August 2013 Weddings

Thoughts on gratuity

Last on the to do list before Saaturday's shindig- gratuity envelopes for vendors. Just about everything I've read tells me to tip photographers, videographers, DJ, officiant, etc. However, I've also read that if it is their personal business, gratuity may already be built into the contract/pricing and it's not necessary. I am now completely confused.

We have 2 photographers (husband and wife team) and 2 videographers (also a personal business). Their contracts don't mention anything about gratuity. I think it's only right to give them something, but 15-20% of their bills is quite significant and a little absurd in my opinion. My initial thought was $100 for the photographer (they can split it in two) and the same for the videographer. Is this too little? I feel like I am being cheap- probably because we just got our venue/catering bill. Any advice in this department is greatly appreciated. Just trying to make sure I get this part right. :) 

Re: Thoughts on gratuity

  • I totally know what you mean.  I know a lot of places include gratuity in the pricing but don't specify it, that way they could possibly receive a double tip!  I would ask if your not certain this way no one is missed or your not shelling out cash that you could put towards your honeymoon!!
  • I too have started thinking about gratuity and I've also heard that if they are the owner of the business you don't have to tip.  Personally (maybe I'm cheap) I'm not planning to tip my photographer or DJ extra beyond their fee but I am providing dinner for both of them because that was specifically listed as a question in their information and I feel it's nice to at least feed them a nice meal.  I will be tipping the guy manning the bar as well as the servers from the caterer.  Our caterer made sure to let us know that gratuity was not covered in their cost and that it was our discretion and for the servers the day of only.

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  • I don't think we're tipping our photographer, but we are buying albums through her so I count that as extra. She owns her own business. I plan on tipping our band about 10%, plus an additional tip for the guitar player who is doing the ceremony. Catering gratuities are included, but I'd like to tip at least 200ish for our venue's coordinator, who has been fabulous. Hair we'll tip 15%.

    OP, I'd tip if you're just getting rights to your photos and video, but if you're planning on buying additional pieces from them I think it's optional. If anyone thinks I'm crazy let me know. I don't want to be accidentally rude to our awesome photographer!
  • We're planning to tip the DJ for sure, but he doesn't own the company.  Our photographer we decided we would wait until the day of and decide since he owns his business.  We'll also be tipping our ceremony musicians.  Our venue and hair stylist include gratuity.
  • Thanks for everyone's input! Since both photographer and videographer own their own business and we're paying for their meals and buying albums/DVDs through them (we do get all printing rights to our pics), I think it's a good point that a tip may not be completely necessary. Might just be a day of decision after all. We have 3 hours of outdoor photos scheduled and (sadly) thunderstorms are in the forecast, so I say if they are able to keep me calm and get creative, a little extra gratitude might be totally worth it in my book. :)

    We're definitely planning on tipping our DJ since he doesn't own the company. Same for hair stylist and transportation drivers. Venue gratuity is included, so I'm thankful I don't need to worry about that one. Although, the 20% rate provided quite the sticker shock! I like that it was an upfront cost though. 

    Here's a new one- I bought a Groupon for an in-home massage (b/c the projected thunderstorms aren't easing the stress). The woman owns her own business and is going to come to my home tomorrow. Thoughts on gratuity in that department? I've never had a relaxation massage before so I'm not sure what proper etiquette is for these types of things. 
  • I've never had a massage before, but I would tip 15-20% on the original amount (before the groupon discount).  That's what I typically tip for mani/pedi groupons.
  • We're tipping photographer, DJ, and catering venue staff. Our venue includes a "maitre d' fee", but I spent enough time as a banquet waitress (and all too frequently got stiffed, since our office let customers believe the service fee was our tip) not to give a little extra. I'll also tip the nail tech when I get my nails done.

    Hairdresser works on her own off the books, so I wasn't planning to tip her any extra.
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  • I know what you mean. We are paying $3000 for our photographer. Do I really need to tip??? I feel like I am already giving her an absurd amount of money. Gratuity is built into our dinner price so I dont have to worry about that but what are you giving to your Officiant? 
  • We tipped our caterer, DJ, and photographer!
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