Wedding Vendor Tips: How Much to Tip and When

Photo by Elizabeth Burgi
Photo by Elizabeth Burgi

When working on your wedding budget, it’s important to think about the small details that could have a big effect. One line item that a lot of couples tend to forget about (but shouldn’t) is gratuity. While gratuity is not expected by everybody you work with for your wedding, it is customary to tip select vendors either 15-20% of their services or a suggest amount, outlined below. As a general rule of thumb, be sure to check your wedding contracts BEFORE tipping to make sure services don’t already include gratuity (such as your wedding catering). Also, don’t feel obliged to tip business owners (like your photographer or florist) who own their companies. Instead, consider these guidelines when it comes to wedding vendor tips.

Unless otherwise noted, most tips should be given after receiving the service (such as hair and makeup) or at the end of the ceremony or reception with a cash envelope handed out by your wedding planner, best man/maid of honor, or your parents if they are paying for the wedding. You may also choose to tip your vendors before the event if it’s more convenient for you or if you won’t see them at the end of the wedding. 

Wedding Tipping Guide

Wedding Planner: 15% of their fee is a nice gesture, or a personal gift. If they’ve brought along junior, less-experienced professionals, we suggest $50+ each. You can tip at the end of the wedding or with a Thank You note after your honeymoon.

Hair & Makeup: Pretend you’ve just gone to the salon. We suggest 15-20% on all services (this includes your bridesmaids if you’ve treated them), which should be tipped at the end of your service.

Florist: Not necessary, but if you absolutely loved them, consider $100 as a nice token of appreciation.

Officiant: A donation to the church or synagogue is an appropriate gesture. While they’ll appreciate anything, we advise $100+ on average (more if you have a personal relationship with them).

Photographers & Videographers: $100-200 for those that our part of a bigger organization (and again, if you have one photographer and they own their own business, a tip is optional). We suggest $50+ for a second crew and assistants, if applicable.

DJ/Band/Musicians: $25 -$50 each (up to $150 if it’s a one-man-show or DJ).

Bartenders: 10-12% of the total bill, pre-tax. Don’t feel the need to tip individually, you can just provide this to the event manager who can distribute at the end of the night. However, be sure to check your contract to make sure the waitstaff and bartender gratuity isn’t already included in the service charge.

Waiters: If gratuity is not included in your contract for the waitstaff, then tipping them $25+ each would be appreciated. This can be distributed by the event manager at the end of the night as well).

Event Manager/Catering Manager/Maitre d’: This is your man or woman of the evening, so tip generously (especially if you’ve received amazing service). We suggest $250+.

Transportation Drivers: Again, this could be included in your contract. If not, factor in 15%.

Valet: $1-$2 per car (more if the weather had them getting cars in the rain or snow).

Restroom & Coat Check Attendants: This may already be included in your venue contract. If not, we suggest $1-$2 per person.

Ad-hoc staff members, delivery, etc.: For those arriving early, leaving late and doing the heavy lifting, a few dollars here or there may make their day. $5-$20 per person is recommended, and can be distributed by your event manager.

Tell us WGM’ers! Have you included tips in your wedding budget?

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  1. says: Jennifer

    That’s another thing to add to my wedding planning folder, I never thought of most of who you recommend tipping. Wedding suppliers I have contacted say it is not necessary but after reading your article I think that’s going to change. Thanks

  2. says: Steve Simmons

    This is great advice! I agree with the message above, for the most part. With some vendors, you can afford to wait several days or weeks for a response. Perhaps the icing on your wedding cake can be ironed out closer to the date. The ONE vendor that I’m having issues with is my stationary / invitations vendor. They do fantastic work and are great about meeting with you and putting your vision together.

  3. says: Kristin

    Most wedding vendors are small business owners and I was an independent planner for some time. It is clearly the vendor’s responsibility to do their research in their target territory when putting together packets & pricing. If it is assumed that gratuity is factored in or not necessary when looking at their specialty, well they need to adjust based on that.

    Weddings should be about building relationships, and money makes the movement, so BRIDES, be bold and ask each vendor what all the fees are and what their view is when it comes to tipping. The virtual wedding world is amazing and provides support in more ways than we could begin to know, but this is not just another day, so communication is key with the ones you are working with.

    Tipping = Trust.

    If you can’t, or are not comfortable, discussing pricing & tipping with a vendor, can you really believe they will understand the vision you are paying them to bring to life? This is a great question to bring up before booking a vendor because it will show you a lot about the relationship (or lack of relationship) that you will have going forth. Always remember, If you don’t like what you hear, or have reservations, there are 100 + other vendors waiting for you.

  4. says: Drew

    I’ve never even considered tipping etiquette when it comes to weddings but this is a great guide to have on hand. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. says: Rhianon

    I know it can get pricey, but it seems to me anyone performing a service who doesn’t include a gratuity (such as caterers) should be tipped- photographers and florists included. And if your caterer doesn’t tack on gratuity definitely tip them.

  6. says: Venue Reservations

    I would say it definitely depends on the region. Always thought a donation to the church was somehow considered obligatory or at least a decent thing to do. On the other hand, suppliers present at the reception, same goes for a DJ/band, can usually help themselves to the dinner/drinks so tipping should be up to the couple.

  7. says: Brittany

    Excuse me: Why is it “not necessary ” or “optional” to tip florists, planners, and photographers? These are small business owners, like most wedding vendors, who use their fees to pay for overhead business expenses, travel, updating equipment and continual training to be great at their jobs, and to feed their families. It’s not like they just pocket $$$ and are rolling in the dough.
    Tips are always appreciated, and if your vendors do great work, TIP THEM. And leave them a review.

  8. says: Drew

    This is awesome! I never know how much to tip, especially for a wedding. I’m definitely going to use this as a guide.

  9. says: Rachel

    Thanks for sharing this advice. This is a great comprehensive guide to how much you should tip, something I’m always unsure of. I think it’s a great idea to have the wedding planner distribute tips. Great read!