In this episode, co-hosts Kristina, Mike & Sharon discuss when and how much to tip your wedding vendors who show extraordinary effort by going above and beyond to make your day special.
Tune in to hear why, when, where and how much to tip your wedding day vendors.
Listen in while co-hosts Kristina, Mike & Sharon talk about gratuities for your wedding day vendors. Sharon gets specific on percentages and amounts that should be considered and made a part of your budget when planning your BIG day.
Did you know some of your vendor contracts may have gratuities built in? Make sure you read the fine print and understand who is actually getting the tip! Is it the company or the people actually doing the work at your event?
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL UNDERSTAND the fine print of all your wedding day contracts! Some may already have gratuities built in.
Share with us how you handled tipping your wedding day vendors and tag us on Facebook or Instagram @theringtheblingandallthethings
While you’re there, make sure you follow us @theringtheblingandallthethings so you can see behind the scenes where me, Mike & Sharon will take you from engagement to your wedding day and beyond with The Ring, The Bling & All The Things
Kristina Stubblefield 0:00
Often overlooked in the hectic days before a wedding is the need to stop and think about providing gratuities for your team.
Sharon Rumsey 0:07
Gratuities are never expected, but they are always appreciated. Those in the service industry should be rewarded for their extraordinary effort on your special day.
And tipping is not just monetary. thank you notes, gifts of appreciation and referrals for more business are great ways to acknowledge some of the wedding day vendors.
Kristina Stubblefield 0:28
You got engaged. Congratulations. Happy. Yes, joyful time. Of course. Now what timelines to do lists and checklists. 100% Don't worry, you're in the right place. Welcome to the ring, the bling, and all the things. Hi, I'm Kristina Stubblefield, one of your hosts, along with my two good friends, Michael Gaddie. And Sharon Rumsey. We have over 50 years of wedding industry experience between us. We have seen it, heard it, done it and found a way around it. We are here to get you from down on one knee to down the aisle. Our podcast will cover everything from you saying yes to the I do's and all that happens in between. So buckle up and enjoy the journey. Now let's get started with this episode.
Today, we're going be talking about all things tipping, also known as gratuity. And this is a topic that we felt like we really needed to cover because Sharon says it comes up all the time. And Michael did to that it comes up all the time when meeting with Brides, engaged couples, parents, etc. And I know this is going to be kind of out of our norm of what we give about tips, you know, wedding planning tips and things like that. But this is one of those things, Sharon that is really discussed a lot. And there might not be that much information out there. It's not talked about a whole lot
Sharon Rumsey 2:18
with every wedding that I do. Usually about a month out, when we have our final meetings and we're trying to tie everything up with a bow, I'll get asked by the bride or the mother of the bride about how to leave a gratuity and who they're supposed to tip and how much they're supposed to tip. It's it's something that comes up every single event.
Kristina Stubblefield 2:42
Well, and Mike, I know you've been in this business, the longest of all of us here. And we had a conversation about this topic before we even started recording. And we were kind of all over the map on this. And gosh, there's just so many different angles. But where do you want to start?
Michael Gaddie 3:01
Well, I mean, when it comes to tipping every vendor is different. Especially when you talk about food, that's you know, that's a given that you're going to give a tip to your servers and that type of thing. But when what's really important is make sure you check your contracts from your vendor or your caterer to make sure that that tip is narrowed if not already included. There is a few that does not in their contracts, say, you know, they require 18 to 20%. But that's something that they do after the wedding is over or after the service is over. But just keep in mind, they don't put add that to their contract. So you have to be aware of that. And that's when a good wedding planner comes in, that already knows what that contract says. And you should not be bombarded or surprised by that. Because that's something that you're going to automatically have to have at the end of the night of the wedding.
Kristina Stubblefield 4:02
Well. So when we're talking about wedding budgets, you know, gratuities need to be considered in that for some vendors. And this is where it gets a probably a little bit of a gray area. But I think a point you just made is really important. And this is a side note to gratuities or tipping. Check your contracts, wherever you're listening to us from take the time to read over the contracts and make sure you know what's involved and what's included what's not included. And don't hesitate to ask questions. For example, most
Sharon Rumsey 4:36
catering contracts like Mike was saying will have an 18 to 20% gratuity already factored in. The question you want to ask is is that gratuity going to the actual people that are serving my guests on the night of the event? Oh, that's a really good point. And then if so, that's great. The A lot of the times, it's just going to the company. So you want to also take care of the servers that are actually working at your event. Another thing is, when you look at a bartending contract, most of those contracts will ask you if you're okay with your bartenders having a tip jar. So if they have a tip jar, then that you don't need to worry about tipping them as much as if, you know, you think it's not cool to have an open bar and be providing your guests with free alcohol and still asking them to tip. So a lot of couples choose not to let the bartenders have a tip jar, but they will take care of the tip themselves.
