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How Much to Tip Wedding Vendors: A Complete Guide

Dec 2, 2019
By Wedding Spot

Trying to figure out how much to tip wedding vendors on your big day? These rules, ideas, and actual numbers will help you navigate this tricky area of your wedding budget.

First of all: Do you tip wedding vendors? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If the vendor includes gratuity on the invoice then it’s not necessary. But sometimes you don’t get a detailed expense list upfront, in which case, it’s hard to know who gets what. We’ll cover tipping etiquette by role further down.

Explore everything you need to know about tipping wedding vendors:

How much should you budget for tipping wedding vendors?

The standard tipping rate for these types of professionals across the board is 10-15% of the total cost if it’s above $300 or as much as 20% (for exceptional service) if it’s below $300. So for your budgeting, plan on setting 20% of the total vendor budget aside for tipping and find vendors that fit within the remaining amount. That way you’ll still have a little wiggle room for unexpected expenses.

Should you pay by cash or check?

Cash tips in envelopes are always preferred. Not only are they easier to prepare ahead of time (no misspelling names or guessing whether to put their business versus personal name), cash envelopes relieve them of yet another errand after a hard day’s work. However, they might have a formal preference so check their website or your contract to see if it’s written anywhere.

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6 must-know rules for tipping wedding vendors:

1. Give them the tip when the service is over.

For example, the hairstylist and makeup artist should get their tips when they’re done working on everyone but the bartenders can get theirs once they’re done cleaning up. For vendors who aren’t part of the wedding day itself (like your wedding planner), it’s okay to tip them ahead of time or right after you return from your honeymoon.

2. Include a thank-you note.

Handwritten thank-you notes are classy, a nice gesture, and and add a little more warmth to the exchange. Even just a sentence or two about what they did well and why you appreciate them is plenty! If you didn’t have a personal dialogue with the individual, a simple “Thank You!” written on the envelope works too.

3. Hand the tip to the individuals, not the owner.

Servers, valet attendants, and venue assistants should get their tips personally. Or, if you’re unable or unwilling to track everyone down (no doubt they’ll be running around doing their jobs), hand the total amount to their shift manager then give the owner a separate gratuity if you feel so inclined.

4. Small business owners should get a little extra.

They are a small business after all! You can also support them by leaving them a review online and following them on social media.

5. Have a designated tipper.

Your maid of honor, best man, close relative, or day-of coordinator can help make sure this gets done while you both celebrate the night away.

6. Tips aren’t required.

Crazy, right? Although most of us can’t imagine the social anxiety that comes with not tipping someone in the service industry there truly are times where a tip is not warranted. For example, rude or inappropriate behavior is enough to forego a tip.

Or, more commonly, a large service gratuity might already be included in the fee. Make a cheat sheet of all your vendors, mark the ones that do not include gratuity in the contract, list how much you plan to tip and how much each person should get.

How much to tip each type of wedding vendor:

1. Venue manager

Most wedding venue managers include this as a fee in their quote. If not, the golden rule is 15-20%.

2. Photographer

If you have one photographer doing photos at the venue or nearby, tip them 15-20%. If you have more than one photographer, $50-$100 per person is good.

3. Videographer

Same rules as the photographer except if you’re asking them to do extra driving, go to multiple locations or stay later to capture the end of evening activities. In that case, as much as $200 is good for exceptional service.

4. Photo booth rental

If they’re going to be very hands-on and involved in the photo process, $30-$50 each is good. If they’re just there to set it up and take it away, $15-$20 each is fine.

5. Hair stylist

The rule is 15-25%. The higher-end is for any last-minute changes or special requests. And if someone shampoos your hair before the stylist starts, slip them $2-$5 as a thank you.

6. Makeup Artist

Same as hairstylist tipping. If your hairstylist is also your makeup artist, tip them 15-25% of the total service cost.

7. Nail technician

Unless you’re getting intricate designs or gems, the usual 20% tip is acceptable. Otherwise, 25% for fancier, more detailed services is good.

8. Full-service wedding planner

This one is completely optional so the tip is up to you! They won’t expect it either so any amount will be appreciated.

9. Day-of coordinator

If they go above and beyond, 10-20% is good. Otherwise, this is another vendor that won’t expect a tip.

10. Tailor

Give them $30 at the final fitting if they went above and beyond.

11. Caterer

The golden rule is $50-$100 per chef. If they work for a large company, you are not obligated to also tip the business.

12. Servers

Most people tip $20-$30 to each server regardless of whether they worked the buffet or did tray pass. If you hosted a formal sit down meal with extra courses, consider tipping them each as much as $50.

13. Bartenders

It’s up to you whether you let them leave out a tip jar or not. Either way, an additional $50 (if they’re pouring beer and wine) or $100 (if they’re also mixing cocktails) per person is appropriate.

14. Baker

If the baker also delivers the cake, tip the delivery team $20. If you’re picking it up yourself, no tip is necessary.

15. Valet attendants

Tip each vendor $2 per car or $50 each, whichever is more.

16. Limo driver

Limo drivers making multiple stops or serving different party members should receive as much as $100-$150 total.

17. Setup and takedown crew

If they’re unfolding or lifting chairs, tables, and other heavy furniture, pay them about $30 each. If they’re just there to clean up trash and do a light sweep, $15 each is fine.

18. Security team

Most venues will include security fees and gratuity in the contract. If you hire your own security team, expect to tip them $50-$100 each depending on the size of your party.

19. Florist

Tip the florist $50-$100 and tip their delivery personnel around $15-$20 each (or even $30 if there’s a lot of special setups or floral care).

20. Calligrapher

It’s not required so even 5%-10% would be more than enough.

21. Band/DJ/musician

Each person should receive 10%-15% or $50-$100 per person, whichever is higher.

22. Officiant

If it’s a close friend or family member, tipping them might be weird so give them a thoughtful gift worth $20-$30 instead. If it’s a religious official, they might have a donation policy in their service description.

23. Rental crew

If they’re just dropping off and picking up your rental pieces (silverware, furniture, heaters, etc.) then $20-$30 each depending on how many people there are (a crew of less than five should get more each) and how many pieces they have to load (if they’re lugging more than 10 pieces over 50 pounds tip them more).

24. Lighting designer

This one is a bit tricky because there’s a big difference between a lighting designer who makes multiple site visits, coordinates with the venue manager, and drafts an artistic or functional plan versus someone who is there to hang the lights you ask them to. If the former, consider as much as $50 for the person who did the design. For the latter (or anyone who just comes to set things up), $20 each should be good.

25. Wedding dress store clerk

If your wedding dress store clerk goes above in beyond by giving you great style advice, looking up sizes in other stores, serving you champagne, giving you loads of personal attention, and making helpful recommendations for accessories, consider tipping them $10-$20.

Tipping wedding vendors is easy when you know the rules!

As long as you keep these numbers handy and prep your budget ahead of time, tipping your wedding vendors is a simple task.

UP NEXT: Check out some wedding entertainment vendors you need to have.

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.