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Your Guide to Tipping Vendors Who Own Their Businesses

Do you or don't you? We're clearing up the confusion.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: NBarrett Photography

The longtime rule is that you don't have to tip wedding vendors who are self-employed, but what if you thought a few did an unbelievable job and want to thank them in a monetary way? The following Q & A addresses all your questions.

 

Related: Your Wedding Vendor Etiquette Questions Answered

 

Why is there a no-tipping rule?

Any vendor who is in business for herself has presumably charged you a rate she's decided is fair and pays her what she's worth. Her business doesn't rely on tips to stay solvent; her fee does.

 

Can you still tip if you want to?

Of course! When it comes to offering someone money for doing a good—no, great—job, you're free to do as you please.

 

Which vendors are typically business owners?

It's often florists, bakers, photographers, and event planners, although some do work under another professional's business. If you're not sure if they're the owner or an employee, just ask.

 

What are some examples of why a bride would tip a business owner?

Let's say you've hired a photographer who has his own studio. You've contracted him to take photos only on your wedding day. Once you sign the contract, he offers to take some engagement photos of you and the groom at no charge. The photos turned out to be fun and adorable. A nice tip will make him feel appreciated. Or maybe your florist spent considerable time tracking down a flower you want that's out-of-season locally. Acknowledge her effort by giving her something extra.

 

The vendor won't be insulted, right?

It's hard to imagining anyone turning their noses up at a few Abe Lincolns for a job well done.

 

Is it better to send a small gift instead?

A gift works just as well. What were you thinking of? A bottle of wine is always appropriate, and you can't go wrong with candy or a food item. Just don't give them anything with your names and wedding date on it!

 

Does just sending a thank-you note count?

Just? A note telling of your appreciation doesn't belong in the "just" category—it'll mean a lot to the vendor. So would mentioning her outstanding work to your engaged friends planning their own weddings.