Advice, photography

May 10, 2015

I’ve had so many past couples and families and even other wedding vendors ask us the best way they can thank us and help us and do the same for the other business owners on their wedding vendor team.  I wondered the same thing myself when I got married not too long ago as well.  So I’ve put together a list that will hopefully help someone out there!

#5 | A TIP! I’m throwing caution to the wind and starting with the first thing everyone is really wondering about. And I am sure you are thinking I am absolutely out of my mind right now.  wedding vendor tipping . At first glance, it seems like all of your wedding vendors are making some good money from a days worth of work, but the truth is most of your vendors divide your investment in them among multiple people working on their team, they work many hours beyond what it seems their being paid for, 40% goes straight to taxes and another 30-40% usually goes toward insurance and other costs to just run their business or keep their supplies in tip top shape.  For our wedding a few years ago, I realized that I always tip every other service workers (nail technicians, hair stylists, waiters, valets, baristas) so I wanted to make sure I did the same to those who were doing an amazing job providing a service on my wedding day.  Just like anywhere, tips are DEFINITELY not expected, but are always incredibly appreciated.  So… how much do you tip your wedding vendors? I’ve seen anywhere from a $20 tip to each vendor across the board, to $10 per hour that each of your vendors worked, to 10% of what you paid each vendor.  It really just depends on the person.  I can tell you from experience being a bride and a wedding photographer that any amount is such a special gesture.  Its a tangible way to say “hey, I know you went above and beyond and you took care of me on my wedding day and I appreciate you beyond our contracted agreement”.  I’ve never received a $10 tip and thought “man, I wish they gave me more.  Rather, no matter what the tip, my immediate reaction is “man, they really appreciate me and have noticed that I’ve gone above and beyond serving them today”.  This is especially nice to do if you are hiring someone who works for a nation-wide company who only get paid about 10% of what you are actually investing in the company (although I would strongly recommend that you don’t hire one of those companies).

#4 | A THOUGHTFUL GIFT! Wedding planning can get preeeeeetty hectic, crazy, all-consuming.. But if you really want to get your wedding vendors something to thank them but you just don’t feel right slipping them a couple $20 bills and you have some time to put some thought into it, get them a gift, or a gift certificate to thank them for going the extra mile for you on your wedding day.  I am always so incredibly grateful when we are given a tip, but its the sweet thoughtful gifts that I will never forget.  And I wish I had thought of doing the same thing for my wedding vendors when we got married, but it didn’t even cross my mind!  Last year two of our couples completely surprised me with gift certificates for a pedicures! Being on my feet for 8-12 hours at a time each weekend is ROUGH! Being treated to a pedicure has been one of the sweetest thank-you gifts we’ve been given.  Other awesome ideas: a “movie-night-in” kit, bake them cookies if they work locally, if they aren’t from your area- a collection of treats from your town or state, a “stay-at-home-spa” kit, a gift certificate to a spa, massage place, or a local restaurantstalk their instagram to see what their favorite colors or activities are.  We had an amazing photographer take anniversary photos of my husband and I, and to thank her, I made her a sparkly starbucks tumbler that I had seen her swooning over on facebook.  Another awesome idea that I’m always so thankful for- when our brides tell us to take home one of their flower arrangements.  When I’m cooped up alone in our house editing all day every day the week after a wedding, its such a blessing to look up and see fresh beautiful flowers that remind me of the amazing couple I’m working hard for.  This one requires some thought and creativity, but it’ll totally make an impression on your wedding vendors.

#3 | JUST SAY THANK YOU! It seems so simple and obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many times not only I, but many of the vendors I’ve worked with at weddings over the years, are never thanked by their couples.  We know its just because you’re just busy and focused on spending time with out of town guests. But I can’t tell you how much of an energy boost we get from just hearing from our couples that we are doing an awesome job and being told how much they appreciate us.  Or when a couple makes sure that we are fed during a meal time. This past year, one of our couples thanked us during a thank-you toast before dinner, and it seriously just about made my whole year.  I came home and was so honored that they thanked us that I wanted to get working on their images right away! It’s like that quote in the photo above says “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected”.  Having a job in the wedding industry seems kind of glamorous from the outside, but when its 8pm and you’ve been on your feet non-stop and haven’t eaten since 10am, its easy to start getting tired, pooped, and lose that artistic spark.  But when my couples make sure I feel appreciated, I immediately want to make them even happier and go that extra mile.

#2 | SHOUT IT OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA! Business owners these days spend HOURS a week just focusing on getting people to find them on social media.  Theres and art and a science that goes into instagraming and face booking for business. So sharing positive feedback about your wedding vendors in social media is so helpful to them!  Post a photo of their work and mention them and tag them in the comments.  Your wedding vendors (especially those in artistic fields like photographers videographers and florists) wait with bated breath to see if you loved the work that they put their heart and soul into creating just for you, so let them know on social media. Post a positive review on their page (Its SO easy to post a negative review about one of your vendors, but oftentimes one negative review can completely kill a small business. So if you ran into a problem with your wedding vendor, I would encourage you to contact them privately first to give them the chance to resolve the issue first).  Did your wedding vendor go the extra mile and send you a gift or include something extra special? Take a photo of that and share it with your social media world!  Make sure you always tag or give proper credit to your wedding vendors- otherwise they’ll never know! If they’ve taken the time to write a blog post about your awesome wedding day, or they’ve gone even further and gotten your wedding photos published by a national wedding blog, comment the heck out of it, and ask your friends and family to do the same!

#1 | SHARE THE LOVE! There’s a saying out there somewhere that says the best thank you is a referral. And you guys! Thats so true. Its such a blessing when an awesome couple that we’ve gotten to know throughout their wedding planning story, trusts us and believes in us enough to tell their awesome friends about us!  Our favorite couples have been those who have been referred by other favorite couples of ours.  It shows us that you love us, while helping our business and helping us earn a living, and thats such a sweet gift to give someone! (And we just love seeing our former couple at our new couples’ weddings!  So fun!)

Well, friends!  Thats all from me!  Was that helpful?  Do you have ideas for ways that vendors can say ‘thanks’  and make their wedding couples feel appreciated? I always love getting new ideas on how to make our wedding couples know that we appreciate them, so hopefully this gives you new ideas to show your appreciation as well! None of these ideas are a necessity, or expected, or even encouraged by your wedding vendors, but if you feel like your photographer or any of your wedding vendors went above and beyond, it’s never to late to mail them a little note and a small thank you! Whatever is on your heart to bless them with, I can tell you that it DOES NOT go unnoticed!



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