When putting together the budget for a wedding, many brides forget to include tips for their wedding vendors. This can throw an unexpected wrench in your plans or even unwanted stress on your actual wedding day if you don’t know how much to tip wedding vendors. Tipping your wedding vendors for exceptional service is a regular practice and a thoughtful gesture for a job well done.
Some vendors will build a gratuity or service fee into their contracts. However, if they don’t, it can be overwhelming to know how to tip wedding vendors, how much is expected, or even if it’s necessary. Should you tip the owner of the business or just their staff? What if it’s a small business and there’s only one employee running the show? Who should you tip and how much?
Use the following wedding tipping guide to learn who should be tipped, how much, and when the best time to give it is so you won’t be taken by surprise on your big day!
Wedding Tipping Breakdown
When it comes to your wedding, there are many vendors and individuals who put a lot of work into making your day special. Tipping for a job well done is always appreciated by vendors and service staff, regardless if it is expected or not.
Below we break down the tipping expectation and standard amount for each wedding vendor you’ll deal with during the planning process or on your wedding day.
For many brides, their wedding planner is an angel sent from heaven armed with the know-how and organizational skills to bring your wedding vision to life. They are responsible for a lot: working with your chosen vendors throughout the planning process, helping with decorations and themes, acting as a shoulder to cry on when things get too stressful, and ultimately making sure your day runs smoothly.
Because of their upfront fees, most wedding planners don’t expect a tip, so doing so is optional. However, if your wedding planner went above and beyond to realize your vision, it’s nice to give a tip as a goodwill gesture for great service.
A standard tip of between $100-500 is appropriate. If your planner had the help of an assistant or another wedding coordinator on the day of, you should add an additional $50-100 per person. As an added touch, you can also include a handwritten thank-you note and, depending on the size of your wedding and the amount of work they put in, a small gift as a token of your gratitude.
Another great way to support and thank your wedding planner for a job well done is to give them a review on their website or social media pages. Positive reviews alongside any photos your photographer provides of table arrangements, or decorations can help them build their portfolio and land new clients down the line.
Hairstylist and Makeup Artist
Some brides choose to do their own hair and makeup on their wedding day. However, if you choose to hire a stylist and a MU artist, standard salon tipping rules apply. Consider tipping between 15-25 percent, depending on the quality of their work. This should be given to them as soon as you and your bridesmaids are made up and ready to go.
As a side note, you also should tip between 10-25 percent of the final bill at the end of each trial you do before the wedding day. If you do trials with different stylists, or if you have more than one go around with your go-to stylist, a tip is expected each time.
Florist, Baker, Stationer
The flowers at your wedding are an important part of the decoration and theme of your wedding. They provide ambiance and flair, as well as tell a story about you and your partner’s tastes. A good florist will be able to provide you with amazing blooms and arrange them in stunning combinations that you’ll wish you could keep around forever.
A delicious cake is a must at any wedding too, and if the cake is a focal point, you may want to tip your baker. If you use a professional stationer for gorgeous invitations, signs, and calligraphy, you may also consider tipping wedding vendors like a stationer as well as the baker or florist.
Tipping wedding vendors like florists, bakers, and stationary services is optional, especially if they are the owner of their business. However, if you’re absolutely smitten with their service and you want to give a tip, there are a couple of different routes you could take.
A standard 10-15 percent gratuity of your total bill is an option, although this could get pricey depending on how extravagant your flowers, cake, or stationary are. If this isn’t an option for you, consider a cash tip of $50-100. You can send this to them after the wedding along with a thank-you note for their work.
Setup and Teardown Staff
Vendors who perform any kind of delivery, setup, or teardown should receive a tip for their services. Depending on what was delivered (the wedding cake, decorations, the sound system, etc.) or the extent of the setup/teardown, you can plan to tip each person between $5-20.
Due to the fact you’ll likely be getting ready while these vendors are preparing for your event, it is a good idea to get the tip to them in the days leading up to the wedding. If this isn’t logistically possible, work with your wedding planner or a responsible family member to give out the tips throughout the day.
It’s always a good idea to tip your ceremony officiant to say thanks for marrying you and your partner. Even if it’s a friend!
