Your guide to which vendors to tip and how much
Gratuities, better known as tipping, is an important way to show appreciation to the pros who work hard to ensure that your wedding day is perfect. However, it is not uncommon to forget to budget that in.
Tips add up quickly. By making sure your wedding budget includes these additional expenses, you can alleviate last-minute stress and overspending. Wondering who to tip and how much?
The following Gratuity Guide will provide helpful suggestions as to what is customary for various vendors.
Tips on Tipping:
- First and foremost, review your vendor contracts! Some vendors add gratuity to the total cost of services provided!
- Have cash in labeled envelopes ready to give to vendors by your wedding planner or someone in your wedding party after the service is rendered.
- If you don’t want to distribute cash, be sure to include gratuity in your final check to the vendor.
- Not all vendors traditionally receive tips, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot or should not tip them for excellent service (or donate in the case of Clergy).
- Reviewing your vendors online is a great way to let others know how wonderful they were in preparing for your special day. We suggest leaving reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp, tagging them in your wedding posts, etc.
- It is always recommended to hand-write your vendors a thank you note along with the gratuity or gift.
The Business Owner Debate
There is a lot of conflicting information when it comes to whether vendors who own their own business should receive a tip. Here are our rules of thumb, assuming the vendor provided excellent service:
- Large companies
In this case, you would typically only tip the employee providing the service.
- Small businesses
You should not overlook your vendors who are small business owners, even if they have employees. Typically, these businesses are run by one person, and/or the owner is also the service provider. More often than not, you work with the owner directly, which is a much more personal experience.
The individuals who transport your wedding items to your vendors and/or venue have one of the most challenging jobs of all. To show your appreciation, $15-$25 per person is our recommendation.
Hair and Makeup Artists
A 10-15% gratuity of the total per artist or stylist is the normal expectation. If you request last minute changes, consider additional payment.
Officiant, Clergy, or Justice of the Peace
An Officiant generally receives $100-$200 while a donation is often provided to the Clergy’s charity of choice or affiliated religious order. For public servants such as a Justice of the Peace, check with the local JP offices.
Ceremony/Reception Site Staff
Check with your venue about the number of staff members who will be working on your wedding day. We suggest a tip of $10-$20 a person.
The recommended gratuity is 15-20% of the total bar tab.
Wedding Planner or Day of Coordinator
Wedding planners and Day of Coordinators do not traditionally receive tips. However, a tip of 10-20% is our suggestion if you feel your planner went above and beyond your expectations!
Whether or not you decide to tip, a thank you gift and a note of appreciation are always welcome and highly encouraged
Photographer and Videographer
A gratuity above their normal fee is not expected; however, if you feel they provide far more than the agreed upon package, $100 to $200 is our suggestion.
Musicians (Ceremony and Reception)
Tip each musician individually, even in the case of a band or mini-orchestra. Payment of $20-$25 per person is our recommendation.
The wedding DJ is one of the most important components of your wedding reception since the DJ often serves as the emcee. The average tip suggestion is 15-25% of the total bill.
Caterer and Reception Wait Staff
While the caterer receives a gratuity of 10% of the total cost, the recommendation for wait staff tips is 10-20% of the total cost. Check your catering contract as it may already include gratuities for the wait staff. If it doesn’t, be sure to ask your catering service who receives the gratuity payment and when.
Because transportation contracts typically exclude gratuity, we recommend a tip of 20% of the total fee or more if duration and mileage have been extended.
Floral and Event Designers
There is no expectation of receiving a gratuity. However, should you choose to, we suggest a tip of 10-20% of the total cost.
Pastry and Dessert Chef
A sweet gesture for these vendors is 15-20%.
A standard tip for this service is $1 to $2 per car. If you are covering gratuity, alert the venue so they can instruct the attendants not to accept tips from the guests. (To budget, consider the number of guests invited divided in half for an approximate number of cars.)