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How To Tip Your Wedding Vendors

You will be hiring a lot of vendors when you begin planning a wedding, and many of those vendors will have a staff of people helping them to make your ceremony and reception amazing. Since you don't throw this type of event often, it can be hard to know who you are expected to tip. has come up with a list so that you can decide who you will tip, and how much you should give. 

Tipping Guidelines
Many of your wedding vendors will not expect a tip, but it is always a nice surprise for them when one is given. It shows them that they have met, and in some cases exceeded, your expectations for service. There are some that you always tip, like bartenders, and some that are totally optional. When you do tip, keep the following things in mind:

  • Review contracts carefully. - In some cases, the gratuity is already figured into the final price that you pay. If you don't see this in the contract, ask about it to avoid unnecessarily double-tipping. 
  • You don't have to tip owners. - If the person that owns the company is the one working your wedding, you do not have to tip them. This is generally reserved for their employees that only earn a percentage for their work. If the owner goes above and beyond what is expected of them, or if it is a small, self-employed business, a tip is always appreciated.  
  • You can tip with gifts. - If you don't have a lot of extra money in your budget to tip the vendors that don't always expect a tip, or if someone is not allowed to accept a gratuity, a small, inexpensive gift is a nice way to say thank you. Another wonderful way to show your appreciation to wedding vendors is to write a magnificent review of their services to help them book future events.   
  • Don't forget the thank you note. - It is a nice gesture to include a hand-written thank you note along with the tip. 

The Amount To Tip
Gratuities for the different services at your wedding vary in amount. Here are a few ideas of what is generally expected for each one. 

Wedding Planner 
If you will be tipping your wedding planner, 10-20% of the fee is customary, or $50-$100 for each planner's assistant. 

Your hairstylists and makeup artists should receive a 15-20% tip, just as you would tip them for a regular salon visit. 

Setup Staff & Deliveries
Anyone making deliveries to you can be given $5-$20 each. If the people doing all of the heavy lifting to set up your ceremony and reception aren't already being tipped through contract, it is kind to give them an extra $5-20 per person too.

If you will be getting married in a church, be sure to check the donation guidelines. Many clergy members don't accept tips, but a donation to the church is accepted, and usually expected. For a non-denominational ceremony, you may tip the officiant $50-$100. 

For the DJs or band members playing at your wedding, a tip of 10-15% of the fee can be given, or $25-$50 per band member. 

Photographer & Videographer
Providing that your this person is not the company owner (as discussed above,) you may tip them and their second shooters $50-$100 a piece. 

Generally you can expect to tip the people preparing your food and baking the dessert 15-20% of the final bill. You may want to add a bonus for the head chef. 

Reception Staff
This includes the servers, bartenders, valets, bathroom attendants, and anyone else that may be providing service to guests at your wedding. Once again, the tip may already be included in the contract. If not, plan to tip 15-20% of the pre-tax bill for the service that they provided, divided among the staff. If you will be giving them one big tip to cover the entire event, it is acceptable to request that they do not take additional tips from guests.

People providing transportation for the event can be tipped 15% of their fee.  

When To Tip
Once you have decided on the amount that you will be giving out, you will want to have a plan to get those tips to the proper people. If you will be handing them out yourself, this will need to be done before or soon after the wedding. Otherwise, ask someone that you trust, like the maid of honor, best man, a parent, or your wedding planner, to distribute these for you.  

  • Before the wedding - You can tip the people that are taking care of your pre-wedding activities, like your hairstylist, when the service is provided. You can pay your officiant's fee at the wedding rehearsal if you don't want to worry about it on the wedding day. 
  • During the wedding - Vendors like musicians and service staff can be given their tips by the person you have trusted to pass them out during the reception. 
  • After the wedding - Another option is to meet up with the vendor soon after the wedding to deliver the gratuity in person, or include it along with a hand-written thank you note mailed to them. 

Tips are intended to show appreciation for a job well done. Sometimes giving a vendor their gratuity before the wedding will prompt them to do an even better job, or you can wait until after the service is provided to see what type of tip they have earned. It takes a lot of wonderful people to make this day as special as you deserve it to be. Finding talented, trustworthy vendors that are worth every penny you spend on them is an important part of the process. The team at hopes that this information helps you to have the wedding of your dreams. 

Where Brides Go®
...for What Brides Love!

~ The Team
Post by Deanna Powell, Certified Bridal Consultant

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