I love that in Sonoma County there are a great deal of other wedding professionals I get to talk to, collaborate with and learn from. Amy Bridges is another wedding planner here in wine country, and she has a fantastic blog. There is one post in particular I find myself sending to my own clients over and over again about tipping. I love how she has laid it out, and am grateful she’s agreed to let me post it here to share with you.
Since our season is about to really take off, I wanted to take some time to answer one of the most common subjects our clients ask us about: Tipping Vendors. Every season, most of our couples ask "Which vendors do we tip?" or "How much should we tip our vendors?”. We are here to help you navigate this tricky territory.
A tip shows your vendors your appreciation for the hard work they have put into your special day. Tips are not required, but it is customary to show thanks to the vendors who have made your wedding or event a success.
What is the best way to distribute tips? Ask your wedding planner to pass them out at the end of the night. If you have not hired a planner, you can also delegate this job to a trusted friend or family member. The easiest way to do this is to prepare your tips in advance—put the appropriate amount in individual, labeled, and sealed envelopes so they are ready to go. You can also mail the tip after the event, along with a nice thank you note (we all LOVE thank you notes!), but it’s best to get it taken care of and out of the way immediately following the event.
Not sure how much to tip a vendor? See our notes below for the breakdown of what we think is appropriate:
Officiants: Religious officiants don’t necessarily expect a tip. However, it is a wonderful gesture to make a donation to their organization or house of worship. Estimate between $100-$500 for this. For nondenominational officiants, plan on $50$100.
Caterers: You will want to tip everyone involved with the catering side of your event—catering managers, servers, kitchen staff and bartenders. 15-20%of your total bill is a great way to determine this amount. You can give one large tip to the catering manager to distribute amongst the staff.
Musicians: The situation varies here. If you are booking a band or DJ directly, etiquette says you do not need to tip them (although, if they do a fabulous job, I still recommend it!). The money you paid for their service goes directly to them. However, if you book your band through an agency, or your DJ through a larger company, you should tip them for great service. I suggest at least $50-$150 for DJ’s, and at least $25$-50 for each musician.
Hair & Makeup Artists: Although this is a special occasion, you can still tip hair and makeup artists the typical 1520% that you would in a salon. If your bridesmaids are paying for their own hair and makeup, remind them to tip or cover the tip for them.
Photographers/Videographers: If the photographer and/or videographer you are working with does not own the business, tip between $50-$200. If the service was outstanding, add an additional 10%.
Florists: As with photographers and videographers, if your florist is not the owner of the business, $50-$200 (or more for outstanding service) is great. Be sure to have someone assigned to tip the florist before they depart—they often leave the venue before guests arrive, after set up is complete. You can also mail them a tip after the event.
Wedding Planners: Plan on 15% of your planner’s fee, or a special gift, to reward fabulous service from your wedding planner.
Note: For all vendor categories, if you are working directly with the owner of the business(for example, your wedding planner owns his/her company), you do not need to tip them (although you certainly can if their work exceeds your expectations). They are already being paid directly by you. But if your wedding planner is an associate for a company, not the owner, than you should tip them, as well as any assistants. That being said, if you are very happy with the level of service you received, business owners do always appreciate unexpected tips, thank you cards, gift certificates, or small gifts to show your appreciation.
Don’t forget to leave small tips for the staff working behind the scenes as well! Examples of this include coat check ($1-$2 per coat), parking attendants ($1-$2 per car), venue staff, bathroom attendants, and delivery people ($5-$10 each), etc.
Tipping your vendors obviously adds up quickly, so be sure to leave enough money for this in your budget from the beginning. It’s important to thank the vendors that have gone above and beyond for your special day. I hope this helps answer any questions you had about tipping your vendors!
Find more great info on her Blog!
For part one, let’s talk about the traditional photo booth, they are similar to the ones we grew up with at the fair, but better digital prints. With the traditional booth you have a couple options; there are the hard sided booths, which really give that arcade, fair feel, then there are the “Pipe & Drape” booths, which have soft sides and allow a few more people to pop in the photos from the back of the booth. Guests have fun in both, and oh the photos you’ll see after the event. I think the team over at Perfect Day Events has the hard booth really dialed in, I love that there’s an attendant on site manning the booth, and all the fun props. They are great about getting in and setup surprisingly fast with all the equipment. There a lot of great options out there, and many DJ’s are starting to rent booths with their services which is great because it means one less vendor for you, or me to deal with, always a bonus. ~Sarah
To Be Continued...
I could GO on and on about Mike & Jennie's Wedding, it was just beautiful. The couple had so many personal touches you really felt them in their wedding. Everything from the Blessing trees where the guestbook, was the tags that were on the Olive trees surrounding the couple as they were married, to the "Boyfriend" cookie favors what were the Mother of the Brides secret recipe, which doubled as the guests seating chart. I Loved the Love I felt that day from the family singing to the couple, right down to the bitter end where they made an tunnel of love for the couple to run out of to their get away car, which SURPRISE was a TESLA the groom had arranged to come whisk them away. Scott MacDonald captured the day beautifully in all these images.
While not technically their anniversary I'm remembering one of my couples who got married last year on Mother's Day.
Mike & Jenny had the most lovely ceremony out at Olympia's Valley Estate in Petaluma. They surrounded themselves with the well wishes of their friends & family. The during their ceremony they took a moment to celebrate the two incredible women who raised them with hugs and a small bouquets. It was an amazingly sweet moment. I loved this honor during the ceremony because they acknowledged that the day was about family, they didn't bury their heads in the sand and forget it was in fact Mother's Day.
Let me tell you, their moms did a fantastic job because they were one of the most thoughtful and caring families I've had the pleasure to work with and I wish Jenny well on her very first Mother's Day as a mom herself.
Thank you to Scott MacDonald Photography for the lovely photos capturing the day perfectly.
Happy Mother's Day,
This morning I was in a large group where the speaker asked, "Why do you do what you do?" This question comes up in my initial consultation about 60% of the time. It's an easy one for me to answer, I do it for the love.
Yeah, yeah I know that sounds totally cheesy. Really thought the best part of every wedding is the moment you are walking down the aisle. It's that moment where most everything is set-up, and I've just got done telling your friends to head to the alter. I realize I sound totally Hippy, but at EVERY wedding I've done, this is the moment I live for because you FEEL the love in the air. Your family and friends are there to show you love, you're there to marry your love and I'm there watching you walk towards it, and more than likely I'm holding hands with my man, falling just a little bit more in love with him each wedding we work together. Yeah I'm a hippy chick.
There are a lot of guides of when you should get things done when planning a wedding, and yup I have my own. This is just a guide, and really I like to get as much done early as possible. I know other people have lives that involve something other than booking florists, and make-up consultations, but you wont hear me complaining. I use this form when checking in with my couples on a monthly basis.
Again that wasn't the story I meant to tell you today. The story that really touched me was when I was talking with the couple about the processional, and who would be standing where. Ryan the Groom surprised me when I asked who would be escorting his mother down the aisle, he said he would be walking his Mother in and my Father will be joining them, I liked this idea and we moved on. Ok so your father will be seated with your mother to which the Groom interrupted, "No, my father will be standing at my side, he is my best friend, it wouldn't feel right him not being there, so it will be him then my Bestmen." because naturally he had 2, in such a large wedding party, I kid.
I would be shocked if in my life I ever see another Bestman, as proud & loving as this Father of the Groom.