6 non-rules for tipping your wedding vendors

Guest post by Laura from Rebel Belle

how much to tip my wedding vendor

To tip, or not to tip your wedding vendor — that is the question. Followed immediately by “Who?” “How much?” and “Do I really have to?”

There's so much conflicting information on the internet, it's no wonder tipping wedding vendors can be such a perplexing topic to so many couples. To make matters worse, it's a subject that usually doesn't come to light until the end of the wedding planning process, after you've already shelled out a great deal of cash and suddenly realize you might be expected to give EVEN MORE?! And if you don't — clearly you're a bad human, your vendors will despise you and ALL. WILL. BE. RUINED! (Dun dun duuuun!)

Well, not exactly. But, the fact is, clients ask me all the time for guidelines on tipping wedding vendors because… wait for it… there are no rules. That's the big secret! It's not at all like going out to a restaurant, calculating a percentage and moving on with your day; and every internet search on the topic is going to yield contradictory opinions because they are just that — opinions. Therefore, my response to the tipping question is to give my opinion, clearly labeled as such, and then let the client know that it's ultimately up to them.

What I'm gettin' at here is that tipping wedding vendors is a very subjective thing, and my personal/professional opinion is as follows:

1. There are no hard and fast “rules”


2. Waitstaff and bartenders are the most common vendors tipped

This is because tipping food and beverage service staff is a societal norm. However, if you see “service charge” on your contract, don't assume that means gratuity. Many catering companies apply a service charge towards their overhead and it is not given to the servers themselves.

Always check with the venue or catering company to see if a gratuity has been included in your package. If not, and you would like to tip the staff, the easiest way to do so is to give a lump sum to the Event Captain to distribute at the end of your reception. Unsure about the dollar amount? Touch base (before the wedding) with the manager in charge of your service and ask what they typically see. They should be able to give you guidelines for your area.

3. Tipping is a gratuity which means that you are showing you are grateful for something

So, think about who went “above and beyond,” especially when it comes to the vendors who are not in the food and beverage service category. It doesn't matter if the vendor is the owner, self-employed, or a staff member. If your DJ, photographer, videographer or any other vendor has not only met but exceeded your expectations and made your life and/or wedding easier and/or better and/or happier, then by all means tip if you feel so inclined.

4. Everyone tips differently

It's true! As much as I wish I had an exact dollar amount to the answer “how much should I tip my wedding photographer?”… it depends on so many things. I can't really tell you exactly how much to give. If you and I and my father all went out for dinner (in some odd universe), it is likely we would each tip a different amount on the bill. And, you know what? That's okay. (See item 1 above.)

5. Tips don't have to be cash

Don't get me wrong — cash is great, and everyone loves it. But in lieu of, or in addition to, it can also be very sweet and thoughtful to give a small gift. A gift card with a heartfelt thank you note, or maybe a little trinket that is in line with your wedding theme. (These types of “tips” also work well for showing appreciation to friendors.)

6. Tips are never expected

…but are always appreciated.

In summary: If any of your vendors have not only met but exceeded your expectations, then by all means show your appreciation in whatever way, shape or dollar amount feels right for you. Gratitude, however it is expressed, is always a wonderful thing.

planner: Rebel Belle Weddings

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Comments on 6 non-rules for tipping your wedding vendors

    • I’ve been tipped $100 at each of the last two weddings I shot. It’s not at all expected but very, very appreciated.

  1. I agree with this article- I would also add (in my professional/personal opinion) anyone who you would tip outside of the wedding world (wait staff, hair and makeup, drivers) you tip in the wedding world. Most wedding-specific vendors won’t expect a tip but they are appreciated, of course.

  2. my caterer added in almost $800 in for gratuity themselves… i was horified at that.. i thought tipping should have come from us, not automatically added in. My fiance and I now don’t see a reason to tip them at all, but feel like we kindof have to. 🙁

    • As a business policy, some catering or bar service companies do factor gratuity into their total. Typically, this is done as a percentage (often 18%) of the bill, and is similar to what some restaurants do for large groups. If that is the case, then by no means should you feel you need to tip them additional as they have already factored it in your tab. If, however, that $800 number feels arbitrary and out of perspective with your total bill, then I would definitely have a conversation about it with the owner or general manager of the company to find out a bit more where that’s coming from.

