Tips on Tipping Wedding Vendors

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!

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