For basically my entire adult life, I’ve been in some form of a service job, including waitressing at every Italian restaurant in Suffolk County. I’d stay through the summer or until I got fired for not wearing a bow tie (long story…ask Erica.) When people ask me what being a wedding planner is like, I usually say some form of “Waitressing the same table…for a year.”
Anyways, being in the service industry got me conditioned to receiving a tip: I lived for it. The game of it all was a competition to me, and if I got tipped 20%, I won! I’ll never forget when some drunk kids came in, inhaled 2 orders of buffalo calamari (my definition of Long Island in meal form), and left with no tip. My coworkers pooled THEIR tip money and gave me over $25 to make up for it. I cried.
When I started wedding planning, I was so interested in the tipping process for such a huge, expensive, and demanding day. Many of my couples would ask ME for advice on which vendors to tip and how much, and we’d have a conversation that went like this:
Me: “Tipping is always appreciated, but never expected.”
Them: “Okay…but like, what do most of your couples do?”
Me: “Some tip everyone, others tip non business owners, some don’t tip anyone!”
Them: “So…who should we tip???”
It’s up to you! As your planner, I feel super weird telling you a dollar amount to tip my colleagues, and I follow up with a tipping guide for them to refer to. Guess what never comes up in our conversation? How much they should tip me!
In my first season, half of my couples tipped, and half didn’t! And that rang true into year two, and again this season. Sometimes as a new planner, I used to feel resentful if I didn’t get tipped, especially if I had a labor-intensive day, or went totally beyond the scope of my responsibilities. I let it get personal, and that’s when I realized I wasn’t charging enough.
I had an epiphany: Unlike waitressing at fuckin’ Cafe Amici, I own Day of Pittsburgh. I set my rates!
Now, I charge what I’m worth from the start. Tips no longer define a successful service for me. By removing the value a tip holds, the resentment has disappeared. If you ever leave a wedding pissed off because you (the owner) do not get a tip, RAISE YOUR RATE!
Do I get tipped sometimes? Of course! Some people express their appreciation of a job well done with money. One time, a guest tipped me $20 after scooping him a mixed drink after the bar closed for dinner.
Now if I get tipped, it’s automatically Treat Yo’ Self money. I get a manicure, order a frivolous cocktail on my night off, fill up my gas tank (I’m 30, this qualifies!!!), or buy my Dukettes a crop top.
What my vendor friends do with TIP$:
Buy all the wine
Pay off Duquesne student loans (Haaaaaaa!)
Get a pedicure, massage, or facial
Buy new fonts! (Love this one!)
Tip their babysitter
Pay it forward to their assistants
Get gas (SAME!)
Buy groceries/snacks for the kiddos or pay a bill
Add it to the ‘extra’ funds: their wedding, upcoming vacation, or home upgrades
Splurge half, save half! (Love this too)
“I put every tip I get into my son’s savings account” MY HEART!!!
This is the part of the blog post I really wanted to get to. Here’s what I value more than money: Reviews.
Don’t tip me. Leave me a review on The Knot, Google, or Facebook, and share your experience planning with Day of Pittsburgh! This is free, and the return of investment is exponentially higher than $50 in an envelope. Other engaged couples will read your words, then read mine, and hopefully hire me!
Other love languages I’d prefer over a tip: Tag @dayofpgh in your wedding photos, chirp about us to your engaged friends, family, and coworkers, and (I sound like an annoyed grandma), but a hand written thank you note means more to me than anything. When I have a shit day, I go back and read those, and feel so appreciated!
So yeah, don’t tip me.