A lot of couples might not be aware that while tips are never mandatory, they are customary for your wedding vendors as in any service industry. Below are a few helpful guidelines to tipping on your wedding day.
When to Tip: Who? How Much?
When you are dining out and receive amazing service, it is customary to tip your waiter or waitress well. The same concept applies to your wedding vendors, including the DJ or band, your wedding planner, the caterer, the bartenders, the florist, party bus/limo company chauffeurs, photographer and anyone else who went above and beyond to make every detail of your wedding a memorable one. You could show gratitude by giving a reasonable gift to the band along with an American Express gift certificate for an extra $100. For your wedding planner, a bottle of their favorite wine with a gift certificate to show your appreciation would be perfect. There are some vendors who you may tip the standard 15-20% gratuity and typically those are the bartenders, waiters and party bus/limo company chauffeurs. For a wedding ceremony officiant, you can also donate to the church for their services or if you hired someone to come out, a 15-20% tip is acceptable. These small tokens of gratitude go a long way.
When Not to Tip
There are reasons not to tip, besides not receiving great service. Before your wedding day, when you choose to hire a certain band, caterer, photographer or party bus/limo company, you typically sign a contract. Review all the contracts you signed with each of your wedding vendors. In a lot of cases, tips are built into the total price. If you choose to tip above and beyond the built in gratuity, that is completely up to you. In the case that the wedding planner had to put out a number of fires on your wedding day but in their contract the gratuity was already built in, perhaps a small gift of appreciation would go further than a monetary one. The same goes for the caterer, photographer or the florist.
Another time that a tip is not necessary is when you are working directly with the owner of the business. If the vendor you chose to work with is also the owner like a photographer or DJ, you should not feel obligated to tip them. If you do choose to reward them for amazing service, that is completely up to you. A small gift or thank you note would also be completely acceptable.
When deciding to tip or not to tip your wedding vendors, keep in mind the above helpful hints. Assign the tipping tasks to a trusted person on the day of your event like the best man, your parents or your wedding planner. This will prevent you from personally walking around with envelopes and gifts on your wedding day. It is also worth noting that for wedding vendors like the caterer, wait staff, bartenders, bathroom or coat room attendants, you do not have to tip after the event. Some may choose to tip before the event and this usually encourages staff members to go above and beyond throughout your reception. Remember to reward great service that made your wedding day truly special!
The author, Dane Kolbaba, is an owner at Denver Party Ride, a luxury transportation company located in Denver, Colorado. While specializing in weddings and other special life events, Denver Party Ride has lots of experience working with brides and grooms, wedding planners, and officiants. They have become a trusted source for anything wedding related.