A Bride’s Guide To Tipping Wedding Vendors

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Makeup artist and bride

Zola couples, congratulations on planning your dream wedding with your team of oh-so talented local wedding vendors! Now that you are in the home stretch of finalizing all the last minute details of your soirée, from finishing up your seating chart to scheduling your final dress or suit fitting to wrapping up any DIY projects you have undertaken, one final conversation you and your beau need to have (if you haven’t already) is deciding how and how much you will be tipping wedding vendors.

Knowing how to budget for your wedding vendors’ gratuities is a tricky topic to navigate, and is sometimes a sensitive conversation to broach.

server carrying a tray of passed appetizers including shrimp salad in spoons

Photo Credit || Jen Fariello Photography

hair stylist doing a woman's hair for her wedding and spraying hairspray at her

Photo Credit || Jen Fariello Photography

Deciding how to tip your vendors should be a personal choice, and not something that you feel obligated to do. Most vendors do not expect a tip at the end of the day, but they are appreciated if you feel that he or she deserves one. As Destiny Pinson of Poppy & Mint Floral Company in New Orleans puts it, “A tip for your vendors is not necessary, but of course, is always appreciated. From my perspective, everything is included in my contract upfront and I provide a service in which I charge for and pay my employees well, so a bride should not have to worry about providing an additional tip on her wedding day, unless she wants to.”

So what’s the number one rule when deciding whether or not you should tip your wedding vendors? If you feel that he or she has gone above and beyond the call of duty and you’d like to show your appreciation, then by all means, feel free to do so, but don’t feel as if it is expected from you.

Bride getting makeup done

Photo Credit || Sera Petras Photography

server holding a tray of cocktails with a sign that says "Sazerac"

Photo Credit || Jen Fariello Photography

Guide For Tipping Your Wedding Vendors

So you and your beau have decided that your wedding vendors have gone above and beyond your expectations to ensure your wedding day is as flawless as possible, and you want to provide a gratuity to show them how much you value their hard work. Here’s a guide for brides and grooms looking to provide vendors with a token of their appreciation.

  • Photographer & Cinematographers | $50-$100 per person, or a personal gift
  • Wedding Planner | $50-$100, or a personal gift
  • Caterer | 15-20% of your total bill
  • Waitstaff | 15-20% of labor costs on your food and drink bill
  • Bartender | 10% of total liquor bill
  • Florist | Florists generally do not expect a tip, but if you really love their product and efforts, consider giving a tip for 10-15% of your total floral bill.
  • Hair & Make-up | 15-20% of your total amount paid to him or her (just like at a salon!)
  • Transportation | 15-20% of your transportation bill
  • Band | $20-$25 per musician
  • DJ | $50-$100
  • Delivery Personnel | $5-$10 per person
  • Officiant | Around $100 is an acceptable tip for an officiant, particularly if he or she is providing a service free of charge. If he or she works for a religious institution and cannot accept a tip directly, consider a donation to the organization instead.
Wine glasses with guest's names

Photo Credit || Sera Petras Photography

slices of wedding cake on cake plates with forks on a table waiting to be served

Photo Credit || Sera Petras Photography

Helpful Hints For Tipping Wedding Vendors

There’s no need to tip business owners.

Jennifer Hamlin of Events with Panache in Charlottesville, VA, shares, “When a vendor owns his or her own business, etiquette says that you do not need to tip that person. That said, I always advise my clients that these are small business owners and a gratuity is very much appreciated whether they own the business or work for the owner. If you feel your vendor has gone above and beyond, a tip is very much appreciated. A thank-you note is always appreciated as well as a positive review on any wedding website!”

Be sure to check your contracts.

Some wedding vendors will include a gratuity charge within your contracted costs, so be sure to read the fine print to see if this is the case before divvying out any tips. Note: some of your wedding vendors, particularly your caterers and wedding venues, may include a service charge in your quote, which is completely separate from a gratuity. A service charge is generally a predetermined fee quoted in your contract for providing personnel for your soirée.

Bride and groom walking happily

Photo Credit || Hannah Malloy Photography

Again, it cannot be stressed enough that deciding whether or not to give a gratuity to your vendors should be a personal choice, and not something that you feel obligated to do at the end of the night. If you do decide to show your appreciation through a tip, make sure it is with an amount that you feel is appropriate given your budget and expectations.

And don’t forget to use Zola’s Wedding Checklist to keep track of your payments. Yes, wedding planning can be that simple.

Featured Image Credit || Jen Yuson Photography


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