One important thing you don’t want to forget is to tip your vendors, especially after they all worked so hard to pull your dream wedding together. Couples tend to forget to factor gratuity into their budget. But also, most couples don’t know if and how much they should be tipping, so we’ve put together this guide so you know exactly how much to tip your wedding vendors.
Figuring out which wedding vendors to tip
When it comes to tipping your vendors, there are a couple of things to know first.
Check your contract
This is the important first step to putting together your tips. Some contracts include gratuity, so go through and make sure you know if yours do. It’s not uncommon for caterers, alcohol services, or transportation to add a 15-20% tip into the contract.
Owners and employees
Regardless of whether or not the person is the owner or an employee, they should get a tip. There’s a common misconception that you shouldn’t tip owners, but they’re working hard too, and they have costs to cover, so a tip is always nice. Employees, such as servers or assistants, should absolutely get a tip.
How much to tip
The standard for many wedding vendors is 15-20%, but we’ll get into each specific vendor.
Catering: Typically, you tip caterers 15-20% of the food and beverage cost, but be sure to check your contract first.
Service Staff: You’ll want to tip servers $20-50 each. Bartenders should get 10% of the alcohol bill. Valets should receive $1-2 per car.
Photography/Videography: Often, your main shooter should receive more than the second shooter who may not be there all day. You’ll typically be tipping between $100 and $500, with $200 being the average for your main photographer. You don’t have to tip your photographer, but it’s definitely a nice touch.
Officiant: This is going to depend on what type of officiant you have. If you’re getting married in a church or are having a religious ceremony, typically, your “tip” will be a donation to the church for $100-500. If you’re hiring an officiant, we recommend $50-100.
Hair & Makeup: Hair and makeup artists should each get 15-20%.
Florist: While you don’t need to tip your actual florist, we do recommend that you tip any delivery people or assistants. You can tip $10-$20 per delivery person. If anyone works to set up a big installation, like a ceremony arch, we recommend tipping at least $50 and higher if the installation is more complicated.
Wedding Planner: You don’t necessarily need to tip your wedding planner, but it’s always appreciated. It’s especially good to tip if they have assistants with them. You can tip 10-20% of the package price or $100-$500 per person. We recommend putting tips in individual envelopes for the lead planner and assistant.
DJ: There are some people who will tell you that you don’t need to tip your DJ. We disagree. We recommend $100-$300 for the actual DJ and then $50-100 per assistant. You’ll want to tip on the higher end if your DJ and their assistants are providing additional services such as ceremony music and uplighting.
Band: The band should receive $30-$50 per member (including set members) or 15-20%.
Bakery delivery: If you’re getting your desserts delivered, you should tip $25-$50 per delivery person.
Rental delivery: Again, you’ll want to tip $25-$50 per person.
Lighting: If you’re having lighting installed, you should tip $20-$50 per person.
Transportation: You’ll want to tip your driver 15-20% if gratuity isn’t already included in the contract.
If you’re having anyone special like a live painter or photobooth attendant, we recommend you tip $30-50 or higher if the person has done an amazing job.
Regardless of if and how much you tip, leaving a nice review on The Knot/Wedding Wire, Facebook, and Google can go a long way. This is one of the best ways to show appreciation for your amazing vendors because it helps them book more work. A handwritten note and/or gift for vendors who went above and beyond is always nice too!
Erin Lafond is a blogger with ample experience writing about weddings. She planned her own wedding and got married in October 2019. She lives in New Hampshire and loves a casual wedding with luxury details.