Gracias, Danke, Arigato, Grazie, Thank You!

One of the tasks that goes along with having a wedding is writing thank you notes for gifts that your friends and family generously give. It is often one that brides undertake with a somewhat petulant attitude, because let's face it, it's not easy!
But, it is one of the most important parts of your engagement and wedding. Many times, your friends and family spend a considerable amount of time, money and thought to give you and your new husband a gift, one that they feel will help you start your new life together. These are also people who may have played an important part in your life so far. And, may times they attend showers, parties and your wedding itself. They made an effort for you, so it is worth taking a few minutes and a little effort to write a thoughtful, personal note.
So, how do you do it, especially if this kind of thing doesn't come naturally, without feeling overwhelmed and repetitive?

  • As you know, I love a monogram and stationery. So make this process fun by using beautiful, personalized paper. You can order stationery with your new married monogram (that you use after the wedding). Beforehand, use your own monogram!
Silver Hand Bordered Correspondence Cards
These elegant cards are from American Stationery. They come in a ton of colors and are very reasonably priced.
  • Buy an embosser or stickers with your name and address on them (that you can use for Christmas cards, etc.). Most stationery shops and websites offer them, and they come in cute designs.
address embossers
This embosser one is from Paper Source.
  • Write your notes as gifts arrive so it doesn't pile up on you.
  • Keep a spreadsheet so you can remember who gave you what and when you wrote them a note.
  • Don't just list the gift. Say something nice about it, use a descriptive word, and how you will use it. 
  • Make sure your actual "thank you" sounds genuine by writing a full sentence, instead of just "thank you."
  • If you are close to the recipient, mention how special it was that they shared in your wedding, shower, etc. It doesn't all have to be about the gift!
The best letters are always the ones that come from the heart. There are books with sample letters and adjectives to use that can help you along. But, use form letters wisely and loosely--people can tell when you haven't taken time to think of something personal to say. With email and texts and Facebook, it's a lost art to put pen to paper, but it takes a small amount of time and effort for a big reward. Your friends and family will appreciate it!

The Who, Whats, and Whens of Tipping

Tipping can be such a tricking subject, but it's one we are asked about often. Who should you tip? How much should you tip them? And when? Some will tell you only those who don't own their business deserve gratuity. Others say there are certain people who should automatically get tipped. Some believe in tipping everyone. Others believe in tipping no one. There are many differing opinions on the subject.

I think the easiest way to answer the who portion is this: You should tip anyone you felt went above and beyond your expectations.

As for how much: Tip them an amount you feel is appropriate and with which you are comfortable. If asked, I typically suggest the below dollar amounts (again, only if they exceeded your expectations)...

Hair / Makeup person - 15 - 20%
Officiant - $200 - $300, if the officiant was not hired through an officiating company.

Photographer / Videographer - $50 - $200
Ceremony Musicians - $15 - $20 per member
Band - $20 per member
DJ - $50 - $100
Waitstaff - Check your contract. If it is not already included, 18 - 20% of the total food costs (Not the total bill - which could include rentals, labor, etc.). If it has been included, I would still give a little something extra to the server who personally waits on you that evening.
Transportation - Check your contract. If it is not already included, 10 - 15%.

And now for the when: You should always tip after the service is complete. (Or, you can give the tips to your coordinator, and she will gladly take care of distributing them for you.)

And probably the most important thing of all: Don't forget to give online praise and to write thank you notes. Most wedding industry vendors like to display their thank yous for other potential clients to see. Sending a little praise goes a long way. It is appreciated perhaps more than anything else.

Happy planning,

Fun Wedding Tidbits!

I was doing some research on the wedding traditions we are familiar with today! Here are some fun ones I found.

*As early as the 13th century, it was considered good luck to have a piece of the bride's clothing. Therefore, wedding guests would chase after the bride to try and rip a piece of her dress off. Thank goodness we now toss bouquets instead of the wedding dress!

*In medieval times, a knight would wear his lady's colors through flowers. Thus, the reason the grooms wear boutonnieres today!

*In ancient times, the wedding ring was places on the third finger, left hand because it was thought to have a vain that runs straight to the heart. Thus making it have the strongest love connection. <3

Hope you enjoyed these fun tidbits! Happy planning!

Kristen Barton

"You May Now Kiss The Bride"

I was looking through one of my favorite books, Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette, and came across a fun wedding fact I thought I would share.

Why does a wedding ceremony end with a kiss? A kiss was long believed to be the medium for the exchange of spirits, where a part of the bride's soul joined the groom's soul, and vice versa, truly uniting the couple as one. In some cultures, a kiss literally seals the wedding contract, while in others a kiss is not required. Most people just think of it as an expression of love.

Happy Planning!
Lauren Carrillo