Sometimes etiquette rules can be hard to keep straight, especially when you are juggling so many tasks leading up to your wedding day. Just like with any other service, tipping vendors involved in your big day is a customary practice. To avoid any confusion, we have put together a set of guidelines as to what the appropriate amount of tip is typical for wedding vendors.

Photograph by Tim Tab Studios

General guidelines to keep in mind:

– Tipping is not something you *have* to do. Vendors appreciate it, but never should expect it. Either way, keep in mind that all of your vendors are working very hard for you on the wedding day.

– There are some vendors, however, in which it is more customary to tip than others. This includes catering, bar, hair & makeup, and transportation etc. (Think about it – you tip these sort of people in your everyday life, so that doesn’t change when you hire them for your wedding)

– You should avoid giving “gifts” to vendors unless it’s something very personal to that vendor (massage, nice bottle of wine, etc). Sometimes when gifts are given not from the heart, it can feel like a consolation prize.

– If you are indeed planning on distributing tips to your wedding vendors, we suggest putting cash into a sealed envelope with their name/company name.  You can ask your planner/coordinator to hand these out at the end of the night or at completion of a vendor’s service. Alternatively, you can assign the task to a responsible wedding party person or family member.

Photograph by This is Feeling

Specifically, how much should you tip? 

Officiant- If this person is a friend or relative, it isn’t typical to tip them with money. Perhaps give them a small, thoughtful gift of thanks. If this person is a hired professional, donations are sometimes expected to the church ($500+), or, for a non-denominational officiant, you can give them an optional tip of $100-$200.

Ceremony musicians- $25-$50 per person.

Caterer- First, we suggest that you look over your contracts to ensure gratuity isn’t included already. If it is not, we recommend 18-20% of the total food and drink (don’t factor tax or rental type items), or $35-$50 for each server, busser, etc. and $100 for chefs/supervisors.

Bartenders- If tip jars are permitted, $50-100 per bartender. If tips jars are not permitted or specifically requested to not be used, then gratuity should be $1-$3 per guest with a minimum of $100 per bartender.

Florist/Lighting/Decor- Tip is not customary, but you could give $25 per staff member for set up and strike crew, and/or $50-$100 for your lead contact.

DJ/Band- $50-$100 per person.

Photographer/Videographer- $50- $200 per person.

Hair/Makeup- 15-20% of total.

Transportation- 15-20% of total if it is not included in the contract.

Deliveries (sweets, vintage rentals, late night bites, etc)- Sometimes it is nice to give a little something for the delivery drivers but not expected. Perhaps $10-$15 per person.

Wedding Planner and Team- This can be whatever you are comfortable with. $100- $300 for Leads, $50-$100 for assistants is common.

Hotel- you usually leave a little something for housekeeping at the end of your stay.

Photograph by Cattura Weddings

We hope this post has made it easier for you to understand the typical practices of tipping wedding vendors. Happy planning!

You have the ceremony venue picked out- a city park, a quaint beach overlooking the water, a high ceiling loft, or the same location as the reception. If you choose a non-traditional space, the options are endless in creating a ceremony that reflects the two of you. Thus, we have put together this brief guide to assist couples and their chosen novice officiants in curating the perfect ceremony verbiage.

Naturally Yours Events has multiple recommendations for vendors that specialize in officiating ceremonies and public speaking. These professionals are experienced, talented, and certified. They listen to your story, guide the flow, and creatively put together a ceremony that reflects who you are as a couple- making it feel as though they’ve known you all along your journey. They also provide great insight in ways to fuse cultures and traditions in a neutral way. Or they can help you create your own traditions that will make your wedding that much more special.

We can guide you on choosing an officiant to hire that will fit your vision, personality, and budget. Just reach out!

(Photo by Ryan Moore Photography)

While it is advised to hire a professional to perform your wedding, some of our clients choose to have a close friend or family member officiate. This can add a personal touch to your ceremony, or honor the person tasked with this request- but where do you start to ensure this person is prepared for their role in your day?

