Kasturi & Luis

January 26, 2009


I just recently had the privilege of coordinating Luis and Kasturi’s wedding in Ventura, CA. Kasturi and Luis met in high school and shortly thereafter became “high school sweethearts”. Their love for one another was evident throughout the planning process.

Their color palate consisted of soft blues and deep browns with touches of red. It was also very important to them to incorporate a blending of their two cultures, Indian and Mexican. Luis completed the look by wearing a traditional Indian Dhuti, complementing his beautiful bride.

I was truly honored to work as their wedding planner and I wish them a lifetime of true love and happiness.

Florist: Florals Designs by Roni www.floraldesignsbyroni.com

Cake Baker: La Starr Bakery www.lastarrcakes.com

Photographer: Harvard Photography www.harvardphotography.com

DJ: Kyle Taylor www.djkyletaylor.com


Event Featured on Hostess with the Mostess!!!

January 23, 2009



I am so excited to share this news with you! I was asked by Jennifer Sbranti, of Hostess with the Mostess, to feature my “Under the Tuscan Sun” bridal shower on  her Blog. Check out all the details at http://www.hostessblog.com

Vendor Tipping

January 17, 2009

Many of my clients have been asking me if and how much they should tip their wedding vendors. Here is a document that I found on the www.theknot.com that lists each vendor’s category, how much to tip, when to tip and if it is expected.

“When you’re already dipping deep into your (or your parents’) savings for so many wedding expenses, shelling out gratuities on top of that can be hard to handle. Well, rest easy: unless a service charge is spelled out in your contract, you’re never obligated to tip anyone.

However you can’t ignore the fact that some vendors will expect a gratuity, which forces tipping to be considered on a case-by-case scenario. Some general rules: Don’t tip business owners, only tip their employees (however, you can/should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations); tip vendors who offer exceptional service; don’t tip the bridal shop, bakery, invitation, or party rental company (unless, again, the service goes above the norm); thank-you notes are always appreciated; and assign the responsibility to a trusted deputy such as your wedding planner, a parent, or the best man. For a breakdown of what’s customary for each vendor, read on.

Cake Bakers and Florists

The person designing your floral arrangements or baking your cake won’t be expecting a tip, but again, if the service went above and beyond, give the owner a particular amount to disperse among his staff.
Protocol: Optional, it would be nice.
The $tandard: Around $200 (or $5 – $10 each) for the florist and cake baker to divvy up between their staff.

Delivery and Set-up Staff

Slip a few dollars to anyone delivering important items to the site (cake, flowers, or sound system). And if a lot of gear needs to be brought in and set up (tents, chairs, or port-a-potties), the workers deserve a tip too.
Protocol: Expected
The $tandard: $5 – $10 per person
When to Tip: Drop off cash envelopes the day before the wedding to the catering manager so the person accepting deliveries can turn the tip.

Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

This is one area where a gratuity is definitely expected. Tip between 15 – 20 percent just as you would in a salon, and consider giving a little extra if there’s a crisis, like one of your bridesmaids has a meltdown over her updo and it requires a redo at the last minute.
Protocol: Expected
The $tandard: 15 – 25 percent, depending upon the quality of service
When to Tip: At the end of your service

Musicians (ceremony)

If you worked with a mini orchestra to come up with the perfect score for your service (and they pulled it off flawlessly), consider showing some monetary thanks for their talent. However, you probably don’t have to tip the solo church organist who was required to play.
Protocol: Optional, it would be nice.
The $tandard: $15 – $20 per musician
When to Tip: At the end of the ceremony.

Musicians (reception)

Whether you hire 12-piece swing band or grooving to a DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional. (Depending on the quality of the job and how willing they were to follow your ideal playlist!) And don’t forget about any sound technicians they bring with them.
Protocol: Optional, yet preferred
The $tandard: $20 – $25 per musician; $50 – $150 for DJs
When to Tip: At the end of the reception, by the best man


If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you’re often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you’re a member you’ll probably want to give a larger amount than if you’re not. However, if you’re getting married there and they’re charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. If you’re using a nondenominational officiant, no tip is required because they will charge you for their time.
Protocol: Expected (depending on officiant)
The $tandard: Donate $500+ to the church or synagogue, or, for a nondenominational officiant, an optional tip of $50 – $100
When to Tip: Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. Otherwise, have the best man pass the cash envelope at the rehearsal dinner if the officiant is in attendance.


