Ask: Should I tip my wedding vendors?
The most asked wedding question on the internet...
"I'm getting married next year. In discussing things with my fiancé about tipping vendors, we were trying to figure out if we should. Since we are using small businesses, should we still tip? After paying the photographer thousands, should there still be a tip involved? I can understand tipping barstaff at reception, but tipping the Venue? What is your opinion?"
- Brides of 2024, Facebook Group
To be completely honest, I am very against a standard tipping protocol. I don't know why people think they have to tip, but I am going to assume a blog told them they should. So, here is the blog telling you, you shouldn't tip your independently owned vendors.
When to Tip
Tipping tells your vendors they really knocked it out of the park for you, and you really loved how they made you feel. Tip because you want to, not because you think you need to. Especially when these services are costing thousands already, a tip is for someone who needs money to make up for the low wages they make doing a service job, working under someone else. For independent vendors, we are pricing our products to make ends meet for ourselves- not handing over a percentage to a boss.
Tip your photographer by purchasing prints from our stores. We make a little commission, but you get to have your photos printed and displayed in your home. Knowing that my photos are helping someone remember their best day ever brings me more joy than a tip ever could. Send us your save the dates with our photos on them. Text a photo of our photo framed in your house. A tip doesn't have to be monetary, simply knowing you love our work is all we can ever ask for.
Be a Cheerleader
You can't buy prints from your venue, but you can blast how great they were to your friends and family. Post reviews with photos of the venue, wedding planner, or DJ. Refer them to your friends and let everyone you meet know just how great they were. Being a cheerleader for your vendors shows just how much your vendor meant to you, and helps get them more business. That is going to be way more profitable for them than a tip. More often people are going to post something about how bad their vendor was, change the game and post something positive about someone that made you feel special.
Do vendors expect a tip?
A good vendor never expects a tip, and if anyone is going to get upset with you for not tipping, they are not professional. I have never walked away from a shoot wondering why I didn't get a tip. I am always very thankful when I do, because it is how I measure if I went above and beyond for my client. After 4 years, when I get a tip I am still so thankful and surprised.
What percentage should I give for a tip?
So, you still want to give them something, because it just feels right. I wouldn't give anything over $200 in tips regardless for what the cost of their service was. Giving your vendor a gift, a really good review, or even a thank you card is considered just as nice as a tip. The best tip I ever get is seeing my photos printed at the wedding from our engagement session. What a compliment.
There is no standard tipping culture for weddings because it isn't something we really want happening in the industry. Tipping gets controversial, how do you tip one vendor a certain amount, and not the other? Your wedding costs enough, because your vendors are professionals and charge what they need to do the job. We know this, and we don't want to get a tip out of obligation.
I hope this helps you out when deciding to tip, or not.
Best Wishes, Jessi