It is customary and proper etiquette to give tips or gratuities to your wedding vendors.
But to whom? When? And how much?
To add to the confusion, some vendors include the tip or gratuity in their contracts, while others leave it to your discretion.
Ask before you sign your contract, so you know if tipping is optional or contractual.
Below is a go-to guide on tipping wedding vendors. Tipping or gratuities aren’t required, unless a service charge is in your signed contract.
Tipping or gratuities are voluntary and customary expression of appreciation for exceptional service.
The golden rule is to check your vendor list to make sure you don’t forget to tip someone.
1). Use the guidelines below, and write a check, venmo, or place cash into an envelope with their name on the outside of the envelope. Always carry additional cash and bring your check book for possibility of overtime charges or other incidentals.
2). Personalize a thank-you note to the vendors with a few details on how they helped you throughout the planning process.
3). Give your wedding planner all the envelopes at your wedding rehearsal. The wedding planner will discreetly pass out your envelopes to your vendors.
ALTERATIONS $20-$40 is optional for alterations on your wedding gown, yet depends on how much you paid for alterations, and if you feel they went over and above.
BAND/DJ/CEREMONY MUSICIANS Ceremony Musicians $20-$50 each; Band leader $100-$250; DJ $50 – $200. Optional to tip, yet majority do tip. Need number of Band Members, Ceremony Musicians, and DJs, since they may have "extras" you don't think about, like their lighting and sound person.
BARTENDER $20-$25 per bartender; or 10% - 15% of the bar bill; Expected to tip, read contract to see if included or if you need to pay separately (so you don't tip twice). Need quantity of Bartenders and bar backs, as well as if they are assigned exclusively to your wedding, or if they are split in other areas of the property, such as the bar back who replenishes supplies at multiple locations.
BELLMAN $10 – $20 each; Tipping expected, check contract to see if included or extra. See if they are able to help move your gifts to a secured area .
CATERER 15% - 20% of the food bill; tipping is optional, yet majority do tip, make sure tipping is not already included in the catering bill (so you don't tip twice).
CHEF $150 – $200 per chef; tipping is optional, yet majority do tip.
FLORISTS Depends on contract. Tipping is optional, depends on if they already charge you for delivery, setup, strike, and moving sets.
GIFT BAG DELIVERY Avg. of $2 – $3 per bag for bellman to deliver to room. Front Desks normally have too much going on to hand out at check-in. Make sure you have specific details (1 bag per room, vs. 2 bags per room, etc.). Names on bags help bellman identify bag(s) per room or guest, yet would need the same name as check-in to be the same as the gift bag. Ask the Manager on Duty for a rooming list so you know check-in dates for accurate delivery to guests.
HAIRSTYLIST/MAKEUP ARTIST/NAIL TECH 15%-20% of their fee. Tipping is expected. If you're tipping for services received by your wedding party, let the wedding party know if you are tipping, or if they are expected to pay/tip so you don't tip twice.
HEAD CAPTAIN or BANQUET CAPTAIN $1 – $5 per guest; Tipping is expected, yet check your contract to see if service charge goes to the staff vs. catering company vs. resort.
OFFICIANT If member of church, donate $500+ to church; Non-denominational $50-$100 depending on fee they charge. Tips or money to the church is expected.
PHOTOGRAPHER $50-$200 each, depending on if they are the owners of the studio, or employees, tipping is optional.
SERVING STAFF 15%-25% (Normally service charge or admin charges are in your contract, yet many times Servers don’t receive all of this). Ask your Catering Manager for the number of servers, and ask if the serving staff gets tipped directly from your contract, so you don't tip twice.
TRANSPORTATION 15% – 20% (Normally % is stated in contract). Tipping is expected, yet check contract to make sure it isn’t already included in fee, so you aren't tipping twice.
VALET $1-$2 per car. Tipping is expected, yet read your contract to see if included so you don't tip twice. Let your guests know you have tipped (so they aren't tipped twice).
VIDEOGRAPHER $50-$100 each, tipping is optional.
WAIT STAFF (See Head Capt./Banquet Capt. above) $20 or more per server, depending on how much they did, and how long they were at your individual event. (sometimes they are split between multiple events at the same site, so not in the "area" with your event at all times).
WEDDING PLANNER 15% - 20%; depends on how much money, time, and stress they saved you. Tipping is optional, yet majority do tip.
Kim M. Horn, MWP
Master Wedding Planner | 1 of 75 in the World
2016 Couples’ Choice Wedding Planner | WeddingWire
June 7, 2020 & January 9-10, 2021
Phoenix Convention Center | South Building
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Arizona State Coordinator | Assoc. of BridalConsultants | 5/2003 – 3/2012
ABC 2010 Conference Chair | Worked with David Tutera | 350+ Attendees from 6 Continents were Wedding Planners