The Ultimate Guide to Tipping Wedding Vendors

Wondering which of your wedding providers should receive a tip on your big day? Check out this handy guide to tipping your wedding vendors.

There's nothing worse than thinking you have properly budgeted your wedding to the penny, only to realize you missed something big. Like really big. One of those huge things that some brides overlook? Tipping wedding vendors and service providers.

You might be thinking, is it really necessary to give wedding vendor tips? I know it's hard to picture ponying up to 25% of your budget for something that you may feel should be included in the final cost. But that's how we do it in the great U.S. of A. Unless a service fee is listed on your itemized invoice, tipping wedding vendors is definitely something you will want to consider.

But how do you know which vendors to tip and how much? In my book, The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer, I talk about this exact subject. While I think all future brides will find my book to be super helpful, my hope is that this article will give you even more insight on what is expected or necessary when it comes to tipping wedding vendors.

Important Notes for Wedding Vendor Tips

The first thing to note is that tipping your wedding vendors is not mandatory. Tips should be given for great service, not just for showing up and doing a basic job. Don't feel obligated to give tips to vendors if you received subpar service.

Another thing to note is that some vendors include a service fee or gratuity in their contracts or invoice, so be sure to keep an eye out for those so you don't double-tip!

A great rule of thumb is that you'll likely give tips to vendors who provide a service rather than someone who owns their business. For example, service workers like catering staff, bartenders, drivers, etc will typically receive a tip for their service, whereas business owners such as wedding planners, photographers, florists, etc typically price their services accordingly.

At the end of the post, you'll find a handy cheat sheet for tipping wedding vendors that you can easily access at-a-glance. You can also read the sections on each vendor type below to find out suggested tipping amounts as well as if tipping is expected or considered optional. Let's get to it!

Tipping Wedding Vendors

Catering

Optional or Expected? Standard
Suggested tip amount: 15-20% of the bill (check your contracts for service fees!)

A whole lot of planning, thought, and oftentimes – people – go into catering a wedding. Unless the service and food were terrible, 15-20% of the food and drink total should be set aside for the caterer and their service staff. That being said, be sure to check your contract to see if a service fee was charged. If so, you can forego the tip or pay the difference.

It is recommended to give a large tip to the catering manager/maître d' while handing them a separate envelope with the remaining amount to be dispersed among their staff. This way you aren't chasing down each and every waitstaff when you should be focusing on enjoying your special day.

Hair & Makeup

Optional or Expected? Standard.
Suggested tip amount:
15-25% of service cost

Gratuity is a must when it comes to your hair and makeup provider(s). Typically, it is recommended to tip 20%, but a range of 15-25% is acceptable.

If your artist was pressed for time, thrown a curveball, or dealt with a difficult problem, give 25%. Their job is a stressful one and a lot is riding on their expertise. This is especially true if they are taking care of people other than you (bridesmaids, mothers, etc) or traveled to be there with you on-site. Unless, of course, they charged a travel fee, in which case 15-20% is appropriate as gratuity.

DJ or Band

Optional or Expected? Optional.
Suggested tip amount: $25-$50 each, or up to 15% service cost

Your DJ or band plays (pun intended) a big part in your wedding reception. While tipping is optional, it's a nice gesture to reward them for sticking to your tastes and/or playlist and for how engaging they were with your guests.

If you decide to offer a gratuity to your musician(s), 10-15% is a generous amount. Alternatively, if you have hired a band, you could also tip each member $25-$50 each.

Transportation

Optional or Expected? Standard.
Suggested tip amount: $25-50 each, or 15% of service cost

Tipping wedding vendors shouldn't be exclusively for those involved in your ceremony or reception. For example, if you hire a limo to drive you and your new spouse to and from your wedding, or rent a bus to shuttle guests between locations, gratuity is expected for transportation drivers. The only time you would not tip is if the gratuity is included in the total cost. (Here again, you will want to check your invoices and contracts.)

When tipping your driver(s), 15% is a generous amount. Remember, while tipping one or two drivers doesn't seem like a big deal, these people are responsible for a lot – safety and getting you to where you need to be on-time. Reward them as such.

Florist

Optional or Expected? Optional.
Suggested tip amount: $25-50, if you feel so inclined.

While flowers are generally an integral part of most people's weddings, tipping is optional. This is especially true if your flowers are done by a large company and worked on by multiple individuals.

If they did an especially magnificent job or handled some last-minute problems with professionalism, you can consider a tip of 10-15%.

Wedding Coordinator

Optional or Expected? Optional.
Suggested tip amount: $100, or up to 20% of service cost

When tipping wedding vendors, your wedding coordinator is absolutely an optional choice. Many coordinators work for themselves, so they can charge as they wish.

If you do decide to tip, 10-15% is an acceptable choice. If they have any assistants, $20-35 each is a nice gesture.

Photographer/Videographer

Optional or Expected? Optional.
Suggested tip amount: $100

Individuals responsible for taking pictures and filming your wedding often own their own businesses, so they are charging accordingly for their services. As such, tipping is considered optional.

If tipping feels like the right thing to do, $50-200 is a generous amount. Much like with your wedding coordinator, if they have an assistant, $20-35 is a great way to show your appreciation.

Venue Staff

Optional or Expected? Standard.
Suggested tip amount: $20 pp

Depending on the location of your ceremony and reception, you may want to consider tipping the staff member(s) working your venue(s) that day. Most weddings are on a weekend, which means these people are working odd hours and dealing with the stress of making sure everything is just right with the location.

While totally optional, $20-50 each is a generous amount, as long as a service charge was not already added to your bill. Be sure to check your contracts!

Officiant

Optional or Expected? Standard.
Suggested tip amount:
Donation to church

These days, officiants aren't just limited to priests and judges. You can hire one or even have a dear friend or family register online to become an ordained minister – for free.

Typically, some sort of gratuity or thank-you is a nice thing to do for your officiant. If you use a pastor or minister, a $100+ donation to their church is a great way to show your gratitude. You can also slip the person $20-35 for them personally. If you have a loved one perform your ceremony, consider a thoughtful gift instead.

Delivery and Set-Up

Optional or Expected? Standard.
Suggested tip amount: $5-10 pp

Chances are, you will have your share of delivery and set-up staff frequenting your venue. Whenever possible, have $5-10 on hand so you can quickly hand over a sign of your appreciation if you happen to run into them.

If you have someone other than yourself monitoring deliveries, assign them with the task of tipping the drivers they interact with. Delivering heavy equipment or setting up delicate decor is not an easy job. Be sure to reward as such.

At a glance – Vendor Tipping Cheat Sheet

To Tip or Not to Tip Wedding Vendors

View this handy chart below to see at-a-glance the best practices and recommendations for tipping your wedding vendors.

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tipping your wedding vendors - a cheat sheet for tipping practices and protocols for weddings

Alternatives for Tipping Wedding Vendors

While we encourage you to stick to the above guidelines, tipping is technically not mandatory. For most vendors, a five-star review on Google, Yelp, and/or Facebook and a lovely thank you card will go a long way. Also consider sharing positive reviews on WeddingWire or The Knot, and giving permission for your vendors to have your wedding featured in their marketing materials or to be submitted for publication is a gracious thing to offer as well. You could also consider gift cards or small gifts.

Still, whenever possible, gratuity can be a wonderful way to show your gratitude for a job well done.

Questions about tipping your wedding vendors

Is there anything we missed here? Let us know– leave a comment if you have additional questions! Happy planning!

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