Tours Bridal Show Alternative | Charleston, Atlanta, New York Nontraditional Wedding Planning & Design

Our first and last stop on the Scarlet Wedding Tour was the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, arguably one of my absolute favorite venues in all of Charleston.  With several impressive venues right on site for weddings and events, CHRM and their amazing event team are my first stop when venue hunting for clients or working on one of our many editorial shoots.  Shannon Hartman, the director of sales at CHRM, was one of the first people I spoke with when we first started planning the Tour and she went above and beyond for us in the months that followed.  

We used the Yacht Club above the Fish House for the afterparty.  With enormous windows and panoramic views of the Charleston Harbor, the Ravenel Bridge and most of downtown Charleston, the Yacht Club is absolutely breathtaking.  The last time we were at CHRM we put together an amazing nautical wedding inspired photo shoot (recently seen in Charleston Weddings Magazine) but wanted to stray from Nautical and show that although the space is perfect for that design theme, you're not limited to only that!  

Our design was inspired by Kate Spade, all things elegant, clean and fun.  We started with black, white and gold as our base colors and added an array of blush pink, peach, fuchsia, lilac, dusty rose, and lots of greens to round out our stunning and fresh color palette.  It was the perfect setting for the private after party!  We used elegant black sequined linens on the high top tables, black and white chevron sequined runners on our white farm table estate tables, paired with square plates, perfect gold flatware and used Riedel red wine glasses with delicate Kate Spade polka dotted white wine glasses to finish off our tablescape.

venue :: Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina | planning & design ::  Scarlet Plan & Design | photography :: The Click Chick Photography | rentals :: EventHaus | florals :: Tiger Lily Weddings | catering :: CHRM | cakes & cupcakes :: Sablee & Gardenia's Custom Cakes & Catering | table top rentals :: Polished | linens :: La Tavola & Ultrapom | paper suite :: By Brydon Fine Paper Design | mixology :: Firefly Vodka | music :: Ampd Entertainment

happy planning!

love, Sara

Gorgeous Gayla of Tiger Lily Weddings putting the finishing touches on their stunning floral design!

Try moving the table runners from the center of the table to either side tucked under your plates for a fun, fresh take on tradition!  Black and white keeps it elegant while the chevron and the pop of pink in the napkins keep it light and unexpected!  Gold flatware on square plates were the perfect finishing touches for this tablescape.

How perfect are these invitations?!  Brydon Holsey & I collaborated on the design and it came out incredible!  All I had to do was give Brydon my inspiration and color palette and she just absolutely nailed it!

This cake by Monica at Sablee might be my most favorite part of the entire design!  I mean, how can you go wrong with polka dots, stripes, gold confetti and our very own Scarlet ampersand?!

The cakes Monica makes are absolutely outstanding and we just love taking our clients to do tastings at her West Ashley bakery.

The catering provided by Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina was outstanding...as always!

Local favorite Firefly Vodka sponsored the tasty cocktails our guests enjoyed!

Ampd Entertainment played remixed tunes and kept the party bumping!  They're easily one of our favorite DJ's in the South and one of the first vendors we recommend to clients that want to get the party started and keep it going!

Gorgeous cakes and outstanding tastings by Gardenia's Custom Cakes and Catering.  Bit of trivia for ya, the owner of Gardenia's, Desmond Pringle, and I go waaaaay back to my pastry days in Atlanta when we were on the same pastry team.  Working with him was probably my favorite part of being a pastry chef!  Desmond even made my wedding cake when Tony & I got married back in 2011.  Love me some Desmond!

Friendor Friday | Flute Bar Service & Party Rentals | Scarlet Wedding Tour Sponsors | Charleston, Atlanta, New York Nontraditional Wedding Planners & Designers

Today I am so excited to talk about Petra Petrillo and Flute Bar Service & Party Rentals.  Petra was kind enough to host an Open House Holiday Party for all us event pros at LOKAL on Johns Island a few days ago and I am constantly blown away by her creativity and grace.  As always, the cocktails were incredible, the food was outstanding and the service was perfect.  Just a few of the many reasons that we are overjoyed to have Flute and her sister company Crave Catering on the Scarlet Wedding Tour.

  • how long have you been in the event business? and/or business for yourself?  Cooking and mixology were always in my life! My husband - Executive Chef Mike Petrillo and I opened our first restaurant in Pittsburgh, PA in 2002. We have started with catering as well as private parties back then. In 2007 we moved from Pennsylvania to Charleston and we launched Crave Charleston Catering. After 7 successful years in catering business I have started Flûte Charleston - bar service. I have many years of bartering experience and it just made sense to us to open a bartering service.
  • what inspires you?  Farmer’s markets and interesting grocery stores! I am exited about seasonal fruit for juices - I love mixing cocktails with fresh squeezed juice! Also, I have a passion for traveling and like to collect different ideas from various countries. 
  • what will guests of the scarlet wedding tour be seeing from you? Flûte will prepare 3 specialty cocktails created just for this event and will be serving them at Boone Hall Plantation.
  • what are some of your favorite venues to work at? My favorite definitely are plantations - they are just stunning! My favorites are: Boone Hall Plantation, The Island House on John’s Island and Brookland Pointe Plantation on Edisto Island.
  • what do you love most about this industry? I really like working with people and be part of their special day. I like to see how the events come together.
  • what do you hope guests of the Scarlet Wedding Tour will take away from this experience?  I hope they will be inspired to have a wedding of their dreams. With all the wonderful vendors participating in the Scarlet Wedding Tour there are going to see that the options and ideas have no limits!
  • name one thing/place someone coming to Charleston from out of town must see or do.  Carriage ride and a tour of one of the mansions in downtown is a must!
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Friendor Spotlight | Forage + Fleur by Rebekah Clark Moody | Scarlet Wedding Tour Sponsors | Charleston, Atlanta, New York Nontraditional Wedding Planners & Designers

