WEDDING

How to Tip Your Wedding Vendors – A Quick Guide

How to tip your wedding vendors guide

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When it comes to planning a wedding, there are so many things to be taken into consideration, including the expenses. You may have drawn up a budget and plan to adhere to it. However, there’s an important, but costly expense you might have forgotten – tips for vendors.

Of course tipping your wedding vendors isn’t mandatory, since they’re already getting paid for their service. However, it’s a nice gesture, especially when they’ve gone the extra mile to make your dream wedding come true.

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Knowing when and which vendors to tip can be quite confusing, so in this article, we’ve put together some useful guidelines on how to tip your wedding vendors. Let’s take a look.

Check for Gratuities

Start by taking a good look at your wedding vendors’ contracts to see if any gratuities have already been included. Some vendors will account for gratuities when drawing up their contracts, in which case you wouldn’t want to double-tip them. If there’s no mention of gratuities, it comes down to whether or not you want to tip them.

Check Service Charges

When most people see a ‘service charge’ on the invoice or contract, they think that there’s no need to tip since it’s already covered. However, a service charge isn’t a gratuity. In fact, it’s a compulsory fee that the vendor adds to the contract. While some services charges are given directly to the employees, others aren’t. Service charges can be added for any kind of service including venue maintenance, catering services and administrative costs.

Preparing Tips Beforehand

It’s always a good idea to be prepared when it comes to handing out tips. First, take a look at all the vendors you’re planning to tip and calculate how much you’ll be tipping them. Then, withdraw the necessary cash from your bank account and put the tip for each vendor in an envelope. Make sure to label the envelopes so that there’ll be no confusion when the time comes to hand them out.

Since you won’t be able to focus on handing out tips during your wedding, have a responsible person from your bridal crew do it (this will most likely be your maid of honor). Give clear instructions on when and how to hand over the tips, to avoid any mix-ups. 

When to Tip Your Vendors

The right time to tip your vendors depends on how and when you’ll be interacting with them on your wedding day. Tip your hair stylist once she’s done with your hair and make-up and tip the photographer at the end of the day. Caterers are usually tipped at the end of the reception.

Of course, there’s a possibility that you won’t see your vendor before the day is over. In this case, you can always mail the tip to them later after the wedding with a note or a little gift to say ‘thank you’ as well.  

Consider Alternatives for Cash Tips

Keep in mind that your tip doesn’t always HAVE to be a cash gift, especially if you’re on a strict budget. There are many other ways to show your vendors that you appreciate their hard work. Here are some suggestions:

  • A handwritten note to say ‘thank you’.

A positive review and 5-star rating online to provide a reference for future clients

  • A bottle of wine
  • A gift certificate to a department store or coffee shop
  • Reserve them a seat at your wedding
  • A personalized gift such as a monogrammed tote bag, travelling cup or planner
  • A spa or nail salon gift card

These are just a few ideas you could choose from. Remember, it’s not what you give, it’s the thought that counts. Even something simple like a handwritten ‘thank you’ note will mean a lot to your vendor.

How to Tip Wedding Vendors:

It’s not necessary to tip ALL of your wedding vendors and not everyone (like those who run their own businesses) expects tips. However, as we’ve mentioned before, some do, even if they don’t include gratuities in their contracts.

You can, of course, tip everyone if you don’t mind going over your budget. After all, each one of them plays an important role in making your wedding a success. If you’re not sure how much to tip them, here are some suggestions:

Officiant

Tipping the officiant is usually expected, but it doesn’t actually have to be a cash tip. In fact, religious officiants don’t usually feel comfortable accepting cash tips, while government officiants (a judge, for example) will not be legally allowed to accept one.

In this case, you can make a donation to your officiant’s house of worship or church. You can also give the officiant a small gift as a token of thanks and the best time to do this would be at the rehearsal dinner.

Caterers

Some catering contracts already include gratuity, in which case you could consider tipping the server specifically assigned to you and your family members. It’s customary to give a $25-50 tip per server.

Bartenders

This service is usually included in the catering package along with the gratuity. If not, you can tip the bartender about 10% – 15% of the bill (pre-tax) and allow them to divide it amongst them. However, if your guests are already tipping your bartenders, you don’t need to tip them again.

Photographer and Videographer

Most wedding photographers are usually the owner of their own business in which case a tip won’t be necessary. If they’re not, however, you can tip them about $100 per photographer (or more, if you prefer). Even if your photographer and videographer are self-employed, you can still tip them regardless.

Ceremony and Reception Staff

They are instrumental to the success of your big day. A gift of $50-100 would be highly appreciated and is a nice encouragement for someone who doesn’t typically receive gratuities.

Hair and Make-up Artists

You can hand over one of your tip envelopes to your hair and make-up artist once you’re done and ready for your event. An industry standard tip for hair and make-up artists is usually 15-20% per stylist whether in the salon or on location.

The Band or DJ

Your band will appreciate a $25 – $50 tip per member, especially since they work hard to keep you and your guests happy. Don’t leave anyone out, especially the sound engineer who can be easy to miss. Your band will find it uplifting and motivating to receive an envelope before the party begins!

Wedding Planner

Wedding planners provide professional advice as well as guidance on how to plan and manage your wedding. In other words, they plan your wedding for you. They provide the best resources and planning experience to clients and their families.

When it comes to tipping your wedding planner, there’s no right or wrong amount, although some sources suggest 8-10% of their total fee. Don’t forget to tip your wedding planner’s assistant as well (if he or she has one).

Transportation

A 15% gratuity or a service charge is included in the invoices. Drivers’ gratuities are usually taken care of the day before the wedding.  

Florist

A tip or a gift certificate would make the perfect thank you gift for your florist. Florists don’t usually expect a tip since they’re business owners, but giving one is a good way to thank them for a job well done.

Cake Designer

You don’t necessarily have to tip your cake designers but instead, you could share pictures of your wedding cake with them to put up on their web pages.  They will appreciate it since it’ll be useful for them to market their creations.

Wrapping Up

If you’re giving your vendors a tip, it’s important to tip those who met or exceeded your expectations. However, don’t forget that you’re not obligated to tip anyone. If you don’t mind going over your budget a little, you can always give the vendors bigger tips than what we’ve mentioned in this guide. The decision is entirely up to you, so make sure to do what you feel is right.