Especially in the south, we’re all about the etiquette! Southern manners have etiquette built right in. But what happens when you want to do the proper thing…and don’t know what you’re supposed to do?
Tipping at the wedding is one of those times for many southern brides. You’ve heard that you’re supposed to hand out tips, but who gets them? How much? And when is the proper time to hand it out?
Today on the blog, we’re diving into some wedding tip etiquette guidelines to give you an idea of what’s standard. You’ll find a breakdown of who to tip, a general idea of how much and when, and grab a few bonus tips to help out.
As with a lot of traditional wedding practices, the lines of tipping at modern weddings have become a little blurred. No longer do all the “you must” and “you must not” wedding rules apply.
General rule of thumb: if a vendor owns his/her own business, tipping isn’t necessary. If someone is the employee of someone else, tipping is more likely to be expected (but still not absolutely required).
Like always, tipping is (or should be) a sign of appreciation. Even with these guidelines, tipping isn’t absolutely required. There are a few instances when it may be expected by the vendor, so be consider of that. Hair and makeup, transportation, bartending, and catering are services where tipping are somewhat expected. For this reason, gratuity is often included in the final bill. If not, you’ll want to consider doing so yourself.
Even if a tip isn’t technically required, consider tipping vendors who really went above and beyond for you. Especially if they’ve been working with you in the months leading up to the wedding – like your planner – it’s really thoughtful to show your appreciation.
That doesn’t just go for planners, either. If your cake artist, photographer, videographer, or florist just blew you away with more than you even dreamed, now’s your chance to show how much you loved and appreciated them!
Delegate someone else to be in charge of handing out tips on the wedding day. Stash your cash tip in an envelope, clearly label the outside, and give instructions for when to hand them out to each vendor. Often the wedding planner will be in charge of making sure they get to the right place. Otherwise, a trusted family member or even a groomsman could be delegated for the task.
Guidelines vary quite a bit, especially on who exactly should be tipped. Some expert sources will tell you to tip almost everyone, and others think tipping is completely optional. I did some research and put together a guideline that fits the most popular ideas of etiquette on the topic.
If you simply don’t have the budget to give a cash tip to your favorite vendors, there are other ways to show your appreciation.
1. Write a review
Writing a kind and detailed review for your vendors is always appreciated and doesn’t cost anything! WeddingWire, The Knot, Google, and any other wedding website you used are great options for reviews.
Go above and beyond by copying your Wedding Wire review and also posting it to Google and The Knot. It literally takes 10 extra seconds, and it will help your vendors out!
2. Send a heartfelt thank you note to your vendors
Tell them what you appreciated most about their services and that you were thankful to have them as part of your wedding. It will make their day!
3. Give a gift
A thoughtful gift instead of a cash tip gives you more creativity in showing your appreciation. If you know a little about them personally, find something that reflects something they love. Their dog, traveling, coffee, cooking. Jump on their website or Instagram for some ideas. If you can’t think of anything unique, a gift card to a restaurant or local boutique is always a winner.
4. Referrals – tell your friends!
This is even better than any tip you could ever give a wedding professional! A lot of future weddings come from word of mouth from past brides, their families, and their wedding guests. If you loved your vendor, tell your friends why they were an amazing choice. The more specific you are in talking about your experience, the more your friends will be able to envision themselves with that vendor, as well.
1. Check each vendor’s contract (or ask) to see if gratuity is already included. Catering, bar tenders, and transportation often include gratuities in the final bill.
2. The exact amount you give isn’t as important as the gesture. You’ll find slightly different amount suggestions depending on who you ask. Don’t stress much about whether the proper amount is 20% of the total bill or $50 or $100. Take a look at the typical recommended amount, decide what works in your budget, and include a “thank you” with whatever amount you give.
3. If you’re planning to tip the bar tender, valet, or coat attendants, you may want to include a little sign that tells your guests the tip has been taken care of. Your guests may be trying to tip, not knowing that you’ve already done so.
Tipping etiquette can be a little vague, so we hope this give you an idea of what to expect! Tipping is not absolutely mandatory, even when a vendor may be expecting it. You have the freedom to use your judgement!
Use tips to show your appreciation for how a vendor served you on the wedding day and beyond. If you don’t want to offend but aren’t sure what certain vendors are expecting (like your catering staff and hair and makeup artist), you can always ask!
Do you have any tips on the tipping protocol? It varies quite a bit, and we’d love to hear your opinion. Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Looking for more wedding planning tips? We’ve got a whole Tidbit collection just waiting for you to discover – things like 3 Reasons To Have A Private Bride and Groom Meal and Quick Tips For Your Wedding Day Timeline.
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