Wedding Gratuity: Is Tipping Wedding Vendors a Do or a Don't?


Wedding Gratuity: Is Tipping Wedding Vendors a Do or a Don't?

Have you ever wondered whether or not you should tip your wedding vendors? Check out this handy guide to learn everything you need to know.

Wedding Gratuity Is Tipping Wedding Vendors a Do or a Dont
Wedding Gratuity Is Tipping Wedding Vendors a Do or a Dont

If you are a bride-to-be or simply curious about the matter, this article, "Wedding Gratuity: Is Tipping Wedding Vendors a Do or a Don't?" will be your handy guide. You'll never have to worry about whether or not to tip wedding vendors, because we will break down everything you need to know and more. For your convenience, we discuss various type of vendors and provide an outline of how much is acceptable to tip each person. You have enough to worry about on your special day, so there's no need to think about money. Plan everything in advance and you will be able to enjoy one of the happiest occasions of your life.

It's amazing to think about how much time and effort goes into planning a single event. However, your wedding is, quite possible, the most important party you ever plan, so it's important to make sure everything is right. Your vendors are the team players who bring everything together and execute your bridal vision. Without them, how would you have your beautiful centerpieces, your delicious food, or your incredibly fun reception entertainment?

In order to show your deep appreciation, tipping wedding vendors is a customary practice. As with all tips, this practice is not explicity required, but if you are happy with your service, it is highly suggested. Yes, you may think you've already paid an arm and a leg on flowers and photos, but wedding gratuity is an extra token of your appreciation paid directly to the person who is with you on the front lines on your wedding day.

Read below to learn the ins and outs of tipping wedding vendors. Wedding gratuity can be a confusing subject, so we discuss everything you need to know - vendor by vendor.

Photographer & Videographer

On your wedding day, your photographer and videographer will essentially be your shadows. They will be by your side capturing all the special moments as you and your spouse tie the knot. That being said, you're not expected to give your shutterbug or video maven any money beyond their normal fee. However, if the photographer or videographer doesn't own the studio you're working with, consider tipping each person. You can also consider giving a certain amount with a thank-you note to disperse to the staff.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Optional. It's up to you whether you want to express your appreciation with any money beyond the normal fee.

  2. Standard amount: $50-$200 per vendor

  3. When to tip: Tip your photograper and videographer at the end of the reception or just before they're about to leave the event.

Wedding Ceremony Musicians

If you worked with professional musicians to compose the perfect set for your wedding ceremony and they pulled it off flawlessly, it is a nice gesture to consider showing some monetary thanks for their hard work and talent. Keep in mind, if you get married at a church and an individual organist is required to play, you probably don't have to tip him or her.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Optional depending on your personal preference.

  2. Standard amount: $15-$20 per musician

  3. When to tip: Ceremony musicians should receive a tip at the end of the ceremony.

Wedding Reception Band or DJ

Music is one of the cornerstones of a fun and festive reception. Whether you hire a live band or opt for a DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional. Whether or not you tip should depend on the quality of the job and how willing they were to follow your ideal playlist. If any sound technicians also contributed to your day, don't forget them if you do decide to tip.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Optional, yet preferred

  2. Standard amount: $20-$25 per musician; $50-$150 for DJs

  3. When to tip: Typically, the best man should tip the musicians or DJ at the end of the reception.

Wedding Planner

Typically, wedding planners will not expect a tip, but if yours did an exceptional job, feel free to offer a token of appreciation. Keep in mind non-monetary thank-yous such as professional photos of the wedding for the planner's portfolio are a nice touch. About half of couples choose to tip their wedding planner and those couples usually have more extravagant weddings.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Completely up to you.

  2. Standard amount: 10-20%, up to $500, or a nice non-monetary gift

  3. When to tip: Most often, the bride should give the envelope at the end of the reception, or she should send a thank-you note with a few professional photos or a check after the honeymoon.

Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Getting all dolled up is one of the most exciting parts of your wedding day and also one area where a gratuity is certainly expected. Brides typically tip between 15 to 25 percent (just as you would in a hair salon). If one of your bridesmaids changes her mind about her hairstyle at the last minute and requires a redo, consider tipping a bit more in light of the extra work.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Expected

  2. Standard amount: 15-25 percent, depending on the quality of service

  3. When to tip: Tip your beauty professionals at the end of your service.

Wedding Transportation

When it comes to wedding transportation, you'll want to check your contract to see whether or not gratuity is included. In most cases, it is already built into the price. If it isn't, it's a smart idea to tip if the driver shows up on time and doesn't get lost.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Expected, but be sure to check your contract beforehand

  2. Standard amount: 15-20 percent of the total bill

  3. When to tip: Tip your driver at the end of the night or after the last ride. Keep in mind if you used a separate company to shuttle guests, you should designate someone to hand the driver a tip. Otherwise, this duty falls to the best man.

Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff

There are a lot of moving parts that go into planning and executing a wedding. Feel free to give a few dollars to anyone delivering important items to your venue such as the wedding cake, flowers, or sound system. If your wedding requires a lot of set up, such as a tent, chairs, portable toilets, these workers deserve a tip too.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Expected

  2. Standard amount: $5-$10 per person

  3. When to tip: Plan to drop off wedding gratuity envelopes the day before the wedding to the catering manager at your venue. The person accepting deliveries can turn the tip.

Wedding Ceremony Officiant

If your officiant is affiliated with a particular church or synagogue, you're often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you're a member of the institution, you'll probably want to give a larger amount than if you're not. If your ceremony is being held at the place of worship and you have to pay a fee to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. Tipping the officiant is also appreciated - both denominational and nondemonational.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Expected (depending on the officiant)

  2. Standard amount: Donate $100-$500 to the place of worship, and for the officiant, an optional tip of $50-$100

  3. When to tip: Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. If not, have the best man pass the wedding tip envelope to the officiant at the rehearsal dinner (if he or she is in attendance).

Wedding Reception Staff

Wedding reception staff includes the on-site coordinator at your venue, maitre d', and banquet manager. Keep in mind a service charge (typically 2 percent) is almost always built in to the food and drink fee, so check your contract ahead of time. If wedding gratuity is not included, tip according to the suggestions outlined below.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Expected

  2. Standard amount: 15-20 percent of the food and drink fee (based on labor, not the cost), or $200-$300 for the maitre d'

  3. When to tip: If gratuity is covered in the contract, the final bill is typically due before the reception. If not, have the father of the bride or best man hand the envelope to the maitre d' at the end of the reception, since you'll need to know the final tab to calculate the percentage.

Wedding Reception Attendants

Wedding reception attendants include bartenders, waitstaff, parking, bathroom, and coatroom attendants. The rules of tipping these individuals is dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider giving an extra tip only if the service is outstanding. If it's not included, it's wise to ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate tip on a per person basis.

  1. To tip or not to tip? Optional, based on contract

  2. Standard amount: 10-20 percent of the liquor or food bill to be split amongst bartenders and waiters respectively, $1 per guest for coatroom, and $1 per car for parking attendants

  3. When to tip: Tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event. However, if you want to encourage workers to give you great service, you could distribute them at the beginning of the reception.

What are your thoughts when it comes to tipping wedding vendors?

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