Tipping your Wedding Vendors..What?? You're supposed to do that??!?!?!

Here's my second blog of the day, it might be a little late so it technically might end up on Thursday instead of Wednesday.  It is a LIST ONE, so YAY!!!!!!!!!!! AND it is a WEDDING LIST one!! EVEN BIGGER YAY!!! 

The brides are probably looking at the title of the blog saying the same thing it says. There are NO HARD and rules of etiquette when it comes to tipping wedding vendors. It really comes down to good of a job that vendor does and how you feel that they did. The other thing is that for some of the vendors it does NOT have to be a CASH tip!!! 

Usually the question I hear is do you have to tip your Wedding Vendors? . Followed immediately by "Who?" "How much?" and then  "Do I really have to?"

I mean seriously!! When I started looking in to this topic and talked to a Wedding Planner friend of mine you wouldn't believe the conflicting information out there!!! It's quite the confusing topic. *sigh* And really you wouldn't think about it until the last minute or until someone says something to you when you're in the middle of the planning process or *gasp* the day of the wedding!!!  And if you don't tip?!?!?! — Clearly you're a bad person!!! Every one of your vendors will despise you for ALL TIME! *Dun dun duuuun!*  

Oh.. wait.. um.. yeah umm I would be one of those vendors.. yeah hahaha!! That's not going to happen!!! No really!! Wedding Vendors are there to make your day special!! And if you have a Wedding Planner there that has an established relationship with those vendors, she/he will make sure that those vendors are TOP of the line and will be professional!! And to be honest, MOST of the vendors, aside from a few, don't expect it or they have it already figured in to their bill. 

About the tipping though,  I'm serious, there isn't a hard rule about it. Like always, tipping is a subjective thing, when you go to a restaurant or any place that someone is there that they serve you. Everyone tips differently EVEN in restaurants!!! Just ask a waitress or bartender. There are simple guidelines that are kind of grey that people follow. Yet, with weddings, it's a little more grey than we would like them to be. 

Ok, so before I go any further let's get really serious about this for a moment. Tipping is gratuity.. and gratuity means you are showing you are grateful for something, right? So, think about who went "above and beyond," especially when it comes to the vendors who are not in the food and beverage service category. It doesn't matter if the vendor is the owner, self-employed, or a staff member. If your wedding planner, hair stylist, DJ,  photographer (yes, I had to put it in there ha!),  and/or any other vendor has not only met but went beyond what you had thought they would do for you and made your life and/or wedding easier and/or better and/or happier, then TIP if you want to!! And I can't say this enough, your tip doesn't HAVE to be cash!!!! It can be a gift!!! 

First and foremost - Designate someone as your "Tipster" that one person to hand out your tips!! I would suggest that be your Wedding Planner. If you don't have one for your entire wedding planning process then get a "Wedding Planner" for the Day that will be there for you to handle all the little details for you!! If you decide not to do that then designate your "tipster" to be someone you trust and know that will be sober the entire day and you trust that can handle all the payments and etc. that way you don't have to worry about paying you vendors and you can enjoy your day. 

Secondly, sit down two days before the wedding and make out all the final payments and etc that you will need to do the day of the wedding and put them in envelopes labeled with the correct vendor and amounts on the front. It's also super sweet if you put a thank you note inside. Then if you ARE going to do a tip and/or a gift, do that in a SEPARATE envelope/box labeled for each vendor. 

I'll try to give you some simple guidelines and things to think about if you want to do it. AND ONLY do it if your vendors are or HAVE done a STELLAR job for you!!!  With ALL that said let's get to the LIST!!!!!!!!! 

