Tips on Tipping for Tippers


As you begin to plan your wedding event, or even if your plans are underway, make time to budget accordingly for the gratuities that are customary for vendors who are about to make your dreams a reality. Yes, by the nature of the custom, tipping is optional. However, keep in mind all the hard work, time and passion that your vendors have poured into your event which often occurs behind the scenes, after hours and without them even telling you.

Below is a tipping guide for each service related to a typical wedding event and the appropriate time to present your token of appreciation. Of course, you can always make somebody’s day by tipping more than these suggested amounts if he or she has done something extraordinary that made your heart sing!

Caterers/Bartenders –Just like in a restaurant, those that have prepared and served your food and beverage deserve gratuities. But, check the fine print! It may be included in your catering contract and, if it isn’t, you can certainly request that it be added so that you don’t have to worry about it the day of the event. You can pay it up front and be done, and 15-20% is the customary amount

Timing: With final payment, if included, at the end of the event or during set-up to encourage above-and-beyond service.

DJ – Optional but $50-$100 if you found them exceptionally responsive and fun.

Timing: At the end of the night.

Event Planner/Wedding Planner –15% of their fee, a personal gift or a combination of the two.

Timing: At the end of the event or mailed the week following your wedding.

Floral Designer –Not expected but always appreciated if you loved their work. 10-15% of the total bill.

Timing: By mail after the event.

Hair Stylist/Make-Up Artist – 15 to 20%

Timing: When they finish their services.

Limo or Bus Driver –15%, if not included in the bill.

Timing: At the end of the night or final ride.

Musicians/Bands –15% of fee for ceremony musicians; $25 to $50 per musician for reception.

Timing: At the end of the event.

Photographer/Videographer – $100 each

Timing: At the end of the event.

Officiant –$50-100 for the officiant alone, depending on how much time they’ve spent with you pre-ceremony. Consider a $100-500 donation to the religious institution.

Timing: Prior to the wedding (when paying the ceremony service fee), or after the rehearsal.

Venue Manager – One of the hardest working and most overlooked service personnel is the liaison at your venue who has coordinated with your planner, all of your vendors and will be the very last one out of the building after your event. $100-$200 or 15% of total rental amount.

Timing: At the end of the event or mailed the week following your wedding.

One exception to all of the above is that, traditionally, business owners of larger companies don’t get tipped – just their employees – but you can and should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations. Small business owners should never be overlooked, since their businesses are often run by just one person.

This is just a sample of the most common areas of service involved in a wedding event. By all means, any other person that has played a part in making you, your guests and your family happy will appreciate a monetary token of your gratitude. Furthermore, tip or no tip, writing a “thank you” note to vendors who provided you with great service is always appreciated – as is leaving them positive reviews on wedding planning websites!