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Just picture yourself making your romantic exit and you’re finally married to the love of your life! The last thing you want to be  thinking about is if you tipped your wedding vendors, or even if you tipped them correctly. Whether it’s your wedding planner, your caterer, your valet and so on, you don’t want to be fielding questions or scrambling for cash on your wedding day. We’re here to simplify your life with a comprehensive guide to tipping your wedding vendors. This is your one-stop-shop for all things wedding tipping etiquette — with a few pro tips thrown in to make your big day even better!

Who Do I Tip? A Comprehensive Guide to Tipping Your Wedding Vendors

Photo // Tammy Odell Photography

Vendor Tipping Etiquette

When it comes to tipping your wedding vendors, not all vendors (and situations) are equal. What that means is that some vendors expect to be tipped, like your makeup artist, and others don’t require it but would appreciate the gesture, like your musicians, and others still that build that cost into their contract with you. For example, some vendors will need to be tipped and others will give a service charge. Not to confuse the matter, but having a service charge by one vendor — your caterer, for example – doesn’t mean you don’t need to tip the delivery person or even the wait staff.

Here is what you need to successfully navigate the tipping process:

1. Have a plan in place.

Go through this complete list of wedding vendors and determine who all you need, or at least may need to tip. If you have a wedding planner, this is a task they can provide invaluable help with, so be sure to check with your planner if you want extra help. Once you determine who is on the list for tipping, you’ll want to have a plan for when and how to get them their tip. For some vendors, it’s upon delivery, at the end of the night, or even after the honeymoon.

Remember to have the cash or checks prepared in advance for vendors being tipped on the day of the wedding.

2. Check your contracts.

Vendors such as reception staff, caterers and venues who are providing day-of management, among others, often put service charges or gratuity in the contract. Be sure to go through all your contracts to determine where that may already be covered.

3. Put this in the wedding budget.

Depending on how many vendors you have, the tips could add up, so it’s important to include this cost in your budget. Because tipping can also be somewhat spontaneous based on excellent service, try to add a little padding in your budget, if possible, for the option. You don’t want to get to the event day and try to scramble to tip someone. A little budgeting can stop that stress.

4. You don’t need to tip business owners. (But when to make the exception.)

Traditionally, you do not need tip business owners. There are exceptions to this in the case of photographers who are both the owner and the service provider. In those cases, you may want to make the exception.

5. Reward excellent service.

Ultimately, tipping is about rewarding excellent service, not feeling compelled. There is propriety and then there’s undue guilt. The goal is to be thoughtful of the type of service that is being provided, to be aware of how different service providers make their money and give financial recompense appropriately.

Excellent service is when vendors go above and beyond the agreed-upon terms — this can be before, during or after the wedding, so keep that in mind.

6. Put someone in charge.

This may be multiple people or one person, but someone needs to be in charge of dispersing tips during the wedding day — as well as before or after, as needed. If you have a planner or day-of coordinator, they are the person you will want to designate as tip czar. They can wrangle wedding party members, family or their assistant to ensure every vendor is appropriately tipped. If you don’t have a planner, think through the day and the process and enlist your wedding party or family to help with different vendors. The main point — don’t try to do this yourself because you have a lot on your plate that day.

A Comprehensive Vendor Tip List

Below is your comprehensive wedding vendor tip list. It’s important to keep in mind that this is based on the common etiquette practice and average amounts given. Each event is unique and your tipping amounts will be unique to you based on the service each vendor provides. This is simply here as a guide to help you successfully navigate the process.

 

Wedding Planner / Coordinator or Designer

Protocol: Optional. If they go above and beyond, you can give a tip or a small gift of appreciation.

Tip: 10-20% of fee.

When: Given at the end of the event or after your honeymoon.

 

Alterations

Protocol: Optional, but encouraged for a job well done or service above and beyond.

Tip: $15-$30

When: Given after services rendered.

