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Moments after I finished the real wedding interview for the blog, I sent Mrs. Emily Thomas an email with a flurry of excitement and a million exclamation points. The process of filling out the questions brought me right back to my wedding day, and I immediately knew that I would treasure having these answers forever. I also knew that we needed to figure out how to give this gift of memory capturing to ALL our brides. While we can’t feature every reader’s wedding on Southern Weddings (gah, I wish we could), we want to give everyone the opportunity to remember and record this special season of life. Our solution? Meet: Memories of Us: A Prompted Wedding Journal

This sweet prompted journal covers everything from your engagement to the emotional whirlwind of your wedding day, to your honeymoon, to the sweet early days of newlywed life. We know all these memories are precious and we don’t want you to forget a thing! The prompts are inspired by the real wedding interview from the SW blog and print magazine and encourage you to capture all the moments (both big and small) of your marriage journey. We hope that your journal becomes a keepsake for years to come!

Every single one of my girlfriends who gets engaged gets a Memories of Us journal as a gift from KPW and me. Why? Because as someone who self-identifies as an “anti-journaler’ I love this little memory keeper so very much!! The prompts make it feel less like a ‘journal’ (important for someone who is anxious at the thought of free-writing) and more like answering the best and most personal questionnaire. (There are also extra blank pages to capture your feelings and other details if you are a journal kind of gal.)

After getting engaged, I was bombarded with people who told me “good luck, you won’t remember a single thing about your wedding day.” As a gal who had been looking forward to getting married since the ripe old age of four, this was less than encouraging. I knew our wedding season would be a whirlwind, but I was determined to remember as many moments as possible, and I want the same for all my best friends and for all of you. We have a limited number of journals available right here so snag one for yourself or a best friend who recently got a new left-hand sparkler!

I’m grateful that the Memories of Us: A Prompted Wedding Journal is one of my Southern Weddings claims to fame. And even more grateful that our future kids and grandkids will be able to flip back through our wedding memory journal and giggle over the missing candle incident and understand why the first few chords of Strawberry Wine always make me burst into tears.

Happy memory capturing, belles!

PS: Want a peek inside the pages of the journal? Don’t miss the fun video at the bottom of this page: Memories of Us: A Prompted Wedding Journal

kristin Written with love by Kristin
2 Comments
  1. avatar Tu Nguyen reply

    Many people would do a blog but I still love a good old journal <3

  2. avatar Bella Vita Montreal Wedding Photography reply

    love this!!

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It’s no surprise that so many of our favorite weddings of all time took place under the gracious canopy of a Sperry Tent. They’re the perfect classic backdrop for events of all aesthetics, with their beautiful sailcloth canopies, expert construction, and lyrical lines (plus, those flags atop each tent peak!). Today, we’re sharing nine of our favorite Sperry Tent weddings that show the range of celebrations where these tents are at home, and how many creative ways they can be used.

If you’re thinking of booking one for your own wedding or event, be sure to check out Sperry Tents Southeast!

No. 1: Alex and Trevor’s wedding was one for the books, from their candle-lined ceremony in the woods to her overflowing bouquet and their sugar flower cake. A twinkle-light draped Sperry Tent was the perfect setting for dancing into the night! Photos by Clark Brewer, styling by Caroline Brewer, and planning by RT Lodge. See more of their Sperry tent wedding.

No. 2: Continuously ranked one of the best all-time from our archives, Callie and Jamie filled their wedding with meaningful details inspired by their love story. For their reception, they chose to dine al fresco at long tables, then headed under the tent for dancing, late-night snacks, and a confetti blast! Photos by Nancy Ray, planning by RiverOaks Charleston, and design by Rebecca Rose Events. See more of their Sperry tent wedding.

No. 3: When I think of the ultimate Southern Weddings wedding, Whitney and Clark’s celebration pops to mind first. From their classic attire to the graceful way they hosted their guests under a tent and inside Pippin Hill, it doesn’t get much more lovely than this. Photos by Patricia Lyons and planning by Easton Events. See more of their Sperry tent wedding.

No. 4: I mean, I’m making this list, so I guess I get to include my own wedding, right?! It is most definitely one of my favorites :) Our tent added the perfect indoor-outdoor feel to our garden reception, and was the perfect classic backdrop to our pink and navy details. Photos by Tanja Lippert. See more from our Sperry tent wedding.

