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The essential guide to tipping for Wedding Services

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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.

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5 Tips to help you get your bridesmaids bouquets right

There are so many details, both big and small, to get right at your wedding. One of them is your bridesmaids’ bouquets. The flowers and the designs that you choose, will have an impact on how well they look on the day. Although they may not hold on to the bouquet for the entire day, it will still be prominent during some very important moments. So, you have to get it right.

Here are some ideas for you to start with.

Match it to your bouquet

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Your own wedding bouquet should be the starting point for your bridesmaids bouquets. Bouquets that are miniature versions of your own would complete the effect seamlessly. Consider choosing the same or similar flowers as you have used in your own bouquet, for a cohesive effect. One thing to remember is that if your bouquet matches the colors of the bridesmaids dresses, it would be a good idea to choose flowers that are slightly darker or lighter in color for their bouquets. Else, it could get lost in the background of their dress.

Complement their dress color

Choosing a bridal bouquet is easy, as there are hardly any combinations that could go wrong with a white wedding dress. This is however, not the case with your bridesmaids dresses. Not all colors blend well. So, when you choose your wedding color palette, make sure that you have enough flower choices that will go well with your choice of bridesmaid dress colors. Lighter and shades from the same color family, complementary shades on the color spectrum and neutrals can be explored to find a good combination.

The size should go well with their dress design

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If your bridesmaids wear elaborate gowns or dresses with intricate detailing, keep the floral accessories simple. For dresses with details at the bust or waist, choose a bouquet style that doesn’t hide it. Also consider the differences in height and build of your bridesmaids when choosing bouquets. After all, it is very unlikely that a bouquet which is perfect for a plus-size woman will have the same effect on a petite woman.

Make it interesting by varying the colors and designs

There was this rainbow wedding featured on the Rock ‘n’ Roll bride,  where the bridesmaids wore dresses in different colors and held bouquets that matched their dress color. The effect was spectacular. We can see that the most brilliant and memorable choices are when you think outside the box. Give a unique touch to each of your bridesmaids bouquets by customizing each one. Vary either the colors, or designs and you will have stunning results.

Trust your florist

You may soon feel you’ve had enough when you have to select so many flowers, bouquet designs and floral centerpieces. Trust your florist with the finer details. She is an expert who knows her job and when allowed to use her creativity, it is likely that she will give you some surprising choices that you would never have thought of yourself. Tell her what you would like and give her the freedom to design it. Not only will this reduce your stress, she may also appreciate the opportunity to show her best.

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

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Questions you must ask when choosing your Wedding Florist

Flowers have the power to make a breathtaking wedding scene. They are a crucial part of your wedding décor. After all, flowers not only contribute to the look and feel, but set the scent and thus the ambiance for the scene. When the floral décor is done right, the entire venue will reflect the intended mood of the event. However, this magic has to be woven in by the talented hands of your florist.

Unless you are a botanist or have grown up with flowers, it is unlikely that you will know all that you need to about choosing flowers on the scale required for a wedding. With so much going on in the world of wedding flowers, with varieties in everything ranging from bridal bouquets to reception décor, seasonal flowers and table centerpieces, just the thought of getting everything right may make your head hurt. If you are like me, you will agree that choosing flowers belongs to the list of tougher wedding planning tasks. So, you have to trust your florist for her insight and ideas, to get it done right. With so many vendors who claim to be seasoned experts, how do you find the right person for your wedding?

Here are the important questions that will help you sort the pile and settle on the florist who will set wings to your floral vision.

What role do you want the flowers at your wedding to play?

According to this article on How Stuff Works, there are florists and flower designers, and both of them work very differently. Who you choose, depends on what you want the flowers to do at your wedding.

Florists are capable of churning out masterpieces based on the specifications you have. It is usually good enough to create the impact you may desire. However, if you are a full-blown flower fan, and want finer work, and if you look forward to creating more than just a beautiful scene with the flowers at your wedding, a flower designer is a better person for your job.

They do come with an added price tag, since they will be working exclusively for you, whereas a florist will be juggling several orders at once. Nevertheless, they are artists who have the expertise to churn out beautiful floral motifs that will go down in the pages of your wedding memories. They will also be able to go the extra mile to obtain specific flowers needed to create the impact you desire. So, if you wish to make your wedding a floral extravaganza and have the budget for it, a flower designer is your best bet for the job.

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Of all the florists I’ve visited, whose store arrangements did I love the most?

