Everyday Tipping Etiquette

I had the pleasure to comment the much asked question of when to tip, how much and to who for News12 New Jersey.  The tip jar has maybe been one of the most confusing additions for some.  While you're under no obligation to tip each time, if it's a cafe or establishment you frequent you may want to toss a dollar or two in the jar from time to time.  You can watch the video for more but here is the quick summary:


Restaurants: 15-20% of the pre tax bill is standard.  Don't ever leave no tip.  If you have a grievance bring it to the attention of the manager or maitre d'.  Often tips in restaurants are pooled together so by stiffing one server you're penalizing the rest of the staff.

Buffet Restaurants: 10% of the total bill 
Delivery/Take Out: 10-15%
Bartenders: $1-2 per drink

Hair stylists/colorists: 15-20% of the total
Manicurists: 15% of the total
Waxer: 15% of the total

Bellhop: $1-2 per bag handled
Taxi: 10-15%
Housekeeping: $3-5 per night.  Remember to tip each day since housekeeping staff may change during your stay.

Cleaning staff, dog walkers and babysitters: Cash or a gift equivalent to one week's pay
Movers: $20-50 each person depending on the move.

Some Tips to Skip:  
Mechanics, cable installers, flight attendants, UPS/FedEx drivers

An Evening of Etiquette

If you've been following me for a while you know that I am more than a little fascinated by etiquette and if you live me you've had to sit through every single screen adaptation of Jane Austen, Henry James and Edith Wharton's work at least a dozen times.  As an etiquette consultant I primarily speak about how to adapt 20th century etiquette to the 21st century landscape but on Tuesday, October 2nd I get to go a little further back.  I will be at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey for an Evening of Etiquette talking about 19th Century manners in Gilded Age New York City.   Just before the performance of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence at McCarter Theatre, we'll gather to explore the nuances and intricacies of 1870's one percenters.  After the show, stay for cocktails and do some 19th century socializing with select members of the cast, crew and staff.  

Summer Houseguest Etiquette

{Photo of Redcraft via designer Steven Gambrel}

As the summer winds down and we juggle schedules trying to fit in one more precious weekend away don't forget and leave your house guest manners behind.  1.  Host/Hostess Gift: Unless you come every weekend bring a small gift for your hosts.  Candles and scents are my favorite.  2.  Make Your Bed: You're not in a hotel to remember to make your bed before you leave your room for the day.  3.  Be Decisive: If your hosts ask what you 'd like to eat for lunch don't just say whatever, narrowing it down to your tastes is a real help to someone hosting multiple people over the weekend.  4. Make a Meal: Especially if it's a low-key weekend with not a lot scheduled, offer to make a meal one evening.  Barefoot Contessa has some of my favorite quick summer meals.  5. Don't Complain:  If your host asks you if you slept well just say yes!  Don't remark on a lumpy sofa or drafty room.  6.  Don't Overstay: Even if your gracious hosts say stay as long as you'd like just stay for a couple of nights at most, especially if it's a first visit.  7. Say Thank You:  Don't forget to follow up with a thank you note in the mail or I like to bring a couple of sets of my personal stationery and leave a note behind on the dresser or desk of the guest room.

The Charms of a City Hall Wedding

Over the years I've had the pleasure of being involved in the planning a few City Hall weddings.  For couples getting married overseas and having a smaller ceremony in the US or for couples that just want a more intimate experience overall, City Hall weddings are on the rise.  Up almost 23% just in New York City couples are seeing the financial and practical benefits of a simpler ceremony.  I've been in the wedding industry for decades and I remember fondly my brother and sister in law's New York wedding as one of the most special events I've ever been to.  Her family was from Sweden so there were only a few of our family members in attendance.  Me, my mother and my aunt and uncle who were wearing shorts as they just happened to be passing through town on their way to the US Open.  I made the bouquet and after we all went Tavern on the Green, one of my mom's favorite spots.  The couple spent the weekend in the city and then went on their honeymoon.  Still all the fun of pretty clothes, attendants, champagne toasts, a photographer, delicious food and cake.  It was a really memorable.

A Personal Wedding Assistant for Your Leading Man

{Photo: Muhammad Siddiqu}

I enjoyed watching the Oscars last night.  All the clothes, mostly good this year, are always the highlight of the night for me.  I was especially looking forward to seeing the men's formalwear this year since we're so excited to announce that we are launching the Groom's Experience as an addition to our traditional wedding services.  

We work with our clients to assist them on all levels of the wedding and there are a lot of moving parts.  Design and decor, invitations, vendor selection, tastings, and deadline tracking just to list a few.  While we incorporate the groom in all of our meetings and correspondence some of the services that are typically offered to our brides the groom does't always get to benefit from. 

Our grooms can now have the option of having our personal shopper assist with curating a look for them and their groomsmen including suiting, custom ties, and accessories.  We can take the stress out of shopping for groomsmen’s gifts and handle the shopping, wrapping and delivery of meaningful presents for his closest friends and have an on-site attendant on wedding day to assist with getting ready, styling, pressing, tying bow ties, running errands and keeping everyone on schedule. 

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