Kristina Stubblefield 5:38
That's pretty interesting. I hadn't even thought about that. So some people that have that are they're providing beer, wine, alcohol, whatever, their bar, whatever is included. The question is to leave a tip jar or not, right?
Michael Gaddie 5:53
I don't think it's me personally, if I was hiring a bartender, and a bar staff, I mean, I wouldn't mind for them to have a bar, you know, tip jar. But I would also automatically plan on tipping them myself
Kristina Stubblefield 6:09
at least something at least something because
Michael Gaddie 6:10
really, I mean, they they're taking care of people just like you know, if they're at their restaurant, or at their work or whatever. And I think that's just extra for them. I think that's a nice gesture. That's that's the way I look at it.
Kristina Stubblefield 6:22
Well, and I think too, is it's also a way of expression expressing your appreciation for their service. And so that's an interesting point here and hadn't thought about that. So if it's cash bar, is it up to the Do you feel like it's up to the bar service, whether they put out a tip jar or not,
Sharon Rumsey 6:44
it's never up to the bar service, it's always up to the client. It's something that needs discussed beforehand. And most people are okay, like Mike was saying with a tip jar. But I have had clients that say, we don't want to ask our guests to spend anything. So we're gonna take care of the tip, we'll take care of it all. Most times with a cash bar, there is a tip jar. But it's very rare anymore to see a wedding with a cash bar. Okay, so
Kristina Stubblefield 7:13
we've mentioned about catering. And we've mentioned about bar service. And I would think that that's something that is, I want to say, you would assume that that's what people would think that these would be the ones that would get tipped, but I hate using that word assume because a lot of times, this is something maybe people haven't gotten married before, or it's been a long time since their parents have gotten married. So I always hate to use that word, what I
Sharon Rumsey 7:41
what I tell my clients is reward extraordinary effort. If you feel like a vendor just went above and beyond for you, and made your day easier, or your event more spectacular, then reward that effort.
Michael Gaddie 7:58
So with you being a wedding planner, and I mean, I know this is something that you have in your contract, so it's not the bride and all them and the mother is not sidetracked by it. So do they give you an envelope before the wedding starts and you pass the wet the envelopes out? Or do they expect does the vendor expect it to come from the bride or the mom,
Sharon Rumsey 8:20
I leave it up to my client, what they want to do in Aisle planner, the planning software that I use that I talked about. So often, there's a note section, and I can put any information I want in there. So in that note section is a gratuity guideline that my clients can look off of. And something I asked them to do, if they want me to pass out the tips for them, which 99% of my clients want me to is that they place their tip, it needs to be in a sealed envelope with the name of the vendor on the front of the envelope, because I don't want anyone thinking I took any of their tips. So a sealed envelope. And then I like to pass those out to the vendors when they first come to the event when I first see them, so that they know that they were appreciated and they know that the the client has respect for what they're doing. And just so we start off on a good tone. I like to pass tips out at the beginning of the event if the client wants to pass them out, sometimes the mother of the bride or the father of the bride will want to pass them out. So I again asked him to put them in a sealed envelope and give them to the vendor themselves.
Michael Gaddie 9:29
So being a same couple getting married, and we're sitting down with you, how do we how can Is there a percentage that we should automatically think of when we're when I'm writing checks out for tips or given cash or whatever it may be? How do you prepare
Kristina Stubblefield 9:47
now wait a second Mike you know already know the answer to that. Sharon plans out everything. So you know she probably has some kind of guideline or cheat sheet to go off of you know that really
Sharon Rumsey 9:59
good question. And again, tips are subjective. They're never expected but always appreciated. But I do have some general guidelines. I usually say for your hair and makeup artists, you want it to be 15 to 20% of the total bill. For a ceremony musician 20 to $25 a person photographer videographer 50 to $100 each. You want to make sure you tip your drivers if you have a party bus or transportation 15 to 20% of the total bill but check that contract because a lot of the times on a transportation contract it's already built in deejays, usually 50 to $150. valet the general guideline here where we're from is $1 per car. So if you're asking him to park 150 cars, then you would give $150 to be divided amongst your back your valets.
