How Much to Tip Your Wedding Vendors

When to give and how much to give can be confusing and can even add stress to an already stressful event as a wedding.   Be sure to read vendor contracts, as gratuities may be included in their bill.  While tipping is often optional, it is expected and encouraged to tip bartenders, waiters, valet parking attendants and transportation.  To help you avoid any social faux pas, here are tipping suggestions for your wedding vendors.


These vendors usually include gratuity in their contract but if not, here are the ways to tip them.

·       Catering Staff Catering companies often tack on a service fee which is 15%-20% of the entire cost of the wedding dinner. They may also include hand tips for each chef ($100), catering manager ($200 or personal gift) and servers ($20-$50), distributed by the catering manager).

·       Wedding Reception Staff If you have a maître d’, a coordinator and a banquet manager at your reception, expect a fee of 15%-20% of the food and drink to be tacked on your bill.

·       Transportation Tips for drivers often start at 15%. If they show up on time and don’t get the guests lost, consider offering more.

·       Officiant - Court-Provided civil celebrants are not allowed to accept tips. However, if the officiant is a member of a denomination, you’re expected to make a church donation of $100-$500 depending on whether you’re a member and how active a member you are.

·       Wedding Planner - It’s always a great idea to give your wedding planner a tip (15%) or a personal gift.


Some planners advise that tipping your vendors ahead would encourage them to do outstandingly well on the day of the event. Here are other wedding vendors you can tip for better service during your big day.

·       Hair and Makeup Artists Depending on how many people they prepped, you can give them 15%-25% on top of their usual fees.

·       Photographer and videographer Tips for photo/videographers range from $50 to $200. If they brought on a crew, offer $50-$100 per person instead. 

·       Wedding Reception Attendants - These include the parking attendants, bartenders, and coatroom attendants. Tip them 10%-20% of the bill to be divided among them or consider giving them $20-$50 each.

·       Wedding Musicians  A gratuity of 15% of fee for ceremony musicians and DJ, give each band member $20-$50.

·       Wedding party Don’t forget to thank your wedding party for helping you organize the wedding.  Giving your bridesmaids personalized bags and your groomsmen cool gifts is a great way to thank them for their time and effort.


While there is a developing trend of tipping all vendors, avoid being pressured by this and only offer tips when the service is exceptionally good. Instead of cash, you can also offer them thank-you notes or small gifts. A testimonial and photo for their portfolios is also another good alternative. 

Contributing content by featured vendor:   Tara of



Real Wedding Miriam and Joey

Vendors: {Coordinator: Simply Sweet Weddings} - {Locations: Archangel Michael Church & The Waterfront Beach Resort} - {Photography: Sue Wheelock Photography} - {Videography: Vantage Point Productions} - {Florist: Little Hill Floral Design} - {Entertainment: Dj Tempoe and West Coast Music} - {Bakery: Simply Sweet Cakery} - {Hair and Make-up: Design Visage} - {Rentals: La Tavola & Found Vintage Rentals} - {Transportation: Big Red Bus}

Real Wedding: Carissa and Ray

Vendors: {Coordination: Simply Sweet Weddings} - {Locations: Pilgrim Lutheran Church & Bel-Air Bay Club} - {Photography: Christine Bentley Photography} - {Florist: Lavenders Flowers} - {Entertainment: Vox Dj's & Da Capo Players} - {Bakery: Vanilla Bake Shop} - {Hair and Makeup: Flawless Faces} - {Transportation: Love Boat Limousine} - {Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen}

Wedding Day Gifts for Parents

Looking for something special to give to your parents on your special day? We have compiled a list of some of our favorite gifting ideas for mom and dad! 

  • Custom made anything is a perfect and easy way to make a gift more unique! Some of our favorites include:
    • Handkerchiefs
    • Bracelets
    • Pillows
    • Throw blankets

Etsy is where you can find these items!

  • Here is a hanger that is perfect for a mom on the day of the wedding, and for many more years to come!
  • A classy, more unisex gift could be involving your parents favorite wine in a special way, such as custom made wine labels or an engraved wooden wine box.
  • Engraved beer mugs for the father of the bride and groom are a popular choice as well and are something they can use on the day of the wedding. Great photo opportunity! 
  • Romantic getaways, spa packages, and other relaxation themed gifts are an especially good way to thank your parents on your wedding day!

