Posted on 3 Comments

The essential guide to tipping for Wedding Services

euro-427533_1280

Is it obligatory to tip every vendor at your wedding? Or is it alright to assume that the vendor charges cover their services and you needn’t add gratuities into your already-stretched wedding budget?

Wedding tipping is a tricky area, with no set rules on what is right and what isn’t. More often than not, it is up to the couple to decide whether they want to tip a vendor or not. If you aren’t really sure of what to do, this guide will help you recognize who you should tip and who you can skip.

Ground and set-up staff

These people do most of the hard work, like moving or setting up equipment and furniture at the venue. So, they deserve a tip for their efforts. You can budget roughly $10 per person. This list also includes anyone who delivers gifts or the important items from your baker, florist etc.

At your reception venue, unless you have taken an all-inclusive package, you will have to pay the staff in charge of serving wine or cutting cake, separately. In both cases, it is common practice to tip these attendants, and you can put aside roughly 15% of the food expenses for this purpose. To avoid double-tipping, check your contract for whether it includes service charges and make your decision accordingly.

Hair and Makeup

Similar to when you visit a beauty salon, these staff expect a tip for the service they provide. How much you pay will depend on how well you think they performed the job.

Florist and Baker

It isn’t usually necessary to tip your florist or baker, as their rates normally include gratuity. One way to know whether it would be appropriate to tip the person you are dealing with, is to read your contract. If it includes service charges, you do not have to tip again. Another thing to remember is that you needn’t tip a vendor who owns the service, but it is alright to tip employees.

Wedding planner

It is optional to tip your wedding planner, but you can always do so if you appreciate the effort the team put in, to make your wedding a success. You can also show your appreciation by giving them a nice gift instead of cash. Don’t forget to send a thank you note to your wedding planner if you loved what they did, and make sure you do this soon after the wedding. A good review and photos for their portfolio would be nice too.

Photographers and Musicians

It is optional in both cases, but if you are happy with their service or if they exceed your expectations, don’t hesitate to tip them. Again, if the photographer is the owner of the business, you can always skip it. For the musicians, if they did a splendid job and kept the evening alive and active, you can tip them.

Apart from the customary tips, you should appreciate anyone who has made a special effort to do the job well. Don’t think of the rules if you think they did a splendid job, and also send out a thank-you note afterwards. In a business where customer satisfaction decides a vendor’s business prospects, it will be well-appreciated if you can provide them a good online review or recommend them to your engaged friends

To obtain more wedding advice and tips, and also find everything you need for your wedding, visit us at Best for Bride.

Posted on 6 Comments

Questions to ask your wedding planner

bride-signing-615556_1280

Wedding planners are an additional cost to your wedding budget, but when you choose the right person, your wedding will be a breeze. Most of your success depends on how capable the candidate is and also on how well you gel with your wedding planner.

A wedding planner may be professional and experienced, but you will not be satisfied if they do not get your ideas. After all, it is your wedding, and not theirs. So first off, remember this. Don’t hire anyone who

  • is bossy or busy
  • dismisses your ideas or is skeptical about implementing them
  • doesn’t agree to signing a contract and
  • just doesn’t understand you

Before hiring a wedding planner, you should conduct an interview with her. This may be face-to-face or over-the-phone. Here is what you should ask at this interview, and the answers will determine whether you have the right candidate for the job.

Are you available on my wedding day?

There is no point in pursuing the discussion if the planner has another wedding lined up on your wedding day. If your wedding date is not yet confirmed and you really like the person you are talking to, consider fixing your wedding on a day when she is available.

What services do you offer?

Does she work only with a recommended list of vendors, or is she open to interviewing and assisting you with other vendors? Can she design your wedding, plan the ideas and be in charge of everything from sending out invitations to decorating the venue, or will she only assist you while you find and book vendors? Will she handle any booking issues herself? How often will you communicate, and how many meetings can you expect?

If the scope of her services are limited, consider whether you can tackle what is left yourself. If so, this shouldn’t be a problem. Also ask about the team. How many staff members will be on-site on day and how many other weddings they will be working on simultaneously.

How many weddings have you planned already?

The last thing you want to do is to entrust the task to an inexperienced planner. Ask her how long she’s been in business, and obtain references. A good wedding planner will direct you to a number of satisfied clients.

Share your vision for the wedding with her and ask what she can contribute to make it better.

What if there is an emergency?

Ask her how the team tackles emergencies like bad weather or other wedding disasters. If you anticipate a likely problem, ask her how she would prepare. Another big challenge is adhering to budget, how can she ensure this? You should also ask for backup plans, should something unforeseen occur and she cannot personally handle your wedding.

And finally, the fees

Don’t feel shy to ask what her charges are, including all overheads and extras. This will confirm whether the charges are within your means. If your planner will handle vendor payments, ask how this will be done. Will you be paying your planner a lumpsum, or will you have to write out checks to each vendor as and when required?