Kristina Stubblefield 11:03
And again, this is recommendations of pretty much our area. The Louisville, Kentucky southern Indiana area is where these recommendations area
Sharon Rumsey 11:10
that usually gets confusing is your officiant. Because if your officiant is a member of the clergy, I do a lot of Catholic Church weddings. They usually request a donation to the church and the church will have a guideline for the amount of that donation. If your officiant is not a member of the clergy, then it's usually like 50 to $150 on top of what the fee is for that person. Now, Christina, do
Michael Gaddie 11:41
you notice that after looking at her list, almost every vendors listed on here except for florist?
Kristina Stubblefield 11:48
Mike, I do see that even though you call that out ahead of time, I do see that on here.
Sharon Rumsey 11:54
Wedding Planners not on the list either.
Kristina Stubblefield 11:56
So but I think what you're trying to show people here, and I think it's great that you've put this together for people that you work with, think what you're trying to do is start the conversation, start their wheels turning where if they may not have thought about tipping, is really what what I see you've done here, because it goes back to what you said, say here, we got to talk about Mike again, say Mike is the florist. But he didn't just do your bouquet or the boutonnieres. He came in and set up pipe and drape and did all of these elaborate centerpieces, and also did stuff to the cake and things like that really went above and beyond because he also had to deliver it there. He had to maneuver around other people's schedules, but he really did a great job. That might be something that when you mentioned in the beginning, that you want to show your appreciation by providing a tip
Sharon Rumsey 12:52
anyone that you feel when the the vendor categories I have listed are the vendors that pretty much get tipped every single event. But anytime someone goes above and beyond, I feel like that effort should be recognized. And actually,
Michael Gaddie 13:10
I really do not expect to be tipped. I mean, I do get tipped every now and then actually all of my Sharon do weddings, I get tip from them. But
Unknown Speaker 13:19
yet you're mentioning some about not being on the sheet. Yeah,
Michael Gaddie 13:21
really. He just likes it. But I'll tell you what I mean, I really don't expect it. I think it's a nice gesture, and I really appreciate it. But it's not something that
Sharon Rumsey 13:29
when I meet with my clients, you know, I, I advise them just like what I just said, think about who went above and beyond. And, and then if that, you know if if Mike's the florist and that comes up, then of course they would want to recognize that. Honestly, though, as a as a wedding planner, I get a lot of gifts, I'll get a thank you note and a gift after the event. But the best thing you can do for me is give me a big hug. Tell me you had a perfect day, and then write me a good review.
Michael Gaddie 14:01
I agree. I read a review.
Sharon Rumsey 14:04
Most vendors live and die by those reviews.
Kristina Stubblefield 14:07
Well, and so I want to talk about something that was mentioned right before we started recording. And that's this expecting. Okay. And, you know, again, we work with a lot of different types of vendors. So when we're talking about this, this isn't directed any one way or the other, but this expecting, you know, if you don't have it mandatory in your contract. And if someone doesn't, and you don't get a tip then what? You know, you've really you haven't put it in your contract. And that's where to me when our conversation was happening right before we recorded. I definitely don't feel like it's something you say something about, or you question your customer.
Sharon Rumsey 14:56
If it's something you feel like you have to have say For example, a caterer, and she knows she's going to have a team of four to five people at that wedding. And you want to make sure those people are taken care of, then it should be in your contract that you require, you know, we'll just say 20% or 20% tip. But that tip should then be given to the people that are actually working the event.
Kristina Stubblefield 15:23
And see, that's something that stood out to me when we were talking is about if you're having, whether there's a pandemic or not, whatever type of food service you're having, played it or seated, whatever the wording is, buffet, you know, you have people that are cleaning up most of the time, that's the catering staff, so to speak. But you have a team of four or five people there, I think you make a good point. Those are the people there that are working your event. And it goes back to what you were saying about the sealed envelopes, and being able to hand it to those specific people. But if it's not in your contract, I just don't feel like you should be. I don't want to use the word let down. But I definitely don't think you should pass a line where you're offended that they didn't give you a tip, it's
Sharon Rumsey 16:12
not in your contract, and you and you get it, then it should be so much appreciated. But it should, it should not be expected. Because
Michael Gaddie 16:20
if it's approached, that you're unhappy with it, and say the caterer wasn't happy with what was, you know, was happy with the tip they were given. And they approach the mother of the bride or whoever. I feel like that's a big negative. If it's not, you know,
Sharon Rumsey 16:39
it's also a very awkward thing that you don't want to deal with on wedding day. That's why I have my clients Give me the tips at rehearsal. Because I don't want to talk about money on wedding day.