As with choosing any vendor, you should search, search and search for the perfect florist. Obtain references from your friends, look at classifieds and read reviews online. Once you’ve shortlisted those you think will be best, drop in at their stores and look around. This will give you an idea of how organized and passionate they are about their work, more than the pictures you find online.

Do you think the flower arrangements in the display window are neat and attractive? Are the flowers fresh and vibrant? Or do the blooms look dull and wilted? Is the cooler section well-maintained? How neat is the shop generally? Do you think the designs are charming, or do they look dated? Shop around and you will get a fair idea of which florist is more organized with her business. You can also take a look at their wedding portfolios to get a complete idea.

Does the florist think your budget is reasonable, and what ideas does she have for you?

There is no point in proceeding further if the florist’s rates are way above your budget. Ideally, you should choose vendors who fall within your range, and then progress with further analysis, so you can avoid any disappointment. On an average, expect to spend 8 to 10% of your total budget on flowers, if you do not want anything too elaborate. If your initial review of the shop and what you heard from others was positive, you can now proceed with discussing the rest of the details.

How does this florist react to your budget and ideas you have? Does she think it is practical to create what you want within the price range? If not, does she have other suggestions for flowers, or can she offer alternate arrangements that will satisfy you, and are within your price range? An experienced florist will know the best options that will work for a certain budget, and will be ready to customize to a certain extent, to make sure her client is happy. If the florist cannot work within your allocated budget or is unavailable on the day you want, you can always ask her to recommend other vendors who will do a similar job.

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Do you like her suggestions?

Different people have different tastes, and finding a florist who shares your taste will help you progress without too many hiccups. You can identify this to a certain extent by simply looking at her portfolio. Also, look at her flower arrangements in shop, and notice whether it appeals to you. Also ask her for suggestions regarding your bouquet, flower options to consider and designs. It is impossible to go into every detail regarding what you want, so you have to trust her decisions to a certain extent.

If you like what she suggests, or the options she provides are mostly appealing, it is likely you will not have any issues with what she comes up with. Just make sure that you tell her not only about your preferences, but also about what you do not want. Some brides do not like carnations in their bouquets, and if you have similar dislikes, make sure you inform her about it.

Are you comfortable discussing your ideas with her?

Your wedding décor is obviously important to you, as it sets the mood for the entire day. So, you need someone who understands your ideas and is capable of executing it well. When you talk to a florist, see if she encourages your ideas or is dismissive of what you suggest. If you think she is overbearing or rigid with what she can accommodate, it may be time to look elsewhere. Make sure that you establish a good rapport with your florist, and she can translate your ideas into practical solutions.

It is a good idea to take pictures of arrangements that inspire you, when you visit your florist. For this, start clipping pictures off magazines or take prints off the net, well in advance. This will help you communicate your ideas better and you can also be certain that your florist understands what you mean, rather than just assume she got everything required from the description you provided.

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Is she ready to experiment with your ideas and décor suggestions?

Imagine you have this great vision of the perfect table arrangements in your mind, but your florist shoots it down, saying it is too difficult to get right. How disappointing will it be? A talented florist will be ready to stretch a little and take risks, as long as it is what you want. If you think the person you are talking to is too set on her ideas, and doesn’t want to try anything out of her comfort zone, you may have the wrong person for the job.

A good florist knows how to work with other décor elements like candles, ornaments and tableware to create a unique statement design. She will also know where to source the extras, like vases and candles, so she can do the arrangements well. If your florist is enthusiastic about what she can bring to your wedding, and how to do it differently, by all means, encourage her. Also find out what extras she can help you with. Will she also cover smaller floral arrangements for the restrooms, create floral favors or petal confetti within budget?

How soon should you confirm, and till when can she accommodate changes?

You will definitely need more than one consultation to make sure you cover everything you want, as per your ideas. So, find out when is the latest by which you have to confirm what you want. On this note, you can also ask her if she can do a few samples based on your ideas, so you can suggest changes if any.

If your bouquets or décor arrangements will include flowers that are out-of-season, find out when is the latest that you have to place your order, so they are ready in time.

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Who will set up on site?

This is a question that many couples skip, by just assuming that the florist will take care of everything on site. Well, not all of them do. Find out specifically if she or her staff will be handling the decorations on-site personally, or whether she expects the venue staff to take over. If it is an optional condition, does she charge for doing the arrangements herself? How long will it take her to set up?

If it is the latter, find out where the flowers will be delivered to. Will she provide specific instructions on how the arrangements are to be done, if she isn’t there to oversee it? How early will they be delivered and what care has to be taken to ensure the flowers stay in top condition for the wedding and reception?

