One of the most common questions I get from clients is about tipping their vendors. A large majority of event industry professionals are small businesses or entrepreneurs who personally strive to provide excellent service to their clients, sometimes over a period of several months leading up to the event (and especially over 10+ hours on the event day!). Because of that, I know we all appreciate any kind gestures from clients because let’s face it, running a small business doesn’t always guarantee a steady paycheck (hello, pandemic!).
Providing gratuities is very subjective, although there are higher expectations to receive a tip for some services than there are for others. The amount can also vary greatly depending on the level of service and the geographic location of your event (i.e., higher amounts are typical in larger metropolitan areas).
That’s why I’ve created this free guide to help you determine how to tip your vendor team!
Additionally, here are a few more practical tips and reminders to make this part of your event process as painless as possible!
Don’t forget to incorporate the dollar amount for tips into your overall budget early in the planning process. If you have a large vendor team, this number could end up being way more than a couple hundred dollars, and you don’t want to have sticker shock a week before the wedding if you wait until then to calculate the amount!
If you choose to provide monetary tips, cash is preferred over checks, especially for the vendors who choose to split the amount with their team (if separate tips aren’t provided for each of them).
Place tips in individually-sealed envelopes and label the outside with each vendor’s name. Your planner can distribute these at the end of the event or when their services are complete (e.g., earlier in the day for hair and makeup artists). If you don’t have a planner, choose someone trustworthy to distribute the envelopes (best man, father of the bride, maid of honor), or hand them out personally if you prefer!
Importantly, while tips are greatly appreciated, positive online reviews and referrals are other great ways to show your appreciation. They are worth more than you think!
If distributing cash tips is not feasible for you, but you still want to express your appreciation, a thoughtful gift or gift card is also another great option (hint: check their social media accounts for things they may like!).
Remember to share your photos with us too! It’s the primary way many vendors sell their services and not having to track them down from you after the event is a huge help. Just make sure you have your photographer’s permission to do so. Those terms should be laid out in your contract with them. Please also tag us in your social media posts!
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if your vendors deserve something extra, but no matter what you decide, we appreciate you selecting us to be a part of your event!
xo – Alicia
P.S. – There is some advice online that states it is unnecessary to tip the owner of a company, but I advise to the contrary. The nature of a tip is to express gratitude for exemplary service, no matter who performs the work.
For example, if you go to a hair salon, you would not automatically tip the owner, but if the owner is the person who cuts, colors, or styles your hair, then you would leave a tip as you would for any stylist.
I recommend treating your event professionals in the same way. If the person keeping your dance floor packed, or the shooter bending over backward (sometimes literally) to get great photos, or the artist who hangs around to do hair and makeup touch-ups is also the owner of the company, you would appreciate their work just as much as you would have had the services been subcontracted out to another professional.