The Etiquette of Tipping

Post has gone through several revisions based on an ongoing conversation between E and I.

We’ve had a few emails from readers requesting advice on gratuities and gifts for vendors. We though we would answer these as best we can.

  • Tip labor.  This is the easiest way we have found to split who gets a tip and who doesn’t.  Don’t tip the catering company, tip the personnel they bring with them.  Tip the delivery driver, not the florist, etc.
  • If you choose to calculate the tip based on the total bill, subtract equipment rentals, sales tax, or service charges.
  • You should always give the total tip to the person you contracted with.  They will then distribute among assistants, waiters, bartenders, etc.
  • You should still tip the labor you are required to use by the venue.
  • If you are using people who are also guests (i.e. hair, makeup), you should absolutely get them a small gift of appreciation.
  • Always get a family member or coordinator to handle the tips.  Put each tip/check in a separate envelope.  You shouldn’t have to stop celebrating to tip vendors.
  • If the vendor doesn’t accept the tip, take their refusal at face value.
  • Tipping your day of coordinator is always nice, but they don’t expect it (see note below on self employed vendors).  If nothing else, send them a lovely gift basket and thank you card.
  • Always send a thank you card after the event to your vendors.

E and I are in a debate over tipping for self employed vendors.  She says no, I say yes.  She says its not necessary as the vendor has built their gratuity into their fee, I say its just nice.  We’re both saying the same thing, and we’re both right.  Key point: Tipping them is not necessary, but it’s not unwelcome.  It’s really up to each individual bride.  If your coordinator/baker/florist/caterer has gone above the call of duty, go ahead and tip.  You can also find many many ways to thank them without a cash gift.

The point of a wedding is to celebrate and share with your friends and family.  Being generous to those people who have worked the hardest for your special day is vital. For more detailed information, check out Liene‘s posts here. You can also find information on tipping etiquette at Martha Stewart.