Wedding Industry Biz

The Tricky Business Of Tips

Hello Timeline Geniuses!

A while back, a post by Martha Stewart Weddings caused some ruffled feathers among wedding planners, photographers, and florists. The article states, “For people who own their own businesses, as many of these vendors do, tipping isn’t necessary.”

Oh dear – as much love as I have for Martha, I have to pipe up on behalf of business owners. Tipping is never “necessary”, but for people who work around the clock to make their own businesses work, who can’t take vacation because the company depends on them, whose minds are always filled with their clients – these are the people who are often the most grateful for tips. Especially new, independently-owned event companies who are not fully booked in their first couple of years, or who don’t have the leverage to charge much for their services yet: they can sometimes have trouble making ends meet without tips.

So let’s restate what Martha has said about tipping your wedding planner: It is not necessary, but it is indeed much appreciated. 



Sometimes this can be an awkward topic to broach with clients. As a planner, I consider it my duty to collect and hand out all tips, so that the couple doesn’t have to have any financial considerations weighing on them, and can just focus on the profundity and joy of uniting. As the keeper of tips and as the couple’s general confidante, I am often asked about tipping protocol. Instead of awkwardly saying that planners like tips too, I send them articles that give guidelines for all vendors (feel free to repurpose for your own communications!):

Here are a couple links with guidelines about tipping wedding vendors. Although there’s an approximate industry standard, there’s no hard and fast rule, and I’m sending you two different takes to illustrate that. Here is what the knot suggests, and here is what real simple suggests. As mentioned, gratuity is a personal choice and you shouldn’t feel obligated to provide it! If you have the desire and budget though, vendors will always appreciate anything that you would like to give.

I never want to put any clients in an uncomfortable position financially or otherwise. I have received a range from literally $5-$500, a day at the spa, and a necklace I wear every wedding day. I think I speak for all planners when I say we love our clients, and $5 means as much as $500; a handwritten note means as much as a necklace. And though none of us expect tips, it is important to combat the idea that business owners don’t deserve tips.

What are some examples of tips you have gotten? We’d love to hear from you!

Keep up your genius work!