Divine Details

Wedding Day Tipping

Spencer Special Events - Wednesday, September 04, 2013

When you (or your VERY generous folks) are spending big bucks on your wedding, sometimes the last thing on your mind is tipping your vendors. Who should you tip and what's already covered in your contracts? At Spencer Special Events, we tell all our brides and families that unless a service charge is outlined in your agreement, tipping is completely optional, except for a few places. But not to stress, we are certainly there to help guide you!

You should feel free to tip anyone that exceeds your expectations (after all that is what tipping is all about!), but as a rule of thumb you tip associates and not direct business owners. It is never expected but a true token of appreciation for a job well done.

Follow these simple guidelines for tipping in these categories:

  • Wedding hair stylist and make-up artist: tip 15-20%, just as you would in a salon
  • Wedding officiant. If you make a donation to the church for their work, tip $100-$150 for their direct time and service.
  • Delivery personnel. A few small tips ($10-$20 each) for welcome bag delivery, florists, and event rentals (particularly those doing a lot of grunt work) are appreciated.
  • Ceremony musicians. Usually included in your contract but if they went above and beyond by writing something special for you or learning a new piece just for your wedding day, $20-50 per musician is considered appropriate, or 15% of the total bill.
  • Reception Entertainment. Usually covered in your contract but if they go above and beyond, $20 per member is about standard.
  • Wait staff and bartenders is an area that's usually covered. Check your contract here but if it is not covered, it’s usually 10% of the total liquor bill to be split among them.
  • Service Staff: $20 and up each (distributed by the catering manager or maitre d’)
  • Wedding transportation. Usually included in your contract, if not, tip 10%-15% of the total cost.
  • Valet or parking attendants: $1 to $2 per car; 15 percent for valet parking
  • Catering manager: $200+ or a personal gift
  • Chef: $100+
  • Coat check attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
  • Bathroom attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
  • Maitre d’hotel or Banquet Captain: 1 to 3 percent of food and beverage fees
  • Photographer/videographer: If you’re paying a flat fee with no overtime, $100

Is this list overwhelming? Our team at Spencer Special Events can happily coordinate all of this for you ahead of time AND distribute gratuities as you see fit.

Don’t forget a hand written thank you note also goes a LONG way with vendors that you are working with. Often they will use it as testimonials for social media or on their website. Referrals are the best "tip." And the fact that you are so pleased with the product or service delivered that you shout it from the roof tops (or Facebook and Twitter!) is simply priceless and what many vendors in this business rely on.

Lastly, remember that a smiling, kind, grateful, and appreciative bride or groom is a HUGE "tip" for any vendor since it is always rewarding to work with someone who is appreciative of your service.

Though it's a tricky subject, we hope we've answered some of your wedding day tipping questions.

Happy Labor Day!

Spencer Special Events - Friday, August 30, 2013

As we race into a busy fall, Spencer Special Events is taking a moment to stop and reflect on a beautiful and fun-filled summer. We have enjoyed the time with the kiddos, our family and friends, a little travel, meeting with wonderful new brides and their precious families, and working with our fantastic Fall couples to plan their dream weddings! Yes, the Summer of 2013 has been a great one!

Before we bid adieu (does it really have to end?!) we are going to take some time and enjoy Labor Day and share a little party entertaining round up. From setting a festive table for your Labor Day party, patriotic flower pots, table settings and desserts, and a good 'ol classic American burger - grab that last summer shandy! We hope your Labor Day is restful or eventful (whichever you prefer!) and you end your summer with those you love!

Happy Labor Day from Spencer Special Events!

Grooms Cake Ideas

Spencer Special Events - Tuesday, August 27, 2013

With all the focus being on what the bride wants on her wedding day, a grooms cake is a great way to surprise the handsome groom with something meaningful to him! While he probably will not remember the name of the flowers you carried down the aisle or the favors you gave away, he will always remember a knock your socks off cake that represents who he is or something he adores. The best groom cakes are ones that hold such special meaning.

Especially like this darling crab -- our super cute Spencer Special Events bride wanted to surprise her new hubby with a cake that represented her new last name "Crabb." Can you believe that this was a cake?