 

Wedding Photographer and Videographer

Protocol: Optional. If the photographer owns their own business, you aren’t required to tip business owners, but if they are part of a larger organization, it is encouraged that you tip them. And while a tip for owners is not expected, it is nice, especially since these vendors will be working on your photos/video long after the day is over.

Tip: $50-$200 depending on the extent of the job.

When: Given at the end of the event.

 

Delivery / Setup

Protocol: Expected

Tip: Anywhere from $5 to $10 per person.

When: Given upon delivery or in the case of set up or tear down, at the end of the event.

 

Wedding Hairstylist and Make-up Artists

Protocol: Expected

Tip: Similar to a salon experience, 15-20% of the total.

When: Given after services rendered.

 

Wedding Ceremony Musicians

Protocol: Optional

Tip: Anywhere from $15-$20 per musician.

When: At the end of the ceremony.

 

Wedding Officiant

Protocol: Optional, but a gift of some amount is always nice here. This will vary depending on whether or not you are married by a minister, if you did premarital counseling with them, or if they are a friend.

Tip: A $100-$500 donation to the church or religious institution and $50-$100 given to the minister directly. If you are married by a friend or general officiant, the $50-$100 is still acceptable.

When: This is done before the ceremony, but if there aren’t explicit requirements, this can also be done after the ceremony.

 

Wedding Venue Coordinator / Catering Manager

Protocol: Expected, but review your contract as a service charge or gratuity may already be built-in.

Tip: 15-20% of the food or drink fee or $200-$500.

When: Based on your contract, this is often required in the final bill that is due before the wedding. This is also acceptable after the reception if the contract doesn’t require pre-payment.

 

Wedding Wait Staff

Protocol: Expected, though tipping expectations should be included in your contract.

Tip: Anywhere from $10-$20 per person is average.

When: Given at the end of the event or after services rendered.

 

Bartender / Barista

Protocol: Expected, but make sure you know if they will be accepting tips from guests because that can take the place of any tip you give them. This also may be included in your catering tip if you are getting both services from the same provider or your venue.

Tip: 10-15% of the pre-tax bar bill.

When: Given at the end of the event or after services rendered.

 

Attendants (Coatroom / Valet)

Protocol: Expected

Tip: Anywhere from $1-$2 per guest for attendants or the same per car for valet.

When: Given at the end of the event.

 

Entertainment (Band or DJ)

Protocol: Optional, but encouraged.

Tip: $25-$35 per musician or $50-$150 for DJs.

When: Given at the end of the event.

 

Transportation

Protocol: Expected

Tip: 15-20% of the total bill.

When: Given after services rendered, usually after the final ride, so couples would generally need to be prepared to give this tip directly.

 

Tipping Details to Keep in Mind

One exception to this list is business owners. If you were very pleased with the service and would like to tip a business owner (especially those who also render the service as well as own the business) general tips for owners are around $100 or a small gift. If they have an assistant, $50-$75 is average.

Keep in mind that many vendors want to leave after the services have been rendered, so you won’t be able to settle up at the end of the evening with everyone. This is where having a plan in place of who to tip and when will come in handy.

 

Additional Ways to “Tip”

Other vendors such as your calligrapher, florist, baker, invitation designer, rental company and so on might not be vendors you traditionally tip, however, every vendor appreciates kind words — especially positive reviews online.

Leave a positive review online.

It’s a good rule of thumb to be sure and leave a positive review on Google, on their social media pages or their website. This is a great way to help other couples know what a wonderful job they did for you! And since many wedding vendors are small business owners or entrepreneurs, this is invaluable.

Write them a personal thank you note.

Your wedding vendors put a lot of thought and care into making your dream day come to life. Whether or not they are traditionally tipped, consider writing a personalized thank you note to them for all their time and help.

Give them a gift.

Again, for the vendors that aren’t traditionally tipped, such as a wedding planner, a gift is a wonderful alternative to say thank you and let them know you appreciate all their hard work.


Now that you know all the tipping etiquette, you’re ready to find your perfect wedding vendors. We’re here to simplify your search with another comprehensive list — a list of the best local wedding vendors — available to you right here.