Tips on Tipping

Vendor tipping is a tricky topic I get asked about all the time.  Weddings are so expensive, factoring in an extra couple grand to tip the various vendors the day of seems like a twist of the knife, and it’s hard to know these norms.  Further more, you don’t want to know these norms, because if you don’t know them, then do you really have to adhere to them?  Of course it’s not required, but tipping many vendors is a standard practice.  Here is what I recommend when couples come to me with this question.

Tips on Tipping your Wedding Vendors


Generally speaking caterers are the vendor most likely to have gratuity built in to their price.  Check your contract to see if there is an 15% - 20% gratuity.  If there is, nothing more is necessary, if not, you can factor in tipping 15% - 20% on the day of, or alternatively, you can find out how many staff they are brining and tip by individual, which may be more economical, generally about $100 for catering managers, $50 for chefs and bakers and $20 - $30 for wait staff.


If your officiant if a priest, pastor or rabbi, you can consider donating $50 - $100 to the church in addition to your fee.  If you have a personal relationship with the officiant, then something a little more personal could be nice, for example a local restaurant gift card.  Finally, if using a judge or civil clerk, then it's okay to forego a gratuity. 


Some contracts may include a gratuity for musicians, be sure to check for a "service charge," in which case an additional gratuity is not necessary.  If not included, a small gratuity of $25 for each member or the band or for a DJ is a fine amount.  


Tip hair and make-up artists as you would a regular appointment, 15 - 20%.  Assistants who wash or dry your hair should be tipped $3 - $5.


If your vendors own their own business, it's not necessary to tip them.  However, if the staff onsite does not own their own business tipping $30 - $50 is a reasonable amount for photographers, videographers and florists and $50 - $100 for wedding coordinators.  


You can give coat check attendants $1 - $2 per guest, powder room attendants, $.50 - $1 and valet $1 - $1.50 per car. 


It is customary to tip limo drivers 15-20%, check the contract to see if gratuity is included.  Delivery persons can be tipped $5 each.

A few additional general tips and rules of thumb: any vendor that exceeds your expectations or goes above and beyond, you can thank with a tip.  Have gratuities prepared before hand, labeled and ready to go in envelopes.  This will make it easy and smooth and if you are comfortable can hand off distribution to your coordinator.  

8 Ways to Save Money on Wedding Rentals

Rentals, they are a necessity for many weddings and the receipts can add up very quickly.  Even when choosing the basics the tab can be steep, but the options are limitless these days, and add delivery charges on top of that and your budget can go quickly.  Here are a few tips and tricks I have learned to get the look you want while sticking to your budget.  

How to Save Money on Wedding Rentals

1. Choose one piece to make a statement.  Instead of choosing special linens, high-end dinnerware, fancy glassware and farm tables,  choose one item to splurge on.  Maybe it's a special charger to add color your table, or chairs that really set the scene and allow it to be the showstopper.  

2. Rent from one vendor.  By renting from one vendor, you will avoid multiple delivery/pick-up fees.

3. Rent one set of chairs that work for your ceremony and reception.  Of the basic needs, chairs are one of the more expensive rental items.  You may have to pay a labor charge for moving the chairs from ceremony to reception, but it will most likely cost less than renting two sets of chairs.

4. Check with your venue for delivery and pick-up flexibility.  You can save significantly on the delivery fees if you don't have specific delivery and pick-up times.

5. Dress up the head table.  As a vintage glassware collector myself, there's nothing I'd like to see more than a room filled with beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces, but that can be very pricy.  You can go full out for the head table, which will be stunning in the photos, then choose just an element or two to tie the other tables back to the head table.

6. Make custom table runners.  My secret to dressing up tables is custom made table runners.  I've even hand-made runners for clients.  Runners are relatively inexpensive, and can dress up standard linens, as well as naked tables. 

7. Stick to bistro lights.  Strung lights are less expensive than larger light options and add ambiance to every party.  

8. Go with the one-piece chair option.  Cushion choices, chair covers, ribbons, and other decorations can all add up, go with the simpler option.   

photo credits: photography: Kathy Davies Photography / coordination & decor: I Love Love Events / florals & rentals: Passion Flowers / venue, catering & cake: Zingerman's Cornman Farms

Steal This Style // 15 Free Wedding Printables

Hi friends, today I'm over on Something Turquoise sharing my monthly column and this time around I have some a-mazing money saving, adorable printable and ideas, including invitations, favors, decor and MORE!!  If you want to save a bucks (and who doesn't) and are some amazing, straight-forward DIY ideas, click over here for the full-post. 

15 Free Wedding Printables

Want more ideas?  See all my archived posts on Something Turquoise

Reader Question // Wedding Gowns under $750

It's been a while since I answered a reader question and this is a great one to jump back in.  A bride on a very tight budget asked me to recommend bridal gowns under $750.  This is definitely a challenge if you're looking to traditional bridal shops.  I you're not in the market for a crystal-incrusted ball gown, or a Chantilly lace  mermaid silhouette, you can find lots of beautiful gowns at that price point.  Knowing where to look is key.  Many online shops including J.Crew, Free People and ShopBop now have wedding shops.  BHLDN has a few beautiful options at this price.  I also included a few pretty gowns from super affordable shops like ASOS. But $750 is a good chunk of change and can buy you some gorgeous designers gowns from department stores.  They make it easy to search by color, length and price.  I love number 4, the beautiful Rachel Zoe dress in the Lace category below,  and numbers 7 and 8 in the modern category, Badgley Mischka and 3.1 Philip Lim respectively.  Many of these online shops offer free shipping and free returns, so while you don't get the traditional bridal experience, you get to try them on in the comfort of your own home and take as many photos as you like.  One tip, be aware of alterations.  Fitted and complicated silhouettes can increase the price of the gown by $100+ for alterations.   

One final note, if you are in the market for a ball gown or something grander than the above, check out the wedding gown resale shop, Nearly Newlywed