      • I agree with talking to them about it. As a teenager and into my early twenties, I worked for a high-end catering company. Partway through the company instituted a standard tip of $20 for servers (more for bartenders) to be built into the bill. I think it was partly to make it simple for the client, and also partly to make sure that the servers actually got tipped. It made everything aboveboard rather than relying on the integrity of the captains. I made $15 and then later $18 an hour (this was almost 10 years ago) so that was a little more than an extra hour’s pay that I could count on. I know they charged the client more… maybe $40 per server-hour. So maybe check to see if that $800 is roughly an hour’s worth of work per server?

    • I work front desk at a hotel and conference center that regularly hosts weddings. We do add a %15 gratuity, to banquet bills, however it never totals out to such an utterly obscene number, and it is Always always mentioned to whomever is booking/paying, beforehand. I would not tip them any further.

  3. Tipping confuses me sometimes when it comes to services I rarely or never use. I know I should tip waitstaff because I’ve gone to (American) restaurants all my life. Same with pizza delivery. But I’m the person who stays at a hotel once a decade, then realizes, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t tip the bell boy! Richard Gere did that in Pretty Woman; did I just commit a faux pas?”

    Officiants? Florists? Musicians? Photographers? Site coordinator? Fire dancers? These are industries unfamiliar to me so I don’t know when tipping or gratuity may be unofficially considered a business norm.

    • “Richard Gere did that in Pretty Woman; did I just commit a faux pas?”

      OK, you totally cracked me up with that because I know exactly the feeling. This is such a tricky topic, because of Item 1 above and the excellent point Mary B said below. There are no rules, and regional customs do vary. Looking at the list you detailed, in my experience, any of those vendors can be tipped and none of them should expect it. A tip for those types of vendors should (again, in my opinion) be bestowed because you feel they provided you with a service that exceeded your expectations to such an extent that you feel grateful and and would like to show that appreciation above and beyond what you’ve already contracted to pay them. So maybe there was a delay in your reception timing that caused your Fire Dancers to go into overtime (and their agreement says that’s gonna cost extra) but they told you not to worry about it – they’d be willing to stay on spin flames another hour, no charge. That would make me feel grateful and want to throw them a few bucks.

    • Anybody working in the service business does not expect to be tipped. But if your photographer is working for you for 8-10 hours don’t you feel you should tip them? Why everybody doesn’t tip their photographer/videographer is beyond me. Why do brides tip the hairdresser & make-up artist? Aren’t they charging ungodly rates just to show up at your home or hotel and you tip them. Why do people feel that they do not need to tip their photographer? W Photographers are some of the hardest working people at your wedding.

      • Do you tip your plumber? Probably not because she/he is a skilled tradesperson. As a photographer I am a skilled tradesperson. I don’t expect a tip but, of course, it’s appreciated very much. I have already charged the person what I deem my time and skill are worth. I do tip any MUAH because they usually are paying a commission fee for the salon they are at so I like to make sure that they get something that they keep wholly.

        • I think people forget to tip their photographer because, basically, they’re a paid and quoted service and photographers GENERALLY don;t get tipped outside of weddings whereas makeup artists and hairdressers are tipped when you just use them for non-wedding stuff. I agree that if you see your photographer running around, working super hard, being friendly, coming up with great shot ideas, you should tip them because they are really going above and beyond for you. Tipping is KIND OF expected for a photographer but its not unheard of not to get a tip either. I just don’t think its THAT crazy that people forget

          • Also, photographers are often sole-proprietors or some other type of business owner of their own business. Usually you’re not hiring a photographer out of a firm where they’re getting a salary. I’ve negotiated my price with our photographer and after his business expenses are covered he keeps all the profit.

      • Hrmm, this comment just showed that SOME PEOPLE do expect to be tipped, haha…

  4. Tipping can be largely regional. What works in Sackville, NB might not in Ottawa, ON, or Vancouver, BC. Ask around-find out what the local customs are and work from there.

