There’s a line item in your wedding budget that you can’t forget about: Tipping wedding vendors.
As a sign of your appreciation, you should tip vendors who deliver services that go above and beyond your expectations. This act of gratuity starts with your hairdresser and make-up artist who doll you up at the beginning of the day and ends with the caterer who served an amazing meal to all of your guests.
There are several other wedding vendors, including your band or DJ and wedding planner, who you should consider tipping if they delivered quality services. Knowing how much to tip, though, can become overwhelming.
Use this guide to determine not only who to tip, but also how much to tip and the best ways to do it.
Where Does Tipping Wedding Vendors Fall In the Budget?
It’s a general rule of thumb to tip each of your wedding vendors 10 to 15 percent if they charge more than $300 for their services. That percentage increases to 20 percent if the total bill of their service is below $300.
If you want to be conservative with your wedding budget, set aside a little extra — let’s say 15 to 20 percent for all wedding vendor costs — to make sure you have enough on hand. You can still stick to the 10-15 percent rule for those more expensive vendors, but you’ll be happy to have the extra money in the event of super exceptional service.
Do Wedding Vendors Expect a Tip?
Like it or not, you should tip wedding vendors, as long as their service met expectations. It’s a nice gesture. If the services went above and beyond, then it makes tipping easier.
While you’re not legally required to tip, your wedding vendors expect a tip by the end of the reception. Because of this, they’re going to go above and beyond for your gratuity and, ultimately, your recommendation to other friends who might get married in the future.
How Should I Tip Wedding Vendors?
Cash tips are the preferred method of tipping wedding vendors over a check.
Before your big day, write out some nice cards for each of your vendors thanking them for the exceptional service and then include the cash in that card. By the end of the reception, you can hand them the thank you card and rest easy knowing all vendors have been accounted for.
While you can certainly tip using a check or some form of electronic payment, like Venmo or PayPal, cash is the best option because it’s an instant gratuity for a job well done.
Wedding Vendor Tipping 101
There’s an etiquette and some best practices to tipping that goes beyond the 10-15 percent rule. Following these helpful hints will make your wedding day run a little more smoothly.
Thank You Note
You should include a personalized thank you note with all of your tips. While the cash is appreciated, some kind words go a long way and makes the wedding vendor feel good for providing a quality service.
While you need to write the thank you cards and put the cash in the envelope, you need someone who is going to deliver these cards by the end of the reception because you’re going to be too busy. Designate a key family member, the maid of honor, best man or another member of the wedding party to be in charge of tipping the wedding vendors. In some cases, a wedding planner can also help with this.
Tip Per Person — Not Just the Owner
You might think you can simply tip the banquet manager for all the services, including the waitstaff. But there’s no guarantee those people will see any of those tips. Include a designated amount for each of the servers to ensure everyone goes home with a gratuity. Note: This could be difficult for larger weddings where you have dozens of people serving. Check with the banquet manager to ensure the best possible way to tip the entire waitstaff.
When to Tip Wedding Vendors
Most wedding vendors expect a tip when their service is done. Is the florist delivering the flowers in the morning? Tip that person after the delivery is made. Are the musicians playing the cocktail hour in between the ceremony and reception? Make sure to tip them when they’re done. There are some exceptions. You may, for instance, want to give your wedding planner a thank you card and tip before your wedding ceremony. This person has worked closely with you since the beginning of the planning process, so putting that gratuity up top can ensure a seamless day.
Cheat Sheet: How Much to Tip Wedding Vendors
You can always use the general rule of thumb of 10 to 15 percent of the total bill, but if you want to be more intentional, use this guide to determine who to tip and how much.
Hair and Makeup Artist
Hair and makeup is no easy task. Typically it’s one or two people handling the bridal party and the bride — and doing so in a short amount of time. Shoot for 20 percent of the total bill, but provide an extra $5 to $10 for last-second add-ons or services, like a quick shampoo before your styling. Same rule applies for a nail technician.
Band or DJ
Your musicians and DJs do more than just play music. They also serve as the emcee of your special day. If you have a four- or five-piece band, $50 per musician is a fair and generous tip. For a DJ, 15 to 20 percent of the total bill is a good rule of thumb. If you have ceremony musicians, like a string quartet, remember to tip per musician and not one big tip to split.
Photographer and Videographer
You could do a percentage of the total, but it’s probably a better idea to provide $50 to $100 per shooter. Remember, you haven’t seen the end product yet, so a 20 percent tip on a $3,500 bill could be a little steep. The $50 to $100 per shooter is a nice way of thanking them for traveling to your ceremony and capturing some great memories. Did you include a photo booth rental at your wedding? Tip that person 15 percent for helping your guests capture some fun memories.
A tip (or donation) policy varies by house of worship. There’s likely a total cost for the ceremony venue and officiant. In that case, add on an extra $50 when you pay. In this scenario, it’s OK to write a check with the extra amount. If you’re having a close friend or family member officiate your wedding, it’s a good idea to buy them a thoughtful gift in the $25 to $50 range instead, as handing them money could feel a little weird.
This is a vendor where you may feel inclined to tip a bit more. By the time of the ceremony, you know how much work your wedding planner has put into your special day. A combination of cash and a generous gift is a nice way to thank that person for their planning services.
Caterer, Servers & Bartenders
If you’re getting married at a large hotel or restaurant, you will likely just add a 15 to 20 percent tip on to the final bill. But if you have a smaller crew preparing meals for your wedding, tip $50 to $100 for each chef. In a buffet setting, tip staff members who are clearing plates and helping with other tasks $30. Consider tipping $50 if you’re having a plated dinner, which requires more work by the server. Hopefully your guests are tipping bartenders throughout the night, but it’s nice to consider tipping an extra $50 if you only have beer and wine. Up that to $100 if they’re also making mixed drinks.
Tack on 15 percent to the bill as a tip for your florist and then have $20 bills on hand for anyone who helps set up those floral arrangements.
Other Wedding Vendors to Tip
There are a handful of other vendors you should consider tipping, including:
- Tailor at the final fitting — $25.
- Valet attendants at the end of the reception. $50 per person if there were a lot of cars.
- Limo driver at your drop off. $100 for rides that last more than 30 minutes. $50 for under 30 minutes.
- Calligrapher. An extra five percent is a nice gesture.
- Rental crew after they drop off chairs and anything else. $20 per person.
Make Tipping Easy
Knowing how much to tip wedding vendors and when to do it can seem overwhelming at first, but if you go into your ceremony prepared, it can be a breeze. Remember, it’s important to designate someone to handle all tipping so you can focus on your big day.