(Image via Thresholds)

Dear Preston,

My cousin got married in August, and she hired a good friend of mine, who’s a professional DJ, to DJ her reception. I knew that my friend had given her a really nice discount since she’s my cousin, so after the wedding I asked my friend if she had tipped him. He said no, but that it was fine and that he never expects a tip. But I don’t think it’s fine at all! My cousin knew she was getting a really good deal, and she’s told me repeatedly what a great job my friend did. If she was that happy with him, she should have tipped him! And aren’t you supposed to tip your vendors? When my husband and I got married we gave generous tips to everyone (our DJ, caterer, photographer, minister, florist, etc…)

I want to confront my cousin, but my friend says I’m making too big a deal about this and to just drop it. What do you think I should do?

Big Tipper

Dear Big Tipper,

I understand how you feel, but I agree with your DJ friend: I never expect a tip. When a happy client does decide to tip, it’s a lovely but unexpected surprise. Tips should always be at the client’s discretion and should acknowledge truly exceptional service. If a vendor has gone above and beyond, a tip can be a wonderful way for a client to show her appreciation.

It’s great that you and your husband could afford to do it, and I’m sure your vendors were thrilled to receive those tips. But it’s also important to recognize that many couples can’t afford to tip. I don’t know your cousin’s situation, but perhaps she and her husband simply didn’t have the money.

I think I can speak for a lot of vendors when I say that there’s something we value even more than tips: Respect and Graciousness. I would rather have a client who didn’t tip me but who was always gracious and polite to me and my team. Courtesy and kindness can go just as far as money if not farther!

It sounds like your cousin was very appreciative of your DJ friend and that both your cousin and your friend are happy with the way things turned out. Your friend is right, Big Tipper, you should just leave it alone.

However, if your cousin mentions again how great your friend was, you might suggest that she offer to write a recommendation for his website or volunteer to be one of his references.


Dear Readers, what do you think of my answer? What’s your advice for Big Tipper? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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