How to Tip Wedding Vendors in 2019

Plus, why some contracts include tips and others don't.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

A flat 20% is a few thousand dollars more out of your pocket, so how do you plan to tip wedding vendors? This is the number one struggle couples face later on after learning how to plan their dream wedding with many blank spaces. Unfortunately, it’s one of those hidden wedding costs that could break the bank.

Tipping your team is an essential piece of the wedding planning puzzle. However, it’s not something that should be an afterthought if you’re looking to stay within any kind of budget. Instead, there are a few mindset shifts you need to make early on when you start planning to really stay in control of that wedding budget all the way to the tipping point. 

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 within your wedding budget. Instead, it creates the flexibility to spend it in other, more efficient ways.

How to Tip Wedding Vendors in 2019

When you go out to dinner with your fiance, do you leave a tip for the waiter or waitress when you’ve finished? Or are you the type to just bounce. I’d like to believe that the majority of us would leave a tip, especially if they worked hard and took good care of us.

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

Product-Based Vendors

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

Teams of at least 3 people 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 required 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

On a detailed ‘behind the scenes’ level of why you’re being billed the price, you’re paying. 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 they do to prepare for, the day-of, & after your special day.

This category typically includes:

  • Wedding photographers
  • Makeup Artists (Be sure to also follow a custom pre-wedding skincare plan)
  • Wedding planners
  • Wedding day-of coordinators
  • Calligraphers
  • Entertainers
  • Event designers

But why should you tip a service if they’re doing the work themselves? That’s like paying them twice, right? 

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

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

  • 40 hours (sometimes more) of this persons’ time (100+ for planners)
  • 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, and typically you won’t see a tip written into their wedding contracts either. Instead, they’re hoping to have one gifted to them as a job well done. 

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.

Where are you in the booking process? 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? 

What if you haven’t started booking yet?

Planning to Tip Wedding Vendors (Before Hiring)

If you haven’t booked any or all of the vendors just yet, then great! You’ve got the ultimate opportunity to plan for “all-inclusive” tips straight away. Mapping out each budget line item such as:

  • Cost of choosing a venue
  • Getting your marriage license
  • Event Insurance
  • Setting up your wedding website
  • The cost for a tent (if you’re having an outdoor wedding)
  • Smaller parties you’ll be hosting such as an engagement party
  • The wedding vendor categories: for example, hiring a wedding day coordinator
  • The attire you’ll be covering such as yours, his, maybe even the bridal party

Plan a comfortable & reliable wedding budget. Then subtract 20% to cover the service charges & tips you’ll make later. Don’t forget to make time to plan out your wedding vendor reviews aswell. 

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:

  • Unplanned expenses 
  • Plan B’s for an outdoor wedding venue’s
  • Involved family member thank you gifts

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.

Be sure to screenshot this post if you liked it & post it up on your Instagram stories and tag me @EmilyJanick so I can follow on your journey too!

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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