If I had a penny for every week-of-the-wedding text I got from couples asking about vendor tipping, I’d have like 3 cents. Because after the first three times, I realized that wedding vendor tipping deserves a proper discussion.
Tip, tip hooray! I have the cure for your awkward wedding day encounters. Money handling is always uncomfortable. But, if you can be a little less uncomfortable on your wedding day by properly preparing to tip your vendors, do it! Here’s a quick guide to day-of tipping (in no particular order):
Important disclaimer: a gratuity (tip) is a sum of money given by a client or customer to a service worker in addition to the basic price. Tipping is commonly given to certain service sector workers for a service exceeding all expectations. Moreover, I always encourage my clients to tip when they’re very impressed, and the experience their wedding vendor gave them was a wonderful one.
Hair stylist & makeup artists
Just as you would at the salon, show your stylist some love at the end of your service. Tips are expected when it comes to wedding hair and makeup. Anywhere between 15-25% of the total service cost is great! Check in with your bridesmaids if they’re paying for services, too. Make sure they know that a tip is expected.
When I say wedding setup, I’m mainly talking about venue workers setting up 200+ chairs, or the rental company’s guys hauling around farm tables. Slip them $20-$50 for their laborious work. Or, give your planner some twenties to hand out as they see fit for setup crews.
Photographer & videographer
So, there’s this weird rule floating around about not tipping photographers if they are studio owners. To be completely honest, I don’t get it.
Your photographer starts and ends their day with you: in the thick of awkward moments, meltdowns, stress bombs, navigating through your guests, wrangling your family, and making you feel comfortable – all while shooting perfect photos that you will hang in your home for years to come. That’s stressful. I encourage my couples to tip their photo team an extra $100-$300.
Your wedding DJ could get tipped anywhere from 15-20% of the final contract cost. Whereas your wedding band might get tipped out per member, $20-$50 for each player depending on how happy you were with the job they did, of course.
As a wedding planner, I can tell you that gratuity is never expected. Having said that, I’m going to awkwardly recommend tipping your planner between 15-20% of their total bill. Another gesture of gratitude could be a sweet gift! Client gifts really warm my heart.
If your officiant is part of a church or synagogue, it’s typically expected that you donate to that church or synagogue as a gesture of gratitude. You can also slip your officiant anywhere from $50-$100 as a personal tip.
Just as you tip your Über driver, gratuity for wedding transportation drivers is expected. Have your planner check their contract first to make sure gratuity isn’t included. If not, designate your planner or trusted guest/rider to hand the driver between $20-$50 during the last trip of the night.
Your florist isn’t expecting a tip, but if you were blown away by the planning experience and product day-of, feel free to add an additional 10-20% of your final tab. Try adding it on to your final payment, or having your planner give cash while he/she is dropping off flowers that morning.
Wedding reception staff
More often than not, this group of people’s gratuity is included in a contract; however, if it’s not, the standard tip is 15-20% of the food and drink fee, or $200-$300 (collectively) to the venue coordinator, banquet manager, maître d', etc.
*Shameless plug* – hire a wedding planner. When it comes to vendor tipping, your planner can start by checking your contracts. Do the contracts include gratuity? Are you double tipping vendors? Moreover, your planner can also take the entire tipping burden off your shoulders by preparing tips in envelopes and handing them out accordingly.
A couple of weeks before your wedding, dedicate 45 minutes to vendor tip discussions. Who are you tipping and how much? This way, you’re prepared to allocate some of that remaining wedding budget to vendor tipping.