Once you’ve designed your invites, when do you send them? And what about save-the-date cards? The consensus is four to six months before your wedding for save-the-dates, but allow additional time if yours is a destination wedding. The number one etiquette tip for these is that save-the-dates only go to people you absolutely plan to invite to the wedding. List the city location to give adequate planning time for travel and lodging, even if your exact venue is still undecided. You can create a unique wedding hashtag and spread it to collect memories of your future event.
Figuring out how much to tip wedding pros can be tricky, but tipping wedding vendors is an important way to show your appreciation for their hard work. To avoid scrambling on the day of, we recommend creating a list of who you tip at your wedding and organizing the cash tips into envelopes well in advance of your big day. While it’s extra-nice if you are able to hand the tips to your vendors on your wedding day, it might not be possible (you’re going to be super-busy!). Instead, have your wedding planner or a member of your wedding party be responsible for handing out the tips, which should be handed out after the service is rendered. Another great way to thank your vendors? Write them a review on a site like WeddingWire!
When it comes to bartenders and waitstaff, and parking, bathroom and coatroom 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.
Wedding budgets are all about balance. Start your budget planning by making a checklist of the crucial details, like the music, your wedding gown, the invitations, the flowers and the photographer, and assign a number to each—one being the most important and three being the least. Invest your money in all your number ones and cut corners on your number threes. (But everything can't fall into the number one category!) For example, if a designer gown and fabulous food are what really matter, you may have to choose simple invitations and smaller floral arrangements.
Tipping is supposed to act as a reward, so you don't need to consider it a mandatory expense. Tips are meant to be given for excellent service or for vendors who go above and beyond their contracted duties. Before dishing out gratuity, check your contracts. Some vendors, especially venues and catering companies, will include it in their contract to help eliminate confusion.
Another unforeseen expense? Feeding your wedding day crew. Before you sign the contracts, make sure you're not required to serve the same meal to your vendors that guests will receive. Otherwise, you could be paying for 20 additional lobster tails. Choose a less expensive (but equally hearty) meal for them instead. You will have to let your wedding caterer know a couple of days before the wedding exactly how many vendors you need to feed (don't forget photography assistants and band roadies) and what you want them to serve.