If there is a topic we get asked about the most, it’s tipping your wedding vendors. “Who do I tip? How much do I tip? When should I give it to them? Do I have to tip at all?” And the list goes on and on. Luckily, when it comes to tips for wedding vendors, there really isn’t a right or wrong way to do so. In fact, any gift of thanks is a nice gesture and your vendor team will certainly appreciate it. Everyone (including your vendors) knows a wedding is a BIG financial investment. So while we’re sure tips will be graciously accepted, please know that if tipping is not in your budget, that is okay. However, you will find that your vendor team will work countless hours prior to and on your wedding day to ensure that everything is perfectly executed the way you envisioned. A small token of your appreciation – whether money, a thoughtful gift, or even a hand-written thank you note – goes a loooooong way! There are certain vendors that may or may not have tipping standards in their industry or contracts. But in order to give you some cut-and-dry answers to your wedding tipping questions, we polled our Burgh Brides Vendor Guide members and gathered their thoughts on the subject. These, along with some extra guidance from Pittsburgh wedding planner Nicole of Exhale Events, you’ll be thanking your pros properly!
Hair Stylists & Makeup Artists
This is one of the categories where tipping is highly encouraged! On average, a standard 20% is normal for tipping your glam squad for the day – and with good reason. These people make you look FABULOUS. While most stylists don’t mention tipping in their contract, it’s always a nice gesture, and according to our poll, most of them receive tips often. Other ways to thank your hair and makeup team are small gifts or gift cards for things like coffee. Because hey, these people are often up early to make sure you look amazing!
Wedding Dress Boutiques & Alterations
Most bridal stores and seamstresses do not expect any sort of gratuity, but if you had an amazing experience, sending a thank you card or small gift is always nice!
Your cake/dessert is one of the tastiest parts of your day. While it’s baked with a lot of love, most of the time, these vendors do not expect or receive tips. If you want to thank them though, a personal card would go a long way!
DJs & Musicians
After polling our Burgh Bride Vendor Guide members, the results from this category were a bit mixed. Some DJs said they aren’t normally tipped, while others said they usually are. While it is nice to receive, a tip isn’t expected by most DJs. However, we’re sure a gift would be appreciated. It could be something as fancy as wine, cigars, or cookies, or something simple yet thoughtful like gift cards and online reviews!
Bartenders, Caterers, & Waitstaff
Check your contracts with your caterer, bartenders, and any other food-services related vendors. More than likely, a standard gratuity of 15 – 20% is already built into your final invoice. If you felt they went above and beyond, a small gift or tip is appreciated. Most waitstaff are tipped from the gratuity fee already included in your contract, but if you feel the need to give more, we are sure they wouldn’t say no!
Whether you’re hiring an officiant or working with a priest/pastor/minister from a church, you are likely already paying a small fee, but tipping isn’t normally in their contract. Most officiants don’t expect a tip but if you felt they went above and beyond to make your ceremony extra special, a gift card or cash is a nice token of thanks. This could range from $50 – $100, depending on the situation.
Photo Booths & Other Rentals
Rentals can enhance both your décor and your guests’ experience at your wedding, while photo booths make sure all the silliness of the night is never forgotten while providing a nice take-home gift. When we polled Burgh Brides Vendor Guide members in these categories, they explained that they normally don’t receive a tip, but it’s certainly nice when they do. It’s normally a small monetary amount or a gift card.
Your stationery both sets the tone and elevates the aesthetic of your wedding day. From your save the dates to your invitation suite to your day-of pieces, your love story can be told through paper, fonts, and embellishments. We love when couples elect to work with a local stationery designer to execute their wedding paper vision. When we polled our favorites, we found a mixed response, where half receive a tip and half do not. Of those who did receive something, most were monetary, but more common items include gift cards, wine, and chocolates.
Most transportation companies either include gratuity in their final invoice, or they will let you know that you’ll need to tip your driver. We definitely recommend cash in this category, and around $100 for each driver is appropriate. Even if gratuity is included in your contract, it’s always nice to do a little extra if you can!
Your florists spend so.much.time making your wedding floral dreams come true, but surprisingly, florists are not often tipped. Gratuity is not typically included on a floral invoice, and the florists in our Burgh Brides Vendor Guide said they don’t expect it. However, if you’re feeling generous and love your flowers, it is always nice to gift them a little something. Monetary gifts are always nice, but some other ideas include a nice candle or a donation to their favorite charity!
Photographer & Videographers
When all is said and done, your photos and videos are the ONLY thing that you have left from your wedding day. All the hard work of capturing the memories of a beautiful day is left to these professionals. According to our poll, photographers and videographers are tipped sometimes but not always. They rarely receive a tip and if they do, they certainly don’t expect it. Gift cards or small personal gifts are also appreciated.
Your wedding planner will ensure your day goes off without a glitch. They are the logistics (and sometimes design!) gurus that keep things running smoothly and get everyone where they need to be and when. However, wedding planners never expect a tip, but do still receive them about half of the time and this ranges from $100 – $500, depending on the level of service. If you do feel like you want to thank your planner but don’t want to give cash, a small gift is always a great way to go.
The moral of the story? Tips are customary for some wedding professionals, like hair stylists, makeup artists, bartenders, waitstaff, and drivers, but aren’t expected by most others. That does not mean that you shouldn’t tip or at least acknowledge the hard work put in by these individuals. Use your discretion. As with most other service-based industries, if you felt the service you received was exemplary, tipping is appropriate. Remember, this can be cash, a gift card, a thoughtful gift, or even a charitable donation in their name. On the other hand, if tipping just isn’t in your wedding budget, simply expressing your gratitude with words is oftentimes thanks enough. Small efforts like a verbal thank you at the end of the night, a hand-written note mailed after the wedding day, or a review left online can really make a wedding vendor’s day. “Tipping” doesn’t always have to mean “money”!