How to Tip Your Wedding Vendors
We’re frequently asked “How should I tip my wedding vendors?” The answer is not always concrete. Most of the couples we work with WANT to show their appreciation and gratitude to their team for their hard work but don’t understand the expectations of our industry. To address this question, we asked our industry friends to share the standards in their profession and compiled all the information and our advice just for you!
Non-Monetary Acts of Kindness
Cash tips are ALWAYS appreciated, however, many vendors where tipping is not standard for their role mentioned they would prefer something that will help their business grow, such as a glowing review or referrals! With that being said EVERY vendor appreciates acts of kindness and if they did a standout job it’s great to express that in addition to standard tipping practices. Here are some suggestions on how to show your appreciation in ways that aren’t monetary:
- + Write a glowing review on their preferred site. Google, The Knot, and Wedding Wire are just a few popular sites for industry reviews. You can also ask if the vendor prefers a written testimonial to share on their website/marketing material.
- + Send a hand written thank you card after the wedding.
- + There may not always be time for a verbal thank you the day of your wedding, so say thank you to your vendor team when you see them leading up to your big day.
- + Refer your wedding team to other couples. Referrals mean the world and are the biggest complement to ANY business owner!
- + Send a thoughtful gift after the wedding to let them know you were thankful to work with them.
+ Be gentle during the planning process and view your vendors as partners and teammates rather than staff. Trust their creative process and you’ll be beyond satisfied with the results!
+ Tag all your vendors when sharing your images online. Social media is one of our main forms of marketing so this is always greatly appreciated. If you’re not sure how to do this, just ask!
Professionals with Standard Tipping Guidelines
Tipping Business Owners | While doing some research of my own, I came across many articles written stating you do not need to tip business owners, instead tip their associates. However, many of the businesses we work with are small, family owned and operated by the owners themselves, so we do recommend tipping them if you feel so inclined! If the owner of the business is on site the day of the wedding as well as their associates, you can address your tip envelope to the company and the owner can disburse the tips accordingly.
Delivery of Tips | If you feel compelled to give a tip to your wedding team, we recommend creating individual envelopes for each vendor team. Once everything is organized, give the tip envelopes to your Wedding Planner so they can distribute them appropriately the day of your wedding.
Tipping your bartenders is commonplace in the industry! Typically we see the host offer their tip privately on the back end to be distributed to the catering captain (or separate bartending service) by your planners!
As shared by BRIDES “Bartending services are often included as part of your caterer’s package, and gratuity is frequently included in the bill. If it isn’t, or if you hired your bartender separately, tip 10–15 percent of the pre-tax bar bill, to be split between the evening’s bartenders.”
Although you typically see bartenders keep a tipping jar available for casual and social events it’s an etiquette “no no” to have tipping jars out at a wedding. As stated by BRIDES “If guests wish to tip, that’s their choice—and it shouldn’t be one they feel pressured into. Tip jars can suggest gratuity is expected by guests instead of optional.”
As mentioned above – gratuity is often included in your catering package so check your contract to see if a tip was already included in your total charge. If not, or if you would like to offer something extra, we recommend giving $20 per table plus an additional $100-$200 for the Captain. You can give this tip directly to the Captain and they can divide the tip accordingly to the waitstaff. According to BRIDES “Unlike at a restaurant, the waitstaff at your wedding isn’t depending on tips for their wages.”
Hair and Makeup
Hair and Makeup professionals operate on the same standard as a salon service in relation to tipping which is between 15% – 20% gratuity. Artists generally prefer to be tipped in cash on-site instead of ahead of time on the final bill (if they have this option). As mentioned by BRIDES “You may provide this tip yourself if you are paying for all of your bridesmaids services, or include a tip in the total that they each owe so they can make sure they have enough cash on hand.”
Offering gratuity to chauffeurs and drivers is just like tipping a taxi or Uber and it is standard to tip your driver(s) for their service. It is standard practice to tip your driver(s) 15%-20% of the total pre-tax bill.
As for Valet services according to BRIDES “Whether or not you’re paying for your guest’s cars to be valet parked, you should cover the gratuity yourselves. Tip $1-$2 per car, to be split between the staff. Place a sign at the valet station letting your guests know that gratuity has been taken care of.”
Professionals without Standard Tipping Guidelines
Florists typically do not expect any sort of gratuity, but it is always welcomed! Since it is not as common in the industry, we don’t have a percentage range available.
Remember that the professionals hired for your entertainment set the tempo and mood for every moment of your day! A guideline we like to use for tipping is 10% of your total bill. If you would like to tip your ceremony musician(s), $20-$50 per person is the standard range. A cash tip the day of the wedding is a great option.
Places of worship may have their own tipping practices or a way to donate to the congregation. For hired Ordained Ministers, it is recommended to give them $50 – $100 for their service. If you choose to have a family member or friend officiate your wedding, make sure you write them a special thank you card and offer them a thoughtful gift to show your appreciation.
Photographers and Videographers
There is no hard and fast rule for tipping your Photographers and Videographers, but tipping an average of $200 – $300 is considered average, with anything within the range of $100-$400 being appropriate. However, if clients feel motivated to give more, it’s an incredible compliment.
Wedding photographers put forth a lot of work behind the scenes to make the day run smoothly up to 1-2 years prior to the event. Receiving a tip as an acknowledgement to that, along with the product result, is always highly appreciated. If you obtain a second shooter or assistant, tipping is also encouraged for these individuals as well. While they may not have worked alongside you for as long as your primary photographer, they are helping run the show behind the scenes too. For these individuals, approximately $50 would be a recommended appropriate tip.
As a planner, it is hard to say what is appropriate. We can say our favorite tips are non-cash, but are always grateful for what our couples decide to give us. We take pride in having a long term relationship with our clients and our number one goal is that our couples experience the wedding they always imagined! With that being sad, the words of our clients’ experiences are extremely important to us whether that be a review or a thoughtful thank you note. (Yes, we keep every single thank you card!)
Lastly, referrals are our bread and butter – so if you loved your experience with us the greatest compliment of all is to refer your friends and family to us in the future!