We get it! As if setting a wedding budget isn’t complicated enough, now you have heard people say you have to include tips?! We are here to help. There are a lot of wedding vendor tipping guides on the internet, but the information below is based on our experience in the past several years of working weddings in the state of Michigan.
You may have already paid some vendors for gratuity without even realizing it. Some of your vendors may actually have it in their contract that they require gratuity though they have not already charged for it. We will flag all the vendors below that are most likely to have this in their contracts but be sure to check! When in doubt, a quick email to the vendor asking for clarification on tips is never a bad idea!
These vendors all will likely expect tips. These are the vendors that fall the most directly into the “service” industry and tipping should be viewed the same as tipping your waiter at a restaurant. The reason for this is that most of these vendors do not own the business and are therefore being paid an hourly wage. These are the people we would highly recommend tipping! Any amount is appreciated but we have included the average ranges below based on our experience.
At a glance:
Consider the amount of work done, distance driven, and total bill. This tip may not be necessary if the business owner is delivering and has already charged a delivery fee.
Straight up. There aren’t really any “ifs ands or buts” here. Think of this just like you are attending a regular hair appointment. If your wedding party is paying for their own, consider encouraging them to tip or asking the manager how much was tipped and filling in any needed yourself.
Be sure to check your service/gratuity fees listed on your invoice. You may have already paid the tip! However, if there are servers bussing tables or manning a buffet line, it can be polite to provide each of them with a small tip. Typically not more than $25/person.
The driver(s) should be tipped no questions asked. They have a very difficult job and gratuity is expected by almost any driver I have met.
While I have listed this under the required section, in my opinion, most people in Michigan consider this optional. I receive tips to pass out to the venue staff less than half the time. Additionally, your venue staff may overlap with the in house catering staff so you may have already paid them as well.
A lot of other wedding websites will tell you NEVER to allow your bartenders to put out a tip jar. I was shocked when I read this because about 75% of the weddings we work have a tip jar and no one blinks twice. I think this may be a regional thing. My personal opinion is that unless it is a black tie wedding, I would expect there to be a tip jar. However, the couple should also offer gratuity to the bartenders but you can decide on the amount based on the presence of a tip jar.
See above, but if you have any wait staff, even if the caterer has already included a service fee, it is nice to give each of these individuals a small tip.
These are the people who will respond “tips appreciated but never expected” when you ask them. When considering if tipping the vendors in the below categories is optional, figure out if they own the business or not. If the vendors below own their own business, a kind Google, The Knot or emailed review can be 10x more valuable than a tip. $50 extra is always welcomed! However, if you want to truly help out these vendors, put a sticky note on your fridge before you leave for the wedding day with a list of all the vendors that you are leaving reviews for instead of tipping. When you get back from your honeymoon, sit down for 30 minutes and write each of these vendors a heartfelt and specific review on their preferred platform and they will be forever grateful! Thousands of potential clients see these reviews and we truly appreciate them!
At a glance:
This vendor is VERY complicated in terms of payment so my best advice would be to ask. If the officiant is a member of the clergy, they may not be able to accept a tip/payment or their payment would be a donation to the church. Please always ask them directly. For professional officiants or friends that are non-clergy, follow the above range if you decide to tip.
Again, as long as this vendor works for themselves rather than a company, a tip is never expected! If you decide to tip, the range above is the most common.
Most photographers own their own business but be sure to check! One special note with photo/video teams is that if you like you may wait until you receive the final product to tip.
Most videographers own their own business but be sure to check! One special note with photo/video teams is that if you like you may wait until you receive the final product to tip.
This amount depends on the amount of work needed so please use your own discretion.
Double check who owns these businesses! In some areas, most DJs/Bands work for themselves. But in our area there are a lot of DJ companies so be sure to double check. We would recommend tipping if you are not working directly with the business owner.
Consider the amount of desserts needed, detail, and whether they were delivered or not.
Consider the amount of floral needed, detail, whether they delivered or not and whether they picked up rentals at the end of the night.
This is the amount we most often receive as a vendor in this category. We receive tips about 50% of the time but they are never expected. I would encourage you to tip if you are working with an employee and not the business owner.
I would consider tipping if the attendant does not own the booth.
With all these *optional* tip vendors, please remember that I am only advising you not to tip them if you commit to leaving a review instead. Some form of thanks or gratuity should be given to each vendor. All I am saying is that the business owner vendors appreciate a review as much as a tip so if you would like to save some money, you can put “leave reviews” on your post-wedding checklist!
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