Wedding Vendor Tipping and Day of Final Payments

Industrial chic wedding

One of the most com­mon ques­tions we get as our clients wed­ding day gets clos­er is what wed­ding ven­dors should we tip.  While there are many dif­fer­ent vari­ables that can come into play, I want­ed to share some gen­er­al advice and sug­ges­tions for what to con­sid­er when putting togeth­er your ven­dor gratuities. 

First, there are of course some ven­dors that require a gra­tu­ity for their staff, and most often this is writ­ten into your con­tract and added to the final bal­ance.  These ven­dors usu­al­ly include your cater­er or recep­tion venue, trans­porta­tion, and beau­ty team.  Make sure to check your con­tracts with these ven­dors to see if your gra­tu­ity has already been includ­ed, or if there is a required amount you are respon­si­ble for. Out­side of that, gra­tu­ities should be con­sid­ered for those ven­dors who have helped you make your day spe­cial.  The most gen­er­al sum­ma­ry I can share, is that if the ven­dor is work­ing for some­one else (for exam­ple, a pho­tog­ra­ph­er shoot­ing for a larg­er com­pa­ny), it is more com­mon to give them a gra­tu­ity.  If they are the own­er of the com­pa­ny, it is less com­mon to give them a gra­tu­ity.  My per­son­al opin­ion, if you’re grate­ful for that per­sons role in your big day, it’s nev­er a bad thing to show your appre­ci­a­tion!  If you have had issues or con­cerns, don’t feel the need to give them a gratuity.

Expect­ed

Catering/Bartenders/Wait staff

Hair & Makeup

Trans­porta­tion

Officiant/Church

Cer­e­mo­ny Musician

Option­al

Photo/Video

DJ/Band

Plan­ner

Bak­er

Florist

Photobooth/Entertainers

Rental Com­pa­nies

Venue Coor­di­na­tor  

Now, how much do you tip?  The only real “pro­to­col” would be the stan­dard 15–20% that you would con­sid­er in the rest of the hos­pi­tal­i­ty world.  How­ev­er, if you paid $4,000 for a pho­tog­ra­ph­er, they are def­i­nite­ly not expect­ing a $600–800 gra­tu­ity.  What I typ­i­cal­ly rec­om­mend is to con­sid­er how much this ven­dor assist­ed you through­out the plan­ning, and any­where between $50–200 would be appro­pri­ate.  Your bud­get might not allow for you to tip all the ven­dors you would like to, so as an alter­na­tive you can con­sid­er a dif­fer­ent thank you to show your appre­ci­a­tion.  If you know your DJ loves a cer­tain kind of beer, or your pho­tog­ra­ph­er loves a good glass of wine, pick up a case or bot­tle as a thank you for them.  Pair this with a nice thank you card and review of their ser­vices online, and they will be very grateful! 

One oth­er note to make while we’re talk­ing about ven­dors and wed­ding day pay­ments is about any final pay­ments that you might need to make.  While most of your ven­dors will require final pay­ment in full well before the wed­ding day, some will allow you to make these last pay­ments on the day of.  I strong­ly rec­om­mend that you take care of these pay­ments before­hand any­way, most won’t have an issue with this.  The rea­son is, if you or who­ev­er has been des­ig­nat­ed to pass out the gra­tu­ities gets dis­tract­ed and for­gets, it’s not uncom­mon to mail them to the ven­dors after the wed­ding.  Final pay­ments, how­ev­er, are required, and it’s no fun for any­one to have a limo dri­ver or DJ ask you in front of your wed­ding par­ty or guests for mon­ey.  It’s much eas­i­er to just take care of it before­hand to avoid any incon­ve­nient or embar­rass­ing moments on the wed­ding day.

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