  5. I’m so glad you mentioned the “tips don’t have to be cash” thing. My photographer is going above and beyond for us (he’s flying down straight from another wedding because I didn’t want anyone but him) so I’m already trying to figure out how to have a key lime pie waiting for him at his hotel when he checks in.
    I’m glad to know this is socially approved, especially since I thought I was just being silly.

    • I loved the reminder that “tips” don’t have to be cash money. We are drawing upon the aid of many talented family and friends for some of the services. Their work is valuable to us and a gift and heartfelt note will be more meaningful and appropriate.

    • You can discuss with the hotel getting a key lime pie delivered and waiting upon check-in. They will probably insist that it has to come from a licensed food service facility (rather than homemade) because by them delivering it before he gets there, they are participating in food sales. I know, it’s weird because it doesn’t feel like a sale by the time it gets to the hotel, but there it is.

      • We’re getting married in Key West and there’s a specific shop I want to order the pie from. I’ll see if I can sneakily get the information about where he’s staying from him and talk to the hotel about doing that.
        As long as I can attach a card with lots of hearts, I’m happy 🙂

      • Really? I wonder if this varies by state. I’ve left homemade cookies at hotel check-in desks when friends/family visit from out of town and never had them refuse. I’d be most concerned about keeping the pie cold, since every key lime pie I’ve had needed to be refrigerated.

    • thats so awesome!! As a photographer. I’ve been tipped $20 and I’ve been tipped $200 but I think my favorite ‘tip’ ever was a cool vintage looking necklace with a 4 leaf clover in it. So incredibly thoughtful and means the world to me!

  6. Does anyone have advice about how to tip your caterers if they’re a food truck? Ours has 18% suggested gratuity spelled out in the contract, but since they’re not serving or cleaning up I’m wondering if this is really necessary. Not to be stingy but you know how things add up!

    • I would say wait and see what your experience is with them the day/evening of. Whoever is working the food truck is going to be working a long, hard shift with no break in a cramped, hot environment. If you think the service is *truly* poor, don’t give them any gratuity. If you think it’s acceptable, give them a percentage that seems fair to you (but try to err on the generous side, imo.). If you think it’s exceptional, give the 18% or more.

      I’ve done a fair amount of catering and while it can be fun and rewarding work, it’s certainly not *easy* work, regardless of how it may look to someone on the outside. I can definitely imagine that doing it from a food truck may well increase the challenges by a large factor.

  7. As a photographer, I don’t expect any tips from my clients. I’ve never heard of a photographer being tipped either. Interesting post, though!

  8. Thanks for a modern day approach to tipping. As a wedding coordinator and business owner, traditionally I’m not supposed to receive a tip, but I’ve gotten things gathered that brides have forgotten, sewn brides into ripped wedding gowns, cleaned up broken glass and vomit from dance floors, gracefully guided arguing family members apart, managed to find missing vendors, gone on beer runs when the caterer didn’t bring enough kegs…and NONE of that is in the contract…I do it because I want my clients to have an amazing day and when it’s reciprocated with a thank you gift or a little extra cash, it means a lot.

  9. Thanks so much for this article. I’m getting married in less than two weeks, so I’m at the stage where I’m shelling out so much money. I won’t have anything leftover to tip with. My only hope is that a hearty thanks and my lifelong recommendation of their services to friends and family will have to do.

    • If you have extra thank you notes after the wedding, maybe you could send some to your vendors laying out EXACTLY what they did that was so AMAZING!

      I know at work I get the occasional “thank you” email from a customer and those make my day. 🙂

      • I work for a catering company in Texas, we are all occasion. We do weddings often and all have come to the understanding that we won’t get tipped, because you spend, and spend, and spend!

        Our managers post thank you cards/e-mails/good reviews on the wall for us, and it’s always nice to read them, especially when it’s a wedding/event that I was Captain for. We appreciate any acknowledgement that we did an outstanding job. So yes, please! If you can’t tip, a well written thank you card is the least you could do.

