Vendor Tipping 101

When you’re already digging deep into your (or your parents’) pockets for wedding expenses, allotting room in your budget for gratuities on top of that can be hard to handle. And even though service charges may be spelled out in your contract, tipping wedding vendors is always appreciated for a job well done, not to mention a kind and thoughtful gesture. So don’t forget to factor in tips when making your wedding budget.

Since some wedding vendors will expect a gratuity, and other gratuities will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, you have a few things to consider. Traditionally, business owners of larger companies don’t get tipped—just their employees—but you can and should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations. Small business owners should never be overlooked either, since their businesses are often run by just one person.

“The definition of a gratuity is something offered beyond obligation or voluntarily, usually connected to anyone in the service industry. So, is a tip required? Certainly not, yet it is expected for a job well done. Although not obligatory, not tipping at a wedding, particularly if the gratuity is excluded in the pricing structure, is seen as an insult to the love and labor poured into your experience.” Tip wedding vendors who offer exceptional service, write thank-you notes (they’re always appreciated) and assign the responsibility of handing them out to a trusted person, such as your wedding planner, a parent or wedding party member. Here’s a helpful breakdown of what’s customary when it comes to how much to tip wedding vendors.

Wedding Photographer and Videographer

You’re not expected to give your shutterbugs any money beyond their normal fees. But if the wedding photographer or videographer doesn’t own the studio, consider tipping each person (or give a certain amount with a thank-you note to disperse to staff).

For photographers, tips are not required or expected but are generally very much appreciated,” says Jenny DeMarco, owner of Jenny DeMarco Photography in Austin, Texas. “Tips should be for the main shooter (even if that is the business owner) and the remaining photography team members. When couples tip their photographer and the team on the wedding day after seeing they have worked hard and were great to work with, it’s generally remembered as they go home and work on delivering your images.”  According to DeMarco, it is recommended to tip 5-15% of the photography contract or $50-$200 per photography team member.

Wedding DJ

Wedding DJs serve an essential role, both providing music and emceeing your event. While some DJs work solo, others bring sound technicians or other providers who should also be included when it comes to tipping. Be sure to carefully read your contract (you’ll be hearing that advice a lot!) to know who will be on-site on your wedding day.

Tipping a wedding DJ is optional, but preferred.  If you plan on tipping your wedding DJ, $50 to $150 is usually a good range, depending on the total cost of service.  An attendant or wedding planner should tip your DJ at the end of the reception.

Wedding Planner

Whether you’ve hired a full-service or month-of wedding planner, this pro has likely worked hard to ensure your day runs smoothly. While monetary tips are most common, a thoughtful gift is also appreciated. Don’t forget about any assistants or helpers who are also putting in the work.  “Wedding planners definitely do expect a tip. I would say close to 80-90% of our clients tip our planning team.”

A wedding planner should be tipped 15–20% of their total fee, or sent a nice gift.  Hand off the envelope at the end of the reception or send a thank-you note with a check or gift right after the honeymoon.

Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Your will be on-site early in the AM to make sure everyone looks picture-perfect. It’s highly recommended to give them some extra love.

Just as you would tip your hairstylist at a salon, this is one area where gratuity is definitely expected. Make sure to factor in how many people are getting their hair and makeup done, and how many stylists will be working on your crew.  Tip between 15 to 25 percent of the total bill just as you would in a hair salon, and consider giving a little extra if there’s a crisis, like one of your bridesmaids has a meltdown over her curls and it requires a redo at the last minute.  Tip your beauty stylists at the end of your service.

Wedding Ceremony Officiant

If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you’re often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you’re a member, you’ll probably want to give a larger amount than if you’re not. However, if you’re getting married there and they’re charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. Tipping the wedding officiant, both non denominational and denominational, is also appreciated.

Depending on the officiant, tipping is usually expected.  Donate $100–$500 to the church or synagogue, and for the officiant, a tip of $50–$100 (maybe more, depending on how much time they’ve spent with you leading up to the wedding, say, in premarital counseling, for example).

Article via the Knot

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