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Wedding Planning Tips

Tipping wedding vendors: How to do it right

While we do our best to plan out the expenses when it comes to weddings, most of us forget one expense- the vendor’s tip. While tipping vendors is not mandatory, especially since you’re already paying wedding vendors’ fees, it is expected. So, the basic purpose of tipping vendors is to show them your appreciation for their service.

With that in mind, how much do you tip vendors? Most importantly, are you supposed to tip all of the vendors involved in your wedding planning?

Here is a simple guide that can help you:

Read vendor contract carefully

Some vendors, such as wedding caterers, include gratuity in their fee. This is usually 20 percent of the total bill. Make sure you read the contract to avoid tipping twice.

Tip on the wedding day

Most vendor tips should be given on the day of the wedding. You can ask a reliable friend or family member to tip vendors on your behalf at the end of the day. Use a plain business envelope to hand out tips.

Don’t tip the self-employed

Don’t tip the owner of a business. In other words, you don’t need to tip your videographer, hairdresser, etc. if they are self-employed.

If you really want to show your gratitude to a vendor has done an exceptional job, then get a nice present for them rather than handing out cash.

Add a thank-you note

Remember to send a handwritten thank you note. This simple note goes a long way in making a vendor feel special. Also, write a positive review on the vendor’s website or social media page.

Whom to tip and how much

  • Officiates: It’s not compulsory to tip religious officiates. In fact, most of them won’t accept cash tips. If you feel the need to do so, make a donation to their organization. Anywhere between $75 to $100 is good enough.
  • Catering staff (waiters, bartenders, chefs, etc.): If the caterer doesn’t charge a gratuity fee, you should tip their staff. Consider giving a certain percentage of the total catering bill to the catering manager and their staff.
  • Musicians / DJs: $25 to $50 each.
  • Wedding planner’s staff: $50 to $100 each.
  • Photographers/videographers: $100-$200 (if they are not self-employed).
  • Reception band: $25 to $50 each.
  • Driver: 20 percent of the total transport bill.
  • Valets: $2 per car.
  • Delivery staff: $5-$20 per person.

These are some essential vendor tipping rules that you should definitely follow. At Wedding Steps, we provide the most reliable wedding vendors in CT for you to work with.

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Wedding Planning Tips

5 unique ideas to personalize your wedding ceremony

If you’re wondering what makes a wedding truly unforgettable, the answer lies in personalization. How do you make your wedding ceremony stand out? How can you make it more engaging? You don’t want another run-of-the-mill wedding ceremony that would probably bore your guests in just a few hours. After all, it is your big day and only you can make it extra special. From confessional booths to welcome gift bags for guests, here are great ideas to add a little spark and creativity to your wedding:

Make your guests feel welcome

Give personalized welcome bags to your guests. Not only will your guests feel like VIPs, they will remember your warmth and hospitality for years.

Leave a personalized welcome note in each bag. Don’t go overboard with the gift items. Kids can get crayons and a coloring book, while adults can get a gift certificate to your favorite local coffee shop.

Keep the memories alive

Arrange for a rented photo booth. If you have time on your hands, make the photo booth yourself. Incorporate props to set the tone for your guests.

You can also rent a video booth where guests can leave messages for you. Ask your videographer to select and add the best clips into your wedding video.

Having a video and photo booth is a sure-fix way to add fun and excitement to your wedding, apart from capturing memories that your videographer or photographer might miss.

Get creative with the cake

When it comes to the wedding cake, don’t settle for a white, multi-tier wedding cake. Get creative with it. It’s a good idea to choose alternatives to the traditional cake.

Even if you prefer a traditional cake, add a personal touch to it to make it more meaningful.

Fun alternatives to first-dance confetti drop

The first dance is the highlight of a wedding. Instead of a confetti drop, have paper planes, glitter, or your favorite flower petals dropped. Also, arrange for the venue staff to be standing by to clean up.

