Friday, March 26, 2010
Who needs to be tipped?
Hello East Side Bride!
I'm getting married in July this year, and my mom asked me to figure out who needs to be tipped so we can be ready, cash in hand, the day of. Everywhere you look it says "Tip your vendors," but what is appropriate? Obviously, catering/waitstaff gets tipped, but what about the photographer, DJ, doorman? I want to make sure everyone is thanked for their hard work, but don't want to look like an a*@hole with a lousy tip. Is asking your vendor, straight up, what's typical a bad idea? Does that scream IDIOT Bride?
I asked three vendors to help me with this one. Because what the f*ck do I know about tipping? Srsly.
Here's what they had to say.
Heather Gilson of One Love Photo (pictured above with husband/partner Jon Almeda):
Out of the 30 weddings we do a year we probably get a tip from 5-10 couples. Our packages range from $4,000-6,000 and most tip around $200-$300. They usually write a sweet card too. We don't expect it at all but really, really, really appreciate it when someone does tip us. If tipping is for services then really the photographer should be getting tipped because our business is 100% service based but I just don't think it's the norm (so we don't expect it). We have had couples that wait to see the photos and then send us a thank you tip in the mail a month or two after the wedding (which is really cool). She should just do what feels right, keeping in mind that keeping your artistic wedding elves fed and happy is always a good thing for everyone :)
Michael Antonia (aka The Flashdance):
i don't think it is standard practice to tip your dj... some coordinators tell their brides that they should and i can count on tips when working with those coordinators, but i never expect it, or feel slighted when it doesn't happen. if i were you i would set aside tips for each vendor but only give them out if you feel they have earned it. if your dj is amazing and keeps people dancing, makes your announcements, plays well to the audience, and doesn't text message during your wedding, etc a $100 tip would be very generous, less than $50 would be (in your words) "a lousy tip" but anything is better than nothing right? i don't think there is a standard, i have been tipped $500, i have been tipped $20, i have not been tipped at all (this is most common) and i don't think my performance played a part in those decisions.
Emily of Emily Thompson Flowers:
I have been on the receiving end of various approaches to tipping your vendors. Brides can sometimes forget when adding up all their bills that they are receiving really specialized custom services from often under-appreciated artisans and schleppers who are extremely skilled and work their fingers to the bone. We've all known about the wedding-industrial-complex for longer that we can remember and been taught to mistrust anyone in the industry as price-inflating snake-oil salesmen. As a member of that very business, I can't say that this isn't sometimes true, but I and many vendors I know are scrupulous and fair, and try to pass on cost cutting measures to all of our clients, no matter how big their budgets.
I always say that the best policy with the staff of your wedding, from planners to sweeper-uppers is that you should be kind and respectful, and tip if you like. I like to be able to give my staff a tip from the client, they are always glad that their work was appreciated. But the most important thing is that every bride and groom will get better work out of their vendors--more attention to detail, more desire to make the client's every wish come true--if they are decent to work with. Nobody throws freebies at bridezillas. I think everyone I work with will agree that this kind of etiquette is more crucial than tipping.
That said, ask your vendors. Nothing says "brilliant bride" better than direct, polite questions.
(Images by One Love Photo, Instant Dong, Lisa Vollmer)