Wedding Tip Guide: Guidelines on What and Who to Tip for Your Wedding
This Wedding Tip Guide will help you navigate who to tip and how much.
We’d like to start out by saying that this post coming from the wedding planner may seem ironic, but in fact, we’ve seen such a variety of tipping questions that we wanted felt wanted to set the record straight in this Wedding Tip Guide.
Our Wedding Tip Guide captures what we recommend to our own clients, which—after doing some research— tends to align with other sources.
As a disclaimer, we by no means expect our clients to tip us, but the thoughtfulness is deeply appreciated. We pour our hearts into our clients wedding days, as do all of their vendors. As industry professionals, we understand that weddings can be a HUGE financial investment, so if it’s not in your budget - that is 100% okay. This Wedding Tip Guide addresses questions we get from our clients, but by no means do we state that they absolutely must tip their vendors.
About a month out before the big day, without fail, the bride or mother of the bride always sends an email or asks, And what about tipping? Do you tip your wedding DJ? Do you tip the caterer? Do you leave a tip for the wedding photographer? It’s becoming increasingly common and while it may seem uncomfortable, it’s a very valid question. There are so many resources available from a simple Google search, but we created this Wedding Tip Guide so that our brides, and other brides have a credible and reliable source to touch about this subject.
A Wedding Tip Guide by Exhale Events
Before starting, we recommend that you ALWAYS check your contracts. While it is rare, some vendors—more in the food and beverage side of your day—may already have gratuity included.
If you find that you do have some room in your budget to shed some vendor love, here are our recommendations:
Other FAQ about Tipping:
How Much Should You Tip Hair and Makeup Artists?
Let’s be honest, these creative geniuses are going to make you look FABULOUS for your big day. They’re often the first ones you see on this special day, and they don’t leave until you and your bridal party are looking AH-mazing! If you loved them and felt that they did a great job, a standard 15-20% is what we suggest.
Should You Tip a Wedding Officiant?
While most officiants don’t require a payment, a small thank you card with a donation to their home church, or a gift card or small gift to them is appropriate - most couples choose to keep this around $100. Additionally, if there’s a church coordinator that you’ve been working with you might consider a $25 - $50 gift for them as well.
How Much do You Tip Wedding Photographers and Videographers?
We tell every single bride that at the end of the day, all you have left from your wedding is your photos and video. We’re big believers in investing in great photography, and that normally means having more than one shooter at the day of.
We recommend giving $50-$100 for their assistants. According to our research, if the photographer owns the business, tips are not necessary, HOWEVER, we are firm believers that a small gift, or gift card or yes, even cash around 5% - 10% of the budget is acceptable. Generally, we find most couples give around 5% of their total photography package out in tips.
Do You Tip Wedding DJ / Musicians (Ceremony and Reception)?
Your music MAKES the wedding. Both at the ceremony and the reception. We typically suggest between $25 and $50 for a ceremony musician’s gratuity. When it comes to your reception, if it is one DJ, a range of $50- $150 gratuity will suffice. For the band, an average of $50 - $100 gratuity per band member is fairly standard.
How Much to Tip Wedding Bartenders?
If you have to hire an outside bartender separate from your caterer, this is an area where you’ll want to double check to ensure gratuity is not included. If it’s not, couples will generally tip between 10-15% of your bar bill before tax.
One general rule of thumb is that you’ll want to make it known that you tip the bartender, you may want them to put that nifty little bartender tip jar out for your guests to drop extra cash in!
How Much to Tip Wedding Transportation?
Most transportation companies will include a standard gratuity portion on their invoice, so you should be covered. If the driver goes above and beyond it’s always nice to give them a little extra. $25 - $50 is the general range we’ve seen our clients feel comfortable with.
How much do you tip your wedding florist?
Your florist puts in so many hours to make your day so special. We generally find that anywhere from $50-$200 depending on your level of service and overall floral budget is acceptable. Generally - 3-5% of the total floral budget is a standard average gratuity.
How Much to Tip a Wedding Cake Baker?
If you have a sweet tooth and the cake is important to you - a $50-$100 gratuity is a nice way to thank the team behind your wedding desserts!
How Much Should You Tip a Wedding Planner?
Well, this is awkward, isn’t it?! But in truth, wedding planners make your special day go off without a hitch. If you hired them for full service, they’ve likely been there for all the big and little things along the way. And while we certainly don’t expect a tip as we said earlier, it’s deeply appreciated.
We’ve found that over the years clients give anywhere from 5 - 10% gratuity of their total package price and will generally tip wedding planner assistants $50 - $150 depending on their level of service as well. Of course, it’s all about what you feel comfortable with!
How Much Should You Tip a Stationer/Calligrapher?
If you didn’t use an online service and felt that your stationer or calligrapher did a great job, a thank you note after the big day with a small gratuity is complexly acceptable. Depending on their level of service!
How Much to Tip Wedding Caterer and Catering Staff?
This is another area where gratuity is probably already included, but it never hurts to reward great service. You likely are working with your catering manager on all of the big details for the day. If you feel they did an excellent job, an extra $50-$150 is a great way to say thank you.
The wait staff is also tipped from the contract that includes the gratuity, but on some occasions, we’ve seen the bride provide an additional average of $20 - $25 per waiter.
For all of these vendors, if cash isn’t your thing and gift giving is your love language, you can always follow up with a nice bottle of wine, or a candle to help your vendor team relax and unwind after their big day!
Do I Tip the Business Owners vs. Non Business Owners (Their Employees)?
This is another common question that we hear often from our clients. While some sources say it is not necessary, we believe that if you thought their service was excellent, there is no reason to not tip them an appropriate amount just like you would any other person on their team.
When To Distribute Tips:
There are several ways that you can handle this, and we’ve outlined some of the most common ways below. If you have a wedding planner, you can easily give all of your envelopes to your planner to ensure they are distributed throughout the day, so you don’t have to worry about it. This is also helpful if your planner will be distributing additional final payments to your vendors.
If you want to give them to your vendors at the end of the night, this is also an option. Just be sure to note the times that your photographer and other vendors leave. Some may not be there when the lights go up at the end of the night.
Another option is to send your gratuity/gift in your thank you cards. It is a nice way to let vendors know you appreciate their hard work after taking some time away from the day to reflect and still feel so excited about the big day!
If it’s simply not in your budget to give a gratuity to your vendors or you don’t feel that a tip is necessary, that’s okay! A simple THANK YOU goes a long way!
We can’t tell you how many times at the end of a long day those two words give us an extra wind beneath our wings to finish the night strong. Weddings are long days for your vendor team, and any form of appreciation from the client means the world.
Other ways that you can thank your vendors is by sending them a small thank you card, or even better an email or a review.
Exhale Events is a boutique wedding and event planning firm specializing exquisite design and fine art celebrations.