      • I wholeheartedly agree. In the instance of photography, you will likely (maybe?) be dealing with the photographer/studio after the wedding day to purchase albums or enlargements and such. Knowing that my 12+ hours of blood, sweat, and tears is appreciated just makes me (album designer/second shooter) want to continue providing you with excellent service. Thank you goes a long way.

    • If you have no money for a tip, I suggest plastering internet review sites like Yelp with good reviews for your vendors (of course, this is assuming that they actually did a good job). Most people will take the time to review a business if they had a bad experience, less so if they had a good one. I bet writing up a few great reviews for those who deserve them will mean more than cash, as it may garner them future business from many more people than those in your personal circle.

    • As an officiant, REFERRALS are a HUGE, compliment.
      It means my bride was not only happy, day of, it tells me she thought enough to bring me up in conversation later…I love it!

    • Where do you live?

      Agreed though, tipping makes everything so complicated. I wish we just paid people enough money so tipping wasn’t necessary.

      • New Zealand. People might round up on a restaurant bill, but that’s about it. Everyone (except apprentices and people under 16) is entitled to $13.75/hour. My friends who waitress and work at bars might get about $5 per night but it’s not expected. It makes things much simpler.

  10. Okay then…would it be tacky to have a tip jar at the bar if we are paying for it??? That way the bar/waitstaff can split the tips???

    • I don’t think so. As a guest, whenever I go to an even with an open bar (wedding or other) I always bring cash to tip the bar tenders. Just because the drinks are free to me doesn’t mean the bar tenders don’t deserve a tip.

    • Some guests will always tip a bartender, jar or no. Generally speaking though, the bartenders at a wedding are going to make the bulk of their tips one of three ways. (1) Factored in to the contract in advance (2) directly from the person hosting the bar directly or (3) from a tip jar. For me, I don’t have a problem with a tip jar on the bar as long as it’s not double-dipping. Meaning, if the tip was already included in the contract, then they shouldn’t have a jar out as well.

  11. Tipping should come from the heart. I know, cheesy to say, but I mean if you felt that person did their job and you were happy, then they deserve as much as you can afford to give. You bet I would absolutely tip the photographer if they took breathtaking photos and were kind to my guests.
    I have a question. Would vendors find it odd if they were included in receiving favors and being a part of a free raffle to win a gift basket? It’s kind of my personality to treat vendors like guests but I’m not sure if they would find that creepy. 🙁

    • Extras are one thing – it’s always fun to take home some flowers or treats from a wedding. However, though I can’t speak for all vendors, I wouldn’t want to “compete” with a guest for a fun item like a raffle. I think that should go to them.

  12. As someone who has worked in the service industry, I want to remind those of you in the United States who “don’t believe in tipping” that tips are taxable income and not considered as an extra bonus by the IRS. While waiting tables and working as a catering server, many many times my paycheck was $0.00 because the amount of taxes I was paying was more than my paycheck. In many states, servers are not even entitled to minimum wage because the statewide average tip is figured into their income. In Texas, I made $2.13 an hour plus tips. Yeah, it sucks that servers have to consider tips as part of their income, but this is not their fault. Try to keep in mind when a server or bartender acts entitled to a tip, it’s not because they’re being greedy. It’s because the system has set it up that way.

    • Thank you for bringing up this excellent point. I am in California and the sub-minimum wage for servers is no longer legal (though it used to be). In the realm of event catering, it definitely is going to vary quite a bit. I work with one caterer who told me that his staff was well paid and that there was no need to tip, so I would again recommend checking with your catering manager to determine if tips are included and/or usually part of the process for their staff.

    • So I have always wondered, if your paycheck says $0.00, and you did NOT receive tips, do you get a tax refund at the end of the year? That’s the only way this makes any sense.

      (If you did receive tips, then the tax paid is presumably accurate.)

  13. Wedding Photographer here- The best ‘tip’ ever was a goodie bag from the bride filled with bottled water, asprin, snacks, immodium, etc. She commented that she knew we’d be on our feet all day long and that we deserved to be comfy and hydrated. Best. Bride. Ever.

    • Good reminder! I’m going to include them in the list of day/snack bags. Did she also provide a meal as well?