I am starting to get incredibly excited about the Scarlet Wedding Tour, y'all!  We've got less than 2 months to go and so much in store for our guests!  

Today I'm delighted to introduce everyone to the super talented Rebekah Clark Moody of Forage + Fleur.  She's so much more than just a talented young woman, she's sweet and funny and kind and we just adore working with her and introducing her to our clients.  She's one of the floral designers guests will see on the tour and she's doing two of our fabulous venues!  Her designs will be at The Historic Rice Mill and Upstairs at Midtown.  

  • How long have you been in the event business?  and/or business for yourself? I have been in the event industry for almost three years (wow, time flies) and I launched my business in August 2014. 
  • What inspires you? Authentic moments. Whether it’s sitting down for an intimate dinner with family and friends or getting to know new people at creative gatherings, I love spending that time to create memories. Beautiful light. There’s just something amazing about working on a project when the lighting is just right. I recently worked on my first styled bridal shoot where we recreated the English countryside. Looking through the camera lens when the light highlighted the model and my floral bouquet, how could you not get inspired? And lastly an amazing meal. Sitting down with good friends and good food inspires me greatly. The structure and menu of a well planned meal has the ability to make me think creatively of how a well designed arrangement could compliment the moment and enhance the atmosphere.
  • What will guests of the Scarlet Wedding Tour be seeing from you? Soft, lush blooms with lots of greenery mixed in. The floral arrangements that I design are very natural and whimsical. I forage and work with flowers in their natural state. If my flowers or greens naturally fall to the right I put them on the right. When you see my designs I want them to look as if these flowers naturally grew together and I simply put them in a vase with unique variations and vibrant colors.
  • What are some of your favorite venues to work at? Some of my absolute favorite venues in Charleston are River Oaks Charleston, Boone Hall, and Runnymede Plantation.
  • What do you love most about this industry? I love the ever-changing nature of the event industry. Each and every event is unique, so it is fun to collaborate with other creative vendors to make each event remarkable. We as artists evolve and change over time. It’s inspiring for me to see our work evolve and change through our collaborative process.
  • What do you hope guests of the Scarlet Wedding Tour will take away from this experience? Inspiration and peace of mind. The wedding planning process can be quite challenging, so having good vendors that can help guide you along the way is crucial.
  • Name one thing/place someone coming to Charleston from out of town must see or do. I would spend a day downtown, walking along the Battery, exploring all the beautiful historic homes, and eating at some amazing restaurants... like the Ordinary, Husk, or Two Boroughs Larder. Ok, maybe that is more than one.

Friendor Friday | Dana Cubbage Photography | Charleston Wedding Photographers | Charleston Wedding Design | Scarlet Plan & Design Wedding Tour

I am so excited to talk about my good friend Dana Cubbage of Dana Cubbage Weddings on the blog today!  She was one of my first friends here in Charleston and is one of my go-to photographers when I have clients looking for a photographer with her clean, elegant, timeless style.  Dana is quick to laugh and has to be one of the easiest people I know to get along with.  Brides and grooms just adore her and we are absolutely delighted to have her on The Scarlet Wedding Tour.

We've put some fun questions together for folks to get to know the sponsors of The Tour a little better.  Enjoy!

happy planning, loves!

Sara

  • how long have you been in the event business?  and/or business for yourself?  Photography was always a hobby of mine, but my background is in business + finance.  After 7 years in corporate America, I was laid off at the most perfect time and became a full-time wedding photographer!  It was the push I needed to make it happen!  I've been shooting weddings full-time since August 2012 :)
  • what inspires you?  Traveling, new locations, beautiful light, color, texture, architecture, nature, my clients… there is so much beauty in our every day life!
  • what will guests of the scarlet wedding tour be seeing from you?  I'll be photographing all of the lovely details that the Scarlet Plan & Design team creates!  Shooting details is one of my most favorite things!
  • what are some of your favorite venues to work at? I absolutely love plantations + nautical settings!  Luckily, Charleston has plenty of them.  In Charleston, I'd have to say my favorite venues are Lowndes Grove, the William Aiken House, + the Legare Waring House… but honestly, there isn't a "bad" venue in town!!  I just really love the versatility of those places :)
  • what do you love most about this industry?  The camaraderie among the vendors.  I've met SO many incredible people in this industry and I feel like we are so very lucky to be surrounded by such creative AND kind people!
  • what do you hope guests of the scarlet wedding tour will take away from this experience? I hope they are able to see the possibility of creating a unique wedding experience for themselves and their guests.  I hope they come away with new ideas + inspiration on what is possible!
  • name one thing/place someone coming to charleston from out of town must see or do. Taco Boy :)  You know it's my fave!  Other than eat, I'd say take a walk downtown South of Broad.  It's magical down there!

