Tipping Your Wedding Vendors
One of the most common questions I get is what wedding vendors should we tip. There are many different variables that can come into play, but I can share some general advice and suggestions for what to consider when putting together your vendor gratuities.
There are some vendors that require a gratuity for their staff. Most often, this is written into your contract and added to the final balance. These vendors typically include your caterer and/or reception venue, transportation, and beauty team. So, make sure to check your contracts with these vendors to see if your gratuity has already been included, or if there is a required amount you are responsible for.
After that, gratuities can be considered for those vendors who have helped make your day special. The unwritten rule is that if the vendor works for someone else (for example, a photographer shooting for a larger company), it is more common to give them a gratuity. On the other hand, ff they are the owner of the company, it is less common to give them a gratuity. My personal opinion, if you’re grateful for that persons role in your big day, it’s never a bad thing to show your appreciation! If you have had issues or concerns, don’t feel the need to give them a gratuity.
If you’re unsure if you want to give a wedding vendor a tip, you can certainly hold off until after the wedding. You can always mail a gratuity or thank you card or gift after the wedding
What Wedding Vendors Expect a Tip?
- Catering/Bartenders/Wait staff
- Hair & Makeup
- Ceremony Musician
What Wedding Vendors are Optional?
- Rental Companies
- Venue Coordinator
How much do you tip vendors?
The only real “protocol” would be the standard 15-20% that you would consider in the rest of the hospitality world. However, if you paid $4,000 for a photographer, they are definitely not expecting a $600-800 gratuity. I typically recommend you consider how much this vendor helped you throughout the planning, and anywhere between $50-200 would be appropriate.
Alternatives to a cash tip?
However, your budget might not allow for you to tip all the vendors you would like. There are alternative ways you can show your appreciation. For instance, if you know your DJ loves a certain kind of beer, or your photographer loves a good glass of wine, pick up a case or bottle for them.
Another way to show your appreciation is to leave them a review on sites like WeddingWire and TheKnot. You can also make sure to “tag” them in your post-wedding social media pics, and make sure to recommend them to friends and family. That can go A LOT further than even the most generous tip!
One last tip!
On a similar note, I have a recommendation for handling any final payments that will be due on the wedding day. While most of your vendors will require final payment in full well before the wedding day, some will will be due the day of.
I strongly recommend that you take care of these payments beforehand anyway. It’s very easy for you, or the designated person for this task, to get distracted and forget. You don’t want to be in the awkward position of having a limo driver or DJ asking for money in front of your wedding party or guests! Therefore, it’s much easier to just take care of it beforehand to avoid any inconvenient or embarrassing moments on the wedding day.