      • I’m way late, but yes she did. Although it is also written into our contract, as a 12+ hour day without food= unhappy photographer

  14. I’m going to sound terrible but we didn’t tip any of our vendors.
    We had no bar and the reception venue owners did the catering. Our DJ and photog were both amazing, but I don’t feel it necessary to tip.

    • We didn’t tip any of our vendors, either. It honestly never crossed my mind to do so…

    • Anybody working in the service business does not expect to be tipped. But if your photographer is working for you for 8-10 hours don’t you feel you should tip them?

      Why everybody doesn’t tip their photographer/videographer is beyond me. Why do brides tip the hairdresser & make-up artist? Aren’t they charging ungodly rates just to show up at your home or hotel and you tip them. Why do people feel that they do not need to tip their photographer? W Photographers are some of the hardest working people at your wedding.

      • I’m not tipping my photographer/videographer because we paid $4,000 for 9 hours of service. That comes out to over $400/hr. Don’t compare them to other workers who are not making nearly the same amount. Yes they are on their feet all day and working hard. That is why they cost so much and why we happily paid their fee.

  15. @Laura, a very unique question…

    We did a destination wedding in Mexico at an all-inclusive resort (i.e. no tipping was expected at any point during our stay for drinks, food, services). Everyone seemed to go above and beyond all the time. After the wedding/reception while we were all getting cleaned up, my dad asked me if we’d tipped the servers and if not, whether he should.

    They did go above and beyond, but we were in a non-tipping area… I suddenly felt that feeling mentioned above (“Did I commit a faux-pas??”) and ultimately decided on no tip (I’d also had a fair amount to drink 😛 ). What are your thoughts on this? Is it actually expected because we’re American, or because we had an event that was beyond the normal scope of a day’s work? Or is it not expected?

    Bleh. So much to think about.

  16. Wow, Morgan – you’ve brought up a lot of unique questions/issues. All inclusive, international, cultural expectations. I am admittedly not an expert on these particular topics, but I’m going to try to address them as best I can.

    As you can see from some of the previous comments, tipping culture varies both regionally and internationally. I have no way of knowing if the staff at your resort are customarily tipped for special events. My guess would be that, if it wasn’t included in the service contract, sometimes they receive them and sometimes they don’t. Additionally, because they deal with a variety of travelers from a variety of places, I tend to think that if it was expected the management team would have communicated that information to you. All-inclusive cruise ships routinely give out gratuity envelopes and make their tipping expectations very clear. I think that any resort that routinely works with clientele from different parts of the world similarly find a way to communicate the expected custom in their region.

    As for cross-cultural expectations, I do know that servers who work in a multi-national environment do come to have a generalized expectation that customers from X country tend to be great tippers while customers from Y country do not. (My credential on this particular piece of info is that I am a former international flight attendant.) But, again, it can be very inconsistent, and I doubt your event staff went home that night thinking “But…they were American!!”

    Ultimately, my opinion on your question is: Could you have tipped? Yes. Did you? No. Is that a faux pas? Absolutely not. It’s a choice and it’s OK to make that choice. If this was an environment where it was expected, I think they would have let you know.

  17. I had 2 hairdressers and a makeup artist come out to the house where we were all getting ready for my wedding. I really appreciated their travelling so I tipped them each a $20 Tim Hortons gift card. They all really appreciated and said they couldn’t remember the last time a bride did that. We also tipped the bus driver $40, the pizza delivery guy $20 and the kid who played violin at our ceremony $30 (he didn’t charge us anything else). We also loved our photographer so we may get her a little gift to show our appreciation. We were incredibly happy with all our vendors so we were happy to give them a little something to show that.

  18. As someone who used to wait at weddings, one of the best “gifts” we had was being given a defined break where none of us were expected to be available and food provided/ paid for 🙂
    Normally, for a long shift I’d get 10 minutes and as much sandwich s I could inhale. 30 minutes and a pasta bake was heaven!

    • Great point! Not terribly expensive to do. Ask your caterer to provide the staff with meals…shouldn’t cost much at all. I work for a high end caterer in a high cost area and we would probably charge $20 or less per employee to do this. And if you authorize a little extra time for cleaning up the event everyone should be able to actually have a nice meal break without costing you all that much!

