Tips on How to Tip

Written by Carrie Taylor, Carrie Taylor Events

Original blog found here

I have heard it many times, “I didn’t know I was supposed to tip!” or “I didn’t know how much to tip my vendors.”

I know tipping vendors can get confusing and you probably do not know the first thing about it.

Well don’t worry!

I am creating a quick reference guide for you to refer back to when you are having to tip your vendors.

Also keep in mind, unless stated in the contract, many do not expect tips, and it should be up to you to determine if your vendors preformed well enough based on what was outlined in the contract to deserve a tip.

Wedding Planner/Coordinator

Wedding planners do not expect tips because they are just simply doing their job. The discretion is up to you. If you feel they did an exceptional job, then a tip or a nice gift is a great way to show that appreciation. Typically 10%-20% up to $500 or a nice gift is great offering for those services.


Tipping your caterer should be similar to tipping at a restaurant. Many times, the tip will be included in the bill for the service. However, if it is not, tipping 15%-20% is the standard just like eating at a restaurant.

Reception Wait Staff (i.e. servers, bartenders, parking attendants, etc)

Typically this tip will be included in your contract as a service fee. Therefore, the only need to tip would be if the staff was exceptional. If it is not included, be sure to ask before the wedding how many people will be working your wedding. An important thing to remember that for this, it is a little different than it is at a restaurant where the serving staff is dependent on tips. Most of the time the staff working events will not be. If it is not already included, I would tip $10-$20 per staff member.

Hairstylist and Makeup

This is also just like it should be when going to a salon to get these services done. You should tip your hair and make up artists 15%-20% and it is expected because these people are taking a normal business day off to serve you.

Photographer and Videographer

The standard for tipping for these vendors are if you are working with the owner of the company, then a tip is not expected. However, if you feel the need, tipping a $100 or more for the main photographer and then $50-$75 for the assistant is most practiced.


They also do not expect a tip because they typically own their own business. A 10%-15% tip is reasonable for an exceptional job.

Ceremony Officiant

Many times, an officiant will not take a tip directly for themselves. They will tell you to make a donation to the church or institution. If you are a member of that church or institution, the donation should be larger. This should be between $100-$500.

Ceremony Musicians

Unless work is exceptional, many times you do not have to tip these musicians. However, also take a look at your contract if you use a vendor. If you would like to tip them, $15-$25 is typically the standard.

Reception Band or DJ

Many times it is typically preferred to tip your reception music providers. They usually have to deal with a lot of drunk people screaming requests at them or have to deal with no one dancing no matter what they play. When tipping a band, $25-$50 per musician is reasonable. While with a DJ, $50-$150 is typical.


This is also a vendor that will include a tip in the contract. However, many more brides are going with using UberBlack or something of that nature. If it is not included in your contract or does not have a contract, 15%-20% is typical.

These vendors are the most common that are used at weddings. Keep in mind that if you truly feel in your heart that someone does not deserve a tip or you feel that someone deserves more than what I said above, you are able to use your discretion.

All in all, we as wedding vendors want to make sure you have the best day of your life whether or not we get a tip!

I hope this blog gave you more guidance to tipping your vendors!


How Not to Stress While Planning an Event


Written by: Abby Kepley, APSU Public Relations Senior

  • Take Care of Yourself– When it comes to event planning sometimes things can become a little stressful. Slow down and know that you need your time to just breathe when things like this happen. Some easy, healthy remedies to becoming a little less stressed are to take a bath, breath, or even nap. Things like this can get you back on track and back to being a more productive you. Don’t feel like you’re the only one who goes through this!


  • Use Your Team-You have resources for a reason. Don’t leave your team behind when  they can help you with a lot! Your team is there for you when you don’t have all the time in the world to do everything that needs to be done. Make sure you communicate with your team thoroughly so everyone is on the same page. Your team can run errands, take notes and phone calls, and even do some meetings for you if you don’t have the time and you trust them with all the details. Your team is there for you not against you! Having them do things for you can release a lot of your stress.


  • Write Everything Down-Keep a calendar and a note pad! Write down everything happening on the calendar on the correct dates. In your notepad write down the date at the top and put down all the things you need for this date or so on. This will help with your organization and reduce stress. If you feel like something is missing, it will always be on your calendar and notepad! Manage your time and get everything done before the date comes up. Also, you can highlight the things you have done so you can clearly see what else you need to do.


  • Accept That Things Happen-When it comes to event planning not everything is going to happen the way you plan it to. If there is an outside event weather can be an issue. Someone might not show up to the event, or someone can show up intoxicated. Know that these things can happen and accept it! Once you do and come up with a Risk Management plan for these things, life as an event planner will become much easier on your end.


