Best Ways to Thank Wedding Vendors

When it comes to coordinating the perfect wedding, your vendor team is the key. Read on to learn about the best ways to say thanks.

By Rachel Varina

Best Ways to Thank Wedding Vendors
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

When it comes to coordinating the perfect wedding, your vendor team is the key to pulling together the entire event. From turning your visions into reality to answering your countless emails, they’re there each step of the way to ensure that your big day is exactly as you imagined it. Chances are that you hand-selected your experts, from florists to musicians, to curate a day that felt uniquely and beautifully “you.”

After so much hard work, it’s important to let your vendors know how much you appreciate their help and expertise. If you’re looking for the best ways to thank your wedding vendors, here’s how to make sure that your team feels all the love after the special day.

Table of Contents:

Is There an Etiquette for Thanking Wedding Vendors?

While you might not think that there’s a specific etiquette for thanking your vendors, there are a few key things that you’ll want to consider to not only create a good working relationship during planning but also ensure that they feel respected and valued after the event. Since all vendor relationships are a little different, it can be confusing to navigate the ins and outs of thanking each member of your team. From whom to thank, when to do it, and how to thank specific vendors, we’re breaking it all down so that you can show your sincere gratitude respectfully, timely, and memorably.

Part 1: Proper Etiquette for Thanking Vendors: Everything You Need to Know

Sure, your wedding vendor team is getting paid, but just like other pros in the wedding industry, showing additional gratitude—especially for vendors who go above and beyond—is not only important but sometimes counted on, too. Here’s what you need to know about thanking your wedding vendors:

Why Do I Need to Thank My Wedding Vendors?

At the end of the day, your vendor team is an integral part of your celebration and the key to pulling the event together. Chances are that you built a working relationship with them throughout the wedding planning process, and thank each of them specifically goes a long way. Not only is this a way for them to get feedback from you (which is important for future business), but it’ll show them how much you valued working together.

Which Vendors Do I Need to Thank?

It’s important to thank all of your wedding vendors, no matter their role. Before the big day, make a list of everyone who is a part of your team so that you don’t miss anyone during the festivities or after the celebration. Here are few vendors you’ll want to show your gratitude to:

  • Planner/Coordinator
  • Venue manager
  • Officiant
  • Florist
  • Stationer
  • Hair/Makeup artists
  • Musicians
  • DJ
  • Caterer/Catering staff
  • Baker
  • Waitstaff
  • Bartenders
  • Delivery/Setup personale
  • Drivers/Transportation specialists
  • Venue attendants
  • Bridal boutique
  • Seamstress/Tailor
  • Wedding Photographer/Videographer
  • Additional entertainment specialists (photo booth attendant, fireworks coordinator, performers, etc.)

When Do I Thank My Wedding Vendors?

Some vendors you’ll see leading up to the big day, others you’ll just see at the wedding, and a few you’ll work with throughout the planning process. Depending on the vendors’ role, you’ll want to thank them during your celebration and then more formally during your final interaction.

  • For Vendors You Won’t See at the Wedding: Your bridal boutique consultant, your seamstress/tailor, and your hair colorist/stylist are all important vendors who help you get ready for the big day, but aren’t there for the special event. Be sure to send them a thank you note (with a photo of you on the big day) after the celebration. While you can tip them on the final visit before your wedding (if the place of business allows), you could also send along an additional tip (think $20-$50) with your card if you felt that they went above and beyond.

  • For Vendors You’ll Just See Once: Your bartenders, waitstaff, transportation specialists, and delivery personnel are essential to keeping the event moving along, but chances are that you’ll only see them once, and that’s at the actual wedding. As you’re celebrating, be sure to tell them “thank you” in person, and either tip them yourself at the end of the night, or give your wedding planner, coordinator, or maid of honor labeled envelopes with cash tips to hand out following the reception.

  • For Vendors You Work With Continuously: Leading up to the wedding, you probably had lots of conversations with the venue manager, your planner/coordinator, your DJ/musicians, caterer, baker, and hair/makeup artists (just to name a few). In addition to verbally thanking them at the actual event, tipping/giving a monetary gift at the end of the reception is customary, as is sending an additional formal thank you note after the celebration.

How Do I Thank My Wedding Vendors?

For some vendors, such as bartenders and waitstaff, a simple cash tip and verbal thank you is perfectly sufficient. For others, such as your planner, DJ, seamstress, and caterer, you’ll want to go the extra mile to make them feel valued. Depending on their role, a cash tip might be expected. If not, a hand-written card and gift at the end of the reception or after your honeymoon is appreciated. It’s important to note that if you’re having a destination wedding abroad, tipping/gifting customs may be different. Talk with your coordinator or planner to determine whether or not a tip is appropriate.

Regardless of where you wed and whether you tip or gift, one of the best ways to thank your vendors is with a referral. Many vendors rely on word-of-mouth referrals as well as reviews online to help keep their business afloat and find new customers. If you found a vendor you loved, tell your engaged friends about them—your pros appreciate it.

Do All of My Wedding Vendors Get the Same Thank You?

