Tips for Tipping: What do I tip my wedding vendors?
So the wedding is complete, the send off has happened, and you and your adventure partner are on your way down the road. Then the thought occurs, did we tip the vendors? Wait. Were we SUPPOSED to tip the vendors?!
Whoa now, calm down. First thing’s first.
Just like in most other service industries, tips are NOT mandatory! While everyone can appreciate a tip for providing exceptional service or for going above and beyond, or for just being awesome, it is certainly nothing that vendors expect from you. As vendors ourselves we totally know that this wedding thing, well, it’s EXPENSIVE!
You’ve got multiple vendors: florists, make up artists, photographers, videographers, officiants, caterers, day of coordinators, planners, the list goes on! And then on top of that, some of them have employees working your event too! Gahhhh!
All these people were part of making sure your big day went off without a hitch and you want to express your appreciation to all of them, but that could be a big expense.
So what else can we do to both show our appreciation while not looking like we “cheaped out”?
First, as mentioned above, a tip isn’t mandatory. No one is looking at your wedding and thinking “I really hope I get some more money from these people.”
Secondly, there are some easy things you can do to both save money AND leave a positive impression on your vendors. Win-win!
First on who to tip:
1. Employees of the event vendors. Typically the vendors themselves have already charged you to make a profit, but their employees, while also profiting of course, are usually just working the event by the hour at a predetemined wage. They receive no personal praise for doing their jobs. Tip these folks first!
2. Anyone who is working your wedding that doesn’t own their own company. For instance, you may hire a company and they provide a DJ, that DJ is technically there as a employee. Toss these guys a bone next!
3. For the vendors that own their own businesses, even though not expected, they are sure to be grateful for any sign of appreciation you choose to give.
Now, what’s appropriate to tip?
This number is going to vary from couple to couple, but the real answer is, “what can your budget allow?” If your answer is “uhh, nothing, we just had an expensive wedding, the budget is totally tapped,” I hear you. Keep reading.
For your caterers, a tip of 15-20% of the bill or $50-100 to each chef and $20-50 to each server is standard.
For your hair & makeup artists, a tip of 15-20% is standard.
For a live band, a tip of 10-20% is standard.
For the rest of your vendors, the standard 15-20% works, but a great way to save money while also showing immense appreciation is to actually NOT give monetary tips.
WAIT! Hear me out!
While money makes the world go round, a personal touch always makes for a bigger sense of thanks. It shows you took the time to think of who your vendors are rather than just wanting to simply pay them.
Perhaps your photographer has a taste for wines, and you know of the perfect budget bottle of sweet red that you can send them with a thank you card.
Sweet Walter red wine- at $10 USD a bottle this stuff is sweet and delicious.
Vistaprint- Some cheap and easy thank you cards!
Or maybe your DJ is an avid movie goer, and you can provide them a movie pass to their local theater.
Fandango - Tickets and movie gift cards!
Or maybe even a Movie Theater Subscription!
Maybe your videographer mentioned in passing that they were experimenting making their own beers, this custom engraved beer aging barrel would make a pretty cool gift.
And when all else fails, most vendors literally run off coffee like a long haul trucker needs diesel. So gift cards to a local coffee shop, or even a bag of your favorite whole bean roast will be sure to be cost effective while also showing the utmost attention to detail.
Starbucks - Some starbucks gift card love
Lavazza whole bean espresso. - A bulk amazon purchase of some tasty espresso beans.
NutriChef portable espresso maker - Need I say more? This thing makes single shots of espresso on the go. No coffee loving, on the constant go, caffeinated vendor could possibly say no to this!
The point is, don’t be afraid to get creative. Rather than a set monetary amount, doing gifts for vendors can both save money but also make more of an impact than cash. It’s not to say that money isn’t nice, but a gift is taking that extra step to turn that money into emotion.
The best tip of all, though, is a great review and recommendations to friends to use the services you enjoyed!