I haven’t posted a tips for clients post in a while, and this topic has come up a lot recently, since it’s the middle of wedding season.


It’s a touchy subject, and sometimes it gets complicated. I’m going to cover the three main sets of questions I get asked in this post, but if you want to know more, feel free to leave me a note in the comments!

1. Which wedding vendors do you tip?

2. How much do you tip? What constitutes a tip?

3. When should you tip them?

It’s such a minefield. By the time your wedding day rolls around, you’re so broke you don’t want to spend another penny. The thought of adding tips to your wedding total is enough to send anyone into a wedding meltdown.

Rider Ranch Reception // Emily Wenzel Photography

1. Which wedding vendors do you tip? There are a lot of different opinions on tipping.

The traditional view: the prevailing view is that you tip employees and not employers. The barista who makes your coffee gets a tip, but not the wedding planner who owns her business. It’s logical, because business owners set their prices and don’t depend on tips to make ends meet.

My view: I tip any vendor who goes above and beyond the expectations, and I gift friends or family who do me favors. I don’t care if you’re a waitress or the owner of your business, if you’ve done something outside of the standard expectations, then I tip. Your aunt whips up a dozen different desserts for your wedding? Get her a gift. Your stylist gets up to do your hair at the crack of dawn? Tip her — and offer to bring her coffee. :) Your DJ keeps the dance floor rocking so hard he stays an extra 30 minutes to party, no questions asked? Tip him too.


2. How much do you tip? What constitutes a tip? I’ll fall back on the standard here: 10% is always a good starting point. If you’re gifting someone, make sure it’s not a super cheap feeling thing. Buy your aunt a bottle of wine, but not a $2 bottle. [And yes, I know, there are some awesome $5 wines. Many of my favorite wines fall in the under $15 category.]  Maybe you notice that your planner loves funky earrings and see a pair you think she’d love? Do it. Or a cute food related tchotcky for your caterer? Sure.

What is a tip? There is a fine line between a tip and a thank you present in the wedding industry. If it’s easier to think of them as thank yous, that’s fine too. I feel like cash is a tip and gifts are a thank you. That’s just my personal opinion, cultivated from my years in food, retail, and weddings. A thank you gift is often just as (or more) welcome than a cash tip though, so don’t let that stop you!

Methow Valley Wedding Photography

3. When should I tip my vendors? So, we know who we’re tipping — any vendor (or friend) who does something amazing — and that thank you gifts are great option in lieu of tips. The stickiest part of tipping a wedding vendor is when to tip. I’ve gotten tips before the wedding and after. If I’m handed a card or gift the day of the wedding, I thank them and say I’ll open it later. Because I don’t want to feel like the quality of my service depends on the tip. I’m going to give 100% to every client, regardless of whether they tip me. If you are tipping vendors on the day of the wedding, designate a wedding party member or sibling to pass them out. That way you don’t have to worry about where gifts or envelopes have gotten to.

You can send a small gift in the mail too, if you have their address. This part depends on you, and to a certain degree, on your vendors. If it’s something like the DJ mentioned above, which can’t be anticipated, it’s completely fine to send a thank you card, tip or gift after the honeymoon.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on tipping. Did you tip your vendors? What is your personal rule on tipping?