Kristina Stubblefield 16:50
I don't think you're supposed to be enjoying that day and not be focused on it. Well, I
Michael Gaddie 16:54
think if it's not in your contract, going back to what you said, if it's not in your contract, and the family decided to give you $100. And you felt like that was not enough. That's too bad.
Kristina Stubblefield 17:08
Well, I really review your your own business contract,
Sharon Rumsey 17:12
if you feel like you're not charging enough. If you feel like you're not charging what you're worth, and you're not charging enough, then raise your prices, but it's not something you should expect a family to pick up on it well, and
Michael Gaddie 17:25
if I was unhappy, and if I was the person receiving the tip, and I was unhappy with it, I sure wouldn't say nothing about it. Because how many people if I if that I approached that, Mom, how many people is that mom going to go and tell? Can you believe they came and asked me for 400 more dollars or whatever it may be away from my or away from my bent to tell me that?
Kristina Stubblefield 17:49
Well, and I think to be honest, and this might come because I'm in marketing and things but probably right then and there. It's might not sink in? And then what does that turn into? Does that turn into a negative review on Google social media? What have you, because those are so valuable, because a lot of times people make decisions, or narrow down their wedding vendors by what they see online? Well, and
Sharon Rumsey 18:20
as a wedding professional. For example, I can just use my own business, I have an assistant at pretty much every wedding I do, I have at least one assistant, I know that it's my responsibility to see that that assistant is compensated and compensated well, and not based off the tip that I received. So when I write my proposal for what it's going to cost me to do an event that is sent that assistant salary is factored in. Therefore I'm not dependent. I'm not taking care of my people based on whether or not we get a tip. So I feel like that should be the same for any vendor, you know, charge enough to take care of your people so that you're not dependent upon a tip
Kristina Stubblefield 19:06
you may or may not get because right then and there, you're already in the mindset that you're assuming, or you're expecting to receive 18 to 20% tip. And that just to me, when we were having that conversation is I can see where without a guide without a planner, without something to go off of. If you're not in the wedding business or have gotten married, or had multiple kids get married. This isn't something you deal with every day. No,
Michael Gaddie 19:40
I just I think that you need to take this as a learning experience.
Kristina Stubblefield 19:46
I mean, our podcast episode can provide insight and useful information. Definitely. Absolutely.
Michael Gaddie 19:51
I just the store we were talking about I just it bothers me because just to think about if I owned it business. And one of my employees went up and said, Hey, this is not I should have $400 more, whatever it was. And I approached and I found out that my employee approached the mother of the bride or whoever, whoever was in charge of it. Oh my gosh, that would that would devastate me, that would absolutely devastate me, especially, because I work so hard to get every bride that we get. Or we have,
Kristina Stubblefield 20:32
you're really embarrassed and then acted like,
Michael Gaddie 20:34
exactly, that's an a reflection on the company. And really, it was a it was something that came from someone that that Yeah, worked for me. But don't take pride in the company. And that person would not be working for me anymore.
Kristina Stubblefield 20:48
It really to me would go forget about termination, it's back to what you said, your reputation. all the hard work for many years, however long, right net instant, an employee could really cause problems for future events.
Michael Gaddie 21:08
Well, I think that's why this is a good topic to have. It's a little bitty topic. But I mean, it's an important topic, too small topic that can cause big problems. And, and I think it's great that this will educate Brides, grooms and families to deal with it up front. And if it's not in writing, then you'll you'll know how to deal with it later.
Sharon Rumsey 21:32
I think the thing that's the most important to my clients when you know, when we talk about it, they want their vendor team to feel appreciated. Even even brides that are on a super tight budget, and they can't afford to give the big tips. They want that vendor team to know they're appreciated, I have a little box at home that I keep thank you notes from my clients in. And that means the world to me, it means as much to me as giving me $100 tip, you know that they took the time to write me a thank you note, I think there are a lot of ways to make your vendor team feel appreciated. But I also think it's really important to my client, who's getting the tip. And that's something you have to ask because so many contracts have it built in, like we were saying, and then it doesn't go to the people who are actually handing the plate out at the event are actually, you know, doing the coat check at the event, you know, so you want to make sure if you're tipping, that you're tipping the people that are actually serving you at your event and not a big company where the owner probably never stepped foot in your event.