Post it online

Finally, we live in the age of social media. Everyone is connected on the internet.

Make a social media page on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for your wedding day. Ask a family member to send live updates. Get all your guests involved and share your big day on social media for those who couldn’t make it.

These are easy yet effective to personalize your wedding. For more such valuable information, check out some fantastic wedding ceremony ideas here.

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The wedding season is here!

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Wedding Planning Tips

The dos and don’ts of wedding limo hire

There is no better way for you to arrive at your wedding ceremony than in a limo. Limousine personifies style, glamour and true luxury. It commands attention and is one of the most spectacular ways for a bride and groom to drive around town.

If you want to make a grand entrance and make a lasting impression on your wedding guests, a limo should most definitely be your go-to mode of transportation. And if you want to select a reliable wedding limo service provider, here are some essential rules to stick by:

DO book in advance

Most couples take wedding transportation booking for granted. It isn’t as easy as you might think. Limos get booked quickly, especially in the peak wedding season. The latest models get booked even sooner.

That’s why it’s critical to book a limo service plenty of months ahead of your big day. Most couples make a booking a year before their wedding day.  Try to book a classy limo at least 8 months prior to your wedding.

DO thorough research

Check out the latest limo models before making the final booking. You can read reviews online or ask your contacts to recommend the best models.

Do inspect the car in person

Pictures can be deceiving. If you want to invest your hard-earned money in a luxurious, elegant limo, check it out beforehand. This is an effective way to decide if the car has exactly what you’re looking for.

DO choose a high capacity limo

Go for a stretch limo if you have a bridal party. A high capacity limo saves money because you won’t have to hire multiple cars for everyone. Almost 10 people can comfortably fit in a stretch limo.

DON’T squeeze in the bridal dress

Can’t figure out the limo size you need? A simple method is to count the bride as two people. In this way, the bride will get two seats to adjust her dress. She can spread her skirt on the car seats without having to worry about it getting squashed.

Similarly, ask the limo rental company if the car comes with a fifth door so that the bride and bridesmaids can get in and out easily.

DON’T sacrifice quality for cost

Never compromise quality for a lower price. Some wedding limo companies charge higher prices. But, they might provide a better quality car with a more experienced driver.

Your wedding day car plays a pivotal role on the momentous occasion. Make sure it truly special by getting exactly what you wish for. We simplify your search for wedding transportation in CT. Check out the most popular wedding limo service providers in CT here.

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Wedding Planning Tips

A beginner’s guide to hiring a wedding caterer

Good food makes everything better, even weddings. Food is one of the most essential aspects of a wedding. It’s what makes a wedding stand out. That’s why it is pivotal to hire an expert in wedding catering.

Although some venues provide in-house catering, in other cases you will have to book a caterer yourself. How do you select a great wedding caterer? Someone who can prepare a menu that complements the overall theme of your wedding? In order to simplify the hiring process, here are a few questions to ask your caterer:

Do you have a license?

Is the wedding caterer insured? Do they have a license? Ask them to provide an up-to-date insurance certificate and license. A license indicates that the caterer business is operating legally, while insurance gives an assurance that you will not be liable to pay for damages if a guest injures himself or herself at your wedding. Also, remember to ask your caterer for liquor liability insurance in case they offer alcohol.

What is your specialty?

Make sure to ask the type of food the caterer specializes in. This will help you determine whether they can deliver what you want. Discuss your cuisine options with the caterer to find out.

When it comes to hiring a caterer, it’s a good idea to select a specialized one to obtain scrumptious food.

If you require them to make special meals to cater to different dietary needs, do let them know in advance. This includes vegetarian, kosher, halal, and gluten-free meals. They might charge you additional fee for it.

What’s your average price range?

Discuss pricing with the caterer. Analyze their packages. Check the entrée, appetizer, main course options. Most catering packages come with salad, appetizers, entrée and dessert, alongside coffee service. In some cases, you get the wedding cake (in place of dessert) and wine. Do let them know your budget and then figure out if their package is up to the mark.

