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How much should I tip my wedding vendors?

Your wedding day is one of the most significant events in your life! Behind the scenes of this magical day are the dedicated wedding vendors who have worked tirelessly to ensure every detail is perfect. From the planner who has been with you through every detail to the photographer who captures special moments, these professionals play a crucial role in making your dream wedding a reality.

It's common knowledge that tipping is customary in many service industries; and navigating the realm of wedding vendor gratuities can be confusing and overwhelming. Couples often wonder - how much should we budget for vendor tips? When should you tip the vendors? Whom should you tip? Is tipping even necessary? In this guide, we'll delve into the etiquette and importance of tipping wedding vendors to help you navigate this aspect of wedding planning with confidence and grace.

Budgeting to tip wedding vendors

Understanding the Basics: Who to Tip and How Much 

Tipping etiquette varies depending on the type of vendor and the level of service provided. Here's a breakdown of some common wedding vendors and customary tipping practices:

  • Catering Staff: If gratuity is not already included in your contract, consider tipping the catering staff 15-20% of the total bill. You do not need to tip every staff member individually. Instead, provide a tip to the main catering point of contact and ask that they spread the tip amongst the staff!

  • Bartender: Again, make sure that gratuity has not already been included in your bartender's package. If you hired a bartender that is separate from your caterer, consider tipping at least $3 to $5 per guest. I'll trust you to do the math!

  • Photographer/Videographer: While not mandatory, it's a nice gesture to tip these professionals, especially if they exceed your expectations. Consider tipping around 5 to 10% of the total cost of the service to your primary photographer or videographer. If they brought a second shooter or associate with them, tip them too! This could be anywhere between $100 and $200 depending on how satisfied you are with their services and how long they stayed.

  • Hair and Makeup Artists: Treat your glam squad the same as you would if you were visiting their salon. With this service, it is industry standard to tip your hair and makeup team 15 to 20% of the cost of your services. If your bridal party is paying for their hair and makeup individually, be sure to remind them to tip too!

  • Wedding Planner/Coordinator: If your planner or coordinator has gone above and beyond to make your day perfect, consider a tip of $100-$500, depending on the level of service.

  • DJ/Band: Tipping your entertainment is great if you loved their services! For a band, consider $50-$200 per member. For a DJ, tipping around $200 is a reasonable amount if you were satisfied with their services.

  • Florist: Your "lead florist" may not be on-site on your event day, but there will at least be a delivery team arriving to drop off your florals and set them up. If it is just a delivery, be sure that the staff member is tipped at least $15. If they also have to come in for installments, consider at least a $50 tip per crew member that worked on your event design. If there is a different team that comes on-site for break down of the decor, be sure to tip them as well!

  • Officiant: If your officiant is affiliated with a religious institution, a donation to the institution is appropriate. If they're independent, a tip of $50-$100 is customary. If they are a friend or family member and a monetary tip feels a bit awkward, consider a gift instead! This could be a bottle of their favorite whiskey, tickets to their favorite sports team, or a gift card to their favorite nice restaurant.

  • Drivers/Chauffeur: Treat this similar to a rideshare service! However, this is much nicer than an Uber or a Lyft, so aim to tip around 20% of the pre-tax total cost of their services, depending on the distance travelled and amount of time they served your event.

  • Venue Team: Your venue should have at least one venue manager or coordinator on-site one your wedding day. Be sure to tip them as well! This could be around 15% of the total cost of your venue rental to be split among all the staff that is working your venue.

  • Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Depending on how satisfied you are with their services, you should tip your planner anywhere between $250 and $1,000. This is a wide range. So consider the level of detail and amount of time they put into supporting you! Don't forget about their assistants - we recommend that each assistant should receive at least a $50 tip.

Why Tipping Matters

Tipping wedding vendors is not only a gesture of gratitude but also a recognition of their dedication in making your wedding day special. These professionals are often small business owners that go above and beyond to ensure your wedding day runs smoothly, often working long weekend hours behind the scenes. By tipping generously, you're not only showing appreciation for their efforts but also helping to support their business and livelihood.

When and how to Tip

While it's customary to tip vendors at the end of the event, it's wise to prepare gratuity envelopes in advance and designate your wedding planner or another trustworthy individual to distribute them on your behalf. Alternatively, you can arrange to tip vendors beforehand, especially if they won't be present at the end of the event. For example, you may want to tip your officiant after the rehearsal, or ensure your planner gives them their envelope before they leave.

Alternatives to Cash

While cash is the most straightforward form of gratuity, there are other ways to show appreciation to your wedding vendors. The best way you can go the extra mile is to leave them a glowing review. Typically, vendors appreciate a review on google first - this help with their business and traffic to their website. Otherwise, a review on The Knot or Wedding Wire is great if they have a listing there.

Write a thank you not to tip your wedding vendor

Tipping wedding vendors is an important aspect of wedding etiquette that demonstrates appreciation for their hard work and dedication. While there are customary guidelines for tipping, it ultimately comes down to your budget, level of satisfaction with the service provided, and personal discretion. Regardless of the amount, expressing gratitude to your vendors will leave a lasting impression and contribute to a positive and memorable wedding experience for all involved.

In conclusion, while tipping wedding vendors may seem like just another item on your wedding planning checklist, it's a meaningful gesture that can make a big difference in their lives and business. By showing appreciation for their hard work and dedication, you're not only ensuring a smooth and memorable wedding day but also supporting these talented professionals in their craft. So, as you plan your wedding day, remember to budget accordingly for gratuities and express your gratitude to those who help bring your wedding vision to life.

Haines Jones, Wedding Planner with Significant Events gives advice on tipping your wedding vendors
Photo by Megan Nicole Photography

If planning your wedding feels overwhelming and you'd like some support, consider working with us to catch a breath of fresh air. We'd love to elevate your wedding planning experience!

Research for this article is credited to Brides Magazine


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