REAL WEDDING: Angela and Richard

Vendors: {Coordination: Simply Sweet Weddings} - {Location: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach } - {Photography: Mike Arick Photography} - {Florist: Lavenders Flowers}  - {Entertainment: Scratch Parties} - {Bakery: Rossmoor Pastries}

Real Wedding: Cary and Wes, The Waterfront Beach Resort

Vendors: {Coordination: Simply Sweet Weddings} - {Location: Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel } - {Photography: Lucero Photography} - {Videography: Parallel Media Productions} - {Florist: Flowers by Cina}  - {Make-up: Design Visage} - {Entertainment: Visions Entertainment} - {Bakery: Simply Sweet Cakery}

Real Wedding: Kimberly and Alan, Rancho Las Lomas

Vendors: {Coordination & Stationery: Simply Sweet Weddings} - {Location: Rancho Las Lomas} - {Catering: 24 Carrots} - {Photography: Barnet Photography} - {Videography: Parallel Media Productions} - {Florist: Flowers by Cina} - {Entertainment: Elevated Pulse Productions} - {Hair & Make-Up: Design Visage} - {Bakery: Simply Sweet Cakery}

The Tanning Van

INTRODUCING….(drum roll please) a NEW and FUN way to spray tan!!! The Tanning Van is the way to go!! Staci & Michelle, the owners of the The Tanning Van, drive to your doorstep with their fully converted van to tan you in a matter of minutes! The Tanning Van boasts 2 private rooms that are fully equipped, well lit and temperature controlled. Perfect for just one tan or for large parties! If you need an instant glow for your special occasion, or JUST BECAUSE you wanna show off a beautifully tanned bod, call the girls at The Tanning Van at 714.460.8640 to schedule an appointment or to book a spray tan party! You can learn more about them and their services on their website at

Tools For Aspiring Planners

We are so excited to have a new tab for aspiring planners! The wedding industry has been so rewarding, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to give back by guiding planners in the right direction. We have created three fantastic PDF files that will allow planners to get started:

  • How to Get Started as a Wedding Planner - Inside you will find answers to aspiring planners' most frequently asked questions. This is a great way to uncover quick advice when getting started!
  • How to Run a Wedding Rehearsal - Here we provide step by step instructions to efficiently and effortlessly orchestrate a wedding rehearsal like a pro. Having the perfect wedding rehearsal will allow for less stress and more fun on the wedding day!
  • How to Confirm Vendors for a Wedding - This will provide you with step by step instructions to accurately and efficiently gather and confirm pre-wedding details for a wedding or event. Confirming logistics will make a wedding or event run that much more smoothly!

Real Wedding: Danielle & Samer - Franciscan Gardens

Vendors: {Coordinator: Simply Sweet Weddings} - {Location: Franciscan Gardens} - {Catering: 24 Carrots} - {Photography: Sue Wheelock Photography} - {Videography: Element Wedding Films} - {Florist: Lavenders Flowers} - {Entertainment: Elevated Pulse} - {Hair: JenniferHair} -{Makeup: Ashley Gannon Makeup & Hair} - {Desserts: Simply Sweet Cakery}              



7 Bridesmaids Gift Ideas

Every bride knows that who she has by her side is almost as important as the man she is meeting down the aisle on her big day. Your bridesmaids are there for you during your nervous breakdowns, your bridezilla moments, and when you are stressed and just need some emotional support. Here are some great bridesmaid gift ideas to thank them for all of their help leading up to the wedding!

 Brian Leahy Photography

Brian Leahy Photography

  • Spa Gift Bag, lush has amazing, unique products. 

What are you giving your bridesmaids as gifts on your wedding day?  Anything good that we missed here?!



Wedding Tip Tuesday: How to Tie a Bow Tie

It seems like a simple task until the oddly shaped piece of fabric is lying limp and hopeless in your hands. These step by step instructions will make you a pro when the time comes.

1. Place the bow tie around your neck situating it so End A is two inches longer than End B

2. Cross End A over End B.

3. Bring End A up and under the loop. 

4. Now double End B over itself to form the front base loop of the bow tie. 

5. Loop End A over the center of the loop you just formed.

6. Holding everything in place, double End A back on itself and poke it through the loop behind the bow tie. 

7. Adjust the bow tie by tugging at the ends straightening the center knot.

Need more visuals? Charles French has a quick and easy video here. 

Like anything else, keep practicing!

Bridal Fashion Week Recap

That's right-- while we are still riding out the summer breeze here in Orange County, our favorite designers are showcasing their Fall 2015 designs. Capturing the essence of a bride is possible. Making it new, fresh and couture is a different story.  Creating a successful line requires updating traditional shapes with current trends and appealing to the ever-evolving taste of the modern bride . Take Nicole Miller's modified halter/tank neckline paired with a crowd-pleasing mermaid. The gown is refreshing and modern but still maintains a bridal essence. Theia went with a more romantic take and ornate beading. 