Talk pricing in detail. Does the caterer want an initial security deposit? Do they expect gratuities? Above all, will they offer a refund in case of an emergency?

The general rule of thumb is to get estimates from as many caterers as possible. Then, compare packages to select the one that suits your budget.

Can you provide references from previous clients?

References are the best way to determine a caterer’s services. Ask for at least two references. Make sure you get references from a client who had a similar menu as yours.

Will there be a tasting before the wedding?

Don’t just depend on word-of-mouth and online reviews. Get to taste the food that will be presented on your big day. Ask the caterer when tastings will take place.

Will you provide the extras?

Check if the caterer will provide the extra items, such as wedding cake, silverware, napkins, tables, chairs, salt and peppershakers? What about alcohol and drinks? If they will serve alcohol, will you also get bartenders? Usually, wedding caterers charge additional fee for all extra items.

Where will you prepare the food? Who will take charge on the wedding day?

Will the caterer prepare food at the venue or will they need additional space? Keep in mind, they may charge you extra if they have to bring in equipment.

Additionally, who will oversee the event on the wedding day? Will it be the person you planned everything with? What would happen if they fall sick? Who will take charge then?

In the event of a crisis, the caterer needs to have a backup plan. Ask them how they handled crises in the past.

How will you arrange the food?

While taste is everything, presentation is just as imperative. What does the caterer have in mind in terms of food presentation at your wedding? Buffet or plated? Also, ask them about the set up details. How much time will it take to deliver equipment to the wedding venue and then set up? All this information is required to make sure your wedding day runs smoothly.

Selecting a wedding caterer is indeed tricky. But, with the availability of relevant, accurate online information, you can get it right. At Wedding Steps, we are your one-stop online source for an array of wedding vendors in CT, including wedding caterers. Browse through our extensive list of CT’s most reputable wedding vendors here. We also provide unique wedding ceremony ideas to make your event an unforgettable one!

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Wedding Planning Tips

5 essential steps to finding the best wedding photographer

You have dreamed of your wedding day for as long as you can remember. And it’s finally here. Since it’s one of the most significant days of your life, you obviously want everything to be flawless on your big day. After all, you are starting an exciting new chapter in your life.

But before you say “I do”, make sure you have an amazing photographer on hand on your wedding day in order to document your unique story for eternity.

Don’t know where to start? Here are 5 easy ways to choose the best wedding photographer:

Choose your style

First and foremost, decide the type of wedding photography style you want. Do you prefer classic portraits or candid photos? Traditional or high fashion? Film or digital? Fine art or edgy photos? This will help determine the kind of wedding photographer who can best serve your interests.

Although many wedding photographers can do a blend of different styles, make sure to select a photographer who specializes in it.

Know your budget

Once you have established a photography style, it’s time to figure out how much you are willing to invest in a wedding photographer. Different wedding photographers have varying charges; choose the one that meets your budget.

Do your research

Now comes the challenging part. Conduct an extensive research on as many wedding photographers as you can. Ask your friends or family to recommend someone they know.

However, the most convenient way to review wedding photographers is with Wedding Steps. We bring to you an extensive list of some of the most well-known wedding photographers in CT. Click here to select the best photographer for your bridal photography.

Check out your preferred wedding photographers’ websites. Compare their specializations, experience, styles, pricing packages and portfolios. It’s just as important to read their clients’ feedback.

Schedule an interview

After reviewing wedding photographers online, make a list of at least five photographers you want to work with. Set up an in-person meeting with each of them. The purpose of this meeting is to analyze which one of them is the right fit for your wedding day. This is the perfect opportunity to gauge their working style and personality. You can also figure out if they truly understand your vision.

