You probably have itemized your wedding budget for each vendor, but did you take into account a gratuity? A commonly asked question I get from all my couples is how much should I account for tipping each of my vendors? In this post I will go over a general breakdown of what is customary for tipping each of your wedding vendors.
All vendors play a huge part on your wedding day and each of them makes it special. My rule of thumb is you typically don't tip business owners of large companies, only tip their employees, but you can and should tip the owner when the services exceeds your expectations. You also should not overlook tipping small business owners, since their business is often run by just one person.
Don't tip vendors because you feel like you have to, tip them because you felt like they delivered exceptional service (Think as if you were tipping a server at a restaurant). Besides giving money for a tip, a thank you note or a personalized gift can also go a long way and is very appreciated.
If you want to hand out tips on your wedding day, assign this responsibility to a trusted person like your planner, a parent, or a wedding party member. If you decide not to hand out tips on the actual day of your wedding you can always mail a thank you note with a tip inside after the wedding.
Break Down of Vendors to Tip and How Much:
Many catering companies will have a service charge percentage and a lot of the time this is NOT A TIP.
I highly recommend asking your catering manger to see if a portion of this goes towards a tip. In my experience many service charges cover the overhead costs that you are not paying for directly (ie; operating expense that are behind the scenes like dishwashers, servers, general maintenance of the room, and linen dry-cleaning). When tipping catering staff it is primarily for those that are on a hourly wage and not getting commission off of your event. You should account to tip about $20-$50 per server.
Bartenders are among the lowest paid as they are relying on tips. Even if you expect your guests to tip directly I encourage you to do so as well but some catering companies will tip the bartenders directly depending got how much alcohol you purchase/consume. I recommend asking your point of contact to see how they handle tips. If the bartenders don't get a cut of the bar sales I suggest tipping at least $25-$75 per bartender depending on what is hosted.
Tipping your DJ is optional, but consider the overall quality and responsiveness of your requests. Typically I see $50-$150 as a tip if you find your DJ fun and entertaining on your wedding.
I think photographers play such an important role in your wedding day as they capture all the special moments and they are with you the entire day. Tipping your photographer is optional, but consider tipping the second shooter or staff beyond the business owner. I typically see $50-$100 per shooter or a personal gift.
Tipping is not normally expected, but they might expect a donation to the religious institution. I see between $50–$100 for tip or a $100–$500 donation. If you are using a friend or a family member as your officiant consider sending them a personal gift.
Tipping musicians is optional, but consider tipping each musician $15-$20.
Tipping your florist is optional, but if you really love their work and they setting up or cleaning up on your wedding day consider tipping 10% of the total floral bill.
Hair and Make Up
Your hair and make up vendors are going to be expecting a tip. Tip 15-25% of the total charge just like if you were getting your hair done at a salon.
Tipping is expected unless it is already added into the contract. Wedding transportation staff should be tipped 15-20% of the total bill.
Tipping your wedding planner is optional. Only about 50% of couples tip their planner. Wedding planners don’t expect a tip, but if you would like to show appreciation tip 10-15% of the total bill or a personal gift. Nonmonetary thank-yous like professional photos of your wedding for the planners portfolio can go a long way too.
Delivery and set up staff
Tipping delivery and set up staff is completely optional, but consider tipping $5-$10 per person if they are delivering important items like your cake or flowers. It is also thoughtful to tip the staff that have to set up rental items like tables and chairs.