Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bouquet Toss

The question to include this old fashioned tradition is on lots of brides minds these days. The tradition started back years ago when a bride felt she was lucky in love to be getting married. The bride felt it her obligation to share some of that luck with her other single friends.

Now in 2009 this is not so much the case. There are woman that are single and very happy to be so, and the idea of being drug out to the dance floor to catch flowers is not their idea of a fun wedding. Also brides bouquets are so pretty now many brides what to hold on to their bouquets.

Toss bouquets are an option now. Many florist will make you a smaller arrangement of your flowers you can use to toss if you do still want to do this, but don't want to get rid of your flowers. Some florist will even throw this in for free since they will most likely have extra flowers to use.

What about giving it away to your parents instead. Thank them for being all they are in your life. Mom will love the flowers and Dad will appreciate the public thank you.

Or give them to the couple that has been married the longest. This can be determined by an anniversary dance, or your parents might know in advance and you can find a time to present the flowers to them then.

Give them to the person that traveled the farthest. Only trouble here is they might not be able to take them back with them, depending on travel restrictions.

Skip it all together. Just have a girlfriends dance. Get your DJ to play a song that fits you and your girls and just all get out there and dance no need to toss flowers at any of them. Not if you don't want to. This way you have your married and your single friends out there with you.

Give it to a newly engaged couple. Why guess who is getting married next. If you know that your best friend is planning her wedding already give her the flowers and wish her a happy planning.

What ever you do make sure its something you are comfortable with. Its your day you can follow the traditions or make it your own.

(photo by Jess Watson)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The First Dance

For some couples choosing that first dance song is easy. They have a song. They use that song. If my hubby and I actually danced at our reception our first dance would have been "My Special Angel" by Bobby Helms. This was our song, it meant something to us.

What if you don't have a special song, or that song that is special to you two, is not something you feel you would want to dance to at your wedding? Well there are lists out there to help you get on your way. The knot has a list of 50 top songs that are classics in the wedding world. And popular wedding songs. com has this list to share.

Amazed. Lonestar
From This Moment On. Shania Twain
At Last. Etta James
Because You Loved Me. Celine Dion
I Cross my Heart. George Strait
It's Your Love. Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Wonderful Tonight. Eric Clapton
Have I Told You Lately. Rod Stewart or Van Morrison
I Swear. All 4 One
Unchained Melody. Righteous Brothers
I Knew I Loved You. Savage Garden
Always and Forever. Heatwave
The Way You Look Tonight. Frank Sinatra
True Companion. Marc Cohn
Endless Love. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
I Do [Cherish You]. 98 Degrees
It had to be You. Harry Connick Jr.
Could I Have This Dance. Anne Murray
Here and Now. Luther Vandross
Truly, Madly, Deeply. Savage Garden
Everything I Do. Bryan Adams
I Could Not Ask For More. Edwin McCain
All My Life. KC & JoJo
Taking You Home. Don Henley
Beautiful in My Eyes. Joshua Kadison
When a Man Loves a Woman. Michael Bolton
Breathe. Faith Hill
What a Wonderful World. Louis Armstrong
Unforgettable. Nat King Cole & Natalie
My Heart Will Go On. Celine Dion

Just because its classic does not mean it is right for you. I love to see a couple use a song that really fits their personalities, oh and it does not have to be a slow song if you don't want it to be. I just say warn grandma your going to bust out in rap before hand, or have her heart pills handy just in case its too much for her. My thoughts on it. Have fun.

Photo by Now and Then Photography

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I have read on several of the bridal pages and magazines this same question. Who do I tip and how much? There are several things to consider in this. With some help from recent readings and popular trends I hope to help clear the air on this.

First you tip for service. This is service that goes above what you feel your contract required. For example I worked with a Bartender that not only cleaned and cleared their glasses from the venue, but they picked up trash and plates and got them to the kitchen as well. It was not part of their contract and not at all expected. Was it appreciated? Yes of course it was. This is a case where a tip would have been appropriate. Tip when you can and what you can afford for services worth tipping. Also if a contract includes tipping you will have to tip then (very common in caterers). So lets look at some of the people at your event and how to tip them.

