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Wedding Vendor Tipping 101

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Photography courtesy of Tara McMullen Photography. Planning by Shealyn Angus, Shealyn Angus Weddings & Events.

Your wedding vendors are the amazing people who make your day happen and run seamlessly so you can enjoy it. You have built out your wedding budget to account for all the services costs, but have you budgeted in vendor tipping?

Shealyn Angus, Principal Planner at Shealyn Angus Weddings & Events, says this is definitely something you need to consider and plan for. “Yes, you should tip, but in my opinion, there is a varying scale as to who will expect a tip, who will appreciate a tip, and how much is appropriate.”

Below is Angus’ guide to wedding vendor tipping.

Who will expect a tip?
An easy way to categorize who will expect a tip is to consider the similar services on a wedding day that you experience in “regular” daily life: hair stylists, makeup artists, limo drivers, bar staff and servers. Most of the time catering and venue contracts will stipulate an included gratuity—make sure you read through your invoices and contracts to confirm this. Otherwise, tipping these service-based vendors 15-20% is common and appreciated.

Angus said in the category of entertainment, band members land slightly in the middle of the “expect versus appreciate” categories. On any given night if the band was performing at a pub or bar, they will typically take cash tips, but weddings don’t typically call for a tip jar. Instead, consider offering each band member a monetary tip ($30-$70 per member is typical) and perhaps the DJ slightly more for keeping that dance floor grooving late into the night.

Who will appreciate a tip?
Your creative vendors will always appreciate a tip as a thank you post-wedding. Your photographer, videographer, planner (s), designers, catering manager (and any of their assistants) are all people who will not expect but appreciate a tip. A thank you card and a gratuity is always a surprise and delight moment for these hard-working vendors. Gratuities for these creatives typically range from $100-$500+. A physical gift is also a lovely way to thank these vendors if monetary tips are not your preference. Remember, there are no rules when it comes to tipping—it’s personal and should come from a place of gratuity instead of forced expectation.

Angus shares a valuable point to remember here when dealing with tipping business owners: the idea of not tipping because they own the business is false. Giving credit where credit is due should not hinge upon their position in the company.

When to tip?
Angus recommends if you have a wedding planner, they are the best person to handle tipping and the distribution of gratuities. Seal your thank you cards and tips inside labelled envelopes and allow your planner to distribute on the wedding day. Or, if you prefer to mail your vendors their thank you cards and gratuities post-event, that works too. A little mail love is always a nice surprise!

What is the most valuable tip you can give?
A referral! Angus says for any wedding vendor, this is golden. “Trust when I say your referral of vendor services to a friend or family is absolutely invaluable!”

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