Mark Staff Photography

A grooms cake is a great way to surprise your new hubby!  Here are 6 ideas for the groom who LOVES Larry Bird (Larry Bird’s biggest fan was surprised with this top left one!), the groom who loves to run, or the groom who pours hot sauce on everything. You may want to surprise him with a cake that represents something he loves -- like a good bottle of tequila or whisky, or tell a story about how you met.  So long as it means something to him, he’ll feel special!

Credits (left to right): 1) Scott Hopkins Photography/Sheri's Edible Designs 2) Savannah Custom Cakes 3) Denver Weddings 4) Gateaux  5) Gateaux, Inc via Brides.com 6) Gateaux, Inc via Brides.com

These stellar cake designs with a personal story behind it are sure to wow him and your guests! At Spencer Special Events we love the details like these that make a wedding uniquely yours.  

Fall Color Trends

Spencer Special Events - Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spencer Special Events has some fabulous weddings planned for Fall 2013 and today we’d like to share a preview of some of our color palettes illustrated by gorgeous water color paintings. It’s our way of showing you what we’re hard at work on for this Fall! Ready to swoon?

We cannot get enough of the gold, shades of blush, gray and ivory which all work harmoniously together in this one. See the lace- we have got a lot of that, too!

We love the simplicity of a limited blue and green palette here. The nuances of tone keep you interested, even while using just two colors. I bet you just can’t wait to see the flowers and linens for this event? Emerald green continues to be a big trend this year, especially after being named Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2012.

We are also seeing a trend in traditional autumn colors with some variation, like this palette here. Persimmon and pomegranate are big for 2013.

We always adore the classic style of black, white and gray, it’s a color trend that will never go out of style. LOVE a timeless, classic, and gorgeous design! And this event is going to blow you away with gorgeousness!

What’s the old adage and debate over life and art?  Is it “life imitates art” or “art imitates life?” The truth is that at Spencer Special Events we are inspired by art, colors, design, anything that is beautiful so our answer is both. We are beyond excited about the events coming up this fall, we have so much to look forward to with such amazing brides and families. Happy Fall Y’all!

Fall Bridal Fashion Preview

Spencer Special Events - Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We’re back with more aisle style for The Spencer Special Events bride, our fans and followers! Bridal gown fashion is just like all other areas of fashion, there are trends and styles that go in and out of season. So what is hot for Fall 2013 in bridal gowns?

We consulted with our absolute favorite bridal boutique Bleu Belle Bridal in Savannah, Georgia. We met the owner, Heather, years ago and fell immediately in love with her darling personality and impeccable style. Heather and her amazing team of bridal consultants have been helping bride’s select couture gowns for ten years and serve brides across Savannah, Bluffton, Hilton Head Island, The Low Country and all over the country on bride’s visits down south!

Being on the cusp of bridal gown fashion trends, we asked Heather what she is seeing for Fall 2013. She’s seeing three trends: 

  • Low backs
  • High, sheer necklines
  • Interesting lace

Heather showed us this Annasul Y. layered lace and tulle capsleeve gown with keyhole back and soft draped skirt. The soft draped skirt is simply perfection!

This Theia Lace Illusion neckline mermaid with ruffled organza skirt caught Heather’s eye for Fall 2013. The lace really is interesting and beautiful!

Heather also showed us this Mikaella strapless embroidered alencon lace gown with soft, flowing organza skirt. We adore this look!

Heather kept the ideas coming with this gorgeous Mikaella V-neck Chantilly Lace gown with dramatic V back and satin sash.  The back is to die for and there’s that interesting lace again!

And one more capturing the trend is this Snow by Annasul sweetheart strapless gown with layered guipure lace and soft tulle skirt. How fabulous is this dress?

Because there are SO many styles to choose from and so many different trends, we asked Heather how do you know when you’ve found the right gown?

"Finding the right gown is like finding the right man,” said Heather. “You just know when you've found the one!”

"Many brides expect to cry when they find the one, but we actually see more of our brides dancing and grinning ear to ear when they find the perfect gown for them. It's all about finding a style that makes you feel as gorgeous as you've ever felt before but also represents your style and personality."

Heather encourages brides to make an appointment early on in your engagement and try on as many dresses as possible – even styles that you don’t think will fit or are your style.  Knowing what you don’t like is just as important as what you do!