  19. TIP….

    If you think about it. Tipping really does not help you at the END…
    When you are leaving a bar, and you tip the bartender at the END..
    How does that help you????
    You are leaving…
    Is he going to give you faster service then?
    Is he going to pour a stronger cocktail when you are out the door?
    No he is NOT…

    I think a pre tip works best….
    When you give it ahead of service….
    Its human nature that people are grateful and they will give more of there heart and soul in there work.
    At least that is what I have found in my experiences.
    If you were planning on doing it.
    Do it up front.
    You get more BANG for your buck that way.

  20. THE BEST GRATUITY is WOM (Word of Mouth). Newlyweds or other clients that share my name or our business cards with friends, family, neighbors and even online forums is the best gratuity I know there to be.
    I work for a company that pays fair price for my experience, knowledge and equipment.
    As a DJ, my only goal is to conclude a couples special day with a special party. I have been tipped in the past $20 to $50, even as high as $100. It does not happen that often and I’m perfectly fine with this. I believe in tipping guides #5 & #6..
    As I do appreciate tips, I prefer the gratuity of FEEDBACK! When I get feedback from friends and family for the couple, or the newlyweds themselves.. I am overjoyed by this and appreciate my “fees” even more.
    I am a professional mobile DJ in Ontario, Canada.

  21. If you provide meals for your photographer/dj/etc…. Are you still expected to tip them?

    • Meals are sustenance and gratuities are gratuities. They’re two completely different things. When a vendor puts in a long day and cannot leave the event to go get food, providing a meal is a basic courtesy. Gratuity is something extra you have the option of doing or giving for work and service that is “above and beyond.” Neither one is specifically related to the other.

  22. I think giving tip on vendors, who have worked hard for the success of the wedding, should be given. However, make sure the amount of money given is proper with the performance provided during the event. Some vendors may complain that the tip was not properly with the performance they’ve contributed.

  23. We tipped the waitstaff and bar tenders after the wedding. When the final bill came, it stated “gratuity not included”. Well, I thought I had taken care of it ahead of time, but then I got thinking of the catering manager (who was an employee of the facility we were using). Before the wedding, we had a terrible time with the CM. He never answered emails, for both meetings he was 1+ hours late! and that was only because I called him and tracked him down, and when he said he’d get us a price list for substitutions, it never came. Was the biggest headache ever before the wedding, and we walked into the wedding seriously not knowing what in the world we would get. But, at the wedding reception, he was in control of the situation, and tried to be helpful, he carved the meat in the buffet line, and everything did come off quite nicely. Should I include a tip for him?

  24. I agree with Christina – I’m not planning on tipping unless someone really blows my socks off. As someone who works their arse off in a public school and never gets tipped I don’t see why I should pay tips on top of someone’s wage for doing the job I’m paying them for?
    Also, being as my partner and I are trying to keep cost to a minimum and are not splashing out on all the luxuries we’d like, I don’t feel the need to give extra money out for services I’ve paid for. I agree a meal should be included for photographers etc and a thank you letter with a scratch card maybe?

  25. I briefly had a post-move job with a really high end Caterer and apparently they used to pocket our tips… If it was added to the bill it wasn’t given out but donated in the company’s name to a religious organization as a tax writeoff. If the Clients gave it to the Manager IN FRONT OF US in a separate envelope of cash we got it that night. Otherwise they’d say there wasn’t…
    Catering is a very hard job we had to unload everything from trucks all the furniture, linens, dishes, glassware racks, clean and set up and then the same in reverse at night 12 hours on average. Museums and Historic homes are the physically hardest jobs, no time and not built for what we had to do. Just my 2 cents.

  26. I often get “tipped” in lots of hugs from the; bride, her sisters, mother and grand-mother.

    Best. Wedding. Photography. Gigs. Ever.

  27. I don’t get tipped at every wedding by far, but when I do it’s such a nice gesture and always a surprise. It really does say how much you appreciate what’s been done. Most of my tips were $100 or more, but even a $50 or a little gift card to panera would be nice since it’s not expected and the gesture means a lot. IMO you can’t do it wrong.

