So you've got your wedding budget figured out—congratulations! That alone is a major undertaking. But there's one part you may have overlooked... tipping.
Figuring out when and who to tip can feel confusing. Remember, tipping is not mandatory, but always appreciated! To help you keep track of who gets tipped, how much, and when, just follow our comprehensive list.
First, a few things to keep in mind:
- Read your contracts before arranging tips. See if gratuity is included in your contracts—it usually is for the wedding venue and catering. But remember, service charges in a contract are not always gratuities. They may be administrative fees, which don't go to the employees, so double check.
- Prepare tips in cash. A good practice is to sort your tips into labeled envelopes, which a member of your wedding party can then hand out on the day of. This ensures that the right tips go to the right person.
- Remember that tipping isn't necessarily mandatory. While tips may be preferred, there are many other gestures of appreciation that your vendors will love, from a heartfelt thank you note, to a bottle of bubbly, to positive reviews on their website or social media.
Now, let's get to that list.
Tips are expected for:
The officiant. If you're using a religious officiant, check with your church or synagogue first, as they may have a policy in place or only accept donations to their house of worship. But if you're using a secular officiant, a tip is always appreciated. The standard amount is $50-$100, and you can give this to them at the rehearsal dinner.
Delivery and setup individuals. A delivery fee doesn't count as a tip, so if you have furniture, flowers, or other decor getting delivered and set up for your wedding, be sure to give the workers a $5-$20 bill each, depending on whether any setup is involved. These can be handed out on the day of, whether by you, your coordinator, or a person in your wedding party.
Attire Stylists + Hair/Makeup Artists. Follow whatever typical salon-tipping etiquette is in your area, and deliver tips on the day of the wedding. This goes for anyone doing you or your bridal party's hair or makeup. Think 15-20% of the service.
If not included in the contract, tips may be required for:
Catering staff. Gratuity is typically included in the catering contract, but if not, expect to pay 15 to 20 percent of the total food and beverage bill by or before the end of the reception. Alternatively, you can portion tips out as follows:
- $200-400 each for the head server and banquet manager
- $100 for the head chef
- $20 each for the general front and back of house staff
Bar team. If your bar team is part of your catering or venue package, gratuity is also often factored in. If you're going with a separate bartending vendor, check your contract with them. If you do need to tip, expect 15 to 20 percent of the alcohol bill to be split amongst the team, at the end of the night when the total has been calculated.
Venue attendants. A venue contract should include gratuity for attendants, but if it doesn't, follow these guidelines: about $2 per car or guest for parking valets and $1-$2 per guest for coat check and restroom attendants. It's a good idea to provide these tips before the wedding so that guests can be informed that there is no need to tip.
Transportation. Again, this is often included; but if not, plan on 15 to 20 percent for each wedding party or guest shuttle.
Tips are optional (but appreciated) for:
Wedding planner. When it comes to tipping wedding planners, there are no set rules—it really depends on your personal relationship with your planner and how much they did to help make your wedding day seamless. Some couples choose to give their planner a gratuity equivalent to 10-15% of the planner fee or give a nice and thoughtful gift.
Floral designer. Florists typically don't expect a tip, but if you received exceptional service or your flowers were especially beautiful, it's a nice gesture to give the floral designer 10-15% of the floral bill.
Photographer/videographer. Most couples opt to give their photographer a gratuity, and the standard amount is around 15 to 20 percent, but this isn't expected. If you are going to tip, though, be sure to extend the gesture to second shooters and their assistants as well!
Musicians. Again, this isn't required, but it's a nice idea to give band members (both ceremony and reception) $25-$50 each for their performance. In the case of a DJ, this amount may be between $100 and $200.
Important note: Food and drink are NOT a stand-in for tips. Be sure to include your photographers, videographers, musicians, and any other vendors who work through your reception of a vendor meal!
What if you're planning a destination wedding?
Tipping customs can vary greatly from country to country—and even from region to region within the same country. In some places, monetary tips are even considered rude, so do your research, read your contracts, and if you do go with cash tips–use the local currency.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to tipping wedding vendors! The most important thing is to be honest with yourself about what you can afford, and to show your appreciation in a way that makes sense for you and your budget.