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Weddings at The Mansion

Nicki Ann's Wedding Blog

In her blog, Nikki Ann shares with you her insights, thoughts, and feelings on all things women, wedding, marriage, and event-related.

Friday Finds 3.29.13

March 29th, 2013

Today is the start of our wedding season for 2013. I am super excited to get back into the swing of things. But first, I have to give you a find for the day so I can be distracted all day by getting things in tip top shape for this weekend’s awesome couple.

I found these cute wine glass charms and thought they would be perfect for any wedding.


Then, I started looking around the Etsy shop, Charlie Chalk Designs, and knew there was more to this store than the cute wine glass charms. So many adorable things!! I just love everything! You can literally personalize just about anything with something from their shop. Super cute way to bring your own little flair to your wedding, don’t you think? Here’s another favorite of mine.



What is your favorite?


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 79

March 26th, 2013

Today, I am seriously so tired that it has taken me all day to get up the energy to search for a pair of shoes to share with you. Hence, the late post. However, when I finally put on my big girl pants and found a pair, they perked me right up. I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier.


These adorable flats by Diane Von Furstenberg are the perfect thing to make any sleepy day just a bit happier. Don’t you agree?


Friday Finds 3.22.13

March 22nd, 2013

Holy Sha-moly! This ring from Erstwhile Jewelry is GORGEOUS! I am quite partial to vintage style rings, so that might have something to do with it. But I am pretty sure a troll could propose to me with this ring and I’d say yes. Don’t you agree?!




Oh la la…


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 78

March 19th, 2013

I came across these and just knew they were perfect for the spring. I would love a pair of these to run around in on a daily basis. They’d be super cute with some jeans/shorts or even a cute skirt for the office, don’t you agree?



And I promise, I wasn’t even looking on the Kate Spade website when I found them. They were on Zappos Couture. But I do love me some Kate Spade!


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 77

March 12th, 2013

With one of my favorite holidays coming up this weekend, I have to get in the spirit. Emerald green is on my mind!! Then, I happened upon these beauties and almost fell off my chair. DivaJimmyChoo

Irish I were getting married again so I could justify this purchase! Yep. I just used a cheesy pun. You love it. You know you do. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!


Real Wedding: Ilene & Seth

March 11th, 2013

OK, can I first say that I love this couple? It was obvious from the first moment I met Ilene and Seth. They are totally and completely in love with each other. It’s the way they look at each other. You can see in their eyes that they have truly found their soul mate. I am so happy that I was able to be a part of their big day.

Ilene had some really awesome ideas for her wedding. She wanted to incorporate lots of things that were truly “them.” This is how every wedding SHOULD be, but that isn’t always the case. They gave their guests pinwheels to use as they were walking down the aisle after being introduced as husband and wife, which was the perfect way to bring in a little fun after a very touching and intimate ceremony.

Her gown was stunning and absolutely perfect on her. The bridesmaids dresses were perfect for a late summer wedding. The colors were purple and green with an outdoorsy feel. Each guest took home a small potted herb as the favor. I loved them! You know me and practical favors!

Seth and his friends are all very musically inclined. I bet they have a blast getting together and jamming. He asked if he could play a few songs during dinner because he had something special planned. That something special was a song he had written especially for Ilene. Talk about a touching moment!

Here are a few pictures from their wedding shot by Megan Stahl Photography. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did! I think you’ll agree that they are perfect for each other.

Seth & Ilene – We’ve got to get together again soon! I think more Mexican food is in our future :)


Friday Finds 3.8.13

March 8th, 2013

If you haven’t checked out the new gowns at BHLDN, you are missing out. The new spring line is out for your viewing pleasure! I am in love with this line, especially the Onyx gown.


I think the back of this dress is absolutely gorgeous. While I don’t want to make too many cheesy comparisons to Twilight, it does remind me of the back of Kristen Stewart’s gown. And I don’t care who you are, you have to admit that the back of that gown was amazing. This would be the perfect dress to wear with those heels I posted on Tuesday, by the way!



Wediquette Wednesday: To tip or not to tip

March 6th, 2013

As wedding season approaches, many brides are working on making final payments and trying to stay within their budget. There is one thing that a lot of couples forget about – tips. I get a lot of phone calls the week of the wedding with people asking about who and how much they should tip. While there are no hard and fast rules for how to tip your vendors, there are general guidelines that can help.

Tipping shouldn’t even be considered a requirement. Just remember that. When you tip someone, it is supposed to be a reward for a job well done. It is called gratuity because you are showing your gratitude for good service. There are places where tipping is expected, but it is never a requirement. A restaurant is a perfect example. If you enjoyed your meal and had good service, would you ever consider walking away without leaving a little something for your server? I didn’t think so.

Who should I tip?