  28. Many studios hire “freelance photographers” like myself. We get paid a flat “day rate” to photograph your wedding. The studio owner gets the biggest piece of the pie, & makes more $$$$ on the extras they sell you. SO tipping the person photographing your is is a good thing. I would not tip the owner. They are already getting well compensated.

    • While I sympathize, and appreciate all you the photographer is doing…..the amount I paid to hire the photographer is insane. Then there’s the amount I overpaid the musicians, the Rabbi, the florist…..I have nothing left to tip with. No one is getting any more out of me than was contractually obligated.

      • So a simple, heartfelt, Thank You card will do the trick! Everyone wants to know that they were appreciated.

  29. Holy helpful, Batman! Thank you for this! Really puts everything into perspective, and I am now less stressed about the whole “tipping” portion of the wedding. 🙂 Cheers!

  30. We (Eclipse Imaging Productions) have been tipped from time to time, but it is never expected and always a surprise. We offer amazing videography and photography services for great price, so I think customers realize that they are getting a great deal and tip us when they see how hard we work.

  31. Listen, I have been playing roller derby for 5 years….someone else dealing with my skates or gear in any way would definitely constitute a nice tip. Now to talk my partner into allowing my stinky skates anywhere near our special day… 🙂

    • Ha! They weren’t that stinky but..er….yeah. And I’ve seen some great ways of incorporating Roller Derby into a wedding (with varying levels of stink). Rolling grand entrance, bronzed skate centerpieces, rolling usher(ettes), skate wine charm favors…if you’ve been at it for 5 years, get something a little skatey in there somewhere!

  32. My dad has been a DJ for 30+ years and he still tells the story of the time when the Father of the Bride was frustrated with the caterer who wouldn’t let him take home a huge roast beef (I don’t eat red meat, not sure of the terminology) because of food safety regs. My dad was nearby and the guy flippantly asked, “Can I send it home with him?” and the caterer (for some reason) said yes. So, my dad got a giant roast beef as a tip and it was delicious.

  33. Bloody hell guys is this serious? You would really pay thousands for a photographer or caterer in the US and then tip on top?! Christ. Personally I would find the idea of that just awfully cringey. They have set you a price and you have paid for their service, handing them cash at the end of the day .. Makes me shudder! But then I am british and we’re basically uncomfortable with the whole idea of tipping, we grudgingly tip 10% on a “proper” meal in a restaurant because we think we have to more than agreeing with it, and that’s about it (I don’t know anyone who would dream of tipping their hairdresser or cab driver). I think it’s much nicer if someone has done a great job to spend some time on a thank you note, a little gift, making sure you leave a great review on their Facebook site etc – anyone can just hand over cash and it takes no effort while at the same time making a mess of your carefully planned budget.. Surely no vendor would expect it even in a tipping culture?

  34. Oh… This didn’t occur to me at all… I did give gifts such as the ones I gave my guests to some vendors, and to the seamstresses from the gown shop who did some changes to my dress I offered a photo (from the wedding photographer) which really showed what they’d done so they could show other brides…
    I feel horrible now… I wonder if people usually tip in Portugal and we had no idea…

  35. after spending $1,000 on the service, they want a tip on top of that? After paying for the venue and all the services, I’m afraid I have no money left to tip anyone outside of what i already overpaid for.

  36. I’m not tippingg my photographer/videographer because we paid $4,000 for 9 hours of service. That comes out to over $400/hr. Don’t compare them to other workers who are not making nearly the same amount. Yes they are on their feet all day and working hard. That is why they cost so much and why we happily paid their fee.

    I can honestly say that it never crossed my mind to tip any of our vendors. Not my DJ. His fee is $600 for 3 hours. The bakers fee, $500 for cakes. For our wedding planners, I asked how much their assistants would be paid, and we chose one that properly paid their assistants. We didn’t have a bartender. After spending $13,000+ on vendors for a 6 event, I would have been offended by the expectation of a tip.

    We are treating all of our vendors well, making sure they have adequate breaks, and delicious meals. Our vendors are business owners. They charge what they needed to make a living, and we pay.