  • Know Your Limits-Do not over plan! Make sure you know your limits on what you can and can’t do when it comes to the event. Also if you’re not a master at multitasking, take one thing at a time. Just make sure your time managing skills are on point.

5 Keys to Planning an Event

Written by: Abby Kepley, APSU Senior in Public Relations

1.Time Management:
When it comes to planning events you need to plan your time accordingly. Grab a calendar and write down every major date you need to have things done by such as paying for the food and venue, RSVP end dates, and more. It is always better to plan ahead and get the big things out of the way first so you don’t have issues because of procrastination. It is also beneficial to keep a progress report, too. This is so you can see your progress throughout planning and know what is needed and when.

Throughout college, interning, and those early business years you tend to gain friends who can help you. When planning an event, you don’t want to forget these friends! Keep them in mind-they can help you when it comes to the process if you need anything. Even if you don’t need anything from people you have grown close with in the business, if the event allows it, invite them!

MAKE A LIST! I can not count how many times I have heard my teachers and advisors tell me this one. Creating a check list can help you in several aspects. This will help you when it comes to time management as well. When you are planning an event, write down everything you might need when it comes to shopping, people to talk to, or whatever is specialized to the event you are creating.

You need to know your event and it’s brand when you start the planning process. This will help you when it comes to advertising toward your event. For example, if you are planning a release party for a new country music album, you aren’t going to want to invite anyone really under the age of 21. This is for risk management reasons, and this is why you need to know your demographics.

Make sure you communicate clearly with everyone you might need to; your crew, the customers, etc. It is very easy to miscommunicate, or not hear clearly, which can promote confusion and complications when it comes to events. Communication is always key.

BIG DREAMS, Small Budget…

Abigail Miller, APSU Junior, Public Relations

Sometimes clients can have some pretty extravagant requests. They want their events to be “Wow” but they don’t want to spend the money it takes to make it happen. For example, a client comes to you about planning a banquet and they want it to be Big but cheap! They want you to fly everyone out to Orlando and rent Disney World for the day, Bruno Mars is going to sing, everyone will eat dinner in Cinderella’s castle, it will be catered by Gordon Ramsay, there will be a pop up casino, an open bar, a tiger, an elephant, a couple of baby sloths, Oprah will present the awards and then there will be a live performance by Cirque Du Soleil. Slightly exaggerated, but the point is sometimes our clients dreams are a little too big for their budget. The only way we could make that event happen is if Donald Trump was our client!

Unfortunately our client’s budgets are usually tight, so when planning an event it’s all about prioritizing and having connections. Although the client usually thinks decorations and the way the event looks is the most important thing, the two things that should always be a top priority are the venue and the food. Unfortunately these two categories are usually the most expensive, so it always helps out of you have connections in the venue and catering industry that could give you a good deal.

The Venue

Its important to make sure the venue accommodates the guests’ needs. For example, you have two options for a venue; one accommodates approximately 250-300 guests and the other approximately 500. The small venue is quite a bit cheaper but the client plans on having at least 300 guests. Although you want to save that money, it is not wise to be stingy in this area because you want the guests to be comfortable. 300 guests is the max capacity, so more than likely it will be crowded and you have to take staff and the flow of the crowd into consideration. With that being said, you should make the venue a main priority and spend the extra money on the larger area to insure the comfort of the guests and a functional event. If the client wants to save some money on the venue by having it outdoors on property, free of rent, then it should still be a priority to spend some money on a tent and fans because you can plan out an event all day long but you can’t plan out the weather and don’t want it to rain on your guests or be too hot.

The Food

Food should be your next priority. After you make sure the venue will be functional for the guest it is time to make sure the guest don’t go hungry. The majority of events are held at a typical mealtime, meaning that the guests are going to be hungry at those particular times during the day. If your client wants the event at 6:00pm the guest might get a little “hangry” if all you bring out are a couple fruit trays and some slices of cheese. When attending events most people expect a full dinner, such as a buffet or a choice of chicken or fish, meaning they typically don’t eat before hand. It is important to make the meal a priority in order to please the guest because if the guests aren’t happy then the clients aren’t happy. If your clients really want to save on the cost for food you don’t have to have a full course meal to have a filling meal. Meals that are high in carbs such as pasta, potatoes, and breads are always good stomach fillers so maybe make those priority dishes. Plus, those foods are usually pretty low in cost. If your clients still feel your spending too much on food then maybe they should have their event at a time in between meals therefore you can get away with light finger foods.

