In my years as a wedding planner a question I was asked often was – “How much to tip wedding vendors?” Although most wedding professionals do not expect tips, they are always appreciated. If a tip is expected or required, it is listed in your contract so be sure to check your contract so you tip the correct amount. For those who do not expect a gratuity, consider those on a case by case basis. Traditionally, employees of larger companies get tipped but the business owner does not however, you can and should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations. Small business owners should always be considered for a gratuity since their businesses are often run by just one person.
Also tip vendors who go above and beyond and offer exceptional service and include it with a thank you note. Assign someone you trust such as your wedding planner, a parent or a wedding party member to hand them out to the specific vendor. For those vendors who will arrive and depart before the wedding, give those envelopes to your wedding planner or the site manager of your venue.
Here’s a helpful breakdown of what’s customary for tipping each vendor.
Tipping you wedding planner is optional, but if yours did a great job, you can always offer a token of appreciation. The standard rate is 10-20 percent up to $500 or a nice gift. (Note: Nonmonetary thank-yous like professional photos of the wedding for the planner’s portfolio and a nice review can go a long way too.) About 50 percent of couples do tip their planners.
If your contract doesn’t include gratuity, you should tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. If you want to tip each chef or server personally, the standard is $50 to $100 for each chef and $20 to $50 per server.
Just like when you go to your hair salon, this is one area where gratuity is definitely expected. Tip between 15 to 25 percent, depending upon the quality of service and consider giving a little extra if there’s a crisis, like a last minute redo.
The florist doesn’t expect a tip. However, if they do an outstanding job, a 10 to 15 percent tip after services are rendered is always appreciated.
If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you’re often expected to make a donation to that institution. The amount is based on whether you are a member or not. However, if you’re getting married there and they’re charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. The standard donation to the church or synagogue is between $100 to $500 and for the officiant a tip of $50-$100 depending on how much time was spent with you leading up to the wedding.
If you hired a mini orchestra to play during your service, the standard tip is $15-$20 per musician. However, you probably don’t have to tip the solo church organist who was required to play.
Tipping your wedding photographer or videographer is definitely optional but always appreciated. The standard tip is $50-$200 per vendor. Don’t forget to give them a review.
Wedding Reception Attendants
When it comes to bartenders and waitstaff, and parking, bathroom and coatroom attendants, the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider giving extra only if the service was exceptional. If it’s not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.
The standard tip is 10–20 percent of the liquor or food bill to be split among bartenders or waiters respectively, $1 per guest for coatroom and $1 per car for parking attendants
Whether you hire a 12-piece swing band or a single DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional, depending on if they ROCKED your party. If you wish to tip them, the standard is usually $25–$35 per musician (don’t forget about the sound technicians) for a band and $50–$150 for DJs.
Tipping your driver is expected and the standard is 15-20 percent of the total bill. Be sure to check your contract, as gratuity is usually included on the final invoice.
Please Keep in Mind
If you wedding budget is tapped out and you simply don’t have the money to shell out thousands more on tips, there are a few gestures that go a long way with your team of wedding pros. Sending a handwritten thank you or a review on Yelp, Google or Happily Connected are also a great way to show your appreciation and offer something they can use when booking future clients. Remember if you loved them, show them by referring them to your family and friends!
Feature Photo Credit: Ivory Door Studio