 Nicole Miller, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy 

Nicole Miller, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy 

 Theia, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

Theia, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

Hayley Paige made hearts swoon over her Spring 2012 collection taking back detail to a different level. How did she make Fall 2015 any different? Oh, just a sparkle harness. Who needs a bolero when you can alter any gown with tasteful jewels? Take a look at some of our favorites from this past week. Some dresses have taken a serious 'evening wear' vibe, a la Theia's crystal encrusted halter column dress. Meanwhile, Claire Pettibone maintains her bohemian taste offering the sweetest sleeves and cascading flower crowns. Toying with current trends while keeping lace, satin and chiffon in the mix masterfully updates bridal fashion. Other notes? Cut outs and crop tops. In bridal, you ask? It works! 

What calls to you this year? Did any of your bridal visions change with the times? Or is your heart still set on that first daydream? 

 Hayley Paige Spring 2012. Photo courtesy of 

Hayley Paige Spring 2012. Photo courtesy of 

 Hayley Paige, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of 

Hayley Paige, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of 

 Theia. Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

Theia. Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

 Claire Pettibone, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

Claire Pettibone, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

 Angel Sanchez, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

Angel Sanchez, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

 Badgley Mischka, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

Badgley Mischka, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

 Reem Acra, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

Reem Acra, Fall 2015. Photo courtesy of

Real Wedding: Kelly Wilson and Nick North

The quintessential autumn wedding! Kelly and Nick executed fall perfectly with pumpkins and burlap galore. The decor was sweet and refined with rustic touches like escort cards strung with clothespins and a wine box ceremony. That fabulous dresser photos are featured on? Kelly's own. Her individualistic touches remind us to interject our own style into standard features. Such a simple and bold way to personalize your day! 

Vendors: {Coordinator: Simply Sweet Weddings} - {Location: Highland Springs Resort} - {Photography: Whismie Photographie} - {Videography: Boffo Video} - {Florist: The Bloom of Time} - {Entertainment: Scratch Weddings} - {Hair & Makeup: Tessa Stull} - {Linens: La TavolaGBS Linens } - {Photobooth: Night Owl Productions}

Real Wedding: Jenna Nelson and Ali Mortazavi

Jenna and Ali met at Loyola Marymount University both as active members of Alpha Phi and Sigma Chi, respectively. The couple displayed impeccable taste and a clear goal for the evening: have fun. Unique touches, like the creation of a painting of the ceremony, added a special sentiment and keepsake.  The Resort at Pelican Hill was the perfect venue because it was the half way point for Jenna's past in Carlsbad and present in Los Angeles.

A gelato bar, great food, cigars and a live band-- it was certainly an entertaining event that guests still reminisce about. The Mortazavi wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty with insightful tips from Jenna.

Vendors: {Coordinator: Simply Sweet Weddings} - {Location: The Resort at Pelican Hill} - {Photography: One Love Photography} - {Videography: Cloudless Weddings Video} - {Florist: Oak and the Owl} - {Painter: Chris Potter Painting} - {Entertainment: Bonnie Foster Productions} - {Hair: Jonathan Moss Hair} - {Makeup: Ashley Fiero - My Girls On Film Studios} - {Late Night Snacks: The Fry Girl, Inc.}

We both love trends, but overall, I tried to keep our wedding design fairly timeless... My one major piece of advice to brides is to choose your vendors wisely... I will forever be thankful to those who worked so hard to give me my perfect day!
— Jenna, Little Black Book Blog

Vendor Spotlight: fitlosophy, inc.


Wedding season is officially here, so whether you're getting ready for your wedding dress or bikini, our friends at fitlosophy, inc. has a great product to help you get reach your fitness goals!  The perfect addition to your bridal workouts!  The “fitbook" helps you create a plan, track your progress, and attain your goals.  Research shows that by jotting it down and physically writing your activities and dietary intake, you are more likely to stick with a program and achieve your goals.  See the right hand column of the blog to see where you can purchase your own fitbook, or scroll down to the bottom to see how you can win one! The Plan: 12 weeks is a great time frame to get in shape!  With the fitbook, you can set weekly goals making your long term goal of three months more realistic! The fitbook is a great size too! It is 5.5 inches so you can bring it in your purse when you're on the go!

Progress: The first week of any diet or lifestyle change is always the toughest. You learn to give up the bad choices you've been making and learn to love new ones you make! The fitbook also has space for you to record all workouts and food intake. This is great because having it on paper makes you feel more accountable.  As the saying goes, "It takes four weeks for you to see changes, eight weeks for your friends and family, and 12 weeks for the world." The fitbook is great for keeping you on track an measuring your progress, and keeping you motivated.  You'll begin to find yourself being held accountable for your workouts and for what you eat!

