Updated: May 25
When planning your wedding budget, it is important to consider all the expenses. Don't let gratuities and tipping become a last-minute expense! Plan to know who to tip along with how much to tip.
You have just spent months saving, spending and planning for your special wedding celebration. The day is just around the corner and it dawns on you, "Should I be tipping my wedding vendors?" Tipping practices for weddings can vary depending on cultural norms, local customs, and personal preferences. The amount you should tip your wedding vendors can also vary depending on factors such as service quality, budget, and personal preference! However, here are some common vendors that couples often consider tipping for their wedding along with some general guidelines for tipping amounts:
Catering Staff: Generally speaking, it is quite standard for your catering contract to include a gratuity of 15-20% of your total food & beverage bill. Often, the catering manager is the one working their hardest for you leading up to the big day and coordinating the staff on the day of the event. Although not customary to pay additional gratuity to the service staff, a token of appreciation of $50-$100 for a job done above and beyond may be considered for this Catering Manager.
Bartenders: If your venue includes bartenders, their gratuity would typically already be included in your final bar bill. If you have a separate bartending service and are paying them based on their hourly rate, it is customary to tip them in addition. A common practice is to tip them 15-20% of the total labour rate or provide a flat amount per bartender. As an example, you've hired bartenders at $35/hr for a 10-hour shift to include set up and clean up. This would be a total of $350 for their wage; an 18% gratuity on this amount is $63. Unless you have a cash bar at your wedding, it is a faux pas to have a tip cup displayed at the bar! Your guests should not be solicited for these additional gratuities!
Wedding Planner/Coordinator: If you have hired a professional wedding planner or coordinator, it is common to offer them a tip or a gift to show your appreciation for their hard work and dedication to making your wedding event a success. An appropriate amount can range from $100 to $350 or more, depending on the level of service and your budget.
Hair Stylists and Makeup Artists: This is one of two vendors that will expect a gratuity and not have it built into their quote for you. f you are happy with the services provided by your hair stylists and makeup artists, it's customary to tip them. The amount can be around 15-20% of the total cost or a flat amount. If you are not pleased with their service, it is important to share this with them directly so they can remedy the issue on the spot and have the chance to make it right.
Transportation Services: This is the other vendor that will expect a gratuity and many companies do not already include this in their quote to you. The average amount here is $20-40 per driver per direction.
Musicians/DJs/Band Members: If you have live musicians or a DJ performing at your wedding, tipping is usually appreciated. Tipping musicians, DJs, or band members is not mandatory, but it's a nice gesture if you enjoyed their performance. You can consider tipping each band member individually or provide a lump sum tip to the band leader or DJ coordinator to distribute among the team. The amount can range from $20 to $100 per person.
Photographer, Florist, Officiant, Etc.: The wedding professionals that provide the official moment of I Do, create the mood and aesthetic of the space and capture it all are worth recognizing for their efforts. They hustle behind the scenes to create a stunning backdrop and memorable experience of telling your love story in words and atmosphere along with working tirelessly leading up to the wedding day to make sure it's all put together to your visions and that every detail is captured. Consider a gratuity of $50-$100 per vendor.
It's important to note that tipping is not mandatory in many cases and it's ultimately up to your discretion and budget. Gift cards, a thank you note, or sharing your professional wedding photos with them also goes a long way! Providing a generous Google review or testimonial will always be appreciated by your vendors. Before making any decisions, consider reviewing your contracts or agreements to see if any service charges or gratuities have already been included. Remember, these are just general suggestions, and the final decision on tipping amounts is up to your discretion. Consider your budget and the level of service provided by each vendor when determining the appropriate tip. For the vendors you've chosen to tip, it's best to have cash envelopes prepared in advance to hand out to vendors on the wedding day; assign someone you trust to distribute the tips accordingly!