The topic of tipping can be confusing for brides, their partners, and their families. Which wedding vendors do you tip? How much? When?
To make it more confusing, you’ll find lots of conflicting information online, hear different strategies from friends, and you might get into some heated debates about tipping and gratuities on wedding forums.
In a nutshell: Tipping is a gratuity, which means showing gratitude for a job well done. Tips show your respect for the professionalism of your vendors.
As many etiquette professionals will tell you, it’s always best to err on the side of common courtesy. With that said, know that you are never obligated to tip above and beyond the price laid out in your contract. Some wedding vendors will include gratuity in their contracts to avoid confusion, but others leave the decision up to you. If you’re unsure what your contract requires and includes, ask.
Tips can add up quickly, costing anywhere from a few thousand to several thousand dollars, so it’s important to include gratuities in your budget, and to know who you are tipping, and how much.
Which Wedding Vendors Should I Tip?
Generally speaking, business owners do not expect tips for themselves. But if they went above and beyond for you, it’s nice to show your appreciation.
You do want to be sure to thank anyone who goes above and beyond. This includes the baker who accommodated a last-minute change, the florist who saved the day with an extra bouquet, and the friends who helped you at no charge.
Not All Tips Have To Be Cash
That’s right. Not all tips have to be cash. Handwritten thank you cards, gift certificates, and personal gifts can go a long way toward showing your appreciation.
How Much Should I Tip My Wedding Vendors?
Hair & Makeup Artists: You should tip your hair and makeup artists 15-20% of the total bill
Hair & Makeup Assistants: Common courtesy is to tip $3-$5 for assistants who help with secondary tasks like shampooing
Officiant: Tip your wedding officiant $50 if you are married by a judge or clerk. Clergy members generally do not accept tips, but a donation of $100 to the appropriate house of worship is considered standard. You can also send the clergy member a gift certificate to a nice restaurant as a personal thank you for marrying you and your partner.
Wedding Planners: Self-employed wedding planners do not generally expect a tip, but 15% or up to $500 is the norm.
Assistants to the Wedding Planner: $50-$100 per person
Second shooters: $50-$75
Wedding Florist: It is common to tip wedding florists 10-15%
Musicians: $25-$50 per person. If you hire wedding musicians through an agency, be aware any service charge listed in the contract is likely the agency fee, not an included tip for the musicians.
Drivers: 15-20% of the final bill
Valets: $1-$2 per car. Display a sign at the valet station letting guests know tips are included. Valets should then be instructed to refuse any tips from guests. Give the tip envelope to the valet supervisor to distribute.
Restroom & Coat Check Attendants: $1-$2 per guest. As with the valets, the attendants should be instructed to refuse tips from guests, and the tip envelope should be given to the site manager to distribute.
Other ceremony & reception Staff: $20-$50 each
Catering: 15-20% of the total bill or $50-$100 for each chef, and $20-$50 for each server. It is often more economical to pay per person instead of paying a percentage of the total bill.
Bartenders: 15-20% of the bill, to be split among the bartenders. Make sure to inform bartenders of your plan to tip at the end of the night, so they know to refuse tips from guests.
Delivery Staff, Setup/Breakdown Crew: $5-20 per person for deliveries arriving from your vendors. Remember, these staffers may also be doing heavy lifting, on-site setup, and hauling away at the end of the night.
When To Tip Wedding Vendors
Assign a trusted person – your father, a bridesmaid, your wedding planner – to give out the envelopes with the tips. You don’t want to be chasing down vendors all day and night.
Still Don’t Know?
If you’re still unsure whether or not you should tip a vendor, ask yourself: Did this person (or group of people) go above and beyond to help make your wedding day special? If the answer is yes, show your appreciation. It’s also a good idea to have an extra envelope on hand for any additional last-minute tips. You can include this in your budget as “miscellaneous tips”.
After all is said and done, don’t forget to leave (hopefully positive!) reviews online for your vendors. You can also send handwritten thank you notes, and refer your friends as signs of appreciation.