Ask the Expert | Room Blocks 101 | Where will they Stay?

Room Block 101 - Taylor'd Events Group - Where Will They Stay-

You know how we like to dive into the most glamorous of Wedding Planning topics, so here we are bringing you some words of wisdom from our friends over at Where Will They Stay.  Room Blocks don’t generally come to mind as part of wedding planning, but after booking a venue this is one of the first things you should check off the list. Many couples have a large group of guests traveling in nowadays. Opting for room blocks allows you to simplify logistics such as transportation or pre/post wedding events by keeping all of your guests together.  Luckily, we have the Where Will They Stay team on speed dial and they help us pull together hotel options for many of our couples. We are so thankful to have them sharing some of their wisdom on our blog today!


Contract vs. Courtesy Block - Where Will They Stay- - Taylor'd Events Group


  1. How soon should guests reach out about room blocks? Does it differ based on the location of their wedding (as in, are some cities harder to find room blocks for than others).

We recommend starting the hotel booking process a year in advance, but our average client contacts us 9 months in advance. The important part is that the ceremony/venue location has been decided on, as that is often the key factor in where you’d like your guests to stay.

Different cities have different challenges- college towns may be impacted by graduation dates or football games; mid-large size cities could be hosting conferences, and popular tourism cities can be impacted by their high or low seasons. Your wedding venue representative or the local tourism bureau can often be helpful in double checking your desired dates against what may be going in the city that could make it harder to find hotel rooms or drive up the pricing to higher than normal.

  • How many hotels do you suggest guests reserve? Is there a number per overall guest count?Feedback from our clients over the years has been that the couple and wedding guests have the best experience when everyone is at the same hotel. That way friends and family get the chance to reunite/get to know each other before the big day comes! Whether it’s hanging out at the hotel bar, at the pool, or just running into friends in the elevator- those experiences offer the chance for memorable meet-ups. In cases where pricing needs of family/friends might be different, we see clients offering two hotel choices- one at a higher price point and one at a lower.
  • Are there ever reasons you don’t suggest a couple does a contract block?  It really depends on the specific scenario, but to answer a slightly different question- if the best choice of hotels is a contracted block, we recommend being really clear with guests about the importance of staying at the chosen hotel on the Save the Date card, invite and on the wedding website. Also- extras like offering shuttle service to/from the wedding venue from there or hosting a supplemental event there like a rehearsal dinner, or brunch will help encourage family and friends to stay there and minimize any risk of not filling a block of rooms contracted.



One Final Room Block Tip from me!

Creating a Contract or Courtesy Block allows you to pull a list of which guests are staying at which hotel. If you are doing Welcome Bags or Notes this is an important thing to have. You can label all the guest bags with their confirmation numbers and arrival dates making it that much more likely that every guest will get their bags.

Wedding Etiquette || Service Charge vs. Gratuity

Wedding Etiquette - Service Charge versus Gratuity - Taylor'd Events Group

It is all too common for couples to receive back their banquet event order (BEO) from the caterer and be incredibly confused that the $50 per person dinner now has multiple layers of taxes, fees, and gratuity added on. For almost every couple I work with, we end up chatting about the difference between the service charge and gratuity. So here we are… Let’s break these fees down.

Explain this “Service Charge”

The service charge is a mandatory and automatic fee that is added to your catering or venue contract. This charge and any other fees are almost always listed in the fine print on the bottom of the documents when you get those initial price brochures. Most Seattle caterers, venues and hotels charge a 20-22% charge (The full range I have seen is 18-24%). This is applied to the entire bill — food, beverage, staffing, any upgrade charges.

What does the Service Charge pay for?

The exact breakdown of what this service charge covers is different for each caterer/venue. If you want a list of that vendor’s specific breakdown, don’t be afraid to ask for an itemized breakdown. Speaking in general terms, the service charge covers the venue/caterer’s labor and administrative costs. An “Event Production Fee” or “the cost of doing business” are some other options of how to think of it. Some examples of where this fee goes are dishwashing, facility maintenance, packing for the event, travel time to and from the event, walk-throughs, floorplans, the sales staff’s time they spent planning with you, etc.