Mom-Couture Rent the Runway Style | Dressing the Mothers of the Bride and Groom | Charleston Wedding Design | Atlanta Wedding Design | New York Wedding Design

I adore helping the sweet moms of my clients dress for the wedding day!  I love when they want to compliment the wedding party with their attire but want to look their best at the same time.  I mean, your mom has to look amazing, right?

But sometimes its really hard to find a gown or dress suit that looks appropriate for a wedding without looking like a performer in a casino.  Avoid the dreaded bling, mamas!  If it's covered in sequins and sparkles, you're running the risk of looking like one of Beyonce's backup singers and that's not really the most appropriate for your child's wedding.  A little bit of sparkle can go a very long way, loves!

Also note that unless you're attending a brunch wedding, there is no need to wear something as boring as a day suit, ladies.  You're a person of honor at the wedding and as such you must look the part.

One of my favorite places to find amazing gowns is Rent The Runway.  There is no shortage of incredible couture gowns appropriate for every type of wedding!  Here are just a few of my favorites perfect for nighttime events!

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

For only $135, this incredible Monique Lhuiller would be stunning at a formal but fun wedding!

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

This low-backed, black and gold Theia is just beyond incredible!

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

Color blocking is huge right now and has taken runways and the red carpet by storm all over the planet.  Go bold with this black and white confection by Milly for only $150.

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

Another Monique Lhuiller gown, this one in glittering gold, would be perfect for any wedding where gold is being featured.

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

This modest black lace Anna Scholz gown is just incredible!

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

Is the event at a fabulous art gallery or perhaps have a more casual, but still elegant, feel?  This black jumpsuit by Cushnie Et Ochs is the perfect fit!

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

This playful high/low gown by Monique Lhuillier would be perfect for a daytime or evening event.

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

Whimsical garden wedding?  Look no further than this Badgley Mischka for only $165!

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

This one shouldered, floor-length Badgley Mischka with the flattering peplum waist would be just as at home in an ultra formal setting as a semi-formal one.  And for only $150, who could say no?

dressing the mothers of the bride and groom, scarlet plan & design

Yes, I know, I'm obsessed with Badgley Mischka, but who isn't?  This royal blue and black peplum/ruffled gown is just killer!

Friendor Friday | Firefly Vodka | Scarlet Wedding Tour | Charleston Wedding Design & Planning | Scarlet Plan & Design

It's Friendor Friday again and we're over the moon to announce and feature the newest sponsor of the Scarlet Wedding Tour (read all about it on the blog if you missed it!), Firefly Vodka!  That's right, y'all.  We just got my favorite vodka distilled and bottled right here in the Lowcountry.  If you haven't had a chance to check them out in person, I strongly urge anyone over the age of 21 (sorry, Liza) to head over to Wadmalaw Island for a tasting!  With 6 flavors of vodka to choose from, several options for liquor, wine and new rhums (that's how they spell rum), the options for tasty concoctions are just endless!

Whether you want to serve your guests spiked Arnold Palmers, banana pudding shots, or peach cobbler cocktails (yep, that's a thing!), the folks over at Firefly can create the perfect concoction to wow everyone invited!  We simply cannot wait to see what they've created for guests of the Scarlet Wedding Tour!!!

scarlet wedding tour firefly vodka
what a "sweet" idea for wedding favors!

what a "sweet" idea for wedding favors!

the perfect addition to any welcome basket!

the perfect addition to any welcome basket!

Wedding Backdrops | Having Fun With Your Ceremony Decor

When choosing your wedding decor, never think for a second that you're limited to only traditional options.  If you're getting hitched outside a church,  the only thing that you are limited by is your, or your planner's, imagination.  

Backdrops can be used for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps you'd like to add some extra color or a fun focal point for your guests.  Or perhaps you'd like to show off your wedding vows on a massive handpainted canvas.  No matter your reason, if you can dream it up, it can be done!  So be brave and go for something that really speaks to you.

This gorgeous floral backdrop would look just as at home in a lovely garden wedding as it would in a barn.  It would even look incredible in an art gallery!

If you're getting married in a garden and want something outside the traditional flower route but still want to add a bit of whimsy, check out these amazing hedges in the initials of the newlyweds!

Or this eco-friendly living backdrop!

Love books?  We do!

These wooden doors are just amazing too!

I'm especially smitten with the idea of writing your wedding vows or a favorite passage on a giant backdrop!

Or upcycle an old wooden pallet with a lovely garland.

So go have some fun with your ceremony decor!

xoxo,

sara