Here is your simple, yet comprehensive wedding vendor tip guide to help you avoid any major gratuity mishaps; you’re welcome!
We’re all grown-ups here, and by now we know who and how much to tip at the everyday places we visit, be it a local restaurant, salon, or when using a delivery driver.
But tips for wedding suppliers are a whole different ball game, and for many of us, a completely fresh experience; an experience that can massively impact your wedding budget and quickly spiral out of control!
Fortunately, service charges are normally pretty clear on wedding contracts, and even gratuities can sometimes be found included in a final bill or quote. But not always.
So who exactly should you tip at a wedding? Do you simply slip a few bucks in an envelope to the DJ and the makeup artist? And how much should you be giving to each of the wedding vendors? 10%? 15%? Half your wedding budget?!
Firstly, remember that tipping is optional, and not all wedding suppliers will expect tips.
Plus, every so often, a thoughtful card and a positive review on Google can be just as favorable (if not more) as tips in cash!
With that being said, here is all the information you’ll need on who exactly you should tip, and where appropriate, how much they should receive.
Do I Tip the Wedding Photographers?
If your wedding photographers or videographers own their own business, there’s no need to give them a tip. You will have already organized a photography package with them that includes all the necessary fees, and possibly even gratuities.
However, if you feel your photographer/videographer provided an excellent service, that went above and beyond the expected level, you are welcome to offer them maybe a 5 – 10% gratuity or send them a personal gift as a thank-you.
However, if your photographer works for a larger company, and they are merely an employee, then a tip will be expected, and much appreciated.
The same goes for second shooters employed by your photographer or videographer. As above, a 5 – 10% gratuity should suffice.
Tip or no tip, your wedding photographer would love a positive review on whichever platform you choose. Sometimes a heartfelt and detailed review can be the difference between securing the next booking or not, so if you don’t have room in the budget for more gratuities, make time for an honest review.
How Much Should I Tip a Wedding Venue?
The wedding venue is usually the most significant expense in any couple’s wedding budget.
Within the contract of your chosen wedding venue, you will typically find all the charges, taxes, and gratuities listed in a helpful breakdown. Be sure to read this, fully understand it and use this information when dividing up your tips for wedding suppliers. You’ll end up tipping people twice if you don’t!
If you worked with a wedding venue coordinator, and you feel they went above and beyond for you, then they deserve a generous gesture of thanks. A good rule of thumb is 15-20% of the total food and drinks bill.
Do check that the gratuity for the coordinator, or any other prominent wedding reception staff, is not already included in the contract!
How Much to Tip an All-Inclusive Wedding Venue?
Two of the main benefits of booking an all-inclusive wedding venue are that it’s stress-free, and better on the budget.
The all-inclusive system should help you to keep control of your wedding budget, and offer a complete guide to who should receive a tip or not, since all the gratuities are often already listed in the contract as a percentage of the overall fee.
However, not all the wedding vendors will be listed in the contract. There will always be plenty of people behind the scenes that rely on tips, but who are unfortunately forgotten.
The bathroom attendants, coatroom attendants, and parking attendants for example. Without these workers, your big day would be a disaster yet these guys are overlooked when couples are organizing their tips.
So get ahead of the game and get a complete list of staff roles together.
Talk to your venue manager, coordinator, or wedding caterer and inform them that all staff should not accept tips from guests, but that instead, you’ll be going around paying the various powder-room attendants, delivery people, and valets a flat fee at the end of the night.
Normally between 50 cents to $2, depending on the job.
This way nobody gets left out, and everybody is rewarded for their excellent service.
Do I Tip My Wedding Florist?
It’s pretty standard that a fee for a wedding florist would have been worked out ahead of time, so an additional fee is not necessary.
But again, if you feel your wedding professional provided a level of service that was exceptional, then maybe include a separate something when paying their final invoice; around 10-15% of the total bill.
Do I Tip My Wedding Planner?
A wedding planner would probably not expect a tip, so don’t feel obliged to give one, unless you feel it’s warranted.
If you believe they provided amazing service, then gifting 10-15% of the bill would certainly be appreciated.
If your planner had an assistant on hand at the wedding, it would be wise to tip them $50 to $100 each, if possible.
As with your photographer and many other wedding services, a positive review on all available platforms is just as valuable to a planner as a tip, so put some time aside to help them out if you can.
Should I Tip My Wedding DJ?
An independent wedding band, DJ, or ceremony musician will not expect a tip at your wedding, but it would certainly be appreciated!
These talented guys have kept your guests entertained all night long, and that deserves a thank you. Unless they stunk the place out of course… then maybe keep that cash envelope for another type of service!
If you have employed musicians via an entertainment agency, then that entity will have normally included gratuities within the contract. Or they will make it explicitly clear that you should give tips at the end of the night. So be sure to check way before you hit the dance floor.
How Much Do I Tip My Wedding Makeup Artist?
On your wedding day, you should treat the members of your glam squad the same as you normally would, and tip them accordingly.
This should be around 15-20% for both wedding hairstylists and makeup artists.
Also, don’t forget any other beauty stylists who help put together your look, such as shampooers and blow driers! These secondary tasks should be given a small tip too, but not above $5-$10 each.
Do I Tip My Wedding Cake Baker?
A wedding cake baker will typically be the owner of their own business, and therefore will not expect an additional donation.
However, if your baker did something that really impressed you on the day, like driving an extra few miles to deliver your cake, or provides extra goodies you weren’t expecting, then offer a gift of appreciation after the wedding, such as a thank-you card with cash inside, and don’t forget that lovely review!
Do I Tip a Food Truck at a Wedding?
If you’ve hired an independent food truck as part of your catering team, a tip really isn’t required, as you are already paying them for their services directly.
If, however, said food truck has been hired via one of the many specialist catering companies, then you should check your contract. It may well be that the employees are already receiving gratuities as part of your final bill.
If not, consider tipping the wedding caterer and delivery staff individually, or offer 10% – 20% of the bill to the team.
How Do I Make Sure the Tip Goes to the Right Person?
On the day, it’s good to keep cash tips in envelopes, ready to be distributed throughout the day and at the end of the night. Make sure they are clearly labeled and kept somewhere safe.
Ideally, if you have a member of your bridal party or groomsmen who is trustworthy, get them to look after the envelopes. And if they’re really reliable, get them to distribute the tips out to the appropriate people too!
When it comes to the wedding venue team, give them a card with cash inside, labeled with who exactly the money is for.
Whether it’s just for the powder-room attendants, the wedding reception staff, or if it’s a personal gift for the venue coordinator. They can then be distributed on your behalf.
If you’re not feeling a positive vibe from the venue team, and actually, you’re worried management will just pocket your nice gesture, bypass them altogether, and make a point of putting the money in the hands of the people you want it to go to!
What if a Service Fee is Already Included?
In general, wedding venues include some kind of service charge in their quote. This fee could be anywhere between 18% and 22%, and this essentially pays for the cost of hiring staff and labor for your big day.
But note that this service fee is not a gratuity, and the two should not be confused! It is a charge to cover the wages of the catering staff, wedding bartenders and all the other employees who’ll contribute to your wedding. Any gratuity is typically additional.
You may find that your wedding venue provides a comprehensive list of suggested gratuities, with recommended values next to each type of staff member. Or maybe they’ll simply add a mandatory gratuity onto your final bill.
If your preferred option is to provide gratuities for wedding services in cash, then you should discuss this with the venue beforehand to avoid any nasty surprises on the final figure.