A Tip on Tips: A Planner’s Guide to Tipping Your Wedding Vendors

Vendor tipping seems to be the hot topic of the month over here in Wedding Land.  I always strive to talk about the most relevant topics for my lovely readers, so whenever my couples ask the same question repeatedly, it gives me life!  Several clients have asked about tipping expectations at the end of their fairy tale days… so here we are! While the act of tipping itself should definitely have voluntary connotations, you definitely want to be sure to compensate your dream team vendors who went the extra mile to make your day everything that you dreamed it would be. Here’s the down low on who, what, and how to tip your wedding vendors.  

Please Do…

Your Catering Team

These folks should be at the top of the food chain when it comes to the lion’s share of your tips for the evening.  They do most of the heavy lifting and are usually the unsung heroes of the evening. A catering team can make or break your guest experience, so when they do a kick ass job, they should be tipped accordingly.  Be sure to do a quick review of your catering contract before the wedding day to see if a gratuity has already been included. Some caterers include a 15-20% tip to you food service bill, but a lot will still leave the gratuity to your discretion at the end of the event.  In this case, be sure to tip the same 15-20% that you would if you received good service in a restaurant…for the biggest meal you’ve ever paid for in your life!

Hair and Makeup

Lipstick: $25.  Eyelash Extensions: $30.  Looking Flawless in Your Wedding Photos That Everyone will Stare at in Your Living Room for the Next 50 Years: PRICELESS.  Your glam squad should be tipped to the tune of 15-20%.

Transportation

Don’t forget your shuttle drivers!  They get your guests to and from the main event and let’s face it… they may have to deal with a really drunk wedding guest or two. If gratuity is not automatically included in your contract, a 15% tip should be set aside for your drivers.  

Up To You…

Photographers

Photographers don’t generally expect a tip, especially if they are the owners of their studio, but of course it is ALWAYS appreciated.  If you have a stellar photographer on your vendor squad, the $100-$150 range per shooter is a good guideline to use.

DJ or Band

Did your DJ or band keep everyone on their feet all night long?  Let’s face it, other than marrying your Forever Love, your wedding is probably the largest party that you will throw in your lifetime.  This makes your entertainment provider a real MVP for the evening. A 10-15% tip is more than appropriate for your DJ and $35-$50 per band member is a great way to thank your musicians.

So Much Cash, So Few Pockets

So now that you’ve written checks or made a major ATM run, how do you get your tips to the appropriate party at the end of your wedding night?  Trust me, the last thing that you want to worry about is where the $1000 catering tip is and who to give it to after the sparkler send off. I would highly recommend giving your tips to your trusted wedding planner at the beginning of the day and ask that they distribute things at the end of the evening.  Don’t have a planner? Ask a trusted family member to do the deed when things conclude.

Whether or not you choose to leave a tip, I think that I speak for all vendors when I say that a “thank you” in the form of reviews and referrals goes a long way. Reviews play a HUGE role when it comes to couples making a decision about their wedding vendors, so your shout out on wedding websites and social media can translate into clients for your wedding vendors.  Please and thank you!!!

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