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Tipping Wedding Vendors

Who To Tip & Who To Skip

Some wedding contracts already included a tip… yet others don’t. How do you know who to tip at your wedding and who has already been taken care of? Has this thought crossed your mind a time or two yet? I know that this is by far one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to financially planning for your wedding.

Today we are going to talk about the two types of services you will be purchasing for your wedding, and how to plan for the tipping (even before you start booking anyone).

The subject of tipping can be a difficult topic to tackle because it brings up the confliction of estimating for the actual cost and then the tip. Wedding vendors are broken up into two subgroups – service based businesses and product based businesses like rentals, catering, venue, floral etc.

Product-Based Wedding Vendors

A product based business relies on a team of people (at least 3) to deliver, assemble, disassemble, and remove what you’ve purchased from them. These businesses often charge by the item you are reserving from them for example, tables for the reception or a tent. You are charged for the table rental or tent fee plus the cost of labor.

This is the type of business you are most likely to find a service fee to be included in the final total, usually in the form of a percentage like 20%.

Service-Based Wedding Vendors

Service based businesses are solo entrepreneurs who may have a helper along with them. This includes photographers, videographers, entertainers, coordinators, calligraphers, and planners. With these contracts that person is committing a significant amount of their own time to ensuring that your service is the best it can be. The cost is often on the higher end, but they will specialize in the one thing you need them to do… enabling them to have a much better quality.

Gratuity or a service fee is not typically included in the final price point with your service based contracts. These people take high pride in the work they produce for you and in respect perform with hopes you will love their service and provide a tip later.

But wait, if they’re working for themselves, doesn’t that mean I’m paying them twice by tipping too?

As a service based business owner, the person performing get’s paid a fraction of what you are actually paying for the service, much like when you go to work for someone else. The remaining 60% – 80% goes to pay taxes, fees, for equipment, and business needs… all of the not so glorious requirements for owning a business. The tip you provide is exactly that, a tip that the service provider get’s to keep as their job well done – just like waiting tables.

Tipping Wedding Vendors

Industry standard for services is typically 20% of the total bill. So what do you do if you read that and shuttered inside… Feeling confident about tipping your service people starts before you ever hire them – at the budgeting stage.

Before you take the step to sign ANY contracts or do ANY shopping at ALL, it’s critical to have a clear and reliable wedding budget that you can continue to come back to time and time again. The one step that many brides struggle with (or skip all together) is breaking down the budget to be realistically manageable.

This topic is one that I could go on for hours with, so I’ll spare you the time now!

Before you do anything, work out a budget you can comfortably afford, and subtract 20% right off the top. This will take care of ALL service charges and tips you’ll make later. Then, break the remaining balance down between everything on your shopping list and you’re ready to go shopping!


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