How to Tip your Wedding Vendors in 2019

The TOP 3 biggest tipping questions answered!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Have you found yourself wondering who to tip on your wedding day? Or how much to tip? Some contracts include tips & gratuities. Yet others don’t, why?

It’s the number one question bride face early on when learning how to plan a wedding, both after & before hiring a team. It also happens to be one of those hidden areas that could break the bank.

For the wedding budget to be effective, you need to know exactly where the money needs to go. Before spending it. Not only this but once you’ve sat down & read through each vendor contract one by one, you’ll start to see a trend happening.

In this post, we’ll be diving into a sort of wedding checklist to help with tipping.

  • Product-based services
  • Service-based services
  • What to do when tips aren’t included in the contract
  • How to plan wedding tips into your budget (before hiring)

Quick disclaimer, using this content won’t save money on your budget. Instead, it creates flexibility for spending in other, more efficient ways.

Each vendor deserves to be tipped for their hard work & dedication to your wedding. Some vendor proposals detail a tip or gratuities line item, many don’t. Let’s get to the rundown, shall we?

Product-Based Vendors

Most of the time you’ll find contracts with included tips are for things like catering, rental companies, & venues. These are product-based services that require large teams to move at a fast pace & efficiently, so the gratuities are built in.

A product-based business usually includes a team of at least 3 people to plan, prepare, deliver, assemble, disassemble, & remove what you’ve purchased. Their fees are calculated based on (but not limited to):

  • A fraction of the items the actual cost of purchasing
  • Total cost per hour, per worker needed on your wedding date
  • Total cost per hour, per worker needed to prepare for your wedding
  • Level of demand for the product at the time of reservation
  • The location of your wedding venue
  • A flat rate of 20% to cover gratuities

This is a far more ‘behind the scenes’ & detailed look at why you’re being billed what you’re paying. However, it’s also a great insight into the wedding businesses that you’re working with. So you can understand how it’s directly affecting your dream wedding results.

Service-Based Vendors

Strait services are typically solo or partnered entrepreneurs with a helper tagging along. These contractors tend to take a high-level of pride in the work their doing to prepare for, on the day-of, & after your special day.

This category typically includes:

  • Wedding photographers
  • Wedding videographers
  • Wedding planners
  • Wedding day-of coordinators
  • Calligraphers
  • Entertainers
  • Event designers

You’re probably thinking “why should I tip a service if they’re doing the work themselves? that’s like paying them twice”.

Like the product-based vendors, these services also have a slew of factors that weigh in on the pricing of the package you actually pay for.

The cost is often on the higher end, but they specialize in the one thing you’re hiring them for… so you get much better quality results. Their fees are calculated based on (but not limited to):

  • 40 hours (sometimes more) of this persons’ time
  • Costs of travel & time for on-site ceremony & reception venue visits (before & during the wedding)
  • Cost of demand for your wedding date (especially holidays & peak wedding season)
  • Length of time on site for the wedding
  • Their attention & time before during & after your wedding – for your questions
  • Plus the 40 – 50% total cost of doing business in the USA

These service providers don’t get to keep that initial check you write either. Typically you won’t see a tip written into the contract, & instead, they’re hoping to have one gifted to them.

The tip you provide is exactly that, a tip that the service provider gets to keep as their job well done – just like waiting tables.

What to do When Tips Aren’t Included in the Vendor Contract

If you’re wondering this, then you likely:

  • Have wrapped up the booking process or are getting pretty close to it.
  • Are in the process of interviewing to book your vendors.
  • Or have booked a few vendors already & are looking to finish soon.

In this case, pinpoint which of these points in the hiring process you are at right now. Then do some reading on any contracts you’ve already gotten.

Which ones include a tip or gratuity? How can you re-structure what’s left of your budget to make up for the remaining tips you’ll be needing?

Feeling confident about tipping your service people starts before you ever hire them – at the budgeting stage. But what if you haven’t started booking yet & you just read that then shuttered inside?

Planning to Tip Wedding Vendors (Before Hiring)

If you’re in this stage & haven’t booked anyone or all of the vendors just yet, then great! You’ve got the ultimate opportunity to plan for “DIY all-inclusive” tips & start planning & mapping out each budget line item such as:

  • Cost of choosing a wedding venue
  • Getting your marriage license
  • Insurance
  • Setting up your wedding website
  • The cost for a tent (if you’re having an outdoor wedding)
  • Any smaller parties you’ll be hosting such as an engagement party
  • The wedding vendor categories you need to hire for such as:
    • Photographers
    • Entertainers
    • Florists (Pro Tip: Aim Higher!)
  • The attire you’ll be covering such as:
    • Yours
    • His
    • The bridal party (If you choose)

Before doing anything, plan a comfortable budget & subtract 20% to cover the service charges & tips you’ll make later. Break the balance down between line item & you’re ready to go shopping!

Keep this handy when you’re actually searching for these wedding vendors.

The bottom line is that you need some mechanics in place to maximize your budget. Real weddings happen & have setbacks from not thinking ahead for things like:

  • Planning for tips
  • Unplanned expenses

What did you think about today’s topic?
Click Here to let me know in the comments! If you have a question you would like me to answer in an upcoming blog post, be sure to drop it there as well.

I read all of your comments & love connecting with you!

Just an average northern Michigan girl chasing some really big dreams helping other women live the happiest day in their life. Working with brides both online & in person using our free Inner Circle email club, 1:1 Bridal Coaching (coach / help you through it), & full-service wedding planning (do it for you). 

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