Service Charge Vs. Gratuity - Taylor'd Events Group

Before booking a caterer/venue, be sure that their proposal has the “all-inclusive cost” and all fees and taxes are included in that estimate. If you don’t receive this “all-inclusive cost”, but sign your contract, you will get your full all-inclusive bill that is about 30% (22% service charge + Seattle Tax of 9.6%) higher than what you had budgeted for.

PRO TIP:: When you receive your initial quote that states $60.00++, those two pluses signify all those taxes and fees. Be sure to ask to see an example of a final quote.

What is gratuity?

Definition:: Something given voluntarily or beyond obligation for someone who has performed a service.

Just as you would tip your waitstaff at a restaurant or your hairstylist for great service, you tip your waitstaff and bartenders. (Have more questions about Tipping… check out our tips on that here.) Gratuity to the staff isn’t something you are obligated to do, however, I will say that is pretty customary. Double check your catering contract, as some caterers include this in their initial estimate. Others will leave a line on the final invoice where you can write in the gratuity either before or after the event and run it through with the final payment. If you would prefer to provide the gratuity in cash, place it in a sealed envelope and have a family member or friend give it to the lead server at the end of the night.

Sales Tax

Please remember in the the State of Washington sales tax is charged on top of both the subtotal and the service charge. Some basic math looks like this::

Catering Bill Breakdown - Taylor'd Events Group

What other questions does this bring up? Leave us a comment below and we will answer!

Wedding Etiquette || Tipping your Wedding Professionals

What Do I Tip My Wedding Pros- - Taylor'd Events Group - Wedding Etiquette by Seattle Wedding Planner

Photo by Bethany Small Photography

As a trusted resource and guide throughout the planning process, we are often the confidants that clients reach out to in those final days to ask about what is customary for tipping wedding professionals. After searching out as many resources as possible, we hope that the thoughts below will be a trusted resource for not only our couple’s but any couple’s getting married. Knowing who, how much and when to tip your wedding pros can be a tricky situation.

I have pulled together a list of expected and recommended vendors to tip, but let’s take a moment to remember the purpose of wedding tips. You should opt to give your vendors a tip because you felt you couldn’t have had your day be as perfect without them. Every vendor’s goal is to go above and beyond for their couples and make your day as smooth as possible.


What Do I Tip My Wedding Pros- - Taylor'd Events Group - Wedding Etiquette by Seattle Wedding Planner

Some Final Tipping Tips

  • Dig out all of those contracts and look through. Mark down anyone that has already included a gratuity in their contract. Better yet, if you are reading this early in the planning process, make notes in your planning files on who automatically includes the gratuity in their contract.
  • Guests never tip at a wedding. Check in with any vendors that would normally receive a tip such as the bartenders or wait staff, even the valet if you are providing valet services. Inform these vendors that you will be tipping them directly.
  • My suggestion is always to put the gratuities in sealed and labeled envelopes a few days before the wedding. If you are working with us, bring those envelopes to rehearsal and we will hand them out on the day-of the wedding. If you are reading this, and don’t have a coordinator ask a family member or friend to handle this task.

Still have questions? Drop them in the comments below!

Until next time,






Rental Order Best Practices| Straight from the Expert

Rental Order Best Practices from the Experts at Pedersens Rentals

Rental Order Best Practices: Wedding & event advice from Seattle Wedding Planners Taylor'd Events Group

Event Rentals don’t seem like the most glamorous of topics, but as self-proclaimed “logistics lovers”, rentals are pretty darn important. Not only can they greatly affect the overall look and design of your event, but they sometimes play double-duty and have import execution roles. In the end, all the pretty and necessary appear on a PDF in your inbox with a total due at the bottom. Luckily, Marni Ness and Julie Ralph at Pedersens Rentals are here to help us dissect Rental Order Best Practices and give you some pro-tips on how much to order, when, and why.

1. Do you recommend the quote having enough for my entire invite list or what I think will actually attend? 

We recommend you get a quote ( and even better, RESERVE) what you think your maximum number of guest will be.  This way, you’ll have what you need.  It’s easier to release linens and chairs, then try to get more during the wedding season.

