Saturday, May 22, 2010

Planning a Bridal Shower?

Hi Bridal Party! Are you stumped on how to plan your Bride a fabulous Bridal Shower? Well, be creative and think outside of the box. Think about your bride’s taste, style, and her sense of enjoyment. She may not want to sit on that white bridal/baby shower chair in a hall, or wear gift bows on a paper plate from presents on her head! (Try a tiara to make her feel like a beautiful princess)

Skip tradition and plan a gathering that she will remember. Perhaps, a garden theme bridal shower (a friend or relative’s backyard can be held for a garden theme), cruise bridal shower, tea party or spa bridal shower. Generally, wedding showers are exclusively for women. However, these days, many couples decide to have co-ed parties for all their friends.

Begin planning the event 6 months before the bridal shower, so you can discover the theme, budget the event, double check the guest list, choose the venue, and send out invitations. The bridal shower should be 2 months before the wedding.

Customarily the Maid of Honor and the Bridemaids host the party. Strict etiquette said that it was not appropriate for the mother to host the shower because the parents would host the wedding. However, these days, the rules are greatly relaxed. It is quite usual for relatives to hold the wedding shower. Even if the family is not hosting the shower, they can help share the cost by chipping in for the venue, décor and food.

The average shower has between 10 to 30 guests. However, this can reach 40 to 50 if you are holding a co-ed shower. Bridal showers are usually more intimate than the wedding, so invite the couple’s friends and relatives. In advance, request the bride her guest list for the bridal shower. Remember it is a bridal shower, not a wedding, so your guest list should be limited- Think Budget!

Be creative with what you have available. Fill a basket with garden flowers, add ribbons to house plants (buy house plants from Home Depot), inexpensive table runners, throw petals around the tables, candles in vases, or memorable pictures of the couple in a frame- that can be a centerpiece. You might want to try do-it-yourself decorations to lower your expenses in décor. The possibilities are endless-so have fun with your bridal party while planning this occasion. I’m sure your Bride will be surprised with your efforts!

Check out the above picture for decor on a Moroccan Theme Bridal Shower. More pictures are seen in Facebook. Please join MyBridalBudget Facebook to see fabulous pictures!

Monday, May 10, 2010

How to Tip Wedding Vendors? Is it Mandatory?

A lot of couples might find tipping to be a “gray area”. When you have spent most of your wedding in expenses such as your venue, ceremony, photographer, videographer, DJ, makeup artist, officiant, limo, and the list goes on…. we always ask our selves –“Should I tip and to whom should I tip”?
The answer is yes and no. Gratuities are a kind and generous gesture of appreciation for going the extra mile to make your wedding day perfect. It is customary, but not mandatory.
It all depends if your vendor provides you with exemplary service on your big day. If your vendor/venue provides excellent service and goes beyond what is contracted, then a nice tip would show your appreciation or referring the vendor to your family and friends. Most of the business in the wedding industry comes from word of mouth.
You want to prepare your gratuities before the wedding such as 2 or 3 days. (This should be included in your budget). All tips should be in cash. Enclose your gratuities in an envelop and give the envelops to your wedding planner to distribute. If you do not have a wedding planner you may have your Best man to distribute it. It is best to distribute your tips towards the end of your reception so that way you can judge if the tip is well deserved, according to the service that was performed.
Please read the fine print on your vendors’ contract to see if a tip is included in their price. In particular cases the tip is on the contract, in that case you do not need to tip, especially if you have already paid it. In contrast, if the gratuity is not stated on the contract-Here are suggested tip guidelines:

Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Beautician:
Tip between 15-20% in this category. You should expect to tip these vendors just as you would on a normal visit to the salon.

Florist (Delivery & Setup): $15-$20 per person

Baker & Party Rentals (Delivery & Setup): $5-$10 per person

Officiant (Clergy, Priest, Minister etc):
If you are having your ceremony at a church, synagogue, or at any religious denomination institution it is suggested to give a donation. If you are a member at your church, synagogue, or any religious institution it is suggested to give a donation of $500 and up. Please inquire with clergy the donation amount to officiant and organists. Otherwise, if you have a non-denomination officiant that performs your ceremony at a location (i.e. the venue) and charges you a fee, then a tip is not required.

Wedding Ceremony Musician:
$20-$25 per person in a band/quartet

Limousine: 15-20%. In most cases the gratuity is already reported on your contract.

DJ & Emcee:

Maitre’d: It is usually $3.00-$6.00 per invited guest or some venues may charge 5%, which will be noted on the contract.

Reception Hall: 20%- that is noted on the contract, which is split amongst the staff (banquet manager, bartender, clean staff, chef/kitchen staff, etc). It is a good idea to ask the catering hall who receives the 20% just to make sure all essential staff is included.

Valet Drivers: If the 20% reception gratuity doesn’t include valet drivers, you can give $1.00-$1.50 per car. The total should be divided between the valet drivers.

Wedding Photographer/Videographer:Suggested $50-$100-If your photographer & videographer is not the owner to a studio and works under a photography/videography business.

Wedding Planner:

It is optional to tip the Wedding Planner if they have their own business. But if you wish to tip them 10-15% is adequate. In addition, a great review, photos of your big day posted to their site, and word of mouth referral is greatly appreciated.