This “How To” guide is helpful to share with them! Creating the ceremony, in our opinion, is one of the most personal things you will do during the wedding planning process and here are the steps to follow:

  1. Get Ordained: There are several different websites to use. The NYE team used Universal Life Church. It literally takes about three minutes (requested info is name, address, birthday, and a few other details). It is free, but we paid $25 to get a little wallet card to carry around and look fancy. Another good option is AMM.
  2. Length- determine how long your ideal ceremony will be. A typical wedding ceremony is 20-30 minutes long. Our advice is to keep it short and sweet. Guests often grow restless if the ceremony is lengthy, especially in uncontrollable elements like direct sunlight or Chicago wind. 
  3. There are six major parts of a wedding ceremony:
    • Processional (wedding party walking in)
    • Invocation (greeting/welcome, introduction of the couple, & reason for gathering- “We are gathered here today…”)
    • Declaration of Intent (meaning you’re here of your own free will and want to marry each other- “Do you take…”)
    • Vows & Ring Exchange (“I promise to..”)
    • Pronouncement (the marriage is declared official- “I now pronounce you…”)
    • Recessional (wedding party exits)

    You can use this basic outline to then build a ceremony that is uniquely yours. The words can be changed, but the meaning has to stay the same for these specific items. You can add readers, stories, jokes, traditions, unity aspects (tree planting or candle lighting), etc. 

  4. Practice! Encourage your officiant to write out the actual verbiage in a script format. They should then read it out loud to him/herself and to family or friends to ensure they are comfortable with the public speaking aspect. On the day of, we recommend a black or neutral folder to hold a printout of the ceremony. Print it in large, easy-to-read font with a clear outline, including breaks to pause and take a breath. Speak slowly and enunciate.
  5. Helpful Websites (with sample wording and additional information):

     

(Photo by Ingrid Bonne Photography)

And that’s it! Hopefully this gives a bit of guidance. Your Naturally Yours Event’s lead coordinator would be more than happy to read over the ceremony draft and provide helpful insight. 

This couple’s bright and cheery personalities bubbled over into every detail of their day. Caitlin and Lavon chose the clean, contemporary feel of Venue Six10 to splash bright pink, purple, and teal across the white backdrop it provided. Each aspect of the day represents this couple, their journey together, and the love and support that surrounds them from family and friends. Take a look below to share their colorful and personalized day.

Photography by Artisan Events

Caitlin is a French teacher and her ever talented students spent happy hours folding paper flowers from dictionaries to add personalization to this unique mixture of living and paper flower bouquet.

Lavon, a man who takes shots of sprinkles for any celebration, had teal accents from his tie to shoe laces.

The couple chose to have their first look where they first met for a date- at the iconic Agora “Feet” installation in Grant Park.

Such an awesome photo!

 During the ceremony, the couple and all guests had a “cookie toast” with treats baked using Caitlin’s Mother’s special chocolate chip cookie recipe to honor her memory.

Every escort card was a photo of each guest! A wall of color and memories made quite the statement when entering cocktail hour. Center pieces were shadow boxes of more photos accented with colorful votives and loose greenery by Kehoe Decor.

Their happiness was contagious and filled the dance floor all night long!

Vendors:
Planner- Naturally Yours Events
Photographer- Artisan Events
Videographer- Whitney Productions
Venue- Venue Six10
DJ- Backthird Entertainment
Caterer- Food for Thought
Lighting & Decor- Kehoe Design
Hair & Make Up- Appease, Inc.

Venue- check!

Dress- check!

You have a caterer that allows you to bring your own alcohol, but what do you buy to supply the perfect bar? We’ve put together this helpful guide to create a bar that reflects the couple and their guests.

For simplicity, lets base our math on 100 legal age, non-pregnant guests with a cocktail and reception from 6pm-11:00pm (five hour party). Generally, we like to plan for two (2) drinks per guest for cocktail hour, and one (1) drink per guest for each hour after that. This means we need a total of 600 drinks planned.

(Photo by: Rebecca Marie Photography)

The general guideline for a Full Bar is 60% wine, 20% beer, 20% liquor. We will use these percentages for our measurements, but know that in modern day, due to a large increase in craft beers and peeks in mixology, your guest consumption may be more along the lines of 50% wine, 25% beer, 25% liquor. Analyze your crowd and use numbers that feel right to you.