Once you have all this information, you should have a fair idea of whether this wedding planner is right for your wedding. If not, keep looking.

For more wedding advice and tips, as well as your wedding shopping needs, visit us at Best for Bride.

Posted on 6 Comments

Things to remember when booking your wedding photographer

wedding-628515_1280Your wedding day may pass too quickly, but photos of the event will help you remember every detail of the day for years to come. Hence, the relevance of a wedding photographer cannot be overlooked. In the hands of a professional, your wedding memories are safe, and captured as you wish to remember them.

There are various styles of photography available today, and not all styles may appeal to you equally. Find one that suits your taste, and ensure your wedding pictures will recreate the magic of your wedding day, every time you look at them.

Once you choose the style of wedding photography – traditional, photojournalistic, the mix of both or artistic, it is time to find the bridal photographer to handle the task. Here is a checklist of things that will help ensure that you find the right photographer and freeze your wedding memories perfectly.

First and foremost, plan your budget

As with all other vendors, different photographers have different rates. Before you start your search, you should know how much you can afford to spend. There are great photographers who can do your job beautifully, without your having to spend a fortune on it. Start early, and you will have time to find the right candidate for the job.

Obtain reviews of the service from previous clients

Don’t be taken in by smart advertising and pictures that are available on the photographer’s website. Check with clients who have actually used the photographer, and ask them for their opinions on the service provided. If you are satisfied with what you hear, book an appointment with the photographer.

Ask to see a range of pictures

Photographers will usually have a set portfolio, which they share with their clients. While this allows you to get a fair idea of the quality of work, you should also remember that these are usually the best ones they’ve taken. So, ask for more pictures than what is in their portfolio. Or, ask them if you could have a look at a previous client’s album. You can get a better idea of their style and ability by looking at more pictures.

Discuss, clarify and question

Ask what all pictures your package will include. Discuss the available options, take time to create your own list of must-have photos, which will include the list of group shots you want and share it with the photographer. Most good photographers will be ready to accommodate their client’s requests, but make sure you check this is, before signing your contract. Share the timetable of your wedding day, and tell your photographer where he should be at a specific time, so he doesn’t miss any of the special moments on your big day.

Get it in writing

Make sure that you include every single detail in your written contract. There should be clauses regarding how emergency situations will be handled, when and how the photographer’s fee will be paid, when you will receive your prints and the total price including all overhead costs. If you make any further changes to plan, add it to the contract and have your photographer countersign it. This will help you get the service you signed up for, without any hassles.

For more wedding tips and advice, and for all your wedding needs, visit us at Best For Bride.

Posted on 3 Comments

5 Things to remember when signing Vendor contracts for your wedding

You will have to work with a number of people for your wedding– your photographer, venue agent, caterers, florist, dress makers, band or DJ etc. It is necessary that you back up your arrangement with all these vendors with a solid contract that outlines the details of their services.

The benefits of having a written contract are many, the most important being that

  • a contract controls your expectations on what you get
  • it allows you to take legal action, should the products or services not be delivered as per description

Remember the following 5 points when signing your vendor contracts, and you can avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Write it all down

The easiest way to avoid or solve any dispute, is to have every relevant thing written and signed. Never settle for a verbal understanding; have it written into your contract and you can enforce it. If there are changes to plan after you have signed the initial contract, make sure these are also incorporated into the contract, so there is no confusion later.

Spare no detail

Rather than just signing a contract that outlines the arrangement, make sure that you put all the specific details in writing. This will clearly let both parties know what exactly was agreed upon, and you will not have to entertain any mix-ups.

For example, if you want your band to be formed of the specific musicians you heard on the tape, make sure it is included in the contract. If your floral centerpieces are to be designed in a specific manner, write that down in your contract. Should there be an issue at a later point, an outsider who looks at your contract should clearly understand why you weren’t satisfied.

Take time to read and understand every word

Make sure that you clearly understand your vendor contract. So, read it thoroughly. Go through the clauses on emergency situations, cancellations and additional fees, in detail. If you do not understand anything, ASK!

Don’t assume that a vendor’s contract is standard—if their terms are not acceptable, you can always negotiate. If they refuse to make changes, or add the precise terms of your agreement to the form, you may have to reconsider whether you want to work with that vendor.

Specify the payment schedule and details

Make sure the contract contains details on when the amount will be settled and by whom If the amount will be paid in parts, make sure this is specified in the contract and you are aware of it. If your parents or your in-laws are bearing the expenses, make sure the contract is drawn up in their name and they sign it.

Get a contract copy and obtain receipts for everything

For your contract to be valid, you need to have a copy with you. Make sure you save a copy of every contract you sign, and that your vendor counter-signs every additional change you make. Also, obtain receipts for any deposit you make on the final amount, or any payment you complete.

Contracts may seem like a huge headache, but they are a necessary evil. To keep your wedding going just as you planned, a simple contract is certainly better than none at all.

For more wedding tips and planning advice, visit us at Best for Bride.