To be blunt: The finances surrounding a wedding can be confusing. This is especially the case for tipping. While tipping your wedding florist or baker is quite straightforward, people often ask about their staff. It’s common to wonder whether your vendor tip gets divided among the entire team, if you should tip delivery workers separately, and—if so—how to go about doing so. We’ll break it all down here.
Delivery staff consists of anyone who assists your wedding vendors in getting wedding items from the vendor to your wedding venue. A delivery worker may transport your cake from your baker, flowers from your florist, tables and chairs from your chosen rental company, and so on and so forth. Typically the delivery person works directly with—or for—a vendor. The delivery service team may arrive during the set-up period on the day of your wedding (such is the case with rental and floral deliveries) or between your ceremony and reception (which can be the case with cake drop-offs).
To make it clear, we believe you should always tip your wedding delivery staff in cash. Although they won’t be working during your actual ceremony or reception, the preparatory work a delivery person puts in is just as significant. It’s important you express your appreciation to those who transport beloved wedding items to your venue—doing so definitely takes special time and care. Here are the primary reasons why tipping your wedding delivery staff should be a priority.
It's standard wedding etiquette to tip each delivery person. Like every other vendor involved in your big day, these people are working your wedding. Their work not only has a significant impact on your wedding, but also how you experience it (read: less stress). It’s only appropriate to show gratitude for their good service with a standard tip.
Having wedding delivery staff is a major convenience. If you choose to have deliverers transport your things, this takes a considerable amount of prep time and pressure off of your—and your loved ones’—hands. For one, you don’t have to worry about assigning people while they pick up certain things and bring them to the venue the morning of (or, worse, mid-celebration). This lowers stress levels all around and helps to keep a nice schedule.
Moreover, having delivery staff drastically minimizes the risk of anything going badly during transport. For example, a bakery’s delivery driver knows exactly how to deliver a cake without damaging it. Your friend… not so much.
The requirements for tipping in good etiquette are usually spelled out. Recommended percentages and concrete numbers are readily available when it comes to your venue, caterers, hair and makeup, and the like. Tipping delivery staff, however, tends to be less clear. These aren’t your servers, so do you stick to non-wedding server tipping etiquette? Or is there another standard to abide by? These are our thoughts.
In some contracts—mostly venues’ and caterers’—there will be a charge called a service charge. This can most often be found in fine print towards the bottom of price brochures. What the service charge covers varies from vendor to vendor, but generally it goes towards labor and administrative costs. Think travel time, walk-throughs, and time spent wedding planning. While this sounds very similar, it differs from gratuity (a tip) and is not always given to wait or delivery staff. That being said, if you see a service charge in your contract, don’t assume that covers tipping delivery workers.
Customary tip amounts will vary depending on the type of vendor and their service. For example, if a team of delivery staff transports a lot of intense gear (tents, tables and chairs, porta-potties), you may feel inclined to give them a larger tip. The same could be said if a floral delivery team creates an incredible setup. For the most part, consider the amount of labor performed and your satisfaction with the results when deciding on how much to tip. For a general idea, however, refer to the following:
Unlike vendors you’ll be working and contracting with directly—planners, coordinators, caterers—wedding delivery staff aren’t usually included in the vendor tip. This means that the envelope of gratuity you hand off to your cake baker doesn’t typically get split between them and those who delivered the cake to you. Simply put, it’s expected that the vendor’s tip is for the vendor and not their staff. This can get confusing, so allow us to break it down. Refer to the information below to make sure your wedding delivery staff gets tipped appropriately.
When it comes to tipping your wedding delivery staff, it’s best to tip them directly. This includes each person that’s present to deliver and set up their given items. Vendors that typically have delivery or set-up staff available are florists, bakeries, rental companies, decor companies, and DJs—the last of which may initially show up with your DJ to assist in setting up their gear.
The best time to tip for both parties is either at the time of delivery or after equipment, tables and chairs, flowers, etc. have been set up. A tip is an extra amount of money given based on exceeded expectations, after all, so it’s best to be able to evaluate the work (even briefly) before providing one. That being said, have an ideal amount or baseline in mind and set it aside before the big day. That way, when it arrives, you have what’s needed on hand—and then some, just in case you’re especially impressed.
Prior to your wedding day, select a trusted individual to be present to receive your deliveries throughout the day or night (usually during set-up or take-down). This could be a family member or member of the wedding party, if not your planner or coordinator. Give this person your tipping money either the day before the wedding or the morning of, so that they’re prepared to hand it out when appropriate. This money should be separated in enclosed envelopes clearly labeled with each vendor. That being said, tips for delivery staff can either be placed in an envelope to be equally divided by the workers or cash can be handed to each staff member directly. If a delivery or set-up goes especially well, feel free to approach your trusted individual and inform them that you’d like to give a bigger tip and what amount that is.
A direct hand-off is the best way to ensure that each wedding delivery staff member gets the appropriate tip for their work.
If you’ve read this far, you’re either in the midst of looking for vendors (yay!) or have already booked and are making sure you cover all of your bases. In either case, Zola can be of assistance. With an easy to navigate database full of pre-screened vendors, Zola makes it simple to locate your dream vendors. Just make your way to our Vendors Page, fill in the appropriate search bar (“Where are you getting married?”) with your wedding location, select a vendor type, and begin your search. The vendors that’ll help make your wedding day are only a few clicks, taps, or types away.
Already all booked up? Check out our Expert Advice section to brush up on etiquette and search for answers to any questions you may have leading up to your celebration.