All of your wedding planning has been categorized and budgeted down to the very last detail, but wait, did you remember to factor in tipping? In many cases, tipping is a gracious, if not expected, way to give to those who have helped you plan your wedding celebration. If you’re wondering how much to tip wedding venue coordinator positions, the standard amount is 15-20% of the food and beverage bill. Double check the line items of your contract to ensure wedding venue tipping or a service charge isn’t already included. You want to follow proper etiquette when it comes to your wedding staff but definitely don’t want to pay twice!
Booking the wedding venue is usually one of the biggest expenses couples face. Often, there are unexpected taxes, gratuities, and other fees that are tacked onto the final contract. Make sure to read all of the fine print and ask questions before signing. Even if you discussed the main details of the day and have a good feeling about the coordinator you’re working with, there may be charges that end up on your bill that you hadn’t initially planned for and one of those things may be a baked-in tipping cost. If this is the case, no need to add anything else.
On the other hand, if you have a wedding venue coordinator that you feel has gone above and beyond to make your celebration a success, personally tip an additional amount or give them a small gift to express your gratitude. Their job is to make your wedding go off without a hitch within the parameters of your contract and the capabilities allowed within the venue. However, you can tell when a person goes the extra mile and it’s a nice gesture to extend your appreciation through tipping.
As you finalize your budget, include which wedding vendors to tip and review contracts to confirm where gratuity is already factored into the final cost. Although you want to follow standard tipping protocol, you don’t want to end up paying for the same thing more than once.
When it comes down to it, tipping is entirely at your discretion. When you’re happy with the service and when certain vendors are expecting that as part of their full wages, it’s best to calculate these costs ahead of time.
The question doesn’t stop at: do you tip your wedding venue? Do you tip your hairstylist, wedding cake baker, and florist? Do you tip the wedding photographer, musicians, and wedding planner? Some vendors expect a tip as part of their services. For example, standard tipping applies for your hairstylist the same as it does if you were visiting for a regular haircut or blowout. You may want to add more if you have an intricate hairstyle for your wedding day or the salon has made special accommodations for you and your wedding party.
The person or bakery that makes your wedding cake isn’t likely expecting a tip. The total amount, which may include delivery to the venue, should be calculated in the final contract amount. This is a situation where tipping is optional. If they’ve managed to go beyond what they normally provide for their customers, or have made a cake look far more stunning than you could ever have imagined, of course feel free to add a tip.
Other wedding vendors in addition to your wedding venue that are likely expecting a tip for services include:
As mentioned, tip your hair and makeup artist in the same way you would for a salon visit. This can be anywhere from 15-25% of your total bill. Many hair stylists will offer brides-to-be a trial run or consultation for their wedding updo or style. This should be factored into the cost, as well as how long your hair or makeup appointment lasts. Also, tipping leans toward the higher side if you’ve hired a team for the day for touch ups.
Hiring a limousine, trolley car, or other special transportation for you and your wedding party is a common wishlist item for couples. For unique wedding rides, driver gratuity may already be factored into the final bill. Check this part of your contract when deciding if and when to tip. If there’s mention that gratuity is appreciated, but not included, consider how prompt and friendly the service is and tip accordingly.
The people who deliver your cake, flowers, rental chairs, and all other wedding decorations and details need to be tipped as well. For certain vendors, they may already add delivery costs into their contract, but actual tipping is likely not included. Reserve $5-$10 per person in cash envelopes to have your venue or wedding planning coordinator distribute as necessary.
For these tips, be sure to pull out money from the bank well in advance of your big day. Set the cash aside in separate envelopes that are clearly labeled and sealed.
Although these tips are $10 here and there, depending on how many vendors you have and the amount of services required, they can quickly add up and take you over your original budget.
In addition to the vendors who are expecting tips, here is a list of vendors where tipping is optional:
Many couples hire a wedding planner. This is an additional position to the venue coordinator onsite. This person is with you from the very beginning and handles everything from scheduling vendors to alleviating wedding day stress. The best wedding planners have a personal touch, which proves invaluable when it comes to creating your dream wedding. If this is the case, consider a tip of 10-20% of the total bill or opt to send a personal note and gift of gratitude.
Photographer and videographer services are clearly laid out in the contract. Considerations for tipping include if a second shooter is needed or if there are extenuating circumstances where the photographer had to adapt more than planned to get the shots you wanted. Whether they're a wedding photographer from Tampa, FL or Chicago, IL, tipping $50-$100 is customary or you can also give a personal gift as an alternative.
Much like a wedding planner and the wedding photographer, the contract you have with the musicians hired for both the ceremony and reception include setup time, hours played, and more. This should be clearly laid out in their contract so you are all aware and agree to the expectations. If your wedding band goes above and beyond in accommodating song requests or navigating a difficult set up, consider adding in a tip of approximately $20-$35 per musician.
Tip waitstaff and bartenders in the same way you would in a restaurant. If the service is excellent and well-managed, 20% is ideal. Keep in mind there’s likely a service fee included as part of your venue contract, which means you won’t need to include a tip on top of that, unless you are blown away by the service. For cash bars, guests can tip bartenders as they wish.
Many florists will offer free delivery depending on where your wedding venue is located. When tipping, consider how responsive the florist was with your requests, changes, setup at the venue, and other key moments to make the process flow seamlessly. If you loved the final product and were amazed by the level of service, tip away. A 10-15% gratuity is a nice addition to the final invoice or can be sent separately with a thank you note.
Wedding venue tipping and tipping other wedding vendors should be handled upon services rendered or at the end of the reception. Give the responsibility of passing out tip envelopes to your maid of honor, best man, or wedding planning coordinator. For the vendors where optional tips are welcome, feel free to mail a monetary appreciation or small gift to them after the honeymoon as you send out the rest of your thank you cards.
Another way to share gratitude in a helpful way, especially for vendors with small operations, is to post a positive online review, share and tag photos on your social media channels. And be sure to refer their services to friends, family, and colleagues. Word-of-mouth is a good way to spread your satisfaction with others and hopefully, lead to future opportunities for your wedding vendors.
When it comes to tipping wedding vendors and other professionals involved in the planning process, don't forget that the decision is up to you. While it’s a nice gesture, you shouldn’t feel obligated to tip if you weren’t happy with the service. Remember that most catering companies and other wait staff members will be expecting a tip if they've completed their job.
Tipping is a cost you may not have previously considered as you're creating your wedding budget, but it’s an important one. Outlining the amount for each vendor and/or choosing personal gifts you want to purchase ahead of time will alleviate the stress of handling it at the last minute. Follow proper wedding etiquette when it comes to tipping, while reserving your right to tip the top amount for only those who provide truly exceptional service.