When you meet a wedding photographer, find out if they are available on your wedding date. Discuss your preferred wedding style, venue and your budget. Remember to talk about your financial needs in detail. In other words, ask about their shooting fee, pricing packages and other essential details, such as cancellation or refund policy. What is included in a standard package? How many hours of coverage are included? When will you get your wedding album? Most importantly, ask them to show you their previous wedding albums.

Discuss your rights

Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at a wedding. Therefore, they can use your wedding photos anywhere they want for promotional purposes. So, you will have to buy the rights to sharing your own wedding photos. It’s advisable to discuss your legal rights beforehand.

These simple steps can help you choose the best photographer to capture your big day the way you always imagined.

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Wedding Planning Tips

5 Wedding Transportation Mistakes To Avoid

Tying the knot soon? Make sure you get to your wedding ceremony on time. Although wedding transportation arrangements may seem overwhelming, it really isn’t. All it requires is some planning and you are good to go.

In order to ensure you have a smooth ride to your wedding, here are 5 wedding transportation mistakes you need to avoid:

Mistake #1: Last-minute booking

Book a wedding transportation service in advance. The ideal timeframe is six months before your wedding date. However, if you are getting married anytime between April and June, it’s better to hire a car company almost 9 months in advance. This is prom and graduation season.

Formal vehicles are in high demand during peak season. Moreover, vintage cars are usually in shorter supply than limousine or town cars. Remember, the early bird catches the most spectacular wedding car. Top of Form

Mistake #2: Allowing a friend drive the car for you

Hire a professional wedding transportation service. A professional wedding car company gives you a variety of stylish vehicles to choose from. Above all, you will ride in a single vehicle the entire day. In other words, you won’t have to stress about arranging a different ride with separate vehicles. You can count on the expertise and professionalism of professional wedding car companies to take you to your destination on time, without any hassle.

Mistake #3: Considering the standard stretch limo

Most couples hire the standard stretch limo for their wedding. Your wedding day says something about a couple’s unique story. Like other aspects of your wedding, why not add a personal touch to your vehicle as well?

Choose a car that suits your style, interests and the overall wedding theme. Make your wedding even more special with the perfect ride. While a limo is best suited for a traditional wedding, try to spice things up.

Mistake #4: Not making car reservations in person

Rent a wedding car in person to avoid any unnecessary issues. You can check out different rental car companies online, but make the final booking in person. This gives you a chance to inspect the vehicle you will be riding in before your wedding.

Not to mention, read the rental car contract carefully. If you have any concerns or questions, discuss with the company in person.

Mistake #5: Not taking into account wedding gifts

It’s advisable to have a spare car on hand for wedding gifts. Designate someone to pack up gifts and any leftover centerpieces or keepsakes at the end of the night.

What could be better than travelling in style and comfort to your big day? Long delays due to transport glitches make the wrong impression on your guests. Whether you want to opt for a limo that promises luxury, or a Sedan for a romantic ride, find reputable wedding transportation service providers in CT here.

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Wedding Planning Tips

6 Reasons to Hire a Professional DJ for Your Wedding

Of course there’s a lot for you to plan, and maybe hiring a DJ for your wedding reception is not as important a priority as a high quality photographer, or a designer dress, or the best cake artist in town; but it is surely one of the few things that will keep your guests happy and entertained. Want reasons to hire a professional DJ for your wedding? Check these out:

The Experience

Professionals have experience of operating in the industry. They are familiar with their equipment, know how to engage the crowd and solve unforeseen problems that might arise amid the chaos. They have the tact and technique to run the show, and make sure everyone has a good time without any worry.

Pleasant Memories

Like every other thing about your wedding, good music becomes a part of your memories to cherish over time. Hiring a DJ allows you to properly enjoy your wedding festivities. Imagine not having to cue and re-cue the MP3 player to make sure the music doesn’t stop, not having to listen songs you don’t like, or worrying about whether your baby cousin will remember the specific playlist instructions you gave them or not. Just sit back, dance, and enjoy your day!