More information on these gorgeous gowns are available upon request, please contact Bleu Belle Bridal to schedule an appointment with their darling team or get more information. They have the most amazing customer service and the experience is truly everything a bride has dreamed it would be. (We know from experience!) At Spencer Special Events, we cannot wait to see our bride’s in their gown on wedding day!!   Seeing girls that we have built such close relationships with; shine on their wedding day is what our business at Spencer Special Events is all about. For more information on SSE and how we can help you on your big day, contact us! 

Signature Drink

Spencer Special Events - Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The concept of a "signature drink" at a wedding arose several years ago in an effort to offer guests more than the standard beer, wine and even open bar. But more than that, a good signature drink incorporates a story about the couple and brings a personal touch to your cocktail hour. Over the years, Spencer Special Events has been a part of creating some really unique signature drinks! We think that truly the best ones are the ones that mean something to the couple (and of course taste good!)

This Cape Codder was the perfect addition to Sarah and Ryan's wedding at Belfair in Bluffton, SC. "Ryan and I loved the idea of a signature cocktail that could be served throughout the weekend," said Sarah. "The hope was that it would be a drink that everyone could enjoy, all while being color coordinated with all the other wedding details. Our cocktail was refreshing and was the perfect pink color but most importantly, the name is a nod to summers on The Cape with my family. It was the perfect New England compliment to our southern destination wedding menu.

We love the idea of a Manhattan for New Yorkers, a good Kentucky Bourbon and ginger ale for our Kentucky folks, and delicious red sangria for south westerners. So what's your story and how will you tell it in a drink? At Spencer Special Events, we know it's all about the personal touches and details!

Photos by Nate Henderson

Aisle Style: Clutches

Spencer Special Events - Thursday, August 01, 2013

You've found the perfect gown, you can picture how you'll look on your wedding day, and now you are left with those little details like finding the perfect clutch. You'll need a coordinating and timeless piece to stash your lipstick, some powder, and maybe your phone and its a bag that may make an appearance in a few of your pictures. So it can't be just anything!

It's an elusive hunt that search for the perfect bridal accessory and one detail that we at Spencer Special Events are always keeping our eye on. So what's your aisle style? Be it a diamond and crystal adorned Marchesa detailed number, a luxurious silk Prada carry-some encrusted with rhinestones, or a Vera Wang for Kohls piece, a great find at Target, we love seeing how brides style their look. And did we mention if you need some help, we really love shopping? Because it really is all about the details! 

Vow Renewal at Palmetto Bluff

Spencer Special Events - Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One Sunday evening we received a call from the sweetest gentleman who wanted to surprise his wife with a vow renewal ceremony at Palmetto Bluff. We were over the moon excited to be a part of this superbly romantic and intimate evening for one of the nicest couples we've ever met.

After a rainy afternoon of kayaking on the May River, Zeus surprised Christine with a bouquet that was an exact replica of the flowers she carried down the aisle when they married two years ago and a note letting her know they were going to renew their vows that evening. She was completely shocked! (We told you it was romantic!)

Reverend Steve Schulte performed the ceremony in the couples' riverfront cottage underneath a large floral arbor designed by A Floral Affair. The ceremony was complete with a replica of the sand ceremony they had on their wedding day in Hawaii. Acclaimed photographer Donna Von Bruening was there to capture the evening through the lens. In one of the Low Country's most beautiful settings, the couple renewed the promise they made to each other just two years ago, which they promised to do every year of their marriage.(Do they get any sweeter?)

Congrats to Zeus and Christine! As life has thrown you some challenges, you seem to handle those challenges with grace. The support you show each other is exemplary. We wish you and your children all of the happiness in the world. Truly!

Bluffton South Carolina wedding venues

Spencer Special Events - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Though many people tend to think of a destination wedding solely on Hilton Head Island, at Spencer Special Events we know that there are some truly spectacular wedding venues in the ever-so-charming Bluffton, South Carolina. For that reason, we think it’s an area that should not be overlooked when planning your wedding weekend! We have had the honor of helping couples plan their dream wedding in truly dream-like settings in Bluffton. Today we’ll show you just a few and why we have fallen in love with these three Bluffton wedding venues: Colleton River Plantation, Palmetto Bluff and Belfair.