No. 5: Anne Sydney and Jesse might win for having the larger tented wedding in our archives, clocking in at 470 guests. But I think they also might win for best tent location: on top of a mountain! Photos by Melanie Mauer and design by Jaclyn Journey. See more from their Sperry tent wedding.

No. 6: Georgia and Charlie’s tent was the perfect classic backdrop for their colorful, floral aesthetic. I love the patterned curtains they added at the tent’s entrances – such a pretty touch! Photos by Eric Kelley and planning by Easton Events. See more from their Sperry tent wedding.

No. 7: Landing yet another Easton Events wedding on our list (we told you she was the Sperry queen!), Lauren and Rob’s classic coral celebration always stands out as such a joyful one. I loved how simple and vibrant their color scheme was! Photos by Jen Fariello. See more from their Sperry tent wedding.

No. 8: A petite tent is a perfect way to gather in an intimate crowd and make the space feel intentional! I love this pretty anniversary party on Snippet & Ink (her pink dress!). Photos by Tec Petaja and planning by Calder Clark.

No. 9: Jen and Shane turned to a tent when thunderstorms threatened their outdoor ceremony – such a great Plan B! :) We love the lush greenery lining their aisle as well as the custom monogrammed Moscow Mule cups. Photos by Katie Stoops and planning by Easton Events as seen on Style Me Pretty.

If you’re considering a Sperry Tent for your wedding, here are a few other posts you might find useful…
Tented Weddings 101
How to Plan an Outdoor Wedding
Expert Advice for Sperry Tents from Easton Events
7 Ideas for a Tent at Your Wedding

This post is brought to you by Sperry Tents. Thank you so much for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Kylee reply

    Where are the Moscow mule cups from?

  2. avatar Jess reply

    It’s no coincidence that these are some of my favorite SW weddings, period!

  3. avatar Kristin reply

    So. Many. Magical. Days!!!! I can’t even try to pick a favorite.

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One of the more popular posts we’ve ever written is on tipping wedding vendors. (I wish it were something more exciting, but there you have it!) And I don’t blame y’all–there are so many different sources offering advice, and so many different dollar amounts recommended for so many different vendors at so many different times, that your head can start to spin long before you start separating cash out into envelopes.

Plus, when you’re already shelling out thousands of dollars per vendor, you might find yourself feeling, ahem, a little less than grateful at the thought of tipping on top of your final bill. Believe me, I completely understand! BUT, if you remember that tipping is never required, and should only be used to reward exemplary service, you might begin to feel a little differently.

With the help of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Chelsey Morrison from Gather Together Events (who has been sending our guide to her brides for years!), we updated our advice and even made a handy list with everything in one neat place.

Finally, remember that while cash or a gift is always appreciated (and can be given whenever you’d like, regardless of our guidelines below!), a grateful spirit on your wedding day; a genuine, thoughtful thank you note after your wedding; and personal referrals to family and friends are without a doubt the MOST valuable gifts you can give your treasured vendors.

Photo by Kristen Kilpatrick from our eighth issue

Wedding Planner
Should I tip? If your planner owns her own business, then no tip is expected, since it’s not customary to tip the owner of a business. However, if you would like to recognize exemplary performance, a personal gift or check is an option. If your planner has assistants on your wedding day (which most do), she will likely split the tip among them if she is the business owner.
How much? Up to $500, or 15% of her fee, or a nice gift
When? We recommend sending a thank you note and your check or gift after you return from your honeymoon.

Delivery and Set-up Staff
Should I tip? It’s a lovely gesture, especially if they were careful to set everything up to your specifications and without causing damage to the surroundings.
How much? $5 – $10 per person
When? Drop off envelopes with your catering manager or wedding planner if they’ll be accepting deliveries on your behalf. Sending after the event is okay, too.

Photo by KT Merry from our eighth issue

Wedding Photographer or Videographer (and other vendors like florists or cake bakers)
Should I tip? As most photographers and videographers own their own businesses, tipping is not expected or required in this case. If you are working with an associate photographer, a tip is customary. Either way, a personal gift is always a lovely touch.
How much? 15% of his fee, or a gift
When? After the honeymoon

Wedding Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist
Should I tip? Yes, this is one area where a gratuity is definitely expected. However, the owning-their-own-business exception is still in effect, so keep that in mind.
How much? 15-25%, just as you would for a normal appointment
When? On the day of your wedding, after she’s finished getting you prettified