    As far as the comments I keep seeing about vendors going above and beyond, so shouldn’t you tip, if you want to remain competitive, then of course you do a great job. This leads to referrals, great reviews, and puts you in demand, which allows you to charge a premium. Also every vendor, EVERY SINGLE ONE, in the initial inquiry told me that they pride themselves of going above and beyond. They set the expectation to go above and beyond.

    I am a small business owner and I have adamantly turned down tips. I pay my staff significantly above the industry standard, and have a no-tipping policy. I also charge a premium price. Treat staff well and do away with tipping. Future brides, take a few moments out to really vet your vendors on how well they treat and pay their staff. Just my two cents.

  37. As an officiant, I never expect tips. I feel that by the time the wedding day arrives, I’ve done 95% of the work already, and they’ve paid my fee by then. I think a lot of the confusion over tipping an officiant comes from church weddings, where a lot of the time maybe the church doesn’t charge to use the building so you give the pastor a tip (or a donation for the church). We gave our pastor a $50 tip when he did our wedding for that reason.

    Only two couples out of about 35 have tipped me, and they each had unusual circumstances. One couple tipped me because they hired me for their wedding at the last minute, two weeks from the date, when their original officiant disappeared on them. I charged a reduced fee because they had the ceremony already written – I did a little light editing to make it flow better, but all I really had to do was be familiar with it and show up on the day. Another tipped because I drove an hour and a half one way to do their wedding after they had a venue change during the planning process – the original venue was 45 minutes from home.

    All of my couples gave me a lovely thank you note the day of the wedding, and that was more than enough.

    • Thanks for the reminder that tips don’t have to be cash. As a bride living in London but getting married in Chicago, I’ll make sure to bring gifts from England.

  38. Thank you so much for noting that those who go “above and beyond” deserve a tip and moreover that “It doesn’t matter if the vendor is the owner, self-employed, or a staff member.” I’m the owner of an artisan ice cream company in Los Angeles, and often I will serve at an important function – like a wedding, because I know how important it is to all involved that perfect attention to detail and service be achieved. I truly always try to go above and beyond and I very much appreciate a tip. It tells me that it was a job well done!

    • Hi Valerie – what would you consider to be an appropriate tip for an employee working the event where your ice cream is served? We’re working with an ice cream cart at an event and I don’t know what to base the percentage on – 20 percent of the cost of the cart seems like a disproportionately large tip for the server. Thanks!

      • There are no rules. Really. We never expect a tip, but it’s always appreciated. Here are some recent tips so you can see how all over the board they are. $1,300.00 backyard Beverly Hills party – no tip. $1,500 wedding at an upscale ranch – $30.00. Large film industry player – sundae bar on set – $3,500.00 – $300.00.  I think that a nice guideline is 10%, but it can be disproportionate, and that’s why it’s always best to just go with your gut. Since most of the time we do not get an gratuity at all – anything is appreciated. Personally – when a bride and groom greet me warmly, thank me for being there and even give me a little hug — that’s worth as much as a tip. So are excellent reviews!

        • Thanks so much Valerie. This is an odd situation for me because there are two of us coordinating the event and my partner got the bids for the ice cream cart. The bid came back 30% higher than a previous bid from the same vendor for a friend’s party six months ago. Unlike my friend’s bid, our bid wasn’t itemized, and I suspect a gratuity was built in (no gratuity was included in my friend’s bid). If I see that their work is above and beyond and it turns out no gratuity was included in our bid, I’d be good with tipping 8 – 10%.

      • There are no rules. Really. We never expect a tip, but it’s always appreciated. Here are some recent tips so you can see how all over the board they are. $1,300.00 lavish backyard Beverly Hills party – no tip. $1,500 wedding at an upscale ranch – $30.00. Large film industry player – sundae bar on set – $3,500.00 – $300.00.

        I think that a nice guideline is 10%, but it can be disproportionate, and that’s why it’s always best to just go with your gut. Since most of the time we do not get an gratuity at all – anything is appreciated. Personally – when a bride and groom greet me warmly, thank me for being there and even give me a little hug — that’s worth almost as much as a tip. So are excellent reviews!

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