At Colleton River Plantation Club, wedding ceremonies can be held on the lawns of their signature golf courses. The Nicklaus Clubhouse overlooks the tranquil Colleton River and the Dye Clubhouse overlooks the Port Royal Sound – both spectacular backdrops for nuptials. You and your family will simply adore working with their top-notch staff and their delicious, world class cuisine. From the pub, dining room, ballroom, or a grand tent on the golf course lawn, there are a variety of options to host the reception that’s right for you at Colleton River Plantation Club.

Munoz Photography

If you’re looking for luxury and style, you won’t want to skip Palmetto Bluff. Carefully planned and developed, Palmetto Bluff is on 20,000 acres of pristine Low Country. Its home to 32 miles of riverside, sweeping oaks draped with Spanish moss, and marshes abundant with wildlife. Ceremonies can be held in their darling Waterside Chapel, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres underneath majestic oaks on the banks of the May River, and receptions can take place in the quaint ballroom of the Auberge Resort’s acclaimed Inn at Palmetto Bluff. Spencer Special Events has had the opportunity to design, plan and execute multiple weddings at this truly majestic venue. 

Mark Staff Photography

Belfair Plantation offers world class service in their recently renovated clubhouse and a spectacular setting on the Colleton River. With a southern charm, a wedding at Belfair is one gorgeous option for couples. You'll find that true southern hospitality from the moment you and your guests arrive. As with most private clubs in our area, Belfair also offers fabulous cottages nestled close to the clubhouse for your guest accommodations. This gorgeous gated community is also home to the Avenue of Oaks, where you will enjoy the moss-draped pictures you've always wanted.

Landon Jacob Photography

We hope you enjoy the process of choosing your wedding venue! Though it can be overwhelming, there are so many great options in the area and with our team to help you, you are sure to find the venue that was meant to be. And like Amanda says, once you have the venue booked for your wedding, that’s when the real fun begins! 

Choosing your wedding style

Spencer Special Events - Wednesday, July 10, 2013

At Spencer Special Events we get to know our bride and grooms’ both separately and as a couple. Each person is unique, each couple is unique, each event should be unique, and so Amanda spends a lot of time getting to know a couple while planning their wedding. Getting to know the couple helps choose the style of a wedding and make it uniquely theirs!

We are having an absolute ball getting to know Christin and Rob and planning their upcoming wedding this fall. They couldn't be more sweet and so much fun to work with. Did we mention they are absolutely gorgeous?

Photos by Scott Hopkins Photography

Usually the first order of business is a conference call, typically lasting about an hour and a half, to get better acquainted and talk about the vision of the wedding weekend. Amanda requests that the couple does some minor homework (remember this is fun!) by sending her two to three images that really speak to the couple. Images should be representative of the day and style they wish to have at their wedding. She prefers to walk through this process over the phone versus emailing her a completed questionnaire to really get to know them and their tastes.

To get some inspiration, Amanda suggests brides visit Pinterest, Style Me Pretty, Once Wed, JuneBug Weddings, and Inside Weddings as starting off points. Perusing other weddings will give you a good idea of the style you want your wedding to be. But we also like to get a feel for how you decorate your home, cuisine you fancy, and sense of fashion to help guide us in your design.

There’s a style for everyone. Be it vintage, outdoor, rustic, beach, vineyard, ballroom, classic or modern, styles range tremendously and it’s important your wedding planner can execute your vision based on that style. So what’s your wedding style? 


Is it posh?

Photo by Allison Reisz

Is your style an elegant ballroom setting like this?

Photos by Mark Staff Photography

Or maybe you are island inspired like this:

Landon Jacob Photography

Amelia + Dan Photography

Or perhaps a more sweet, southern style like this:

Photo by Nate Henderson

Or are you more of a bright floral burst like this:

Photos by Scott Hopkins Photography

Or maybe you have rustic low country charm in mind:

Photos by Landon Jacob Photography

We've had the pleasure of planning all of these events with various styles! Aren't we lucky?

So start your planning with a little bit of homework--it's a tough gig, we know!  Visit some sites and get a sense for the styles that you gravitate towards. When you have a feel for what you like and what you don’t like, Amanda and her team will help you personalize that style and really make it yours. After all, everyone wants a wedding they can call their own, so choosing a style and finding some inspiration that speaks to you is just the beginning. Having a wedding planner who can make it yours and execute the details is what is going to make it YOUR day.

Be sure to follow Amanda & Spencer Special Events on Pinterest to get some great wedding style ideas. We’ll talk about choosing the right venue on our next post!