If you are like most couples, managing the wedding day budget is a top concern, whether you are spending a little or a lot. One question our clients ask us often is how many dollars to set aside for tipping vendors on the big day. Here we present some facts about gratuities that you might not have considered when drawing up your budget spreadsheet (but should).
The general rule of thumb for tipping any vendor is 20% of the cost of the overall service. This amount is definitely at your discretion, however, and any amount you decide to tip will be greatly appreciated by your team of vendors. Here are our recommendations for who to tip and how much:
1) Any personal grooming service on the day-of
Shave and a haircut for him, makeup and hairstyle for her. These and personal services like them will necessitate a gratuity on top of the charge for the service itself. This also goes for nail appointments, massages, spa treatments, spray tans, and anything else you might schedule to keep you looking your best on the big day. Stick to the industry standard 20%, or more if you feel extra good-looking because of their work!
2) Your bridal attendant
Many venues and/or caterers will assign one person as y our bridal concierge on site at the reception to take care of any personal needs you and your new spouse may have. Keeping a fresh beverage in your hand throughout the night, making sure you have a bite to eat, and tracking down a more comfortable pair of shoes when the dancing gets going (plus so much more) - you should plan on including a gratuity for the person keeping a sharp eye on you all night! The amount you give is completely at your discretion, and we recommend anywhere from $50-$100 is generous.
3) The limo and bus drivers
Get me to the church on time! While many transportation contracts often include a "service charge," this does not guarantee that the driver assigned to you by dispatch on the day of will see any of that fee. We always recommend our clients plan to include a tip for each driver involved in moving people to and from on the big day. If something pops up en route to the ceremony site (here in New Orleans you never know when a spontaneous parade or overdue street construction blocks your path!) your driver is the one responsible for knowing alternate routes and getting you to your location on time. We recommend at least $20 per driver as an appropriate amount. A little gratitude for their efficiency and safety in driving goes a long way!
4) Back of house staff
The service charge from your venue and/or caterer is not a tip, so anything that you give for back of house staff (cooks, bartenders, bussers, servers, dishwashers, etc.) is a tremendous gesture of appreciation. These folks work hard behind the scenes making sure the food and beverage service is top notch. This is super important since this is a touch point that each one of your guests will certainly experience first-hand throughout your event. Our clients typically ask us in advance to tally up how many back of house staff members are scheduled for the day of, and give around $20 or more per staff member on site.
5) On-site coordinator and event manager
There is no other individual working on your event that is more intimately familiar with each and every nuance of your entire day! This is the person with whom you have likely had endless phone call and email correspondence in the many months leading up to the event. When any vendor or guest has a question, this is the person they turn to. Your event manager is behind the scenes on the day of, putting put fires and anticipating issues that may arise. This individual is coming up with solutions to any problems that pop up, big ro small. The stakes are high, the pressure is on, and their calm, cool, collected manner help you rest assured that everything will be seamless and beautiful.
A 20% tip to your event manager is generous, but also a gift of a spa treatment or something thoughtful you know they would enjoy is also appropriate. As a business owner, I'm grateful when our clients tip my staff, and any tip I receive personally I distribute to my invaluable team, because I know my business would not be what it is without their hard work and dedication. It means so much to me when our clients recognize that as well!
7) Anyone you feel went above and beyond the call of duty
Feel free to include a tip or gift to any other vendor not already listed whose contribution has exceeded your expectations. This might be your photographer, who arrived an hour early to begin shooting details, or your florist, who surprised you with a beautiful arrangement at your hotel room when you checked in. Any other person or company that made your day memorable should be considered as well.
Finally, another point worth mentioning is that all of your vendors will certainly appreciate a thoughtfully written thank you note upon your return from the honeymoon. If you are able to find their profile on any online vendor resource platforms, it is a good idea to leave feedback about your experience as well. It will certainly help any future clients looking into your team of vendors, and for potential clients to know that you had a positive experience will go a long way!