A Pocket Guide to Tipping Wedding Vendors

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bride in white dress holding small mesh pouch full of coins

You’ve signed the last check, paid the last deposit, purchased the final items, and settled up all the remaining balances…your wedding has been paid for! Or—has it? In the grand scheme of budgeting for your wedding, don’t forget to factor in funds for tipping wedding vendors. While not all vendors expect to be tipped for their services—instead choosing to make their prices reflect all the payment they feel they need—for some it’s an expectation. Confused on which vendors to tip, how much you should tip per vendor (or vendor type), and when to distribute tips? Fear not: we’ve come up with this handy pocket guide to tipping wedding vendors. Print it out, fold it up, and stick it someplace safe. We got you!

server dressed in all black pouring a glass of white wine into a glass from a bottle

Photo Credit || Joanna Tano Photography

Wedding Vendor Tipping Pointers

  1. Tip when you feel you’ve received extraordinary service. Not all vendors expect tips, so it’s really a personal, case-by-case decision.
  2. Check your contracts to be sure that gratuity has not already been included in the price.
  3. Generally speaking, you do not need to tip the owners of large businesses (just their employees). Small business owners, on the other hand, should be considered for tipping based on the quality of service you feel you’ve received.
  4. Tip or no tip, writing a thank-you note to vendors who provided you with great service is always appreciated—as is leaving them positive reviews on wedding planning websites!
Groom high-fiveing ring bearer next to bride and flower girl

Photo Credit || Amelia + Dan

Wedding Vendor Tipping Cheat Sheet

Photographer(s) & Cinematographer(s)

Protocol: Optional; consider tipping second shooters or staff beyond the business owner(s).
Amount: $50-$100 per person, or a personal gift.
Timing: At the end of the reception.

Wedding Planner
Protocol: Optional; about 50% of couples tip.
Amount: 10-20% of total bill (up to $500), or a personal gift.
Timing: At the end of the reception, or mail it after the honeymoon.

Wedding Venue Coordinator/Catering Captain

Protocol: Expected, based on contract. If service fee is not included, tip according to below.
Amount: $250-500, or 15-20% of the food and drink bill.
Timing: If included in the contract, the final bill is due before the wedding. If not, at the end of the reception.

Officiant

Protocol: Expected, depending on officiant. If s/he works for church or synagogue, you might be expected to make a donation to that institution instead, or in addition.
Amount: Around $50-100 for the officiant alone, depending on how much time they’ve spent with you pre-ceremony. Consider a $100-500 donation to the religious institution.
Timing: Prior to the wedding (when paying the ceremony service fee), or after the rehearsal.

Ceremony Musicians

Protocol: Optional; consider the complexity of their setup and/or performance.
Amount: $15-20 per musician.
Timing: At the end of the ceremony.

Florist

Protocol: Optional or not expected, unless you really loved their work and service.
Amount: 10-15% of your total floral bill.
Timing: Include a separate check with the final invoice, or mail it after the honeymoon.

Hair & Make-up

Protocol: Expected
Amount: 15-25% of your total charge (just like at a salon!)
Timing: At the end of their service.

Transportation

Protocol: Expected (but may be already included in the contract).
Amount: 15-20% of your total bill.
Timing: At the end of the night or after the final ride.

Wedding Band

Protocol: Optional; consider their overall performance and responsiveness to your requests.
Amount: $20-$35 per musician
Timing: At the end of the reception.

Wedding DJ

Protocol: Optional; consider their overall quality and responsiveness to your requests.
Amount: $50-$150
Timing: At the end of the reception.

Reception Waitstaff

Protocol: Optional, based on contract (check to see if a service fee is included). Tip on top of service fee only for exceptional service.
Amount: 15-20% of labor costs on your food and drink bill.
Timing: At the end of the reception (or during set-up, to encourage great service).

Reception Bartender

Protocol: Optional, based on contract (check to see if a service fee is included). Tip on top of service fee only for exceptional service. Make sure guests are not tipping on top of your tip!
Amount: 10% of total liquor bill.
Timing: At the end of the reception (or during set-up, to encourage great service).

Delivery Personnel (Cake, Rentals, Flowers, Etc.)

Protocol: Expected
Amount: $5-$10 per person
Timing: Leave cash envelopes with the coordinator or catering manager (whomever will be on site overseeing delivery and setup) to distribute the tip(s).

Groomsman raising a glass of whiskey

Photo Credit || Allison Kuhn Creative

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  1. Pingback: Wedding Tipping? - Lehane Photo

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