Now that you have taken the venue and catering out of the budget you can start figuring out what the rest of the budget needs to go towards; whether it’s a photographer, decorations, a fancy cake, or entertainment. These are usually cheaper expenses but if the budget is super tight it helps if you have connections or cheaper alternatives in these areas as well. Maybe you have a relative that takes pictures as a hobby and agrees to help out for a cheap price or you have a super crafty friend who would love to help make decorations. DJ’s and bands are usually pretty expensive but depending on the event they aren’t always necessary. If you just want some background music a PA system and a Spotify playlist will do the trick. This is where the client is really going to have to be flexible but if you sit down with them and prioritize the smaller things this will ensure that their money is spent in the right places.

How to Create Value for You and Your Clients

Written by: Abby Kepley, APSU Communication Senior

I recently found myself stumbled upon an event planning blog called Event Planning Blueprint with Melanie Woodward. Her blog with Alex Cheung on Values inspired me to share with you all some important values you should carry when it comes to networking and starting a business.
Giving Continuously– When it comes to giving it’s probably the last thing you want to do when it comes to first starting your business. BUT giving is the best thing you can do, it turns out. Clients notice good deeds and giving shows you have a good heart. Also, the client always needs to come before yourself. Put your work for them at the top of the list and the work you put in for them will turn out great. They’ll take this to heart and refer you to their friends and family which can come in handy later on.
Proving Your Passion– You can prove your passion for your work through your integrity and professionalism. You need to have four habits when it comes to your work as an Event Planner.
Show Up On Time  This should be a no brainer. Even show up early and get some extra things done for yourself and your clients.
Do What You Say! Don’t promise someone something and have it fall through the cracks. Know what you can and can’t do for your clients and give them the best of your abilities.
Finish What You Start Don’t slack off when you’re reaching the finish line, sprint it out!
Say Please and Thank You: Always have gratitude toward the people you are working with. It doesn’t look good when someone goes out of their way for you and you don’t give them thanks.
Listen! Listen to your clients, mentors, and coworkers. People can tell when you aren’t giving them your full attention and when it comes to event planning you need all the details. Don’t slack off and let your brain wonder.
These are simply some values that I thought would be beneficial for those reading to take into account when it comes to their own work in event planning!

5 Things You Should Avoid at Your Wedding

Abigail Miller, APSU Junior, Public Relations

#1. Don’t have a long ceremony

Yay! Your getting married and it’s a big deal but if your ceremony exceeded more than 45min your guest will begin to get irritated and uncomfortable! Now don’t get me wrong, the ceremony is important but we only want to see three things: the dress, the vows, and the kiss. We definitely don’t want to hear your grandma sing while your little cousin plays the recorder and we don’t want to hear a full on sermon. So save the performances for the reception when everyone is slightly intoxicated and tell the pastor to keep it to one bible verse. Your guest will appreciate it!

#2. Stay clear of Animals

Maybe the dream is to have your beloved pet walk down the isle with the rings tied to his collar and then when you exit the church to have a dozen white doves released. Then you go to your family farm, which over looks beautiful fields with horses and cows. This sounds perfect but will it still seem perfect when your dog has to go number two right as he’s walking down the isle, or right when the doves fly over everyone they drop a little present if you know what I mean. Finally you don’t think the horses and cows will be a problem because they are behind a fence but you didn’t even think about that lovely smell of manure. So just leave the dog at home, forget the doves and put the animals in the barn. Your day will go a lot smoother and smell a heck of a lot better if you just avoid animals at all cost.

#3. Don’t get fancy with the food

It’s your wedding; everyone is dressed up, your at a nice venue, so what the heck lets get fancy and serve foods that we cant even pronounce. WRONG! For one it’s going to be really expensive and two no body wants to go to a wedding and eat snail, or escargots as the French call it. Your going to have picky eaters and you want something cheep and filling like chicken and pasta or steak and potatoes.

#4. Don’t play games at the reception!

This is a wedding, not Sunday night at grandmas. You may think it will be fun and cute to play games like Bride and groom trivia but not for everybody! There will be a lot of people at the reception, some you may not even know and honestly all they want to do is dance and mingle, not play, “How well do you know the couple.” These types of games belong at the wedding rehearsal when it’s just family and the wedding party. That way everyone participates since it’s a smaller group. Plus games are time consuming and there is already so much going on at a reception to begin with.

#5. Don’t worry about favors

Yes everyone is buying you gifts and you feel like you need to send home favors such as decorated mason jars filled with candy but you don’t. Your already giving them a free meal and maybe free booze if you have an open bar so why not just send a thank you letter for the gift and call it even. Your budget will be thankful and so will all the people that would be helping you put these gifts together. Plus half of your guest would probably forget to take home their gift anyways.