What expenses will her bills cover?

When dealing with any wedding vendor, make sure you have a written contract that seals the deal and includes all relevant information. Your florist is no exception. Before you confirm the booking, discuss her charges in detail. Does she charge for consultations, and if so how much? What expenses will you have to pay for? How does she want the bill settled? Will she accept installments or does she prefer a bulk payment?

What are the additional charges you will have to incur if there are small or big changes to the original number of bouquets, boutonnieres or centerpieces? What about if the chosen flowers have to be changed due to unavailability? How will the new ones be charged? Also discuss the distance to which she will have to deliver, and what will be the rates for transportation. Are there any extra overheads you can expect? Discussing all these details and including it in the contract will help you ward off nasty surprises in the form of shocking bills in the future.

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What will she do if she has to cancel?

We are all human and you never know when something goes wrong and your florist has to cancel. However, it helps if you are prepared for this worst-case scenario. Don’t hesitate to ask your florist if she has a plan B in case of a contingency. Does she have extra staff who can take over, if she isn’t available? Or will she hand over the responsibility to another trusted florist, who can deliver a similar service? A professional florist will have some arrangement in place, and will reassure you that you will receive your service, despite anything that may happen.

At Best for Bride, we endeavor to bring your floral vision to reality. Find inspiration for splendid centerpiece arrangements, bouquet ideas, boutonnieres and venue decoration, at our gallery.  We also offer customized plans to cater to your specific theme and creatively design to meet your expectations. Whether you would like a formal, casual, classic, modern or traditional theme, we have hundreds of options for you to choose from. In keeping with our overall vision of celebrating love and weddings, our floral services also strive towards the same goal: making your dreams a reality and having the perfect wedding you always wanted. Visit us on Best for Bride today for an awe-inspiring gallery of beautiful designs. You can also shop for your wedding dress, pick outfits for the entire bridal party and getting everything wedding-related with us.

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Wedding planning: 5 Mistakes you can avoid

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You are bound to make mistakes when you attempt something for the first time. Your wedding is no exception. With so many details to look into, it is easy to make a few errors along the way. The sad part is, some mistakes can cost you dearly.

Here is a roundup of the common mistakes many brides make, and what you can do to avoid them at your wedding.

Doing it all yourself

You certainly want your wedding to be perfect in every way, but is it worth burning yourself out by doing every task yourself? Many brides find themselves dreading their wedding day, as they are overwhelmed with the number of things they have to tackle.

Instead of worrying yourself to death, it is best that you realize some things can be done better if you delegate them. Save your energy for important tasks like choosing the wedding dress, vendors and planning the dates. The sub-tasks can be handled by capable friends or assistants. Curb the temptation to micromanage, and leave out details that aren’t extremely important. You will enjoy your planning your wedding this way.

Blowing your wedding dress budget

via Best for Bride

When brides budget for their wedding dress, they should set aside a particular amount for the dress itself and distribute the rest for accessories and alterations. Do not exceed the wedding dress amount, by looking only at those that fit your budget. If you go over-budget with your dress, you will have to compensate by cutting down on accessories like shoes or jewelry, as you cannot skimp on alterations if you want to look perfect.

Not figuring in additional costs

You have planned your wedding budget, and you intend to stick to it when ordering things and booking vendors. However, have you figured in the overhead costs as well? There are additional charges for cleaning up, taxes and tips. Make sure you incorporate these into the budget and that your bookings are all within the limit. This can prevent you from receiving a shocking bill in the end.

Being fixated on a specific idea

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This applies to your wedding dress, flower arrangements, wedding venue, décor, bridesmaids dress and all the other aspects of your wedding. If you are too particular about your choices, it is likely that you will be disappointed when things don’t work out exactly as intended. Keep yourself open to ideas and you may even be pleasantly surprised with what you find. When you go with your bridal consultant’s advice, you may discover a better wedding dress than you ever imagined; allow your florist to choose the flowers for your bouquet and you may receive a stunning but affordable one that complements your wedding theme.

Hiring family or friends who aren’t professionals

Unless your cousin is a professional photographer, or your aunt is used to baking wedding cakes, don’t hand the task over to them just because they asked for it. Whether you will be paying in full for their service or not, you will risk things going wrong on your wedding day by entrusting it to someone who isn’t capable of handling it on the required scale. Your wedding is not the occasion to take such risks, and you will be better off with a vendor who knows what they are doing, even if they charge more.

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