Michael Gaddie 22:42
But like you said earlier, you know from my business, I mean tipping it that's not a life or death to me. I mean, I would rather have a review or a thank you card. I mean, I've been doing this for 32 years, and I've got the same box that I've put all my thank you cards in I mean, it's massive. I just automatically add it to it. And you know, sometimes I'll pull them out and read them. And that means a lot, just the thing I did way
Sharon Rumsey 23:09
back in September, and it was not a high budget wedding at all. But I got a thank you card and the whole family had signed it. The bride, the groom, the mother, the maid of honor, the whole family had signed it. And that that made my whole month like I loved that.
Michael Gaddie 23:28
I must say one more thing, this is negative towards what we're what we're talking about. But you know, I think it's I probably shouldn't say this, but I'm going to say it, you become very close to this family. Sometimes it's a year. And I guess we're more or share or more. And what really bothers me is not about a thank you card, or the money as a tip. But when they don't recognize you at all. I think that's I mean, I have worked with families day in and day night over and over and over. And even when it's over sometimes you don't even get a thank you. I think that's important to teach bride and groom's and people that listen to this podcast. Even it isn't just a one little liner, Mike, thanks for everything you've done or, or just a note on Facebook, or it's just an email, it doesn't matter. Just to let them know or you know that you are appreciated.
Sharon Rumsey 24:28
One of the things I love the most to is when they share a picture from their wedding. Tag every single person that played a part in your day, not just your wedding planner, not just your caterer but that you know, not just the venue because that's where the picture was taken. But tag that whole vendor team, you're doing so much for them. You're letting them know personally that you recognized their effort, but you're also getting their name out there. You're telling the world Hey, they
Michael Gaddie 24:58
did a great job and that means So much to me. And that's where the new generation is coming into with Instagram and the Facebook and tik tok and all that. And I do get, you know, there's different websites, wedding, formal resale, and that kind of thing. And I get a lot of referrals on there. And even if I don't get a thank you card or a tip from them, just them mentioning, you know, referring me to another broad, that means a lot to me a whole lot.
Kristina Stubblefield 25:27
And it's not the tipping thing is not just monetary, like Sharon mentioned, a handwritten note, thank you note, a gift, anything referring business. It's about that nod that acknowledgement that they appreciate the work effort you put in to make in their day special.
Sharon Rumsey 25:51
Just that they acknowledge
Michael Gaddie 25:52
you know, that you were there. do acknowledge it. But I had
Sharon Rumsey 25:58
a I've been so blessed with really really really sweet couples and I don't think I've ever left a wedding without a thank you. Because I'm there at the end.
Michael Gaddie 26:09
And that's the thing with me, I'm not I mean, I show up and I disappear and then it's like I'm you know, I'm gone. I've done my job I go flowers come now when when I when I go back in one and two o'clock in the morning and pick things up and and there's people still there in the broads there and the mom. Oh, yes, I get thank yous and all that. It's just that sometimes you work really hard for people. And it's like, thank you. But then I have to step back and think and look, was hired help. I did exactly what that family asked me to do. So I look at it that way, too.
Kristina Stubblefield 26:41
Absolutely. And I think this has been a great topic. I know it was one that we wanted to make sure that we handled appropriately. And these are just recommendations. And these are topics that we're discussing our experience our expertise to help provide you some good information to help with your wedding planning. All that different things. That's what this podcast is about. So we would love to hear from you on topics that you would like to hear more about or us to discuss on the podcast, you can send us an email, you can go to our website, Mike knows the address, right, Mike? What is that
Michael Gaddie 27:21
during the blings and other things.com
Kristina Stubblefield 27:23
he loves to add characters to our website doesn't share. But so you can actually just drop us a line about topics that you want to hear or you want us to cover. Some topics are much longer than others. You know, we have some topics coming up that maybe just kind of short and sweet, so to speak. But it just drives home the point in that we don't need to talk for you or might like to listen to us, but we might not have that much to cover on it. And plus, you can now see the video recording of our podcast episode. It was really Sharon's idea she was going about doing video. So make sure you go to our YouTube channel to check that out. And feel free to share it out. But we appreciate everybody tuning in and listening. But we'd love to hear your feedback. And you can do any of that on our website
Michael Gaddie 28:14
during the blank and all the things.com
Unknown Speaker 28:17
Kristina Stubblefield 28:18
Thanks for tuning in. And until next time, see ya.
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