One of the most rewarding and challenging moments in life is one’s wedding day. Whether you are the bride, the groom, a family member or a friend, you understand how overwhelming it may be to plan a wedding. Many miscellaneous expenses can be overlooked, including gratuities for vendors. Most couples have a strict budget that they must adhere to. If these expenses and tips are overlooked, it can quickly create a massive budget issue.
Proper Vendor Etiquette
Some vendors you may have more in depth conversations and interactions with than others. Below highlights what you may expect from each vendor you will come in contact with for your wedding.
You can expect your hairdressers, makeup artists, and nail technicians to request a practice day with you. It is in your best interest to do the practice day. It showcases the specific stylists’ talents and can reveal if your expectations are being met before the big day. Likely, this process will take a few hours for both the practice day and the day of the wedding.
Your DJ or band will likely do most interacting with you via phone or internet. You or he/she may request at least one in-person meeting, but it is not required. The DJ should have playlists as examples and should give you a form for special request songs, such as walking into the reception, the father-daughter dance, and the first dance as a couple. The band should have a set list together, and the band should be able to provide you with either a recorded demo or the ability to preview them live. If there are any special songs you need the band to play, it is important you let them know as soon as possible so they have ample time to learn the music.
Your photographer is going to be a lot like the DJ or band in that you will likely not meet before the wedding. Of course, an in-person interview is quite alright, but it is not necessary if your photographer has a decent portfolio put together. Likely, you will not spend much time with this person until your wedding day.
The wedding planner or consultant is optional, though I’d recommend at least having a bridesmaid in charge as a Day of Coordinator to make sure the event goes smoothly. The wedding planner or consultant will need to know you extremely well. They need to be able to understand your specific vision for the wedding in order to make decisions on your behalf. The wedding planner may think daisies and forget-me-nots would be perfect for your country-themed wedding, but they would be a disaster for someone allergic to daisies. He/she will likely have around 5 or so options available for each separate necessity for the wedding, but both you and the wedding planner will be frustrated if he/she is way off base due to lack of communication. In actuality, you’ll be dealing with this person quite frequently. It is also acceptable to get this person a personalized gift. As much as they will be getting to know you, you will likely be getting to know them, as well.
Venue attendants are likely optional. Even though guests are probably used to tipping bartenders and wait staff, some companies either have gratuity built into the contract and therefore included in the final price or they pay their staff well enough that gratuity is frowned upon. It is important to thoroughly read each contract for all your vendors, but especially for your attendants.
Your wedding cake and dinner catering service will likely set you up with taste tests before the big day. If you are overly impressed with the cake, it is acceptable to tip the baker or decorator, but not required. Your catering service likely also doesn’t require a tip, but if they did an exceptional job with keeping up with guests you may tip the employees.
Your venue likely will not have set up or take down service and it will be up to you to provide the manpower for that. More often, they are just renting the space. It is not necessary to tip the venue unless it is a place of worship. Usually, there is a set amount of $100-$500 accepted as a donation.
Your florist will probably not meet you before the wedding. However, if the florist goes above and beyond the package deal as described or provides a stunning display, you may feel it necessary to show gratitude. This is acceptable, however, try to keep it around 10% of the total cost.
In order for your dress to be as stunning as possible, you will probably have multiple alterations done up until the wedding day. If your tailor works extremely hard for you and exceeds deadlines, you may show appreciation in a tip. Some seamstresses already charge gratuity, however, so be careful not to double tip.
Should I Tip My Wedding Vendor?
When it comes to tipping with all vendors, be sure you are tipping the employees who actually did the work. Some business owners are hands-on and do the work themselves. However, be careful not to tip the business owner while leaving the person responsible for the great work left in the dark.
A full list of vendors that are expecting a tip are:
· Wedding Planner/ Coordinator (10% or a nice gift)
· Hair stylists, makeup artists, nail technicians (15-25%)
· Delivery personnel and set up staff ($5 per person)
· Ceremony Officiant ($100-$500)
· DJ or band ($20 per musician or $100 for 1 DJ)
· Photographer ($50)
· Drivers, bartenders, wait staff, other attendants ($5 per person or 15% of total bill to split)
All others are optional, but take into consideration any special favors or extraordinary service you may be provided.
Hidden Costs You Need to Be Aware Of
Add 5% on the top of your budget for miscellaneous expenses. If total for everything is $10,000, budget out $500 for extraordinary service tips or for miscellaneous expenses that may come up. For example, maybe your perfect heels snagged the bottom of your dress and you need to call in an emergency seamstress. Or perhaps you felt the need to tip the DJ 20% instead of 15% since he somehow found that live cover you love. Also, don’t forget about travel expenses to the shop, shipping and insurance, gown preservation, undergarments and many other atypical costs that could be incurred.
You have done your research, including reading this article, and you are going to be well prepared. Considering how much a wedding costs, it’s important to enjoy your special day. It likely comes just once in a lifetime. While there are many stressful decisions that need to be made, the point of the wedding is to begin your life with the one you love in eternal happiness. Remember to smile and have fun while you celebrate with the family and friends you love most.