Goals: After 12 weeks you'll be in better shape and feel great! For brides, you can add the fitbook to your wedding keepsakes and reflect on the journey and progress you made.  Aside from before and after pictures that give you a visual of your transformation, the fitbook will show you changes through measurements and the food choices you've made!

Contest: fitlosophy, inc. was nice enough to give us a free fitbook to give to one of our readers looking to improve their health and fitness in preparation for their wedding!  To enter, leave a comment of your favorite workout to outside of the gym!  Do you like hike or go bike riding by the beach? Tell us your favorite "fun" workout for a chance to win a free fitbook.  All comments must be made by Friday, June 14th and the winner will be announced on Monday, June 17th.

Wedding Etiquette for the Parents of the Bride and Groom

Two words: In-laws; for both the bride and groom. As you plan to tie the knot and share your entire lives with one another, keep in mind that your families will be intertwining, which means you both will be having a new set of parents (sometimes two new sets)!  InsideWeddings gave great advice on how to approach and include your parents and new in-laws up to big day! Reaching each other: Woohoo! You’ve announced your engagement to your families and friends, but now what?  Traditionally, the groom’s mother would call the bride’s family to arrange a get together and celebrate.  Nowadays, your announcement is much more important that who does what; you’re getting married!  So it could be the groom’s family, the bride’s family, or as a couple you and your groom can invite both side’s of the family to a gathering where everyone can meet, congratulate, and welcome you and yours to the family!

Money Matters:  Financials are always a very personal and sensitive subject, so proceed with caution. Traditionally the bride’s parents paid for  majority if not all of the day of wedding day arrangements and the décor as well as the engagement party.  Traditionally the groom’s parent’s paid for everything that leads to the wedding day with a few additional décor costs "(the rehearsal dinner, the bride’s engagement and wedding rings, the marriage license, and officiant fee, and the flowers)."

Today, wedding expenses and finances are divided up in any way that best fits everyone’s budget. It important though to give everyone notice prior to discussing the finances of your wedding. As the bride, who wants only the best for your big day, keep in mind that they are supporting you and you may need to compromise with some of their wishes.  Never expect someone to financially support your big day, be grateful for those who can and those who can't, either way you will be with the ones you love.

Lines of Communication: After your parents meet your future in-laws, encourage them to communicate directly with one another! This will make planning and coordinating with both sides of the family much more simple and fewer questions for you to answer!

Proper Attire: Your mom and mother in law will of course want to look fabulous on your big day. Traditionally the mother of the groom will ask the mother of the bride what she plans to wear, giving her the option to choose first. Regardless, your mothers should wear their personal preferences; but colors and styles that complement one another, and the wedding colors are always a plus!

Roles on the Big Day: On the day of the wedding, your parent's and the groom's parents should act as hosts throughout the day. They should all be included within the procession at the ceremony and greet guests at the reception. Your parents and in laws should also prepare to give a toast as well (usually father of the groom at the rehearsal dinner and father of the bride at the reception).  This will be a very happy day for them as well, so be sure they enjoy, have some bubbly, and celebrate with all the guests.

Venue Spotlight: Center Club in Costa Mesa

We are so excited to be featuring the Center Club in Costa Mesa on our blog!  Kaitlin Kuykendall, their fabulous private events director, was so nice to send us the description of this fabulous venue below as well as the gorgeous pictures...and I can confidently say, the club is even more gorgeous in person! We hope you enjoy.  Contact us at if  you would like us to put you in touch with Kaitlin for more information about holding an event at the Center Club. "Be the first to say "I do" at the newly reinvented Center Club in Costa Mesa!  Orange County's premier private business club has gorgeous new decor that would accent any wedding or event. They have recently announced a multimillion dollar make-over that includes: an upscale bar, that would be a wonderful place for your guests to grab a drink and mingle before you and your groom arrive, a brand new outdoor terrace, lovely for taking newly wed photos that provide an intimate touch, and a new ballroom, perfect for anydécor or wedding theme!"

Costa Mesa Center Club 1
Costa Mesa Center Club 1

"Truly unrivaled to other wedding locations in Orange County – Center Club's new Symphony Ballroom featuring elegant and sophisticated surroundings, floor to ceiling windows offering a view of a tranquil water garden, unsurpassed service and award-winning chef and culinary team creates a perfect and unforgettable wedding day. Have your special wedding day at Center Club and experience an incredible, unparalleled private club atmosphere that will be the perfect backdrop for the most memorable day of your life. Bring your wedding ideas and your creative touch to the Center Club and have your dream wedding!"

Costa Mesa Center Club
Costa Mesa Center Club