Venue: This is a place not a person. So in general a tip is not required. If they have someone on staff at the whole event to open up and lock up and such you still are not required to tip them. If they act as a coordinator or help with decorations and arranging things and this was not expected in the contract to be provided then a tip is in order. $50 to $100 depending on how much they do for you.

Baker: The tip is usually in the cost of the cake.
Make up and Hair: 10%-15% is the standard amount to tip.

Photographer: In general another tipping rule is if you are working with the owner of the company you don't have to tip. In the Central Texas area you will find a lot of photographers that are their own boss. At the same time many of them hire and work with a second shooter. If they bring more than one photographer then its appropriate to tip the assistant or second shooter. Now if you love your photographer and all they have done there is nothing to say that you can not tip them even if they own their own company. This goes for any of your vendors that own their own company.

DJ: Tip $25 to $50 per DJ when possible. Again the if they own their own business comes into play but this amount is the accepted minimum for tipping on a DJ.

Band: Tip is often included in their contract. If not plan on $25.00 to $50.00 per band member (don't forget about their technician if they have someone running lights and sound for them).

Bartender: $50.00 to $100 per bartender is the common tip in the Austin area. San Antonio is running $25.00 to $50.00.

Caterer: Almost always the tip is included in the contract. It usually runs 15%-20%. If not find out how many people will be working and tip them accordingly. I recommend if you are going to tip 4 people $25 dollars each you make sure you write that on the envelope before its given to the caterer and have it divided out into $25.00 sets. Do not just put in 2 $100.00 bills and hope they can split it up later.

Video: Same applies as with photographer

Decorators: If you have a company you are going to hire just to decorate for you then you should again plan on tipping the staff (your choice on the owner). Depending on the number of people and the set up depends on the amount tipped.

Rental Company: Rented items, even when delivered are a set price and there is not need to tip.

Limo: If you have rented a car, unless the driver is the owner of that car then a tip of 10-15% is appropriate.

Clergy: Check your local area to make sure how payment can be made and what is appropriate. Some judges in some areas can not take anything financial for their services, or anymore than a set price. This is a case to ask the person straight up. If they say you can just make a donation then the going rate right now is $75-$200. Church ministers often will only take a donation and add on top any pre-marital counseling they may have done with you and this is not a large amount at all.

Planner/Coordinator: Again the if they own their own business comes into play. Remember their staff though. $25-$50 per staff is acceptable. Again if your coordinator does more than agree ed upon you can defiantly tip them.

It all comes down to your choice on all of these. Always check the contracts to make sure you are not over tipping, just in case the tip is included in the contract already. I recommend putting all tips and final payments in individual envelopes and label who they go to. Then give those to your coordinator if you have one. If not get someone close to you to do this. The best man (if responsible is a good choice). The father of the bride often finds he has the time to do this.

And finally can you tip after the fact? Yes. The wedding is over. You were in a daze and loved it so much. You hear from your mother that one vendor went above and beyond and you never even noticed. At that point you can still mail them a little something to thank them for that extra effort.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Casual Afternoon Wedding

These weddings are getting more and more popular. I am not sure if its the style or convenience of them. Guest don't have to go out and buy a new formal outfit for a formal wedding. Most any nice dress they have will work. Guys can get away without a suit coat for these and so you have comfy guests. You serve simple comfort foods. Nothing too heavy. How about a garden theme. tea and sandwiches to follow. Drinking is fine but usually lighter drinks. Brides opt for no veil and often no train. Grooms are going with simple suits or slacks and nice shirts. Some brides are even skipping the formal dress and going for something light a flowing. Cakes stacked to the sky are skipped for desert bars, or cupcakes. Don't get me wrong they are very nice. Nothing in a casual afternoon wedding means you can't have a beautiful wedding with a formal gown if you want it. Many afternoon weddings skip the dancing but its not unheard of for at least a few special songs to be played. Love does not mind the time of day and you will love the comfort of your guests.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Severed Ties with a recomended Vendor

