As a bride on the hunt for her perfect wedding dress, tipping your bridal or wedding dress consultant is likely the last thing on your mind. But it shouldn’t be.
Contrary to popular opinion, the average bridal consultant doesn’t make a lot of money.
Many bridal shops require their consultants to reach a minimum dollar amount in sales before they see any commission. During the slow season, that could mean consultants are living off of their minimum wage base salary.
So, should you tip your bridal or wedding dress consultant?
Tipping is completely voluntary and no bride of modest means should feel obligated to tip her consultant if she can’t afford to do so. If you’re not on a bare bones budget, however, tipping is something you may want to consider in exchange for excellent service.
When Should I Consider Tipping a Wedding Dress Consultant?
Deciding who to tip can get confusing. After all, it’s common practice to tip someone who serves you at a restaurant or beauty salon.
Does that mean you should tip your bridal consultant too?
The truth is, it’s still not common practice to tip a bridal consultant, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. We recommend playing it by ear.
If you have a consultant who gives you her undivided attention and works hard to help you find your dream dress, you may want to consider showing her your appreciation. If your consultant is less conscientious and doesn’t offer good service, however, you shouldn’t offer a tip.
Pro tip: Never offer a tip to the owner of a bridal salon. The owner is the one who rakes in the majority of the profits off of every sale. Tips should be given to employees only.
How Much Do You Tip a Wedding Dress Consultant?
Keep in mind, because tipping isn’t common practice in this industry, there is no right or wrong amount to tip — but you should avoid using the percentage method.
While you might give a server at a restaurant a 15-20% tip, that number would be way too much at a bridal salon. If you’re like the average U.S. bride, you probably paid around $1,600 for your dress. Even at only 10% that would be a pretty hefty tip.
Brides who do opt to tip their bridal consultants report giving $20-$50, but that is far from a rule. If you do decide to show your bridal consultant your appreciation with a tip, always tip according to what you can afford, even if that is only $10.
If your budget is tight and you can’t afford to show your appreciation with money, leaving a glowing online review that names your consultant is a very nice gesture and is often appreciated just as much.
The one cardinal rule is this: Never decide not to tip because you think your bridal consultant earns big bucks on commission. That is rarely the case.
Instead, base your decision to tip on the level of service you receive and if you can afford to do so.
Do Bridal Consultants Work on Commission?
In most cases, yes, bridal consultants do work on commission, but also receive a base salary — usually minimum wage. Many of the most popular bridal salons, however, don’t make earning that commission easy.
Let’s take a look at the pay and commission structure of two of the biggest names in the business.
Do David’s Bridal consultants make a commission?
According to present and former employees, David’s Bridal consultants are not well paid. Most consultants make minimum wage as a base salary and only receive commission if they surpass a complicated formula the company has put in place.
One former employee said David’s Bridal consultants have to exceed sales of $160-$200/hour over a two-week period in order to receive commission on any of their sales. Due to that pay-scale, it can be hard to make any commission at all, especially during the slower times of the year.
The average David’s Bridal wedding dress is between $300 and $700, although the company does sell dresses valued at roughly $2,000 as well. Even if a bridal consultant sold four dresses a week at an average of $600 for a total of $2,400 per week, she still wouldn’t earn enough per hour to pull in a commission.
To have a chance at a commission, a consultant would have to sell well over $3,000 worth of dresses each week.
Do Kleinfield consultants make a commission?
A Kleinfeld consultant averages about $16 per hour as base pay but, according to varying reports, benefits are poor and only consultants who sell a lot manage to bring in a good paycheck. The commission percentage is typically 5%, but consultants have to bring in $10,000 in sales within their pay period to earn that commission.
If a consultant managed to sell $10,425 in a two-week pay period, for instance, she would pocket $521.25 in addition to her base salary. If she worked 40 hours at $16 an hour, she’d make $640 plus the $521.25 in commission for a total of $1,161.25 for the two-week pay period.
If, however, a Bridal consultant had a good week and managed to sell three high-priced gowns, she could pull in significantly more money. A $9,700 Pnina Tornai, a $6,200 Tony Ward and a $4,885 Lazaro, for instance would constitute $20,785 in sales for a $1,039.25 commission.
If a consultant sold $20,000 worth of gowns during each week of her two-week pay period, she could expect $2,000 to be added to her base pay.
What Do Bridal Consultants Do?
Bridal consultants work one-on-one with brides to help them find the right gowns and accessories for their big day. The appointment usually starts with the consultant measuring the bride to determine size followed by a discussion to find out what the bride is looking for.
Consultants will pull gowns, help the bride with hooks and zippers and use their knowledge of fashion to select dresses that will best flatter a bride’s body type.
She must often deal with indecisive or picky brides and their entourages and will listen to and accommodate multiple opinions all while keeping a smile on her face.
A good consultant will bend over backward to make sure her bride is happy throughout the appointment. Once the appointment is over, the consultant will haul the often heavy dresses back to their racks in preparation for her next appointment or walk-in bride.
On busy days, a bridal consultant will spend almost her entire shift on her feet.
Should You Tip When Buying a Wedding Dress?
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to this often-asked question. If you’ve received outstanding service from your bridal consultant, tipping is a very nice gesture and is sure to be appreciated.
If, however, you’re not as impressed with the efforts of your bridal consultant or are on a tight budget, you should never feel obligated to tip.