When purchasing these libations, order in bulk or by the case. Important numbers to keep in mind is servings per bottle. A single bottle of wine holds five (5) standard servings. A case of wine is 12 bottles per box which equals 60 servings per case. A bottle of beer is one serving, but a case is 24 servings. One standard bottle of liquor is 18 servings.

(Photo by Laurie Marie Photography)

For a Beer & Wine only bar, the guideline leans 70% wine and 30% beer. Meaning you need 420 servings of wine, and 180 servings of beer to make up your total 600 servings. A standard bar will include a red wine option, a white wine option, 3 to 5 beer options, whiskey, gin, and vodka. Optional additions include rose, champagne or cava, craft beer, rum and tequila (but no shots- they are not allowed per the City of Chicago’s liquor license dept.).

(Photo by Jim Vondruska)

Signature drinks are a great way to bring personality to an open bar. We recommend keeping these beverages simple (less than 5 ingredients), easy to make (so no muddling or shaking), and able to be batched into large quantities. We recommend choosing a “couples drink” that represents you both- like those Moscow Mules you drank until wee hours of your first date!

(Photo by Mark Federighi Photography)

The finishing touches of a full bar are the mixers, tools, ice, and of course bartenders! We highly recommend tasking your caterer or staffing company with bringing these important items. Mixers often include, but are not limited to, cola (regular and diet), sprite, club soda, tonic, juice (orange or cranberry), with specialties like ginger ale or ginger beer as option. Garnishes stick to lemons and limes with cherries & orange peel as optional for specialty drinks like Manhattans. Bartending tools include bottle opener, wine key, strainer, shaker, peeler, etc. as well as items like glassware, stir sticks, beverage napkins, etc.

This brings us to ice! Big bags of frozen H2O to ensure all libations are good and chilled. You can NEVER have enough ice for an event. Again, these items should be left to your caterer to execute. Skip the Costco trip- it is totally worth having the professionals handle these items to guarantee the correct quantities, qualities, types, and techniques are curated to fit your specific wedding bar. Last but not least; it is vital that your bartenders be licensed, insured, and responsible…not your cousin who home-brews for a hobby. We recommend one bartender per 50 guests to avoid long lines at the bar.  Cheers!

After the zika virus caused concern for multiple friends and family members, Camila & Solomon decided to move their Miami wedding to the Midwest. Naturally Yours Events joined the vendor team in late November to help pull together the last minute details. Their love for dancing salsa together guided the journey from their first date, to their wedding day and Architectural Artifacts’ eclectic collection of antiques was the perfect backdrop for bringing together these two lives. Check out the adorable details captured by Megan Saul Photography below!

Camila & Solomon opted to spend as much time as possible together on their big day by getting ready together. We cannot think of a better way to start a life together than sharing these intimate moments of helping each other get dressed.

The couple opted for a Spanish-to-English dictionary as their guestbook to help represent their personalities. We love this chalkboard sign that provided clear direction for guests to complete the guestbook. Guest favors included beautiful soy candles to let love’s light shine and brightly colored towels as a nod to their original Miami location. Fun!

Elysia Root Cake outdid themselves with this amazing art deco meets nearly naked three tier cake. The floral was provided by Flowers for Dream.

We repurposed the ceremony decor to accent the fountain fixture behind the couple’s sweetheart table to create attention, without pulling focus away from the Bride & Groom.

Decor was simple, eclectic, and accommodating for the family style food service. Being conscience of how much room is available on a table is helpful when building out any centerpiece design. 

Congratulations Camila & Solomon! May your kisses stay sweet, your dance moves stay sassy, and your love remain bright!

Special Thank You to all vendors involved:

Planner: Naturally Yours Events
Photography: Megan Saul Photography
Venue: Artifact Events
Officient: AnitaWeds
Ceremony Music: Fretless Strings
Videography: Amor in Motion
Florist: Flowers for Dreams
Reception Music: DJ Lani Love
Catering: The Publican
Composting: WasteNot Compost
Bakery: Elysia Root Cake
Photo Booth: Fotio
Lighting: Event Brilliance
Transportation: Aries Charter
Hair & Make Up: Nika Vaughan bridal artists
Baby Sitter Service: Chicago Super Sitters