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!