Wedding planner Ebony Small gives the real deal on tipping bridal vendors.

Howdy! I’m frustrated by information I read in some mainstream bridal mags when the content doesn’t seem practical for the modern bride. This occured just last week when I came across an article about the proper amounts to tip wedding vendors. With everyone being forced to do more with less these days, I was insulted by the figures quoted. So I checked in with NYC-based wedding planner Ebony Small of Longevity Wedding Consultants  for a real breakdown of who should get what in terms of tips on a wedding day. Here’s what the event-planning veteran had to say:Black Bridal Bliss: Do most of your clients even realize that they should tip their vendors?
Ebony Small: No, most of my clients do not think to tip their vendors aside from where the catering hall or independent caterer includes gratuity as part of their service fee. I believe the primary reason for not tipping vendors is that many couples create their budget to obtain the specific services desired to execute their vision for their wedding.

I do not present clients with tipping recommendations unless they request my advice. My belief is that a tip should be rendered for exceptional service (a vendor whom has extended themselves and have exceeded their contracted services to make your day extra special) and should be determined by the bride and groom solely. Industry wide tipping recommendations are good only for when a couple has chosen to tip and would like to know what is appropriate.

BBB: Is tipping something that should be factored into a couple’s overall wedding budget? Small: Yes, I do believe the bride and groom should earmark funds within their budget in case they want to tip any of their vendors. I believe this should be a number they can afford and are most comfortable with.

Do you know what to really tip your wedding vendors?

BBB: What is the average amount a couple should tip if they do decide to do so?
Small: In all cases the wedding planner should give any tips to chosen vendors and where the couple chooses to tip their wedding planner, the maid/matron of honor or best man should do so on their behalf. If the couple does not have a wedding planner the maid/matron of honor or best man should assume this responsibility.

officiate – $25
ceremony musicians – $10
delivery workers (flowers, chairs, cake, etc.) $10-15
coat check and restroom attendants – $25
vallet or parking attendants – $75-100 (to be split by all attendants)
hotel/resort wedding coordinator – $150 and upwards
waitstaff – standard 18-20% of total bill and should be evenly distributed between all waitstaff
bartenders – $25
dj or band – $100 and upwards (to be split between all personnel)
limo driver – $25
wedding planner – $150 and upwards
photographer and videographer -$25-50
hairstylist, makeup artist, manicurist – $10-20

BBB: Should tipping be done in cash?
Small: Yes.

BBB: Realistically, many folks are struggling financially and might not be able to afford the industry standards you have identified above. Is it acceptable for other small tokens of appreciation to be given in lieu of cash?
Small: Yes. Gift certificates, gift cards, or a gift can be given in lieu of cash. The wedding industry can be a very greedy one. I’ve yet to have a couple tip all of the vendors mentioned above, its simply not realistic for the average couple.

Didn’t you appreciate Ebony’s candidness? I sure found it refreshing. If you’re interested in contacting her yourself, check her out here and be sure to mention that sent ya!