Tipping is simply the act of letting someone know you acknowledge the value of the service he or she provided. I’d like to clarify from the start, in the wedding industry, many vendors don’t actually expect a tip, rather it’s appreciated. It’s meant to reward wedding vendors for providing excellent service and going above and beyond what’s included in their contract. To eliminate tipping confusion, begin by looking at your vendor contracts. Some may already include a gratuity in the final cost.
If you are going to tip on the day of your event I would recommend preparing in advance and placing the tip amount in envelopes clearly labeled to each vendor you are tipping. If you have a wedding day coordinator you can give these envelopes to the coordinator a few days in advance. Bridal party members or a friend will work great if you do not have a coordinator.
Following is a guide to help you decide who and how much to tip on your wedding day.
This may be a vendor who includes gratuity into their contract. If they do not, you should tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill, just like you would at a restaurant. Another way to tip a caterer would be to offer $100 to $200 for the catering manager, $50 to $100 for each chef and $20 to $50 per server.
10 percent of the total liquor bill is expected and should be split among all the bartenders. A tip jar may be put out on the bar top. If you are opposed to this idea, clarify this prior to the event and let the bar staff know you will cover all gratuity.
Photographer and Videographer
If the photographer is the studio owner they don’t expect a tip, however giving them an extra $50 to $200 is a nice gesture. If there are additional shooters, giving a $50 to $100 tip to each person (who doesn’t own the business) is suggested.
Ceremony and Reception Staff
It’s not mandatory to tip the ceremony, reception and delivery staff, but if you’d like to, 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 $100 tip, especially if they aren’t charging for their service.
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.
Band or DJ
Offering a 10 to 15 percent tip is a nice gesture to your band or DJ, especially if they have to carry a lot of heavy equipment from one location to the next. For musicians, a $25 to $50 tip per band member is appropriate.
A 15 percent tip is optional if it isn’t included in the contract.
The florist doesn’t expect a tip. However, if they do an outstanding job, you can consider giving them a 10 to 15 percent tip after services are rendered.
Wedding Planner and Coordinator
Wedding planners don’t expect a tip, so this is optional based on service. If the planner went way above and beyond their contracted services, offering a tip of 10 to 20 percent is a nice way of saying “thank you” for the efforts.
Though tipping at weddings has become a custom, it isn’t mandatory or even expected by most wedding vendors. With the exception of the catering and wait staff, and possibly the venue, tips are considered a nice surprise by almost all wedding professionals.
If you don’t have the money to shell out on tips there are a few no-cost gestures that go a long way with all wedding professionals (and also helps others make decisions about which vendors to hire). Send an email or a handwritten thank-you that the vendor can use on their website or in printed publications. Write a review on Yelp, Google or WeddingWire (or all three). Even better, refer your family and friends to your wedding professionals – this gesture will go much further than a cash tip!
Photo captured by Trinity Photography, Danielle Lirette