The Wedding Guild Series: Wedding Vendor Tipping Guide

 
michelle-leo-education-image-crest-white.png

With wedding season in full swing, many couples are experiencing a lot of unknowns regarding the wedding planning process - which is where MLE can step in to help answer those questions and shed light on otherwise confusing topics such as tipping vendors.

One of the most common questions that comes up in the remaining month of planning is “Should we tip vendors?” In short, our answer is YES! It’s always important to tip service-based vendors and the creative partners involved in making your vision a reality. But certain questions remain such as who to tip, how much to tip, and how to go about distributing tips on the big day.

Tipping within the wedding industry is similar to any other situation where you may feel inclined to tip, and the decision to do so should be based on your personal experience working with vendors. Below are some standard wedding tipping guidelines to help you make an informed decision when factoring tips into your wedding budget:

Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Is tipping expected? Yes, just as if you were to visit a hair salon a tip is expected.

How much should I tip? 15%–20%, depending upon the quality of service.

When should I tip? Tip your beauty stylists at the end of your service.

Wedding Transportation

Is tipping expected? Yes, but check your contract as it’s a common practice for gratuity for the drivers to be included in the overall fee.

How much do I tip? 15%–20% is common for a job well done.

When should I tip? Hand off tips to your planner or a trusted wedding party member to tip transportation partners at the end of the night or after the last ride.

Wedding Planner

Is tipping expected? Most planners won’t expect a tip, but if yours went above and beyond to make your day a success a token of your gratitude is always appreciated. Keep in mind that your planner probably didn’t single-handedly execute your big day. Consider including tips for your planner’s staff who assisted in all the behind-the-scenes set up, execution and clean up activities. Ask your planner in advance how large of team will be on site executing your wedding so you can be prepared.

How much should I tip? 10%–20%, up to $500, or a nice gift if you feel inclined.

When should I tip? Hand off the envelope at the end of the reception or send a thank-you note with a check right after the honeymoon.

Delivery and Setup Staff

Is tipping expected? Yes, those delivering important items or are involved in delivering and setting up aspects of the event such as tents, furniture, etc. should be tipped.

How much do I tip? $5–$10 per person.

When should I tip? Hand off tips to your planner to distribute the tips to appropriate parties.

Photographer & Videographer

Is tipping expected? If a photographer or videographer owns their business, no tip is necessary as they’ve already negotiated their fees, but if your photographer or videographer works for a larger company, tipping them as thank you is appreciated.

How much do I tip? $50–$200 per vendor.

When should I tip? Have your wedding planner or wedding party member tip your photographer and videographer at the end of the reception.

Ceremony Officiant

Is tipping expected? This depends on the officiant. If your officiant is affiliated with a religious institution a donation is often expected. If your officiant is non-denominational a tip is appreciated.

How much do I tip? Donations should range from $100–$300 to the religious institution, and for the officiant, a tip of $50-$100.

When should I tip? Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding if held within a house of worship. Otherwise, have your wedding planner or a trusted wedding party member tip the officiant on the wedding day prior to the ceremony.

Ceremony Musicians

Is tipping expected? Tipping is optional, but preferred for a job well done.

How much do I tip? $15–$20 per musician.

When should I tip? Ceremony musicians should receive a tip at the end of the ceremony. Again, entrust your wedding planner or responsible member of the wedding party to take care of this.

Wedding Reception Band or DJ

Is tipping expected? Tipping is optional, but preferred for a job well done.

How much do I tip? $25–$35 per musician; $50–$150 for DJs.

When should I tip? Have your wedding planner or wedding party member distribute tips to the band leader or DJ at the end of the reception.

Wedding Reception Staff

This group includes the on-site coordinator, maître d' and banquet manager.

Is tipping expected? Yes, but check your contract closely as many times this gratuity is already factored in.

How much do I tip? 15%–20% of the food and drink fee, up to $300 if gratuity has not been factored into your contract already.

When should I tip? Have your wedding planner or member of the wedding party hand the envelope to the on-site coordinator at the end of the evening.

Bartenders & Wait Staff

Is tipping expected? This is another instance where you should check your contract as gratuity for bartenders and waitstaff may already be included. If a service fee is included for any bartending or waitstaff services only consider tipping additional if the service was exceptional.

How much do I tip? 10%–20% of the liquor or food bill to be split among bartenders and/or waiters.

When should I tip? Have your wedding planner or member of the wedding party hand the envelope to the on-site coordinator or catering manager to distribute to staff at the end of the evening.

Again, keep in mind that these are general guidelines within the wedding industry. Tips are by no means the only way to show your appreciation to those involved in the success of your big day. If monetary thank yous are not in the budget, reviews and referrals are a great way to acknowledge a vendor’s contributions. Furthermore, showing your gratitude in the form of an online review can greatly help a vendor's business in the long run!