Each vendor has a very specific and integral role in creating your celebration, but not all of them require the same caliber of thanks. Here’s whom you need to tip, whom you might want to tip/gift, and which vendors will be happy with a simple thank you card and referral:

Whom to Tip:

  • Hair/Makeup artists (15–25 percent of services cost)
  • Delivery/Setup staff ($5–$10 per person)
  • Caterer (15 to 20 percent of the food bill, if gratuity wasn’t included)
  • Waitstaff ($20 per person, if gratuity wasn’t included in the contract)
  • Bartenders (10 to 15 percent of the total bar tab divided, if gratuity wasn’t included)
  • Officiant ($50-$100, or a nice gift if a friend/family member is officiating)
  • Venue manager ($200-$400, if gratuity wasn’t included in the contract)
  • Musicians ($25–$35 per musician)
  • DJ ($50–$150)
  • Drivers/Transportation specialists (15-20 percent of the pre-tax bill, if gratuity wasn’t included)
  • Valet ($1-$2 per car)
  • Venue attendants ($0.50 to $2 per guest)
  • Seamstress/Tailor ($20 to $40)

Whom You Might Want to Tip/Gift:

  • Planner/Coordinator (10–20 percent of their fee up to $500, or a nice gift)
  • Photographer/Videographer (Owners don’t require tips; tip assistants $50 to $75)

Which Vendors Don’t Need a Tip/Cash Gift:

  • Baker
  • Bridal consultant/Boutique
  • Florist
  • Stationer

Regardless of whether or not a vendor expects a tip, consider tipping, gifting, or at least offering your sincere thanks to business owners such as bakers, florists, and stationers. Additionally, all vendors appreciate thank you notes and referrals, so be sure to send along a handwritten card after the big day that they can display in their place of business.

Part 2: How to Be a Courteous Client: The Key to a Great Vendor Relationship

Now that you know the proper etiquette of thanking your vendors, it's important to know how to build your relationship with your pros, so the thanks are genuine. While you’ll probably bond more with some vendors (such as your planner), being a good client is important when maintaining a working relationship with all of your wedding vendors.

Understand Their Role

Each vendor plays a different role in regards to your event, and understanding exactly what their responsibilities are (and aren’t) can help avoid any confusion, miscommunication, and head-butting. Before signing your contracts, make sure that you’re all on the same page regarding their responsibilities, and do your best to remember that when it comes to asking questions or placing requests. While many vendors will be happy to step up and help, being mindful of their role can help avoid pushback.

If you find yourself unsure of whether or not a duty falls under a vendor’s umbrella, ask! If it’s not their job, chances are that they’ll be able to direct you to someone who can help.

Respond to Requests Timely

Just like you probably expect your vendors to respond to requests and questions promptly, the same is expected of you. Their job is to create an event, and oftentimes that means they need you to sign off on something or give your input before they can move forward with a wide variety of tasks. Return their calls, texts, and email in a timely fashion, and be sure to let them know if you have a preferred time or means of communication so that they can get ahold of you when they need you, without overstepping.

Organize Your Thoughts

During the wedding planning process, you’ll probably come up with new ideas and find yourself full of questions. While you might be tempted to call your vendors with every new surge of inspiration or anxious conundrum, take the time to organize your thoughts before ringing them up. Keep a running list of ideas and questions that you can add to and edit, and once you have a better idea of your idea, concern, or question, schedule a time to chat. Their time is valuable, and by coming to the table with a clear vision of what you’re asking, your vendors will better be able to help you and make the best use of your time together.

Respect Their Boundaries

Just like you probably don’t want to be called in the middle of the workday or texted late a night, odds are that your vendors have contact preferences too. It’s important to get an idea of their best means of connecting (when to contact, how to contact, and how long until you should expect a reply) as well as have an idea of their personal and professional boundaries. While they’re here to help you, they also have other clients and a life of their own. Be respectful of their time and autonomy to ensure that you maintain a healthy working relationship.

Part 3: Deciding How to Thank Each Vendor

While some of your wedding vendors have pretty clear outlines in regards to tipping (some even include it in their contract), others aren’t as cut and dry. While business owners (think photographers, florists, planners, and stationers) don’t expect a tip, it’s nice to do something to show your thanks, especially if you enjoyed their services. Here’s how to thank the vendors who don’t require a tip:

Your Planner/Coordinator

If your planner/coordinator owns their own business, they’re not expecting a tip to say thanks. That said, chances are you spent a lot of time together, and they served as one of the most crucial vendors in your planning process. Consider tipping them or gifting them something special, along with a handwritten note to make your appreciation known.

Your Seamstress

Whether you’ve been going to them for years or you just started seeing the pro for your wedding, your seamstress helped transform your wedding day look into a perfectly fitting ensemble. If they own their own business, they’re not expecting a tip, but it’s a nice gesture to give a little extra along with a handwritten note and picture of you in your wedding attire following the big day.

