Before you back up out of this post faster than the speed of light, hear me out for a minute. In the last [insert how ever long you’ve been engaged & planning your wedding here] you have been talking with, planning & prepping with vendors to make your day come together exactly as you’ve envisioned it.
Perhaps you’ve had several meetings with your wedding coordinator, a few long phone calls and countless emails. Your wedding photographer has likely taken your engagement photos, planned & prepped with you, written out your timeline, hired a second photographer for the day, and prepped all of their gear. Your food vendors have hired staff, purchased food, and spent hours prepping and cooking. Your venue staff has cleaned, prepped, put together vendors on their staff, toured and set up.
And although you have paid each of these vendors, and considering tipping them, while it seems nice, it can be a little stressful on a budget that may already be stretched. I totally understand, but as in any occasion and service, a tip is a way to say “we see the energy, effort and love you’ve put forth today, and we appreciate you”. Just like tipping when you go out to eat, even though you pay a bill for the food in front of you, or tipping your barista, I guarantee you that your vendors will be eternally grateful. When you put tips in your budget from the get-go, it won’t feel like anything other than what you’d planned to do from the beginning!
However, if tipping truly isn’t in your budget, a heartfelt written thank you card is just as appreciated and important! You can even include a gift card to a coffee shop or their favorite snack!
Whatever makes sense for you, I wanted to just give you a quick list of ideas an options that go the extra mile for those serving you both on your wedding day!
This is the person who is the whole reason you two are married — and although they may very well not expect a tip by any means, an extra $50-$100 on top of their services is much appreciated. If you’re getting married in a church, it would be so helpful to make a donation to their church or a special fund they’re raising money for.
THE WEDDING PLANNER/COORDINATOR:
From planning exactly how your day will go and look your, wedding planner and coordinator spend hourssss planning your day exactly how you have always dreamed, your wedding planner is a vendor that dedicates an incredible amount of time and care into your wedding day. So, depending on the amount of work and time they’ve put into your day, while never expected, a $50-$400 tip I know is much appreciated!
I always say this, not just because I am a photographer, but I felt this way for my own wedding as well, that a photographer is one of the top vendors for your day. The photographer is someone who spends all of the time with you from nearly the day you get engaged, taking your engagement photos, being a sounding board for ideas, helping you find other vendors as needed, writing your timeline to maximize your day as best as possible and is the one, along with the videographer, who is going to give you lifelong tangible memories besides the new spouse by your side. And don’t forget the 2nd shooters that will be there with them as well – these people may or may not have their own businesses but definitely worked as hard as the lead on the day of to ensure every angle was covered. Depending on the quality of the service provided, I think a $50-$300 tip would be so warmly appreciated.
This one can be a little trickier because depending on your contract some caterers state that they won’t accept tips, some bill it into their invoices of service prior to the date & some do neither but would like to receive tips for their staff. This also can include your bartenders if they’re included in the catering staff, otherwise there will be a tip jar at the bar for the bartender.
Ok, so typically the florist shows up to set up your flowers, or bring your bouquets by right when you’re in the middle of getting hair and makeup done or before you’ve even arrived – so how in the world do you tip your florist?! Prior to your event in your final invoice you can always let your florist know you’d like to include gratuity. Additionally, sending your florist images that showcase their work on your day go a very long way!
HAIR & MAKEUP:
7 bridesmaids, 2 moms and a bride equal a whole lot of time for hair and makeup, and whether or not you actually have that many people to make up on your big day, the amount of time, attention and care that goes into making sure you and all of your important ladies look absolutely perfect is quite a lot! When you pay your hair and/or makeup artist, be sure to include an extra gratuity, typically between 15-20% of their services, on top to show her, and her team if she has one, how grateful you are for their job well done!
THE DJ OR BAND:
Look, if you’ve been to one bad reception, you’ve been to one too many. A DJ or band can literally make or break the day because they are responsible for reading the crowd and keeping the energy levels up throughout the night of a very long day! These people have to know what kind of music you want played, what kind of music you want avoided and what keeps the people on the dance floor and having the time of their lives – cue dirty dancing tunes now. If your DJ or band has done an incredible job at doing just that, an extra $50-$150 gratuity as a thanks to their job well done will be ever so appreciated!
If you’re looking at all of this going “Caitlin, holy cow, we are absolutely tapped on our budget” know that, that’s ok. The biggest thank you at the end of the day is that you take the time to thank your vendors after your wedding. Reaching out, via handwritten card if you can, but even by social media or email to let them know that you appreciated their job well done will go a million miles in the hearts of those of us who’s heart is to serve you and do just that. In addition, if you have images of your vendor or their craft — send those to them!
REVIEW YOUR VENDORS. Find them on Wedding Wire or Yelp or Google and do them the favor that will speak volumes to them & others. Review their services. Talk about how they made you feel, and what they did well. Talk about the end result and if you have images, share those on your review as well! That in and of itself is one of the best tips you can receive as a wedding vendor!