Etiquette for Tipping Wedding Vendors

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When budgeting for your marriage ceremony, reception, and other events related to your wedding day, don’t forget to include tips for vendors in the plan. They work hard to make sure this is a day to remember, and they do everything they can to keep everything running smoothly.

While not all vendors expect tips, most of them appreciate the extra reward for a job well done. When handing them the money or check, be discreet and include a sincere verbal expression of gratitude and a handwritten thank you note.

Those who don’t expect tips are the owners of some of the larger companies. However, it’s always good form to give tips to their employees who provide a service for this special day.

Most of the time it's best to use cash for tipping. Many people like to go ahead and have the money in the envelopes that they can hand out when it’s time.

Wedding Officiant

It’s always a good idea to offer a tip to the person who performs the ceremony. Many pastors, priests, or other wedding officiants won’t accept a tip, and if that’s the case, make a $100 or more donation to the church or the person’s cause. You may hand the envelope with the tip to the officiant any time before the ceremony or during the reception.

Wedding Planner

Wedding planners typically don’t expect a tip, but again, it’s nice to offer them one. After all, they’re the people who take the lead to make sure the event goes off without a hitch.

When there's an etiquette faux pas, the wedding planner is often the person who handles it.

They’re also often able to get discounts on other vendors, saving more than you would add to their fee. A $100-500 tip is appropriate for the wedding planner, depending on the size of the wedding and the amount of work this person puts into the event.

Give the person the money in an envelope that includes a thank you note at the end of the event. You may also choose to give the wedding planner an extra gift to show your appreciation.

Florist

Most florists provide services without expecting a tip. If you’re satisfied with their work, or they go above and beyond what is expected, you may want to tip them 15 percent of the total flower bill.

Caterer

When signing the contract with the caterer, check to see if there is a built-in tip. If not, you should add one that is included in the final payment, typically toward the end of the reception.

The amount should be 15-20 percent of the total catering bill. You may also choose to pay more if you receive exceptional service. If the gratuity is not included in the bill, give the tip to the maître ‘d or whoever is in charge of catering at the end of the reception.

Bartenders

In some cases, the bartending is included in the catering contract. If not, you’ll need to tip the bartenders. Give a total of 15 percent to be split among all of the bartenders at the end of the event.

Delivery and Setup Staff

If you have anyone deliver something for the wedding or reception, it’s a good idea to offer a tip. Depending on what it is they bring, the amount may vary from $5 to $20 per delivery person.

Deliver the tip the day before the event if possible.

Band or DJ

Since the band or DJ will have to lug heavy equipment, set up before the event, and break down after it’s over, tipping is almost always welcome. The DJ often acts as the master of ceremonies as the bridal party is introduced and the wedding dance starts the celebration. Depending on how much they do or how long they work, tip 10-15 percent of the total music bill. Offer the musicians or DJ the tip after they perform.

Photographer

Many wedding photographers own their own company, so it isn’t necessary to tip. However, it’s always a nice gesture to give them a little extra for their services.

Remember that their job is to be in the right place at the right time to get the best shots for memories long after the event is over. If the photographer doesn’t own the company, an appropriate tip is $50-100, depending on what you expect and how long they are there.

You may give them the money envelope at the end of the reception, or you may wait until after the honeymoon.

Videographer

If you choose to tip the videographer, a good amount is around $50, depending on how much you want to be recorded. Often the photography studio offers the services of a videographer as part of a package, so you’ll have more than one person to tip. Give them the money at the end of the reception or after you receive the video.

Limo Driver

Check the contract with the limo company to see if the tip is already included. If not, the standard rule of thumb is around 15%. Give them the tip at the end of the evening.

Hairdresser

Many hairdressers charge more for weddings, so they typically don’t expect a tip. However, there is nothing wrong with giving them the standard 15-20 percent that you would tip them in a salon. Give them the tip after they provide the service.

Makeup Artist

Consider the makeup artist part of the beauty team. The tip should be at least 15% of fee—more if they stay through the ceremony and reception for touchups.

Parking Attendants

If you need to hire parking attendants, you’ll need to have someone keep tabs on the number of cars they park. Then tip a minimum of $1 per car or $2 if they have to drive more than a block from the venue.

Things to Consider

When you give someone a tip, do it with a positive attitude and a smile. After all, they were helpful participants in making the wedding and reception go off without a hitch. 

There is nothing wrong with adding more to the recommended tip amounts if the vendors exceed expectations. If there is more than one person with each company, consider giving each of them a tip.

There are other ways to show your appreciation to all the people who help make the wedding the best it can possibly be. You may invite them to enjoy the food and non-alcoholic beverages during the reception.  

After the event is over, let the vendors know that you would like to give them reviews. Whether you tip everyone or not, they’ll appreciate some kind words to let others know they have satisfied customers.

Make sure you follow through and leave reviews on some of the popular sites, including Yelp and Angie’s List.