Your Photographer/Videographer

Most photographers and videographers are self-employed, which means that they don’t require a tip, but one is always appreciated. If you loved their work, consider tipping around $100 or presenting them with a nice gift along with a handwritten note. Additionally, tagging their accounts when you share their work on social media is a great way to showcase your appreciation.

Your Baker

Bakers usually don’t require tips since their business owners (or the tip is included in the contract), but if you’re sweet on their work, send them a note after the big day. Include a photo of the wedding cake cutting and cash (or a check) if you want to share your thanks.

Your Bridal Consultant/Boutique

The boutique is probably the place where your wedding vision came to life, and if you want to find a way to say thanks to the consultant or store that led you to your dream wedding look, you don’t necessarily have to pull out some more money. While you can tip, most consultants make a commission off sales, so a note with a photo of you on your wedding day is sufficient. More than that, most boutiques would appreciate social media shout-outs so that other engaged couples can learn about their services.

Your Florist

While your florist doesn’t require a tip, make sure to tip their delivery drivers/set up crew. That said, if your flowers were the main focal point of your event, you might want to consider an extra thank you for all of their hard work. Send them a thank you note after the big day (with or without a cash tip) and be sure to tag them on any social media posts to help spread the word about their business.

Your Stationer

As a business owner, your stationery doesn’t require a tip, but it’s, of course, appreciated if you loved their work. Depending on what sort of design work they did, taking the time to thank them for utilizing their talents for your special day will go a long way. Sending along with a handwritten note and a small gift is a sweet way to show your gratitude.

Above all, one of the best ways to thank your wedding vendors is by way of referral. Leave them a review on Zola, tag them in social media posts, tell your friends about their services, and consider hiring them again for other events, such as baby showers or birthday parties.

Part 4: 7 Thank You Gift Ideas Your Vendors Will Love

If you’re looking for a unique way to tell your vendor thanks—outside of monetary tips—there are a ton of different ways to show your appreciation. Not only is sending a handwritten thank you note with a photo from the big day thoughtful, but it gives your vendors the chance to showcase their real wedding work and show potential clients your testimonial. In addition to rating them on Zola and referring them to your friends, you can always give them a nice gift by way of thanks.

Maybe you know your photographer is a wine lover or your florist adores candles. Lean into a personal connection you made or opt for one of our favorite tried and true vendor thank you gifts below:

#1 Relaxation Gift Basket

Just like you, your vendors put their heart and soul into creating your big day, and after pulling off a large-scale event, they deserve a little pampering and relaxing. Get them a gift card to a spa or present them with a lavender-infused gift basket, complete with a calming candle, bath scrub, cookies, and tea. They’ll appreciate the thoughtful gift of self-care after all their hard work.

#2 Kate Spade Pendant Necklace

It’s hard to go wrong with a timeless, pendant necklace, and this chic design by Kate Spade is a favorite amongst both brides and vendors. Select their initial to be showcased on the simple gold pendant in this gift that will be cherished long after your I dos are done.

#3 Crystal Candle

Candles are always a great way to show your thanks, and this unique Crystal Candle by JaxKelly is sure to impress your vendors. A stunning crystal is hidden in the wax, only to be exposed after the candle burns down. Select from a variety of crystals including rose quartz and moonstone depending on your vendors’ personal preferences and aesthetics.

#4 Personalized Weekender Bag

One thing most vendors have in common is that oftentimes their work involves travel. If your photographer or planner is always headed to the airport and often on the go, a stylish weekender bag is a thoughtful and practical gift that anyone would love. This sleek, black canvas design by Cathy's Concepts can be personalized with an initial for a special touch, and it comes with a removable crossbody strap to make commuting a breeze.

#5 Chocolate Basket

If your vendor has a sweet tooth, why not gift them some goodies to thank them for all of their hard work? A basket packed full of yummy, Belgian chocolate treats as beautiful as they are tasty will make for one very happy vendor.

#6 Personalized Growler Set

Did you and your vendor bond over a love of brews? What better way to say thanks than with a personalized growler set by HomeWetBar? Have their (or their company’s) name inscribed on the side, and see if you can get a local brewery to fill it with your favorite beverage. If not, grab a six-pack of your favorite beer as a special, personal touch. If they prefer wine instead, consider a personalized decanter and a special bottle of vino instead.

#7 Leather Stadium Set

Many wedding venues and large event spaces are now asking that bags be clear for safety reasons, and we can guarantee your vendors always need extra places to stash day-of essentials. This see-through, cream-colored set from Cathy's Concepts comes with both a crossbody and a matching clutch that meet standard stadium and festival size and color requirements. Bonus? It’s made with vegan leather! Fill the bags with small goodies and notes to make them smile.

Zola: The Most Thoughtful Way to Thank Your Wedding Vendors

Figuring out how to thank your wedding vendors can seem complicated, but once you break it down, it all comes down to just showing your team how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication. At Zola, every type of vendor thanks can be achieved, from thank you notes to budgeting for tips, and even selecting that special gift for the vendor you bonded with. Above all, as long as you treat your wedding vendors with respect, handle your interactions professionally, leave them a review, and tell everyone about their talents after the special day, you can be sure that they’ll feel the love.

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