Ways to Raise Funds When You Have Virtually NO Financial Backing

Written by: Isabella Cook, APSU Senior, Public Relations

For an event planner, facilitating a fundraiser can be an incredibly fulfilling. Finding an organization or cause that aligns with your beliefs or supports a cause that you feel passionate about can be an excellent way to give back to those involved with the organization. While the fundamentals of event planning do not change, there are some added challenges that arise with planning for a fundraiser over coordinating a party or wedding: the primary one is budget. How in the world do you create a successful event with little to no financial backing?

  • Have a master plan complete with goals and objectives. It is important to know the exact purpose of the event. Is it just to raise awareness or is it to raise money? Creating specific goals will give you guidelines to follow throughout the entire process.
  • Create a budget. Even if you have no money whatsoever to begin funding this event, lay out every cost down to the penny. When you begin fundraising efforts, you will know exactly how much money is needed make the event successful.
  • Delegate tasks. Do not try to carry all of the responsibility on your own shoulders. Have a team set up with specific talents and skills to tackle different areas of the event. It is helpful to delegate out such tasks as advertising, social media marketing, ticket sales or promotion, and donation collection.
  • Communicate often with an organization representative. No matter how pure your intentions are, a Rep for the organization you’re supporting should filter every step of the process. There may be legal protocol and standards, and you should follow them to the absolute letter of the law. They also can give you fundraising tips, as well as suggest potential donors who may have supported the organization previously. Which leads us to our next tip…
  • Find donors. Donors will be the key to success for a fundraising event. When approaching an individual or business asking for a donation, it is crucial to be incredibly professional. Have a packet with all event details laid out; including what all of their donation would be going to, and how much you are asking them to donate. It is also incredibly important to send a thank you note for any time or money that is donated.

Remember, regardless of the ups and downs of planning a fundraiser, that none of your efforts are in vain. Every hour, dollar, and phone call is being used to make a difference toward a cause that you believe in. Everyone impacted by your efforts will be so grateful for all of your hard work.

Say YES to the DARTY!

Abby Kepley, APSU Junior, Event Planning


Dreaded by some and loved by others before you graduate college you have to go to at least one date party. What is it? A date party is essentially a party that is thrown by either a fraternity or a sorority, BUT the catch is you have to bring a date. Now I know what you are thinking… “Isn’t that the same thing as a formal?” No. A date party is much more relaxed and involves alcohol.
A date party when it comes to planning can be a little scary. You have to think of all the risks that could happen and how to prevent them. You can do this by going to risk management meetings on your campus or take a risk management class through event planning. For safety of others it is safe if you have security there, especially since alcohol will be present in the mix. You need to plan to have 2 sober monitors for every person drinking. “How can I plan that?” you may think, well at events like these you need to turn in a list of all people who will be in attendance you do this by having the members of your organization fill out a spreadsheet. For this occasion each member will only have one date. So they are pleased to bring whomever they would like to ask. They do have to fill out the spreadsheet with their name and birthday and their dates name and birthday as well. That way there will be no underage drinking occur. Other than that the rest of the planning isn’t much, usually date parties occur on campus, but for dry campus’ you need to plan them off at a local house or center that is low cost so you can save money for formal.
So now that you’re done planning, you are probably thinking “What do I wear?”


This example from Pinterest is a perfect example of what to wear to a darty. Now guys!, you can wear something as simple as a button up shirt with khakis. Now all of this works unless there is a theme for the event, these themes can range anywhere from casino to Mardi Gras. Picking a theme helps with decorations, food, and more. When this happens just spice up your outfit a little more according to what the theme is. For example if you are having a casino

themed party wear a little more jewelry and stick with colors such as black, red, and gold.
Date parties are not only fun, but they can teach you several different things about yourself. Confidence, being spontaneous, and how to take the best from a situation. Date parties can be stressful due to the fact you have to find a date within a short amount of time. Your friends might even put you on a blind date!, but know no matter how crazy it might seem you aren’t in college for long so you might as well go to at least one! It’s worth the chaos, I promise.

Travel Planning 101

travel-planningWritten by: Leah Grubb, APSU Junior, Corporate Communication

Flight bookings. Car rentals. Accommodations. Restaurant reservations. Attraction tickets.

