As the wedding planning process comes to an end, a big daunting task that is typically left to a week or two before the wedding is figuring out which vendors to tip and how much.
The rule of thumb is to definitely tip the vendors who don’t work for themselves where the workers probably only get a portion of what you pay the main company. This puts a little extra cash in their pockets and rewards great service. I always tell my clients, if you know someone has gone above and beyond, no matter what they have charged, and you feel like they deserve a little something, by all means feel free to tip them.
Below is a break down of all the different vendors and what the typical protocol is for tipping each of them.
For catering, always double check that your contract and payments to your caterer don’t already include tip. If they don’t, you should tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. Another way to tip is offering $50 to $100 for each bartender and $20 to $50 per server.
Photographer and Videographer:
If the photographer or videographer has their own company/studio they are not expecting a tip but if they are working under someone, then giving them an extra $50 to $200 is a nice gesture. I always suggest to tip any second-shooters $50-100.
Ceremony Staff and Reception Staff:
It's not mandatory to tip the ceremony staff, reception staff and delivery staff, but if you'd like to, then you can offer them $20-$50 each.
Often times officiants won't accept tips, but a $100 donation to their church is a great way to thank them. If the officiant is non-denominational, consider giving them a $50-$100 tip, especially if they aren't charging for your service.
Wedding planners won't expect a tip, so this is optional based on service. If you were given a huge discount or the planner went far above and beyond their contracted services, offering a tip of 10-20% is a nice way of saying "thank you" for the efforts.
Hair and Makeup Artist:
A 15 to 20 percent tip is expected, just like it would be for any other regular salon visit, but it isn't required. If each individual is paying for their own services, be sure to communicate whether they are in charge of tip or if the bride is taking care of it. Sometimes this can get lost in communication.
Band or DJ:
For musicians, a $25 to $50 tip per band member is appropriate. Offering an extra $50-$100 tip is a nice gesture to your DJ, especially if they have to carry a lot of heavy equipment from one location to the next.
If it isn't included in the contract, 15% would be a nice tip but not a must.
The florist doesn't expect a tip. However, they do typically do a lot of work to set up and tear down for a wedding. An additional, 10-15% tip is always nice.
I always tell my clients to have any outstanding balances and tips in labeled envelopes with the vendor’s name on the outside on the day of the wedding. This way I can confirm that all outstanding balances are taken care of and tip money is put into the appropriate vendor’s hands.
I also advise my clients to bring a couple hundred dollars cash on their wedding day, if they aren’t sure how much each person is worth tipping and extra envelopes. As the night progresses, if they see someone going above and beyond, they can always have me pull from that cash to tip those vendors who deserve a little extra. Again, definitely not a necessity but maybe a different way of handling tips if you aren’t sure on a tip amount.
If you are trying to stay as budget-friendly as possible, a great way to show your appreciation for all the vendors involved in making your wedding day special is to write a heart-felt thank you note that can be passed to each of the vendors as they set up the day. Vendors also love to be reviewed and referred so make writing reviews online part of your post-wedding to-do list and refer your friends!