am i expected to tip my photographer or other wedding vendors?
You would probably never go to a restaurant & fail to tip your waitress, right? Even if she does a horrible job of serving your table, it is common courtesy to leave a tip of at least 15% of your total bill (and if you’re like my husband, you love to leave much larger tips, especially if the waitress did an above-average job).
What about going to get your hair cut? You leave a tip for your hairdresser, right? A few extra dollars to say, “Hey, thanks for not stabbing me with those super sharp scissors” (okay, not really, you love your hairdresser, right? I know I do!)
It just seems common courtesy to tip certain people. The pizza delivery guy, your taxi driver, the guy who valet parks your car – a tip is simply assumed.
But what about your wedding vendors?
And specifically, your wedding photographer? Should you tip them? If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times – brides asking on Facebook groups & popular wedding forums: “Do I need to tip my vendors? The DJ? The baker? The florist? The photographer?” And the responses are almost always split straight down the middle: some folks saying, “Absolutely yes” and others saying, “Absolutely no.”
The most common reason I see cited for not tipping a vendor is that a lot of wedding vendors own their own business, and you should not tip if that is the case. They say all sorts of nonsense like, “They add a tip into your final price, so there is no reason to give them an additional tip.” Or, “They are the owners of the business, and you don’t tip business owners, only employees.”
These statements always boggle my mind. Maybe there are actually some vendors who do add in a “gratuity” line on their invoice. Just like, certain restaurants will automatically add a certain “gratuity” to the final bill if your party is over a certain number of people (certainly not based on the quality of their service!). In fact, the thought of adding in a “tip” never even occurred to me until I started seeing that some actually do add it on!
So am I suggesting that you do tip your wedding photographer & other wedding vendors?
Here’s my take on tipping: if a vendor has gone above & beyond for you, then yes, please feel free to tip them. If they showed up early and then stayed later than they charged you for, if they have stepped in & helped in a capacity outside of what they were hired to do, if they were helpful in any of the planning process & always there to answer questions (even if they weren’t directly related to what they were hired for), if they did more to be of service than most other vendors would have – then yes! By all means, a tip shows your appreciation & acknowledgement of that person going above & beyond (because, unfortunately, not every vendor goes above & beyond.)
Do you have to give them a tip though? No – most wedding vendors do not expect to receive a tip at the end of the night – I certainly don’t! And if you’ve maxed out your budget, additional gratuity money is simply not there or you tipped but not as much as you would have liked to...there are other ways you can show your appreciation!
Leave 5-star super positive reviews on every wedding vendor platform you can think of: the business’s Google page, their Facebook page, Wedding Wire, The Knot, and certain wedding groups & forums have places for you to say how impressed you were with your vendors. Send them an email with a review that they can copy to their website. Sing their praises from the rooftops!
Tell everyone you know about how amazing your wedding vendors were – especially newly engaged friends! Additionally, I’ve seen brides jump on forums & Facebook groups after their wedding & tell everyone how amazing their vendors were – positive feedback in a place where other brides & grooms will see it is always so helpful!
Send them a little gift in the mail – maybe the night of the wedding, you simply forget to get tips together, or your budget is maxed at that point in time. But, then you go back to work, get a paycheck or two, and begin to have some extra money again. At the very least, a hand-written thank you card after the wedding is a beautiful gesture of thanks (and if you really want to give a gift, slipping a gift card into that card is super easy).
Continue to support your wedding vendors – even after your wedding day! Follow their blog & their social media accounts, ‘like’ their posts, and leave them comments. Trust me, those little things go a long long way in supporting your small-business wedding vendors!
If you decide that you do want to tip your wedding vendors with cash on the wedding night, I highly recommend that you delegate that task ahead of time. Put each tip in an envelope & label it with the vendor’s name & then hand those envelopes off to a bridesmaid or close friend. Wedding days fly by & the last thing you want to have to remember is to walk around & tip your vendors at the end of the night.
Lastly, if you want to give your wedding vendors a little something extra, but forget to get it together or simply forget to deliver it on the wedding day, make sure to follow through after you get back from your honeymoon & mail it over to them!
So, should you tip your wedding vendors? It’s completely up to you! It isn’t required or expected, but if a wedding vendor has gone above & beyond for you, a tip simply shows your appreciation & acknowledgment of that action.