Tipping Your Wedding Vendors!
Why do you tip someone in general? I’m assuming you tip a person when they do a good job, going above and beyond their call of duty or contract, right? So with that in mind, why wouldn’t you tip any wedding vendor if they did an extraordinary job, regardless of whether they worked for someone or if they own their own business? I don’t understand the thought process behind not tipping someone if they own their own business. That doesn’t negate the amazing work they did for you and you should reward them accordingly, in my opinion.
In general, you don’t have to tip any vendor and no one would be offended if you choose not to tip them. Any vendor should be happy with what they’re being paid, otherwise they need to review their price structure. Also, a thank you note can really do the trick too. This subject can be touchy with people, so please just know that the following information is intended as a guideline for those who express the desire to offer monetary tips to their vendors.
Wedding Planner: Many clients choose to give a personal gift of thanks to their wedding planner. Planners, for the most part, spend the most time with you, making your wedding day actually happen the way you want it to. If you want to give a % of the total fee to the planner, that’s okay too. It all depends on what you’re paying, and how much you feel your planner went above and beyond their services. Of course, this will sound terrible coming from an actual wedding planner, but I know many people who read my blog aren’t hiring our services and there are thousands of talented planners out there who deserve to be told thanks, as well.
Caterer/Venue/Bartender: These are all in the same boat. MOST venues and caterers include a % of your total bill for state taxes and gratuity. The gratuity can range from 15-20% of your total bill. This doesn’t mean that the tip is going to the actual people working your event. Often times the gratuity goes to paying the staff in the first place. This might be a good question to ask your vendor up front so you can find out if you should plan on tipping the staff actually working at your wedding.
Tents: Not all tent companies are created equal. Some offer onsite attendants to help you with tent sides, heating and cooling of your tents, and general assistance that, as a wedding planner, you don’t usually notice but makes a HUGE difference in how things are running. Oh, and a hot meal would be a nice touch too
Photographer/Videographer: I always tell my clients to tip their photographer and videographer by purchasing products since so many couples choose to purchase shooting time and digital negatives these days, instead of pre-purchasing wedding albums/edited films. It’s a great way to say thanks for taking amazing images/video, and it’s what they do best- showing off their work the way they want it to be seen. Assistants or second shooters who go above and beyond, those are the people that you would offer an actual cash tip.
Florist: Again, your florist should know how to price out their products, but if you see them going above and beyond- waiting to move your ceremony pieces to your reception, adding extra arrangements in your bathrooms just because they have extra flowers, adding chair backs to the married couples’ chairs as a special surprise, feel free to thank them.
Musicians: Paying each musician – which include your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception musicians – can get expensive quickly due to the number of potential people. However, music is one of the most important aspects of how your wedding feels and the vibe that’s created, so keep that in mind. If your ceremony musicians learned a special song or a musician rehearsed with one of your family members for a special first dance song, that’s going above and beyond the call of duty.
Beauty: Your stylists spend a lot of time with you on your wedding day and their mood and actions will affect your mood as you’re getting ready. If they make you feel relaxed, keep the peace around you, help reduce the drama, that’s a special person in my opinion. Being able to read the stress in the room, working through family drama- that’s going above and beyond. In the same vein, there may be some stylists who walk in and act like the world revolves around them and that the wedding day is actually their wedding day, which it’s not. Those people don’t deserve tips even if they make you look beautiful. It’s about you on your wedding day, don’t forget that.
Transportation: Your drivers take care of your guests as they’re brought from point A to point B. Often times they answer touristy questions and make sure people get to where they have to be on time. You can’t get married without your guests. They also make sure they get home safe when they’ve had too much to drink. Enough said here.
Special Extras: This might be a cigar roller, dessert buffet, photo booth company, restroom attendant, people who you wouldn’t be seeing in your normal vendor list, but extra special touches your guests will enjoy. They are making your event memorable, and if they go above and beyond, you should let them know how much you appreciate that.
Officiant: Many officiants will not accept a gratuity. If you feel strongly, you can donate to a charity at the church or donate to a charity of their choice in their name. Tipping any altar persons who help at your wedding ceremony is also common.
Once again, you don’t have to tip anyone. We’re all grown-up vendors in this business and we’re responsible for coming up with appropriate pricing. Tipping is for the vendors who just floor you, amazing you with the care and support of you and your fiance through your planning process and on your wedding day.