TIPPING OUT YOUR WEDDING VENDORS
Makeup Artist: Kelly Zhang Studio Photography: HPW Productions
Tipping in the wedding and events industry is sometimes overlooked and not talked about, but our industry is a service based industry, so we should address it. As a wedding planner, I make sure my clients are aware of tips and factor that into their budget. But who should you tip? And more importantly, how much? Before we dive deep into it, I want to touch on a few important points.
The first thing that is important to note, is that a service fee is not the same thing as a tip. A service fee is typically added on to a catering or venue proposal which, more often than not, is a fee going towards the execution of the event, not the service provided by the staff. A lot of times clients will ask, “Do I need to tip even though I am being charged a service fee?” I typically answer, “yes” depending on what is stated in their contract. Sometimes service fees do encompass the gratuity for staff, in which case it is not necessary. Most of the time, this is not the case, in which I would suggest that you still add the tip to the mix.
Second thing to note - tipping, truly, is NOT mandatory. I think some couples have a hard time swallowing the idea of a tip out for their vendors, especially when they just dished out thousands of dollars to have them there. Much like going to a restaurant or the hair salon, tipping is a nice way to show your sentiment to your vendors. It shows your appreciation for their hard work. Majority of vendors don’t even expect a tip out, so even if it is a small amount, we get giddy, because it is the thought that counts. True, it is an added cost to your budget, but I think very few of us would dine out, only to leave $0 on the tip line, so the same thought process is for the wedding industry.
Officiant: Ipolani Duvauchelle
The last thing to note is that tipping doesn’t always have to be in the form of money. While it is the most acceptable approach, gifting your vendors is also a kind sentiment to consider. I was once tipped two very nice bottles of wine from the couple's personal vineyard that I was so thankful for. Another time, the owner of a clothing brand tipped us gift cards to her shop. Again, it is about being considerate and letting us know you were thankful for our work.
Okay, so now who gets a tip? If you are asking me and you are my client, my answer will always be to tip everyone. Not because I want an added gratuity to my package price, but because I have been in this industry for a while and I see how hard vendors work to help put on your event. From your photographer, to your florist, to your catering staff, even down to your driver -- they all played an important role in your wedding day and I think it is a kind gesture. As a wedding planner, I sometimes feel like I advocate for my clients, but also vendors. I am working with the vendors just as much as I am working with the client, so I feel this pull to always look out for people. I constantly advocate on behalf of vendors that they should be given some sort of gratuity and at the very, very least, a nice review about their work.
As far as what to give, that is up to you. We have created a handy little chart below that we found to be our tip out range. This is not the gold standard for how to tip and truly there are about 1001 different sites that talk about tipping out your vendors with a range of amounts. Our list is just from our research and experience. It is a gauge for you to make your decision.
At the end of the day, it is completely up to you if you plan to tip your wedding vendors. Who you tip and how much you tip is also up to you. If you do plan to add gratuity to your budget, I always recommend that you pre-make tip envelopes to give to your wedding coordinator or entrusted point person to distribute on the day of. The name of the vendor on a sealed envelope is more than enough. Your coordinator will make sure that at the end of the night your vendors are taken care of, so you don’t have to.
And that’s tipping. A little taboo of a conversation, but a necessary one to make you a good client and to give your wedding vendors butterflies knowing that they did a job well done.
Other vendors featured in this post: Photography: