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Do You Have to Tip Your Wedding Vendors? Consider These (Still) Meaningful Alternatives

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Get insights from Elisabeth Kramer, a professional wedding planner, as she shares meaningful alternatives or creative ways to show your appreciation if you can’t afford to tip your wedding vendors.

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Should you tip your wedding vendors, and if so, how much? It’s one of the most popular — and contentious — questions I get as a professional wedding planner.

In an ideal world, yes, everyone would tip. Wedding vendors are service industry professionals, which means that a sizable percentage of our income comes from tips. We also often work physically and mentally demanding jobs without benefits like health care or retirement, so tips make a big difference.

But, in a world where the average U.S. wedding costs nearly $30,000, tips can easily become just one more thing to pay for and maybe, you simply can’t swing it. Rather than beat yourself up, consider the meaningful alternatives below. None will have quite the same impact as cold hard cash, but they still make a big difference to your vendor team.

Don’t be shy to give a smaller amount.

Often, we get in our heads about “how much” is enough to tip. In my experience, anything is better than nothing. This guide offers ideal percentages but again, the operative word here is “ideal.” If a smaller amount is feasible, give that! Perhaps pair it with one of the other ideas on this list to round out the amount that wasn’t possible.

Read this: The Ultimate Guide to Tipping Wedding Vendors

Write a review (or two).

Easier said than done, I know, but sincerely: Set a reminder on your phone right now to write reviews. Ideally, you’d do this between four to six weeks after the wedding, but a five-star review is welcome at any time.

For extra credit, Google the vendor’s name or business and look where they have review profiles set up. Typically, a vendor maintains two to three different sites where people can review their work. Consider leaving a review at each place (ideally, you’ll slightly edit each review so the site doesn’t filter out the content).

Bonus points if your review includes keywords that you know you searched when trying to hire that particular type of vendor. Aim for sincerity over length and, if you have it, include a moment that really stood out to you from the vendor’s work.

Don’t have anything nice to say? I encourage you to address these concerns privately, either via email or phone, before heading straight to the internet.

Send a note.

Money talks, but so do sincere thank-you notes. My clients frequently write me a short thank-you card that they either give me at the rehearsal, during the wedding, or mail to me afterward. These cards mean the absolute world to me! And I’m not alone. I can’t tell you how many coworkers I’ve visited who have client notes pinned on their fridges or displayed at their desks.

Tell people about your team.

Referrals remain one of the most reliable ways for wedding vendors to meet new clients. If you know someone who’s planning a wedding, ask if they’re in a place to receive advice. If they are, recommend the vendors you hired whom you liked.

Do those vendors offer something for free that your friend could use as they plan? Many do, and it can be a nice way for your friend to get to know the vendor before they book a consultation or sign a contract.

Like and share their work.

Most wedding vendors are extremely small businesses of one to two people. This means that beyond doing their actual jobs, they’re also responsible for accounting, HR, and marketing. 

So when you like or share something we did, be it a TikTok, Reel, or newsletter, we notice! Keep doing this even after you get married and you’ll be surprised by how grateful your vendors are.

Say thank you.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: saying thank you makes a big difference. This can be during the wedding day or afterward. The important thing is that you take a moment and acknowledge the other person.