As wedding planners, it’s our job to anticipate our wedding couples’ questions before they have a chance to ask. As wedding season starts to ramp up here, we wanted to compile a quick wedding vendor tipping guide for those of you who are finishing off your budget in the next couple of months. It really is a question we get constantly as wedding dates start to sneak up! If you haven’t been working with a wedding planner, tipping can seem like an unexpected or unplanned for expense. Although tipping is usually never required (outside of a catering contract), it’s a great way to show appreciation for the vendors who go above and beyond to make your wedding day everything you dreamed of.
If you are getting married in 2021 and are not working with a wedding planner yet, we highly recommend you look at booking the Savannah wedding planning package here. It’s similar to a “day of coordinator” or “month of” package, but it has extra support which we all need this year! If you are just starting to plan your wedding, and are quickly overwhelmed by just how much there is to do, you can find more details about our full wedding planning and design services here.
Although it seems like tipping a percentage would be the easiest way to decide on an amount, it usually isn’t practical. When we look at vendors like the band, tipping based on a percentage can get very costly. Even someone like the florist, a percentage tip based on the overall cost might be quite high because the product and service is typically included in the same line item. The only time you might tip by percentage is in the case of a caterer, where a gratuity percentage is often mandatory. For other vendors, it is uncommon.
Instead of a percentage, we recommend choosing a flat rate, between $50-$200+ based on the involvement of the vendor. For example, for something like a cake designer, you may not have an extended relationship with them over many months of planning. Likely, you met once or twice, paid their rate, and they delivered. In a situation like that, a tip between $25-$50 would be appropriate.
When we compare that to the photographer or wedding planner (where the relationship is much more involved and extends for almost the entire wedding planning journey), a larger tip is typically more appropriate. Don’t get me wrong, tipping is never required but it really is always appreciated. Most of us have found ourselves in the wedding industry because we really love what we do. We eat, sleep, breathe making your day as incredible as possible. You have our heart and soul for an entire year.
The most common wedding vendors to be tipped are your planner, your beauty team (hair stylists and makeup artists), your photographer/videographer, your entertainment staff and your officiant. Catering staff will almost always be included in the bill and you should only tip extra if the staff really goes above and beyond. If you have an open bar, make sure your invoice includes gratuity for the bartenders and confirm whether or not additional gratuity is often expected (this can be a grey area). If you have a limo or car rental, you should be tipping the driver as well.
If you have questions about tipping and are in the local Georgia, South Carolina or North Carolina areas, make sure to get in touch here. Tipping can vary from region to region but I genuinely hope this blog post provided some food for thought as to where to start. If you are currently planning your wedding and are looking for someone to help you manage the wedding day so you can be fully present, make sure to reach out about our wedding day management package. If you are just getting started in your wedding planning journey, first – Congratulations! You can learn more about our team here, our wedding planning packages here, and check out photos of real Georgia weddings here. We are a full service wedding planning company over here! When you are ready to get in touch, get in touch here.