Just when you think you have planned all of the pieces of your wedding, the topic of tipping the vendors comes up, and you are left wondering if you almost missed a huge part of it!
Today we are talking about tipping your wedding vendors; should you or shouldn’t you? If so, how much do you tip? Also, don’t most vendors include a gratuity in the total cost? As wedding vendors ourselves, we have our opinion based on experience, and though it may differ from the opinion of other wedding vendors, we hope it will help you plan the tips for your wedding day.
In this post, we are going to share the information that we found online that outlines the expectations around tipping and how it compares to what we have experienced. From there, you can decide what works best for you and your partner!
The wedding industry is a service industry, and therefore a tipping industry. Tips are normal, but please know that they are not mandatory. They should be reserved for vendors who have done a great job and made your wedding day more enjoyable and stress-free!
To start, we looked up some of the industry standards online to give an idea of what expectations the wedding industry has put on couples when it comes to tipping.
Some of these are realistic, while others add up to a huge chunk of your budget!
There are people out there that feel wedding planning is expensive, wedding vendors are expensive, and the price of your service is sufficient to cover everything.
Others honestly assume that the vendors build the gratuity right into the cost of the service. It’s good to check your bill for this so that you don’t double-tip accidentally, but not all vendors do this.
A general rule of thumb is that service workers, such as bartenders, servers, and drivers will not have built the gratuity into their cost, but business owners such as florists, photographers, and wedding planners will have priced their services accordingly. Tips are a nice gesture that communicates that the couple was happy with the level of service the vendor provided.
As vendors ourselves, we appreciate knowing that the couple was happy with the service we provided, whether it’s with a quick, “Hey man, that was great. You got my parents out there dancing and they haven’t danced in years! Thank you!” or with a hundred bucks. But we don’t ever want couples to tip just because they assume it’s expected.
It’s really unfortunate that couples feel the pressure to tip across the board, on top of an already expensive day. If you added up all of the suggested tips we mentioned above, you just added thousands of dollars to your day, or an average of 25% of your wedding budget.
Our philosophy is that tips should be earned. There’s this idea that you should tip across the board, even if you maybe didn’t have a great experience, and we just don’t agree with that.
It is helpful to know ahead of time what you will work into your budget and have tips prepared for the vendors you want to give them to. But when it comes to your wedding day, if a vendor is less than pleasant to work with, don’t feel obligated to give them the tip you had prepared.
Tipping should be reserved for those vendors who you can tell, “You exceeded our expectations; you crushed it. Thank you!”
Tips are normally given at some point during the wedding day. A couple will either have their planner or a trusted friend hand out the tips, or they take the time to hand them out themselves.
Another option is to mail the tip with a thank you card after the wedding, or add the extra to the payment when you pay the invoice.
As for which point during the day you should give tips, It’s a good idea to hold off on tipping until later in the day. We’ve had people hand us an envelope with the tip as we are still setting up, and while we plan to do a good job, the couple doesn’t yet know that.
That being said, you’ll probably have a pretty good feeling leading up to the day of how this vendor is or if they will do a good job or not. But, from the perspective of a planner, it’s okay to say mid-event, “I don’t feel comfortable tipping that person.” Because couples should feel comfortable telling their planner or the person handing out tips that they were disappointed with how it went and would like to withhold the tip from a specific vendor or service staff.
For help knowing which vendors to hire, check out parts one and two of our ultimate guide to vetting wedding vendors.
And as we mentioned above, while you are planning out tips, be sure to check the contracts to make sure that there’s not already a gratuity included. It is often included with food and beverage vendors. Or there may be a Venmo QR code right there on the invoice.
If the vendor is a big company and they do include gratuity, you may want to consider tipping the person from the company who actually attends your wedding to do the job. For example, a contracted photographer may not otherwise see any of the gratuity included on the bill.
Speaking of QR codes, we are going to change gears for just a second to talk about something that has presented a sort of controversy in one of our recent videos on TikTok.
In the video we featured a cute little program at a wedding we were at, and on the back, they had a QR code where people could donate bits of money towards the honeymoon. It was very charming, but people on social media started arguing like crazy over it!
Some people thought it was tacky because most people would have already bought a gift and now the couple was asking for more money. Others loved the idea.
Here are our thoughts. Putting a jar out on the guestbook table labeled “honeymoon fund” is a tradition that dates way back. Having the QR code is just the way technology has moved that along. Some guests really appreciate being able to donate a little towards your honeymoon, even if it’s just a bit to grab ice cream one day or something, and we think that this is a really cute and convenient way to do that.
Recently on our podcast, we interviewed the founder of HoneyFund, which is a platform that facilitates this exact thing. You can find the interview here if it’s something you’re interested in knowing more about! Another cute way to use QR codes is to use a site like Guestpix to create yours. Print it and put it on the tables so that guests can upload the pics they take at the reception! It’s the new “disposable camera at every table” and it’s really great. We love it.
After reading all of this, if your budget is just too tight to give out tips to everyone, but a vendor did a really stellar job and you want to show your appreciation, consider leaving them a review online. Facebook, Google, or The Knot are all great places to let others know how they did, and it’s something that vendors really appreciate in today’s digital marketing world. A good review and a thank you card go a long way! Of course, if it’s possible, a tip is always appreciated as well.
For the full podcast episode of this post, including some stories we just couldn’t fit here, listen here!
If you would like help planning your wedding, including the tips, we can help with that too with our virtual planning services.
And for daily wedding planning ideas, follow us on TikTok and Instagram.
If you recently got engaged, congratulations! We hope this post and our other resources help you as you plan the day of your dreams.
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