The Reliability

You put your friend in charge of acting DJ for your wedding. However, they fall ill at the last minute; or there is an equipment failure – what do you do then? Hiring a professional DJ ensures that you have your event’s music covered. Professionals have backup equipment, and replacement personnel who can take over the job and make sure your party goes on.

The Equipment

Unlike other music arrangements, hiring a DJ will rid you off the hassle of arranging sound system and equipment. They will carry their own specialized equipment that will fill the hall with music frenzy. You can trust the equipment to not blare, or distort sound that becomes unpleasant to deal with.

The Professionalism

You obviously have your own preferences – not just in music. There’s a theme to the wedding and it’s black-tie; you can trust a professional DJ to dress appropriately. You have kids at the wedding and you can’t have songs that use explicit terms – the DJ will adhere to your requests. Professional DJs know the etiquette. They will reach on time and be set up before the party starts.

The Variety

Your favorites, the latest hits, mash-ups, classics – a professional DJ will have access to every type of music you can think of. So if you have heard it on the radio or watched it on television, you can count on the DJ to play it at your wedding. You can even provide them with a list of songs you’d like to play, and they’ll get it for you.

Let’s face it; you do not want your guests praying for your event to end so they can head home. Good music can bring your party to life, so don’t miss out on the chance to entertain everyone present at your wedding.

At Wedding Steps you have the chance to hire a professional wedding DJ and other wedding vendors for your Connecticut wedding. We’ve got some of the finest – choose the one who fits your budget!

 

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Bridal Show Tips

5 Tips to Make the Most of a Bridal Fair

You have long basked in the euphoria of your recent engagement; but as the excitement begins to fade, it is replaced by the panic. You’ve got a wedding to plan and you have no clue how to go about it! For years, bridal fairs have provided a convenient way for brides-to-be to learn about the countless options for planning a wedding. To make the most of a bridal show, keep these tips in mind.

Know What Bridal Shows Are About

If you wish to take good advantage of a bridal show, it is important to know what it has to offer, and how can it benefit you. A bridal fair is a unique exhibition, where vendors from the wedding industry display their creativity, craft, products, or services for soon-to-be brides. The fair is usually dictated by latest trends in fashion, décor, wedding food that allows brides to pick the best. If done right, a bridal show can give you a complete preview of what your wedding could be like.

Be Smart, Don’t Exhaust Yourself

There will be multiple shows happening in and around your location – you do not have to attend them all. Limit yourself to the three most talked about. It is always suggested that you attend the bridal fairs in the area you plan to hold your wedding in. That way, you will have access to the local vendors you need to approach when the wedding draws near.

Be Prepared   

Bridal shows offer you a fantastic opportunity to explore your options and meet your favorite vendors up close and personal. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, you need to be prepared. Wear comfortable shoes (there’ll be a lot of walking around) and clothes. Draw up a checklist of the services you require to streamline your efforts. Come up with standard questions that you may need to ask vendors about their services. Keep some cash and your checkbook with you. Carry a bag or folder to hold the numerous brochures you’ll be collecting and ask a friend to accompany you.

Get To Work

You will be coming across a host of different vendors; therefore it is important to keep track. Carry a notebook along. Take notes, ask for visiting cards, write down your opinions, take pictures, and samples. Also, bear in mind that you may not get along with all vendors. Be polite, and reach out to ones who are more interested in your vision of a perfect wedding. This is the time to shortlist vendors, get contacts, schedule appointments, and avail discounts too!

Know When to Exit

All the whimsical wedding details, delicious cakes, and gorgeous photographs of smooching couples will ultimately begin pestering you. When that happens – it’s time to leave. You are most likely exhausted, and continuing any further will do you no good. It is hence, better to leave the fair, head home, and get started on the next level of planning.

So ladies gear up because Connecticut is about to be blown away by a series of bridal shows planned all the way till November. View the Wedding Steps schedules for and buy bridal show tickets online. For more details on the subject, feel free to contact us.