Photos by Whitney Neal from our eighth issue

Wedding Transportation
Should I tip? Check your contract, because a gratuity is usually included. If it’s not, then one is pretty much expected.
How much? 15-20% of the total bill if a service/gratuity charge is not included in your contract. If a gratuity is included and you’d still like to go above and beyond, a flat tip per driver of $5-10 per hour of service is commonplace.
When? When the driver picks you up or after the last ride

Wedding Ceremony Officiant
Should I tip? It isn’t necessary to tip religious officiants like a priest or minister (many of them, in fact, won’t accept cash tips). In lieu of a tip, a donation to their house of worship is a nice gesture. It’s not expected that you’ll tip a civil employee or non-religious officiant, either (and sometimes, in the case of civil employees, tipping can be illegal). For all officiants, a personal gift, such as a gift certificate to a nice restaurant, would certainly be appreciated.
How much? For an officiant associated with a house of worship, a donation of $100-500 is appropriate if there is no fee for the officiant, or $50-150 if you have already paid them a fee. If you’re working with an independent officiant, $50-150 is appropriate.
When? At the rehearsal or rehearsal dinner or after the ceremony

Photos by Katie Stoops from our eighth issue

Wedding Ceremony Musicians
Should I tip? This one’s definitely optional. If the string trio you hired has arranged or learned a particular song for you at no additional charge, then a tip might be a nice gesture.
How much? $20 – $50 per musician, or 15% of total fee
When? Before the musicians leave your ceremony site

Wedding Reception Band or DJ
Should I tip? It’s completely optional, but somewhat common. For bands that book their own gigs (i.e. separate from an entertainment agency), tipping is not customary.
How much? If you choose to tip, set aside $40-$100 per musician or $50-$200 for DJs
When? Before they leave the reception

Photo by Nancy Ray from our eighth issue

Wedding Reception Staff
Should I tip? Oh boy, this one’s the big guy. Yes, you should tip, but look to see whether a gratuity is not already included in your contract — it often is. (If gratuity is included, you’ll likely still want to make an additional flat fee tip on top of that – see below.)
How much? If a gratuity/service charge is not included, tip 15-20% of the cost of your total catering bill. If it is included, and you’d like to add an additional thank you, go with flat fee amounts: catering manager, banquet manager, headwaiter, or maitre d’: $50-$150; head chef: $50-$150; kitchen staff: $20-$50 each; bartenders: $20-$50 each; and servers: $20-50 each.
When? Before you leave the reception

Here’s an easy-to-pin version of our tipping cheat sheet:

A final tip from Chelsey, who says about 75% of her clients choose to tip beyond the expected vendors: “On your wedding day, the last thing you want to worry about it money changing hands. It is a GREAT idea to put any final payments and tips in individually labeled envelopes to be handed out by your planner the day of the event.

“If you want to wait until the end of the event to see which vendors went above and beyond, trust your planner to make the call – we’ve worked hand in hand with them all day and see what goes on behind the scenes. In that case, I have my clients provide an envelope of cash in different bills (and keep it on my person at all times during the day). If I see great service, I will hand out the tip amounts and write them on the envelope how much was handed out and to whom. I hand the envelope back to the father of the bride (or wedding host/financier) at the end of the night that shows the summary of what was handed out and any remaining cash.” Such a good idea, Chelsey!

Wishing you all exemplary service at your weddings that deserves copious tips! :)

Gather Together Events, Kristen Kilpatrick, Whitney Neal, and KT Merry are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
6 Comments
  1. avatar Brianne Munz reply

    Bless you! This is exactly what I came on here looking for! :)

  2. avatar Edieth Smith reply

    Why is the florist never included when it is a full wedding and reception set up? We often go above and beyond what is expected.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Edieth! I should have made a note above originally (but have now!): florists would fall under the same category as photographers and videographers. I’m sure most clients would be happy to reward any vendor who goes above and beyond, whether through a personal thank you, a referral, a gift, a review, or a tip!

    • avatar Chelsey Morrison reply

      Hi Edieth! We do see florists tipped when they go above and beyond with a large installation. I would put this in a similar category to “delivery and setup staff.” Our florists are often doing large architectural pieces (like floral chandeliers) and deserve tips for the extra detail they put into these pieces!

  3. avatar Eleni Dona photography reply

    Totally agree with these tips!! As a professional wedding photographer, couples most of times are tipping my second shooter and my videographer

  4. avatar Bella Vita Montreal Wedding Photography reply

    I agree it should be common courtesy.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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