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How To Tip Your Wedding Vendors

How much should you tip your wedding vendor dream team?

I wanted to start this article by saying that the way that I conduct business I do not expect a tip. HOWEVER, when it happens it is greatly appreciated. It shows me that you really appreciate all of the hard work that me and my team have done and that you are truly happy with the services we have provided. Second, I completely understand when a couple may be on a strict wedding budget and cannot afford to tip every single vendor on their team. Couples who find themselves in this predicament please hear me when I say a good review means as much if not more to us than gratuity. Great reviews can help us gain more business and that is a very good thing.


For those that are able or wanting to provide a tip to their team of wedding vendors this article is for you. Many times couples are unsure about how much to tip a vendor. I hope that this guide helps.


A few things to note before we dive in:


1. First take a good, hard look at your wedding contracts.

Read through them to see if a gratuity is included. It's pretty standard for it to be covered in your venue, catering, and event transportation contracts. When it is, no additional tipping is required.


2. A "service charge" is not necessarily a gratuity.

Why do contracts have to be so confusing? A "service charge" is a mandatory fee that gets added to your venue and/ or catering contract. Services charges don't necessarily go directly to employees, so you will need to ask how that money is being used. This extra fee can be applied to anything from venue maintenance to administrative costs, so unless you see the word "gratuity" spelled out on your final bill, you may still need to tip.


3. You're not required to tip business owners.

Technically you don't need to tip the owner of a business- just their employees. The thought process behind this is that you're already paying what the business owner has deemed an adequate price for their service. However, feel free to ignore this rule IF they exceed your expectations.


4. Prep tips in advance.

Go to the bank before your wedding, pull out cash, and put each tip into a labeled envelope. Then assign the most responsible member of your bridal party to hand them out over the course of the event.


5. Finally, unless it's built into your contract, tipping is never mandatory.

If you simply don't have funds to spare, you can express your appreciation in other ways. Write your vendors a 5-star review raving about your experience, let them use some stunning photos from your wedding for their portfolio, give them a big bottle of wine, or send them a handwritten thank-you note. Your thoughtful gesture will mean so much to them.


Without further ado... Here is our Wedding Vendor Tipping Guide

Expected Tips...


Delivery & Setup

The "delivery fee" may have already been paid but it is customary to tip the people delivering and/or setting up your wedding cake, flowers, tent, or larger rentals.

How much? $5-$20 per person, depending on the complexity of the setup for your event.


Officiant

The tip does not necessarily need to be cash. In fact, many religious officiants will not accept cash as a tip. And officiants within the government, such as judges may be legally prohibited from accepting one! Here's how to handle this senario:

How much? $50-$100 tip or $100-$500 donation to the church, synagogue, or house of worship

When? At the rehearsal or rehearsal dinner. A small gift would be a nice token of appreciation as well- especially if your officiant is actually one of your friends!


Makeup Artists / Hairstylists

The rules for standard "salon visit" tipping apply. You will want to tip the stylists that do the bridal party's hair and makeup as well.

How much? 15-20%

When? After you get your makeup and hair done.


"Check Your Contract First" Tips:

Bartenders

If your bartenders are a package deal with your venue, then the gratuity will most likely be included. If you're using a bartending company, see if they require an additional gratuity for their staff. Please note: wedding guests should not be asked or expected to tip, so just say no to bar tip jars.

How much? 10-20% of the alcohol bill (to be split among the bartenders). If a gratuity was not included.

When? At the end of the reception, when you know just how much liquor your wedding guests were able to consume.


Catering Staff

Their gratuity should be included in your venue and/or catering contract, but if not:

How much? 15-20% of the food and beverage bill. You can also opt for cash tips as follows:

  • Catering/Banquet Manager and Head Waiter: $100 - $300 each

  • Waiter: $100 - $300 each

  • Head Chef: $50-$100

  • Wait Staff and Kitchen Staff: $20 each

When? At the end of the reception. Or, give it at the start to inspire superb service.


Transportation

Many times transportation companies will include the gratuity in their contract. But if your contract does not listed below is what you should tip for an on-time arrival for the bridal party transportation, as well as any guest shuttles.

How much? 15-20%

When? Upon picking up or after the last ride.


Venue Attendants

This may include parking valets, coat check attendants, or restroom attendants. Again, a gratuity should be included in your contract, however if it is not:

How much? $1-$2 per guest - or per car for parking valets

When? It is recommended to tip these attendants at the beginning of the wedding, so they can let well-meaning guests know that all tips have already been taken care of.


Optional Tips:

Coordinator/ Wedding Planner

Although your wedding planner doesn't expect a tip, you can always provide one if she or he went above and beyond for you!

How much? 15-20% of their fee, up to $500 cash or a nice gift!

When? At the end of the reception, or upon return from your honeymoon.


DJ/Musicians

Consider tipping your ceremony, cocktail hour, reception musicians, and/or DJ for a job well done. And don't forget about the sound technicians, if applicable.

How much? A general guideline:

  • Ceremony Musicians: 15% of the ceremony music fee or $15-$25 per musician

  • Reception Band: $25-$50 per musician.

  • DJ: 10-15% of the total bill or $50-$150

When? After their performance


Floral Designer

The Floral Designer for your wedding goes over and beyond to ensure your wedding flowers are perfect- from design to installation. Providing them with a tip shows them just how much you appreciate them.

How much? 10-15% of the total bill, $50-$150 cash, or a gift

When? Upon delivery/setup, or at the end of the reception


Photo Booth Attendant

If your Photo Booth Attendant has done a superb job handing out props, encouraging people to smile for the camera, and interacting with the kids you may want to give them a tip.

How much? $50-$100 depending on the duration of your reception and number of guests

When? At the end of the reception


Photographer/Videographer

If the photographer/videographer owns their business, a tip isn't necessary; but again, you may want to give one as a sign of your appreciation. And if there are any second shooters or assistants, it's considerate to tip them as well.

How much? $50-$200 each or a nice gift!

When? At the end of the reception, or upon return from your honeymoon.


Need a cheat sheet? Feel free to download and print out the our "Cheat Sheet on How To Tip Your Wedding Vendors" below.

How To Tip Your Wedding Vendors
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