These are just a few of the hundred, little details that go into planning the PERFECT trip. Sure, the Instagram pictures make it look easy. They show the gorgeous mountain range or exotic city but don’t depict all the work it took to get there! The best travel experiences require quite a bit of planning, aka a lot of work. Planning a trip can be overwhelming but it is actually similar to planning a typical event.

The first thing you need to do is set a budget. Ask yourself, ‘how much money am I willing to spend overall?’ It is important to set financial boundaries before looking booking anything. It is helpful to break down your budget even further and delegate how much you can spend on tickets, accommodations, activities, etc. This will differ from person to person because everyone has different preferences. For example, some people splurge on fancy hotels while others save money for activities by staying at campgrounds.

Now it is time to research, research, and research some more! I typically start by looking for the cheapest plane tickets. is a great website for searching flights. It compares the cheapest flights from different airlines. Be sure to research and account for various fees some airlines may charge!

I’ve learned that fabulous accommodations can truly make a travel experience. Hotels are traditionally the go-to for vacations, but that precedent is starting to change with the rise of Airbnb. There are all types of other options including hostels, typical Bed and Breakfasts, cabins, campgrounds, etc.  Use your budget and preferences to decide which type of accommodations best fit you. You should also take location and centrality into consideration. Before making a decision, conclude your research with lots of public reviews! I use to find genuine reviews.

The next step is to begin researching attractions and things to do. Most cities have a tourism website with links to local activities. I typically start looking on those websites and then branch out. If you’re having trouble staying within budget, just google ‘free things to do in _____.’ I did this for NYC and had lots of fun doing free things like the Staten Island ferry. While doing your research, be sure to note which activities need reservations. Make a list of your top choices and a list of back-ups in case plans fall through!

These are just a few of the things that it takes to plan a great trip! Once you have these three bases covered, you can begin delving into other details. My personal favorite is researching restaurants and finding a city’s best local eats! (I could seriously and just might write an entire blog post on that topic….)

It is never too early to start planning your next trip. Don’t let the thought of planning a trip keep you going back to the same beach year after year. Step away from your comfort zone and start researching your dream vacation! On that note, I think I’ll hop on over to Pinterest for a little travel inspiration.


So You’re Officially an Event Planner…Now What? Tips to Ensure Initial Success

Written By: Isabella Cook, APSU Junior, Corporate Communication

For many novice event planners, when it comes to their first few events, they believe the sky is the limit. Their previous experience helping coordinate and facilitate events has set them up for nothing but success, and they just know without a shadow of a doubt that their function will be the event of the year (if not decade) and will be talked about for months to come. However, transitioning from an assistant or intern to being the event coordinator in charge presents a whole new set of challenges for which you may not have been well prepared. Perhaps the florist cancels. The wedding singer is sick. The client changes their floor plan the day of the event. The possibilities for success and failure are endless, but with careful planning and preparation, there is no situation you cannot handle. Here are a few tips to help ensure that you will be ready for any curve ball that may be thrown your way:


  • Understand that you are not guaranteed success. Do not just assume your event will fall into place. Relentless preparation should go into every event you plan. Every decision should be confirmed twice to ensure that all the plans and promises that have been made would be completed as promised.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t take on events that you are not sure you can complete. While you may have high hopes for your event, you are doing both your client and yourself a disservice if you cannot deliver fully on the task you have agreed to undertake. It is better to have a simple, well-done event, than a mediocre event that was so large that you lost control of it.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Punctuality is key to successful event planning. While it may seem that you have weeks to a few months to complete planning for an event, it is pertinent to be ahead of schedule. You may encounter unforeseen setbacks that you will only be able to work through if you give yourself enough time to correct the problem at hand.
  • Set daily goals. When you have agreed to coordinate an event, be sure to layout every step of the plan, then set up daily goals that you can achieve that will push you continually closer to the completion of your event.
  • Utilize a planner. In conjunction with setting daily goals, you cannot count entirely on your own mind to remember what you need to do. Writing down your goals and daily tasks is an excellent way to ensure that you don’t forget any of your priority tasks for that day. It will also help you ensure that you do not overbook yourself. Cancelling plans or meetings because of overbooking is unprofessional and tacky, so by planning out your days meticulously in your planner, you can ensure that you never encounter that issue.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help. There will always be an angle or idea that you do not see on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask a mentor or previous employer for their advice on a situation. Chances are that they have been where you are and can give you excellent ideas or show you an avenue that you had not previously considered.


There is no exact recipe for success. Each event planner must find his or her own niche and what their specialty or weakness might be. Only time and experience will reveal those things. As a brand new event planner, it is going to take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. However, through much careful consideration, preparation and practice, an incredibly successful and fulfilling career is within your reach.