1. First things first, make sure the gratuity isn’t included in the contract already. Most catering companies or limo companies will address this in the contracts. Some don’t, so it is important to know what is in the contract to avoid double tipping.

2. Typically, the owner of a company is not tipped. For example, if your DJ is the owner of the company, then you don’t necessarily need to tip them. However, you can tip if the person performing at your wedding is an employee of a larger company because they are generally getting a smaller amount than the owner would.

3. Check policies on tipping certain vendors. Some civil servants and officiants are not allowed to accept cash tips. If tips are not allowed, a small gift showing your gratitude would be acceptable. Think yummy homemade brownies or consider making a small donation in their name to their congregation or another charity.

How much should I tip?

Honestly, you should tip however much you feel is adequate. However, if you need some guidelines, this should do it.

1. DJs/Musicians – $25-$50 per person. If there are multiple musicians, each person should receive a tip or a large enough sum to split between everyone.

2. Officiants – $75-$100 or a donation to the congregation if not accepted.

3. Hair stylists/makeup artists – 15-20%, just like you would at a normal appointment.

4. Photographers/Videographers/Florists – $50-100

5. Delivery persons – $5+ per delivery person depending on how much set up is involved in their delivery (i.e. cake delivery person who has to set up your cupcake tower and then place each of the 200 cupcakes perfectly on it).

6. Wedding Coordinators – $50-$100 or a personal gift. Make sure this is reflective of how much time/energy they spent with you for the planning process.

7. Coat Checkers/Valet drivers/bathroom attendants – $1-$2 per guest or you can allow them to accept tips from your guests, but many wedding guests assume this has been covered already.

8. Transportation – 15-20% of the total bill, unless included in the contract

8. Catering staff – I saved this one for last because it is a bit more detailed. Normally, the gratuity is included in the contract, so you won’t have to worry about this. To make it easy on yourself if it isn’t included, you can always just give a percentage of the bill to the service captain on the day of if it isn’t included. The usual amount is 15-20% of the bill, just like in a restaurant. However, if you want to tip each person individually, generally bartenders/servers should get $25-50 per person, catering/banquet managers between $100-$200, chefs should receive $50-100 each. If you sign a receipt with a tip line, make sure you know who is getting the tip. I was recently informed of a company who has a gratuity line, but the tip doesn’t go to the servers or bartenders. It actually goes to the company. Weird, but true.

How should tips be handed out?

Each tip should be placed in a separate envelope with the names/company of the person to receive the tip written on the front. You will want to designate someone to be in charge of handing these out to each and every person. You can give all the catering staff tip envelopes to the catering manager to be handed out accordingly. Just make sure you have an accurate count of how many servers, bartenders, chefs, etc will be working your event. It is up to you whether you want to use cash or check for these, whichever makes you most comfortable. I’d keep a list of this somewhere at home as well so you can follow up to make sure everyone received it.

What are the exceptions to these rules?

Exceptions to these “rules” would be if you were really blown away by the service. It is always acceptable to offer more than was expected if you are extremely happy with their service. For example, if the contract with your photographer states they will be there for 8 hours and you see they are still shooting at the 9 or 10 hour mark, a little something extra shows that you noticed and are thankful.

Last but not least, thank you cards should not be overlooked. They are always acceptable and appreciated in ANY situation. If you are tight on cash and cannot afford to give out extra gratuity, sometimes a simple thank you card will at least show them that you are thankful for their service and time. Plus, vendors appreciate getting a picture and hearing from you after the wedding. I have a little box where I keep my thank you cards. Any time I am having a bad day, I take a quick look through it and am reminded of why I do what I do. Most of us are rewarded by the fact that you had an amazing day and realize that without them, it wouldn’t have been possible.


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 76

March 5th, 2013

Happy Tuesday everyone! I say happy, not because of the 3-5 inches of snow predicted for this evening, but because it means we are one day closer to the beginning of spring and wedding season. I can’t wait for this weather to break and am getting so excited to get moving with this year’s crop of fantastic brides!! I thought these were the perfect pair to feature today since I am wishing for spring.



The Kinship Heels from BHLDN are absolutely gorg!! I am in love with the flower accent. And pairing these with a cute sundress for a wedding later in the season would make you the talk of the wedding… aside from the bride of course. Here’s to hoping that groundhog was right!!


Friday Finds 3.1.13

March 1st, 2013

Brides seem to be focusing on the social aspect of their weddings more and more these days. So many couples comment that they want their guests to be able to mix and mingle rather than being “stuck” with people they don’t know. There are a ton of different ways to do this. When I found this on Martha Stewart Weddings, I knew this was the perfect way to get your guests chatting.


Your guests will laugh and reminisce about you and your intended and write lots of fun things for you two to read when you get back from your honeymoon. The best part is that this is DIY! Click here to go to the directions and have some fun!