Ask Andrea: who & how much should I tip on my wedding day?

Hey brides & grooms! I get this question from clients A LOT, so I figured it was about time for me to share my thoughts, and I hope I am able to make my fellow wedding vendors proud, and clear up a lot for all you planning couples out there. 

The first thing you should remember about tips is that they are never obligatory―they are supposed to be expressions of appreciation for a good quality service. That said though, unless the service was ridiculously terrible, would you walk away from a restaurant without leaving a tip? In my opinion, the same concept applies to weddings. It is customary to express your gratitude by tipping many of the people involved in making your big day an incredible one.

The second point to remember is to READ OVER your contracts. Sometimes gratuities are already included or added to the final bill. This is typically the case with vendors like the caterers or the company that provides the bar service. That being said though, if the wait staff was particularly awesome or the bartenders were doing a great job keeping guests happy, maybe the chef was able to honor a request for a food item they don’t normally offer, I think you are getting the point. If someone goes ABOVE and BEYOND wouldn’t a tip be a great way to show your appreciation?

This brings me to my third point. I’m sure that if you have done any sort of googling on this subject you have read “Don’t Tip the Owners” a few times. I’m not really sure what’s up with this statement…..I don’t know one small business owner who doesn’t appreciate being appreciated!!

FOR SURE tip anyone who is entertaining you and your guests for the evening like the band, your DJ, etc. As I mentioned earlier, when someone goes out of their way for you {like the baker makes those last-minute changes you requested, the dj takes the songs on your “no” list very serious, etc}―you should probably tip them. But remember, tips don’t have to only come in the form of cash, in fact, one of my favorite tips of all times was a spa certificate for a much needed after-wedding massage! A bottle of wine, gift card, or another tangible token of appreciation are just as nice.

I know I am a bit biased, but I certainly agree with this statement from REALSIMPLE.COM regarding tipping your wedding planner: “If you’ve sat with your wedding planner hour after hour and she’s knocked herself out to pull it all off flawlessly, you might want to add a personal thank-you note and small gift to her customary tip. If you’ve used her more sparingly, a nice personal gift alone should suffice.”

Please feel free to comment if you have any questions! Hope this helps!



GHEM Living: In Search of the Perfect Pendant Lighting

Lighting. It’s a tough subject for two reasons: 1. It’s expenive. 2. There’s so much to choose from!! The first light I’d like to tackle is the one for the living room. It will be above our couch and right in the center of our open-concept living space. I think it needs to be wide but not hang too low. Ideally it would also be affordable, any suggestions? If you look at the image below, note that it will hang from that hole in the ceiling on the top right. Don’t look at the color on the walls! we’re changing them to a light gray very soon! and changing the wooden roman blinds to a medium gray colored drapes eventually!


As we slowly make our new home our own we are finding ourselves always left with a bunch of questions when we begin to think about lighting. Do we want everything to coordinate throughout the entire house? Should we try to make something ourselves? What do we really want? I’m kind of thinking maybe a two-tiered drum pendant like the one pictured below:

6f97dade398124f5bc4c0ac55fb5ed7bI don’t know….too simple? I also like stripes! help! If you see anything or know of any good sites to check out please send them my way!

What’s in your Welcome Bag?


{above image courtesy of Jade + Matthew Take Pictures}

Hey all you happy planning couples! One of my favorite things to put together is a welcome bag for out-of-town guests. It really is the perfect way to thank those who have traveled a long way to attend your event. Do stress out about having to buy something for each individual guest, my rule of thumb is one per room! A city like Savannah has so many local goodies to choose from, we really are lucky! Below is a list of some of my favs: {feel free to comment with some of your own favorites}

1. Grab a bag of locally roasted and delicious Perc Coffee. Guests can choose to savor during their stay or they can enjoy it upon their return home.
2. A box of sweet and savory macarons from Maison de Macarons is next. They’re as decadent as the ones in France, only better because they’re made here and they always have seasonal & southern flavors to choose from.244

3. Do your guests prefer tea over coffee? Pick up a box of tea decorated with Historical Savannah buildings from The Tea Room.hale-singles4. And one of my all time favs {these made there way into my own welcome bags}, Savannah Bee Company honey. They recently started making these “Savannah” honeys and they are delicious! Remember to opt for the 3oz jars for your guests who might be traveling on a plane!



5. Byrd Cookie Company has an array of treats, perfect for welcome bags! My favorite are their tins filled with cookies. Some even have scenes of Savannah on them!


6.  For some non-edible treats, Nourish has an amazing selection of candles and soaps. My favorite for guests are these travel tin candles, specifically the georgia peach scent!


And don’t forget about a wedding weekend menu of events! The one pictured above was designed by Samantha Sanford for Laurie & Brent’s wedding this past summer. It’s also a nice gesture to include bottles of water, or even a local beer like Southbound or Coastal Empire Beer. Many of our clients opt for a personalized “to-go” cup as a nod to the city’s open container laws. Don’t forget to have fun with choosing the bag too!

Ask Andrea: When and why should we send out Save-The-Dates?

A somewhat new wedding trend, Save-the-dates are the first thing your guests see when it comes to your wedding. It can be a nice little teaser of things to come, and is really meant to serve as a heads up for the date and location of your wedding. They are especially good for destination weddings so that guests can look into their travel arrangements. As far as when to send them out goes, too early and people will lose them, too late and there’s almost no point. I would suggest sending them out six to eight months before your wedding, but don’t freak out if you send them five months before, that will still be okay. If you’re working with a tight budget, you can also do without the save-the-date entirely, or you can make it in a postcard format, that way the postage is less!

Save the date 3 - Leslie PasserinoThis one is definitely on the high end of the save-the-date price scale, but how cute is this? {I found this image here, but if you are the actual owner of the image please let me know so that I can credit you!}