Wedding Tips and Gratuities

There are so many things to plan when it comes to weddings, yet so many couples still forget to set aside a portion of their budget for one very important aspect: tipping. With so many couples overseeing every detail of their wedding, it’s not surprising that the post-wedding or day-of details get overlooked.

And then there’s the question of who gets tipped?! Traditionally if a vendor owns the business, you do not have to tip them, but some sort of personalized thank you is very appreciated. If they work for the business, though, as hair stylists or limo drivers often do, it’s appropriate and welcome to tip. Read all wedding vendor contracts, as some may have tips built in. And no matter who the vendor is (owner or not), if they did an extraordinary job under unusual circumstances or due to the bride or groom’s last minute decisions, tipping or a thank-you card and small gift go a long ways in terms of appreciation! It’s usually the owners of the business who go above and beyond because it’s their passion and they want you to be happy. Even a thank you card after the honeymoon means so much to the vendors (think florists, wedding planners, photographers, cake bakers, and so forth—their work is everything to them and they love your acknowledgments!).

We suggest using your wedding planner or a designated family member to pass out tips to vendors on the day of the wedding. And just who should you count on tipping? We’ve laid it out below!

  1. Hair stylists—just as you would normally tip a hair stylist any other day of the year, don’t forget to tip every stylist involved, especially if a bridesmaid or yourself had her hair re-done and time is of the essence! 20% is a good rule of thumb for great service.
  2. Makeup artist—similar to the hair stylist, a nice way of saying thank you is to give him or her a 20% tip of the total bill.
  3. Wedding officiant—their services might have a price tag already, depending on their background and whether or not they’re from a religious institution. Some may accept donations to the church instead—check their website or just ask! Donations or fees can vary, but be prepared to spend anywhere from $50 to $500+ for those donations or thank-you tips.
  4. Musician—no matter if it’s one piano player or a string quartet, it’s customary tip your musician. Whether you’re married in a church or an outdoor venue, a musician may or may not be part of the package, but regardless, consider anywhere from $25-$50 per person. They practiced for your event, so it’s nice to acknowledge their preparation and fantastic execution!
  5. Photographer or videographer—you don’t have to tip them, but if you feel they went above the call of duty or that perhaps your large wedding party may have been extra work, a tip is not unwelcome. $50-$100 would be an ideal range, depending on how much their services cost.
  6. Limo driver—or carriage driver, or whomever you’ve hired for your transportation needs. Like hair stylists, consider a 15%-20% tip for the driver.
  7. Florist–$50 to $100 and it’s usually split up amongst the team (those who came and set the arrangements up).
  8. Cake/baker or other drop off services–$15-$20 per person who set up your chairs, linens, or wedding cake.
  9. Wait staff or reception staff—this another group that is customary to tip 15%-20% of the final bill. Ask your coordinator to let you know how many people are working your event and what their job is—a valet or coat check person versus a bar tender will require a different percentage. If the coordinator doesn’t advise you how much, keep in mind this good rule: $25-$50 per wait staff, 10% of liquor bill for bartender, and $1 per guest or car for coat check or valet.
  10. DJ or band—you don’t have to tip, but if you feel he or she did a great job, then it’s not out of the ordinary to tip ‘em. $50-$100 for DJs, or see #4 for a hired band.
  11. Wedding planner—you don’t have to tip your wedding planner, but more often than not, couples do because this is the person or staff arranging every detail and taking care of every change for the bride and groom. If not a monetary gift, a personalized gift is appropriate as well. Consider 15% of the bill (but not to exceed $500) and a thank you card for your planner.
  12. Catering manager–$100-$200 for hot food, personalized dishes, and of course, good taste. Remember to check your contract for built it gratuities.

Plan your tips ahead—well ahead—of your big day to avoid budget shortcomings and stress. Place them in envelopes and label them; then give to your wedding planner or designated person to pass out at the end of ceremony and reception. That way you’re busy celebrating all day and not running after every vendor! Don’t forget to send thank you cards to those vendors who really delivered for you—the flowers, photographs, sweet treats, and customized service really were a labor of love!

 

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