A common question asked by brides, grooms, parents and anyone else who may be involved in planning a budget wedding is ”Should you tip wedding vendors?” Often this is something most people don’t think about until the day of the wedding, and then they panic. You’ll want to be prepared ahead of time to avoid confusion and to be sure your wedding goes smoothly. This article will help you determine who gets a tip and how you should tip them.
Avoid the Confusion by Reading the Contract
Wedding vendors know that collecting payment on the wedding day is bad idea. There is so much going on that trying to coordinate payments just adds to the confusion. For this reason, most wedding vendors specify their prices ahead of time and put the total in writing as part of the contract. Most vendors do not expect any additional gratuity on top of that price. Payments are made in advance so that the people planning and participating in the wedding don’t need to worry about who gets paid, how much, etc. on the wedding day. If gratuity is expected, it is usually included in the price and specified in the contract as a line item.
You are usually not expected to tip your wedding vendors on top of the contract price unless it is otherwise specified in the contract. However, if a vendor goes above and beyond or the service is exceptional, it never hurts to show your appreciation with a little something extra. If a vendor solves a problem or provides a service that falls outside of the scope of your original contract, a tip is a great way to show your appreciation.
When Gratuity is Included in the Contract Price
Often caterers or hotels will include the gratuity for the waitstaff, bartenders, etc. in their contract pricing. This means that you pay a pre-determined amount based on the number of guests that will attend your wedding. In this case, you and your guests are under no obligation to tip at the event unless you feel so inclined. Be sure to ask your vendors ahead of time if gratuity is included in the price before signing the contract. You certainly wouldn’t want to sign your contract for catering and then find out later that you owe an additional 20% gratuity on top of the vendor’s price. Read about negotiating with wedding vendors
When Gratuity is Not Included in the Contract Price
If gratuity is not included in the vendor’s contract price, be sure to ask whether it is expected. If the answer is yes, then here is a cheat sheet for tipping your vendors:
- For catering, bar staff, and servers, plan to tip 15-20% of the total bill for food and beverage.
- Limousine drivers should also be tipped 15-20% of the total price, however most car services include the tip in their contract.
- For any deliveries, you should also count on tipping $10-20 for any drivers or delivery people such as floral delivery, wedding cake delivery, etc., These tips are usually not included in the contract price, so plan accordingly.
- Valets, bathroom attendants and other service providers — It is customary for the host to take care of these tips, so plan to tip $1 for each guest in attendance. Tip these providers ahead of time and ask that any tip jars or baskets are put away. Also let your guests know that you’ve taken care of everything so that they will not feel obligated to tip.
Try to limit having to tip on the the day of the wedding. You have a lot going on and that will be one less thing to worry about. However, carry a wad of money in your wallet anyway. It is embarrassing to find yourself in a situation where someone deserves a tip and you don’t have any cash. Even if you don’t anticipate having a lot of people to tip, it’s a good idea to have extra cash on hand just in case. You can tip wedding vendors at the end of the reception, or you can also mail them a tip after the wedding. If a tip is not required, a sincere thank you note also goes a long way.