2. Why do you need my final count days (or even weeks) before rentals go out? 

We pack orders & load the trucks the day prior to delivery.  With several trucks on the road in different parts of town we streamline what-goes-where for efficiency.

3. Rentals always seem to have the damage waiver – what is that for? Are there any times that it would be ok to skip it?

I would consider damage waivers like the insurance you get when you rent a car – it covers some things, but not all. I would ask your rental provider, or if you are working with a planner have the planner ask on your behalf. Sometimes it is worth the extra cost, and other times worth skipping it and take the chance. 

One Final Rental Order Best Practice Pro-Tip [from me!]

Sometimes it takes a wee bit of time for new rentals to make it up on the website. Your best bet for the newest products and trendiest items is to ask your planner OR head into the rental company’s showroom if you are planner-less. Be sure to reserve any of those items ASAP. You can usually [ask the rental specialist or your planner] release them at a later date, but they might book up if you wait.

Make the Most of your Wedding Hair and Makeup Trial | Straight from the Expert

Straight from the Expert | Make the Most of your Wedding Hair and Makeup Trial with Expert Anne Timss | Taylor'd Events Group

Photo: Jamie Jones Photography

‘Tis the season! All the final appointments, little details, and important decisions. We can’t recommend a Wedding Hair and Makeup trial enough. First of all, it lets you see your vision come together and melts away some of the nerves. More importantly, [in our humble opinion] it allows you to make decisions ahead of time and results in less day-of decisions! Last, but not least, you get to meet the person who you are going to see first thing on the day-of your wedding. As we say [over and over again] make sure you love all the people you chose to have around you on your wedding day – including your wedding professionals.

Straight from the Expert Anne Timms - Taylor'd Events Group

Photo: Laura Marchbanks Photography

One of our favorite beauty aficionados, Seattle Makeup Artist Anne Timss took a few moments to answer a couple questions we commonly get about “what to expect at your hair and makeup trial.”

1. Anything particular for me to wear, not wear, or bring to the trial?

Wear something comfortable, the process can take anywhere from 90 mins to 2 hours. Don’t wear anything you can not remove that has a hood if doing a hair trial. I like to do as complete of a trial run as possible so if you are planning to wear a veil, hair extensions or pretty hair accessories bring them along! 

2. What is important for you to know on trial day? 

I always ask ahead of time about allergies and skin issues, those two are really important in my selection of products and if I need to acquire something special I do not have. Bring photos of hair and makeup ideas you have, it is a great starting point for me to see what you like.
Overall your trial is a time for us to work out a look you love, it may not look exactly like your photos you bring in, but it will be a look styled to your hair and features.  As with hair, I do a complete run through on your makeup look, including airbrush and lashes, so it’s always nice to have something fun like a dinner date planned after! [We couldn’t agree more! Get some fun out of being all dolled up!]

Straight from the Expert Straight from the Expert |Make the Most of your Hair and Makeup Trial with Expert Anne Timss | Taylor'd Events Group

3. Should I expect my day-of look to be exactly like the trial?

The day-of styling always is a little faster, we have worked out all of the kinks [and made all those decisions!!] and I know the plan. Your hair and makeup will look the same if not a little better, after a trial I study my notes and think of a few tweaks to make it even better- like any recipe you do the first time the second time is even better!

Thanks Anne for all of your expert Wedding Hair and Makeup Trial answers!

One final pro-tip [from me]! 

Be sure to book your makeup artist early, especially if you are getting married on a prime date [Saturdays in the Summer, here in Seattle]. Don’t forget about your trial and attempt to “fit it sometime this week.” Makeup artists’ schedules book up fast, especially during the busy wedding season [especially awesome ones like, Anne!].

Chat soon,


The Special Event Show – Voices of TSE

A few months ago, Jennifer was asked to blog about Destination Wedding Planning, here is the link to the article.

Tips on how to start planning your Destination Wedding from Taylor'd Events GroupImage: Luna Bella Events