How much to tip your wedding vendors and which vendors to tip
Planning a wedding involves numerous decisions, from selecting the perfect venue to choosing the most beautiful flowers. As you finalize the details, it’s essential to consider another aspect: tipping your wedding vendors. While tipping is not mandatory, it is a customary way to show appreciation for their hard work and exceptional service. In this blog post, we’ll discuss which wedding vendors you should consider tipping, how much to tip, and which tips are considered a must or a nice-to-have gesture.
Wedding tipping culture has definitely changed
In the past, it was not really customary to tip business owners in the wedding industry. The rationale behind this practice was that business owners set their prices to reflect the cost of their services and factored in their profit margins accordingly. Since they were already receiving payment for their work, tipping was not considered necessary or expected.
However, times have changed, and the dynamics of the wedding industry have evolved. With the rise of small businesses and independent vendors, many of whom are sole proprietors or operate with a small team, the line between business owners and employees has blurred. In many cases, these business owners are hands-on, personally involved in every aspect of their clients’ weddings, and go above and beyond to provide exceptional service.
Recognizing the dedication, talent, and extra effort these business owners put into making your wedding day special, the culture of tipping in the wedding industry has shifted. Couples now often choose to show their appreciation by tipping business owners who provide outstanding service and exceed their expectations.
Catering and Staff:
- Tipping the catering staff is usually a must, especially if gratuity isn’t already included in the contract. It’s customary to tip 15-20% of the total catering bill. Confirm with your catering company if gratuity has already been added. If it hasn’t, prepare individual envelopes with cash to distribute to the catering staff on the day of the wedding. I can’t stress this enough – if the percentage is more than you can afford, even something like $50 per person is appreciated.
- If your reception includes a bar service, tipping the bartenders is customary. A common practice is to tip 10-15% of the total bar bill or $1-2 per drink served. Discuss tipping policies with your wedding venue or bar service provider to ensure the bartenders receive their gratuity.
- Your wedding planner or coordinator works tirelessly to ensure your big day runs smoothly. Tipping is a nice gesture to show your appreciation for their efforts. Depending on the level of service and involvement, consider a tip of $100-500 or a gift that reflects their hard work. PS – if you’re getting married at EPW with Alex as your coordinator, this is definitely not a must!! A glowing google review from both of you is good as GOLD : )
Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist:
- If you’re happy with your hair and makeup on your wedding day, tipping your stylist and artist is customary. Plan to tip 15-25% of the total bill, similar to how you would tip at a salon.
- Tipping your officiant is not required, but it’s a thoughtful way to show gratitude for their role in your wedding ceremony. Consider a tip of $50-100, or you can make a donation to their place of worship or a charity they support.
Delivery and Set-up Staff:
- For vendors responsible for delivering and setting up items such as furniture, decor, or managing trash a tip is usually not expected. However, if they go above and beyond or handle any challenges with exceptional service, a tip of $20-50 per person is a nice way to recognize their efforts.
- Tipping your musicians or DJ is not mandatory but is appreciated if they provided exceptional entertainment and kept the party going. Consider tipping 10-15% of their total fee or $25-50 per musician or DJ.
- While tipping the florist is not mandatory, it’s a nice gesture if you’re particularly pleased with their work. If you decide to tip your florist, consider a tip of $50-100 or a small gift. Alternatively, you can send a heartfelt thank-you note or provide a positive review or testimonial to acknowledge their beautiful floral arrangements (with photos!!).
Photographers and Videographers:
- Tipping photographers and videographers is not expected, especially if they own the business. However, if you feel they have gone above and beyond in capturing your special moments, a gratuity of $50-200 per person is a kind way to show your appreciation. Alternatively, you can provide a thoughtful gift or write a glowing review to express your gratitude for their talent and dedication.
- If you have hired security guards to ensure the safety and smooth running of your wedding, tipping is not mandatory but appreciated. Consider tipping $20-50 per guard, depending on their level of service and hours worked. Alternatively, you can provide a meal or refreshments during their shift as a token of gratitude.
Okay cool – I’m going to tip, but how does it work on the actual day?
When it comes to tipping, it’s always a good idea to have cash on hand in labeled envelopes to distribute to vendors on the wedding day. Assign a trusted friend or family member to handle the tipping process, ensuring that each vendor receives their gratuity in a timely and discreet manner. Pro tip: at Elm Pass Woods just hand the envelopes to your coordinator as soon as you get onsite, and consider it *handled* – Olivia Pope style.
What if you can’t afford to tip?
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that handwritten thank-you notes are always a thoughtful way to express your gratitude to wedding vendors. Take the time to acknowledge their hard work and dedication, as a heartfelt thank-you can mean as much, if not more, than a monetary tip. If you want it to be monetary, but are already at your budget – a $5 Starbucks gift card with a thank you is just as thoughtful as a larger more traditional tip. Also – if I were to ask any wedding vendor if they’d rather get a tip OR a glowing review on a website of their choosing…a glowing review is going to win every time!! So if tips aren’t in your budget, there is no need to feel guilty – just remember to leave a review (with photos!!).
The bottom line
Remember, these guidelines are just suggestions, and it’s ultimately up to your discretion. If a vendor’s contract explicitly states that gratuity is included, you may choose to forego additional tips. Additionally, if any vendor’s service falls short of expectations, it’s absolutely okay to reconsider tipping or adjust the amount accordingly.
When it comes to tipping, it’s essential to have a budget in mind. Factor in gratuity as you plan your overall wedding expenses to ensure you can show your appreciation without straining your budget.
Head Image: Wondery Photography