  1.  Hairstylist & Makeup Artist - Brides - Usually these are the first people you deal with on your big day and they are the ones that make you look and feel special on your day. They also make your bridal party look and feel special - 15-20% Kind of like you should be doing when you go to the salon. Wait!! What? you're not tipping at the salon? Shame on you!!!!                                                                                                                                                    
  2. Wedding Officiant -  A typical amount is $50 to $100, separate from any fee you may be charged for the officiant's time. If you belong to a church, your own minister or priest may perform the wedding at no charge. And usually they won't accept tips on these occasions either, if this is the case, you could make a donation to the church, and as an extra thank-you, consider sending something personal, such as a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. If your wedding is performed by a civil employee such as a judge, clerk, or other nonreligious official, then forgo a gratuity. They may not be able to accept it by law.                                                                                                                                                                     
  3. DJ - Tips are common with wedding DJs. If your DJ kept the wedding on schedule and played a great selection of music - $25-$50 is acceptable to tip them but keep in mind they usually are getting tips from your guests also.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  4. Catering, Wait Staff, & Bartenders - They are usually the most thought of and this is because tipping food and beverage service staff is "normal".  However, if you see "service charge" on your contract. It doesn't always mean gratuity. . Many catering companies apply a service charge towards their overhead and it is not given to the servers themselves. If your contract doesn't include gratuity, you should tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. Another way to tip is offering $30 to $50 for each chef/cook and $20 to $50 per server.                                                                                    
  5. Dress Fitter, Alterations or Seamstress - I would say ONLY if she comes to you on the DAY of your wedding AND/or DOES A STELLAR JOB!!!  $30-$50 or a small gift                                                                                                                                                                                      
  6. Live Musicians - Musicians do not expect tips, but if they were exceptionally popular with the guests, you can tip $10-$20 per musician.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  7. Transportation - Limo drivers, horse-drawn carriages, chauffeurs, etc. will usually include gratuity in their transportation fees. If not, the normal tip suggested is 15-20% percent of the bill. Leave it with them at the end of the evening or the end of transportation.                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  8. Wedding Planner - Your planner has already charged you a set fee and won't likely expect a tip. I can't stress this enough if their day-of-work was especially out of this world, you can show your appreciation with a thank you tip. Since a tip isn't expected and you won't know the planner's full talent until afterward, she or he can be tipped after the wedding (or, if you're leaving the next day, immediately following your honeymoon). Sending a sweet thank you note with an extra tip enclosed will be memorable. I would suggest a range of 15-20% or a really sweet thank you gift!

  9. Photographer - last but not least (in my book of course!!) I know PERSONALLY, I NEVER expect a tip EVER!!! I'm shocked when I get one more than anything!! Here's my advice (and I'm probably shooting myself in the foot on this hahaha!) You're not required to tip them really.. it's nice if you do.. but really aren't required to. If you feel the need to then giving them an extra $50 to $200 is a nice gesture. If there are two or even three shooters, giving a $50 to $100 tip to each person is optional. And that's ONLY if you feel like they are going OVER and BEYOND what you think they should be doing. You aren't going to know what their work is going to look like until you see the final work unless you have been working with them and had them do your engagement session and etc. So go back and read some of my other blogs for reasons on making sure you have the right photographer for your wedding to begin with!! 

In all seriousness, NONE of these are NECESSARY!!!!  And ALL TIPS DO NOT HAVE TO BE CASH!!!!  I mean  don't get me wrong — cash is great, and everyone loves it. I could get all Scrooge McDuck and go diving in it if I had enough of it!! Instead of it, or in addition to, it can also be very sweet and thoughtful to give a small gift. A gift card with a special thank you note, or maybe a little something that goes along with your wedding theme. (These types of "tips" also work really well for showing gratitude to vendors with whom you really became close). And none of these are hard and fast rules!! Gratuity rules are extremely subjective everyone has their own thoughts and ways of doing things!! Heck Joe and I have our own thoughts on it!! 

I know that's a lot to take in!! And like I said, there's not hard and fast rules on it. Just keep in mind these last tidbits. Tips/Gratuity as far as wedding vendors is NOT expected!! It IS appreciated!!! And if any of your wedding vendors have not only met but went above and beyond what you expected of them, then PLEASE show your appreciation in whatever way, shape or dollar amount feels right for you!! Gratitude, however it is expressed, is always a  BEAUTIFUL thing!!! 

Love, Light, and Blessings to you and yours, 


JNT Humes Photography, LLC 

As Seen in The Knot Magazine