You’re not expected to give your shutterbugs any dough beyond their normal fees. Yet if the photographer or videographer doesn’t own the studio, consider tipping each person (or give a certain amount with a thank-you note to disperse to staff).
Protocol: Unnecessary, unless the photographer is not the studio owner.
The $tandard: $50 – $200 per vendor
When to Tip: At the end of the reception.

Reception Attendants

When it comes to bartenders, waitstaff, parking, bathroom, and coat-room attendants the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it’s not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.
Protocol: Optional, based on contract
The $tandard: $20 – $25 per bartender or waiter; $1 per guest for coat room and parking attendants; $1 per car
When to Tip: Although tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event, you could alternately distribute them at the beginning of the evening, to encourage all the workers to give you great service.

Reception Staff

This type of staff includes the on-site coordinator, maitre d’, and banquet manager. A service charge (typically 2 percent) is almost always built in to the food and drink fee, so check your contract. If the gratuity is not included, tip as follows.
Protocol: Expected
The $tandard: 15 – 20 percent of the food and drink fee (based on labor, not the cost), or $200 – $300 for the maitre d’.
When to Tip: If it’s covered in the contract, the final bill is typically due before the reception. Otherwise, have the father of the bride or best man hand the envelope to the maitre d’ at the end of the reception since you will need to know the final tab to calculate the percentage.


Again, check your contract, as gratuity is usually included. If it isn’t, plan to tip provided they show up on time and don’t get lost!
Protocol: Expected
The $tandard: 15 – 20 percent of the total bill
When to Tip: At the end of the night or after the last ride. If you used a separate company for the guest buses, designate a bus captain to hand the driver a tip, otherwise, this duty falls to the best man.

Wedding Planner

If yours did a great job you can always offer a token of your appreciation. Approximately 65 percent of couples do tip their planners — typically those with more opulent weddings.
Protocol: Optional, it would be nice.
The $tandard: Up to $500, or a nice gift
When to Tip: The bride should hand off the envelope at the end of the reception, or, she should send a thank-you note with photos or a check after the honeymoon.”

Colorful Shoes

January 12, 2009

Red shoes, pink shoes, blue shoes, green shoes. Colored shoes are the hottest trend in wedding fashion!

Match your shoes to your personality or color scheme of your event. Make sure to wear your shoes around the house a couple times to get your feet accustomed. Or if it were me, during the reception I would hide a beautiful pair of flip flops under my chair and dance the night away in comfort.

wedding-shoesPictures courtesy of (from left to right):
Thayer Allyson Gowdy, Project Wedding Blog, Allie and Bri Photography and Once Wed

What color would u wear? I’d wear pink! 🙂

How to personalize your wedding or event part 4

January 6, 2009

Escort Cards & Escort Card Table Displays

Before your guests are seated for dinner they will pick up escort cards; a card with their name and assigned table name/number. Here are some ways to personalize your wedding or event with unique escort cards and table displays.


Attach escort cards with pins or clips to a beautiful board covered with different colored ribbons or fabric. Hang your framed board on a wall or place it on an easel. Either way it’s not only a beautiful and creative way to showcase your escort cards, but also a great space saver.


Cards can be placed in a bed of sand, seashells, crystal beads, rocks, gravel, moss, wheat-grass, colorful fruit, coffee beans, bird seeds or flowers, just to name a few.


Embellish your cards with feathers, rhinestones, colored paper, fabric and ribbon. Use creative punches, cut-outs and scissors to create different shapes.


Be unique and use other elements to showcase your escort cards. You can use rocks, attach your cards to your guest’s wedding favors, attach a tag to a vase with flower, fruit, pumpkins, seashells or candles etc.


Hang them from ribbon, crystals, beads, branches or trees.

How will you personalize your escort cards?


January 5, 2009

What an amazing year filled with fabulous weddings and events! Thank you to all of my clients for letting me be a part of your special day! They were all individually unique and remind me everyday why I love what I do. 🙂

I have updated my website with some new photos from 2008. Take a look when you get a chance. http://www.astunningaffair.com