I hate to do this but after some things have been brought to my attention I feel I need to say something to you all.
Back in February I highlighted the Cake Pan in a vendor spotlight. At this time I regret it. I don't make a habit of spotlighting someone and them not being awesome.
Dawn and I went to church together. She made these amazing cakes for several occasions at the church. They looked great and they tasted great. So when she told me she was opening her own shop I thought great. She asked if I would recommend her. I said from what I saw I would pass her information on to people. One of my brides booked with her. She did her cakes and they were great. She did everything she said she would and her prices were great. During this time my family and her family start to hang out together. Dawn was a friend as well as a vendor.
Another two of my brides book her.
The first of these weddings comes and I was stressing because I was not getting straight answers. She ends up showing up the cake is cute and what the family wanted. I noticed some things and called her out on them. Like the shape was not what the family had asked for but she told me that she discussed it with the family that this shape was better for the cake. It was not until months later that I find out that it was not discussed. But they didn't care.
The second wedding comes. I don't hear back from Dawn she is missing church and I am stressing about her getting this cake done. I knew she had just moved because I helped her. But figured she was out at the shop doing the cake. I drive out there to get something of mine and find the electricity was turned off. She said that with the unexpected move she forgot about it, but no big deal she was not storing anything out there and was working from home. Assured me cake was coming along as scheduled. The cake shows up and its just not right. It resembles what they asked for but its not it, exactly. Also there was no cake stand. It was set up and she was gone before I could question it. I ask the next day and she said the stand she wanted had broken in the move. I was upset because I could have gotten a stand if I had known. I asked her when she was sending money back for the rental of the stand that wasn't and she assured me it was on its way. I find out from my bride that she never got this money. I tried bringing it up and got a story every time and it changed every time.
Sometime before this her husband left her. I know that's hard but business is business. As a friend my husband and I were hearing stories from both sides of the marriage and we came to the conclusion that they were both telling lies. This is when I pulled all my stuff from her shop and decided not to send anyone else to her, but would stay on her about those last two. I really had no reason to think she would not do a good job.
Well when school let out and she had already closed the shop because she could not afford the shop with her husband gone. She would still call me. I decided that even though I could not work with her anymore I would at least still be there for her. Every call got increasingly hard for me. I felt used and taken advantage of. the times I would bring up the money she still owed my bride she would change the topic and blow me off. I couldn't trust anything she said. Then I find out she is moving. She is moving home to live with a family member. I figure this is the best for her and the kids. She tells me she does not have anymore weddings coming up so all is well.
At this point I feel that it was a good thing I washed my hands of her buisness. And even while she was moved I was getting emails that I can't tell the truth from a lie in them and decide to stop emailing with her as well. I never actually severed the friendship with her verbally just quit responding to things.
Now I find out from one of my other brides that she is leaving a bride hanging whose wedding is in three weeks. I don't know if there is any others out there that she has booked but she is no longer in the state and is not doing the weddings. Worst thing is I dought anyone is going to be getting money back at least not from her volentarily. I was so mad yesterday I tried to call her. See if she was going to at least make good or try to on any of these. Her number was disconected. Why am I not surprised?
What I hate is that I look bad for ever recomending her in the first place. I had good cakes that looked good at first. I don't know what happened, but I could not stop recomending her fast enough. One bad cake order and I quit telling people about her, but still others have herad about her from others. But they would not have heard about her still if it was not for me in the first place.
I have great cake experiances with several other bakeries and some of them have done multiple cakes with me, but I know other planners that have used them as well and so I don't hesitate to recomend them. I am willing to do what I can to help people get their money back, but know that its not much.
So officially I have severed my friendship with her and her buisness. I am deleating her from my facebook and myspace accounts.
Rest assured I am sick over this and no more recomendations just because they go to church with me and have a couple of good showings.