Vendor Etiquette: Do you Tip the Photographer?

STOP!  Please don’t send me hate mail saying “I bet you just wrote that post so that you can get more money…” that is NOT what this is about so please, discard that nasty email draft and read on.  Many couples legitimately want to know the answer to this question so I’m putting myself on the line and publishing this post to help shed some light on the situation.

So many vendors play a part in making your wedding day truly spectacular; whether it’s your hair stylist, DJ, photographer or videographer, any reliable and trustworthy vendor will give it 110% on your wedding day and deliver you the best damn product/service they can.  (After all, many of these vendors rely heavily on word-of-mouth, so their performance at one event is what gets them their next gig!)

Some vendors will automatically include a tip, or gratuity, on your final invoice.  Most banquet halls/caterers routinely add gratuity onto your invoice without question.  Most brides will always give a little something extra to their make up artist and hair stylist as a ‘thank you’ – but what about the photographer?  Is it even proper to tip the photographer or is it an etiquette faux-pas?

Well, here’s the answer…

Tipping your wedding photographer is optional.  A client should never feel like they must provide a gratuity nor should a photographer ever include a gratuity charge on an invoice.

If you do choose to tip your wedding photographer, popular wedding website suggests $50-$200 to be delivered at the end of the reception.  Etiquette expert Ruth L. Kern suggests that if you have received truly outstanding service from your photographer, a tip of up to 10% would be a nice gesture.

My personal take on it; however, is that if you feel like your vendor has truly gone above and beyond (and we’re talking any vendor: photographer, DJ, cake designer, etc.) find a nice way to say thank you!  It doesn’t have to be in a monetary form; I’ve been a bride recently too and I understand how difficult finding extra funds can be.  You can say thank you by writing a nice note, sending a thank you card, purchasing a print or providing a glowing recommendation on their website (if they have that option).  Even better, tell your friends about your experience with that vendor; one of the best ways to say thank you is to tell people about your amazing experience.

The take-home message from this short little article should be that if you have a great experience with a vendor, find some way to give them a special thank you!  They deserve it!


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