by: Lauren

“Should I tip my vendors?” It’s an age-old question, but there’s not much information out there on it to help you all decide. I remember I myself had no idea about whether or not I should tip my vendors (Lauren the clueless bride strikes again).

Thursday Tips: Tipping Vendors via

There’s really no right or wrong answer to whether or not you tip your vendors. It’s really just guidelines to follow, and if you want to, then that’s great! Here are a couple guidelines to remember and consider when you’re thinking of tipping your vendors…


1. First and foremost, it’s all up to you and of course the service that you receive from the vendor. Know that tipping is never required. It’s always a nice surprise of course, but it’s never expected.

2. You’ll definitely want to know if a tip of some sort has already been included in your total. If there is an extra charge, ask what it goes towards. Caterers and venues tend to include a gratuity for their servers and bartenders in your final costs, but ask them to make sure! Often times for some vendors there can be a “service fee”, but it usually goes to operating costs for things to happen correctly on your wedding day and it’s not considered as a tip (ie paying employees, equipment rentals, etc).

3. Think of it as if you were tipping a server at a restaurant. You would tip them 15%, 20%, etc of the total bill, right? The amount that you tip would depend on the level of service they provided you as well. But what if you’re in a party of 8 or more and gratuity was included? Then you’re not as likely to tip them on top of that.  A wedding vendor is providing you with a service as well, so follow that same thought process with your vendors.


I’ve had some vendors tell me that when they receive a tip, they just turn around and use it to buy the bride and groom a gift and essentially are sending the tip right back. I’ve also had some tell me that they’ll give it to whoever was there to help them at the wedding. But the one thing that every wedding pro answered with when I asked about tipping was that it’s a nice surprise, but never expected.

Vendors, if you have any other thoughts or guidelines about tipping, share them in the comments! And brides, if you’re trying to decide and need some help, comment and we’ll help you decide!

{You can find more Tips & Advice, on the ELD Wedding Planning page!}

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Thursday Tips: Tipping Vendors via


Founder & Editor at Every Last Detail
Lauren Grove is the editor and owner of Every Last Detail. A clueless bride-turned-wedding planner, Lauren uses her experiences and knowledge to educate and inspire brides all over the world.

9 responses to Thursday Tips: Tipping Vendors

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  1. Precious Occasions Event Planning

    I definitely agree that it is up to the couple on whether or not they want to tip their vendors but it is almost required and expected when a vendor provides a service to you. I wrote a blog entry about suggested amounts to tip vendors a couple of months ago which you can check out here –

  2. Birds of a Feather Events

    I would say this holds true for everyone except the caterer and the bartenders, please tip them. For everyone else, yes, it’s just an added bonus. I personally love it when my clients give me personalized gifts, it reminds me of how well we got to know each other during the planning process – cash is less personal. :)

  3. ryan

    while i never turn down a tip, i certainly do not expect it. honestly as a photographer i agree with the previous commentor. please tip your bartenders. : )

  4. Kristine G.

    This is such a disputed topic, I feel. I’ve actually been researching tipping suggestions the past week (so, great timing on this post, Lauren!). Reading your perspective was a breath of fresh air. If tipping isn’t expected by most vendors, then maybe I can give more personal gifts/thank yous to those vendors who I’ve developed a relationship with. Instead of it being a rule of etiquette, a gift can actually convey my sincere thanks for going above and beyond and making my wedding such a special, and stress-less, day. Thanks, Lauren!

  5. Birds of a Feather Photography, LLC

    We actually just discussed this with a couple during their initial consultation. We told them “do not tip us!”… As the owners of our small company we directly benefit from the cost of our services. There is no need to tip us. Our clients are supposed to love our work, and be pleased with our services. We do however love a great review, personalized token of appreciation, or letter. Those things come from a close relationship and that’s what we strive for. Great read Lauren!

  6. Rozenia Lamell via Facebook

    Thanks for posting this one – such a tough decision for some vendors once the servers/bartenders are tipped.

  7. Nicole

    We ALWAYS say in the business…it’s not expected, but always appreciated. I own a catering company that does NOT charge a service fee. If your work is good the success of the evening is gratifying enough.

  8. Linda (a Bride)

    As a photographer, I never expect a tip, but when I do get one it is a nice surprise.

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