Officiants with ties to a religious organization may not accept a personal tip, however, you can offer to donate $50-100 to their organization. This donation can be handed to them at any time before the ceremony or after the reception.
If you decide to hire live musicians to accompany your wedding ceremony, a tip is most often optional. Again, if they did an excellent job and you’re satisfied with their performance, a tip is a nice gesture.
Consider tipping between $15-20 per person at the end of the ceremony. Since you’ll be taking photos or sashaying into cocktail hour, give this task to your wedding planner or the maid of honor/best man.
Photographer and Videographer
When your wedding is over, the photos and wedding video are all that’s left to remember the magical day by. Plus, these wedding photographers put in hours of work, not just on the day but afterward while editing and compiling footage. Although optional, a tip can be a nice way to thank your photographer and videographer for the meaningful work they’re doing for you.
It’s customary if you choose to tip to offer $100 or more, with an additional $50-75 for any second shooters or video assistants who are present. You will likely have paid for their services before the wedding, however, you can tip your photographer and videographer at the end of the wedding reception.
Caterer and Waitstaff
Many caterers include a gratuity or service fee into your contract, so you’ll want to find out beforehand if this is the case. Even if it is already built-in afterward, if the food is superb and the waitstaff on top of their game for your reception, you may want to give a little extra at the end of the night.
It is standard to tip between $10-20 per person. The owner will know to split it evenly between their staff, but if you are concerned about each person receiving their allocated tip, you can state your desires in an accompanying thank-you note. You might consider tipping the catering manager a slightly larger portion.
Bartending services don’t always come with your chosen venue. If you hire a separate bartending service that isn’t built into your catering or venue contract, it is customary to tip 10-15 percent of the total bill at the end of the night. The tip will be split evenly among the bartenders who served at your wedding, so no need to do that yourself.
Bartenders are often included in your catering or venue contract, however, so check contracts to see if a service charge is included. Many bartenders get tips from wedding guests as well, but it’s still customary to tip bartenders along with the rest of the catering staff.
Oftentimes the venue you booked comes with a certain number of staff like an on-site coordinator or building manager, bathroom or coatroom attendants, as well as a maitre d’. Although most venues add a 2-3 percent service fee to accommodate their staff, a tip is generally expected if this isn’t the case.
You should plan to tip 15-20 percent of the final food and drink bill. This bill is most often paid before the event, so you can either include the tip with the final invoice or in an envelope at the end of the night.
Reception Band or DJ
Just like the musicians for your ceremony, the band or DJ you hire for your reception (if they are separate) typically expect a gratuity. Many will include a gratuity in their contract, but if they kept people on the dance floor all night and did an awesome job acting as an MC, you may feel like giving an additional tip.
The standard is between $50-200. Make sure you take into account each musician or person on the team. This can be given at the end of the reception.
Anyone involved with transportation on your big day should be offered a tip at the end of the night. This includes parking attendants, limo or Uber drivers, or shuttle drivers. Most larger transportation companies will include the gratuity in your contract for the guest, however between 15-20 percent of the bill is standard should it not be included. Whether you use parking valets or guest shuttles, make sure the staff is included in your wedding budget.
Tips for Tipping Wedding Vendors
Pun intended! Plan ahead so that you don’t forget to tip wedding vendors who offer great service.
Read Service Contracts to Check for Gratuity
Before you make a plan for tipping your wedding vendors, make sure that gratuity isn’t included in their contracts. Read through each wedding vendors’ contract to make sure service charges aren’t already added in to tip the employees.
Budget for Tips
Now that you know how tipping wedding vendors works, you may realize that you need to account for these tips in your wedding budget. Figure out how much you want to tip each vendor ahead of time so that you don’t go over budget when you add in tips.
Prepare Tips Before the Big Day
Prepare tips in advance so that you’re not scrambling on the big day. Many couples set up labeled cash envelopes the week of the wedding so that tipping vendors is easy when the time comes.
If you’re worried about tracking down each vendor at the wedding reception, ask a family member or member of the bridal party to help hand out the cash tips to vendors. You’ll be busy getting married, so you may not be able to do it all yourself. It’s also okay to send tips or a small personal gift and thank you note after the wedding.
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