Sometimes etiquette rules can be hard to keep straight, especially when you are juggling so many tasks leading up to your wedding day. Tipping vendors involved in your big day is a customary practice, just like you would tip on many services in day to day life. 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 tipping guidelines to keep in mind:

– Tipping is not something you *have* to do. Vendors, of course, 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 for these services in your everyday life, 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. 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 (yes, cash is still king) 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 the completion of a vendor’s service. Alternatively, you can assign the task to a responsible wedding party person or family member. For larger tips, you might consider asking to add this to your final payment.

— Tip or no tip, a kind thank you note and a positive review is always welcomed!

— Always, Always, Always double-check your contracts to be sure gratuity is not already included or required. 

Photograph by This is Feeling

Specifically, how much should you be tipping? 

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, per hour. 

Caterer- First, we suggest that you look over your contracts to ensure gratuity isn’t included already. If it is not, we recommend 18-25% of the total food and drink (don’t factor tax, admin fees or rental type items), or 10-12% of the *total bill*. You can also offer $35-$50 for each server, busser, etc. and $100 for chefs/supervisors. You can choose to add gratuity to your final payment or bring cash tip to the wedding with designated amounts communicated!

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- $75-$150 per person.

Photographer/Videographer- $300-500 for leads, $200-$300 for assistants or second shooters.

Hair/Makeup- 20-25% of total if it is not included in the contract, and not including travel fees, tax, or parking fees.

Transportation- 18-20% 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 $15-20 per person.

Wedding Planner and Team- This can be whatever you are comfortable with. We often see 10-15% gratuity based on your planning package investment. $250- $450 for Day-of leads, $500-$1000 for Partial Planning leads, $700-$2000 for Full Planning Leads, and $50-$100 for our assistants is common. If you are planning on DIY’ing your floral or decor you might consider giving extra for going the extra mile.

Extra Entertainment- Whether this is your photobooth operator, cigar roller, strolling magician, live painter etc, these folks would often receive $25-$50 per person, per hour. 

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!