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  • Writer's pictureTom Keene

Tipping Your Wedding Vendors - The Things to Keep in Mind and Industry Expectations - But Remember It Is Always Optional and Always Greatly Appreciated

Tipping Your Wedding Vendors - Understanding the In's and Outs of Providing a Gratuity

Tipping your vendors on your wedding day is an important aspect of expressing gratitude for their hard work and dedication in making your special day a memorable one. While tipping is not always mandatory, it is a customary way to show appreciation for the exceptional service provided by your vendors. Here are some guidelines to help you navigate the process of tipping your wedding vendors:

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1. Understand Gratuity Policies

Before your wedding day, familiarize yourself with the gratuity policies of each vendor. Some vendors may include gratuity in their service fees, while others may leave it to your discretion. Clarifying this beforehand will ensure that you are prepared to tip accordingly on the day of your wedding.

2. Plan Your Budget

Include vendor gratuities in your overall wedding budget to ensure that you allocate sufficient funds for tipping. Consider setting aside a percentage of your total budget specifically for gratuities, so you are not caught off guard on the day of your wedding.

3. Allocate Tips in Advance

Determine the amount you plan to tip each vendor based on the level of service provided and your budget. Divide the total amount accordingly and prepare individual envelopes or gratuity checks for each vendor in advance. This will streamline the tipping process on your wedding day and ensure that each vendor receives their gratuity promptly.

4. Enlist Help

Delegate the responsibility of distributing gratuities to a trusted member of your wedding party or family member. Provide them with clear instructions on who should receive each tip and the respective amounts. This will alleviate any stress on your part and ensure that gratuities are distributed efficiently. This most often falls on your coordinator. Make sure they tell your vendors to check out with them before leaving.

5. Express Gratitude

Accompany each gratuity with a handwritten note expressing your gratitude for the vendor's hard work and dedication. Personalized notes add a thoughtful touch and convey sincere appreciation for the effort they have put into making your wedding day unforgettable. I have to tell you this goes a long way with your vendors. Even if it does not include a monetary form of gratitude.

6. Tip According to Service

Consider the level of service provided by each vendor when determining the amount of gratuity. Vendors who go above and beyond to exceed your expectations may warrant a larger tip, while those who provide satisfactory service may receive a standard gratuity.

7. Be Prepared for Additional Fees

In addition to vendor gratuities, be prepared for any additional fees that may arise on your wedding day. These could include overtime charges, delivery fees, or last-minute requests. Having a contingency fund set aside will help cover these unexpected expenses without impacting your tipping budget. This is very common if you have an open bar. If you do and it is timed, be sure to communicate this in some way to your guests.

8. Don't Forget the Little Details

Remember to tip vendors who may often be overlooked, such as your hairstylist, makeup artist, or transportation driver. These individuals play a crucial role in ensuring that your wedding day runs smoothly and deserve recognition for their contributions.

9. Show Appreciation Throughout the Day

Take the time to personally thank each vendor throughout your wedding day. A simple expression of gratitude goes a long way in making vendors feel valued and appreciated for their hard work and dedication. YES IT DOES!

10. Follow Up with Reviews

After your wedding day, follow up with vendors by leaving positive reviews on their respective platforms. Not only does this serve as further recognition of their exceptional service, but it also helps future couples in their vendor selection process.

Tipping your vendors on your wedding day is a meaningful way to show appreciation for their efforts in bringing your vision to life. By planning ahead, expressing gratitude, and tipping accordingly, you can ensure that each vendor feels valued and appreciated for their contribution to your special day.

Here are the customary tipping guidelines:


If your catering contract does not include gratuity, consider tipping 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. Alternatively, you can offer $50 to $100 for each chef and $20 to $50 per server as a gesture of appreciation for their hard work.

Wedding Planner:

While tipping your wedding planner is optional, it's a nice way to acknowledge exceptional service. If your planner went above and beyond or provided a significant discount, consider offering a tip of 10 to 20 percent as a token of gratitude.

Photographer and Videographer:

If the photographer or videographer owns the studio, tipping is not required, but it is always very much appreciated. Consider giving an extra $50 to $200 as a gesture of appreciation. For teams with multiple shooters, offering $50 to $100 per person is optional.

Ceremony and Reception Staff:

Tipping ceremony, reception, and delivery staff is not mandatory but appreciated. Consider offering $20 to $50 to each staff member as a token of gratitude for their contributions to your special day.


While officiants may not expect tips, a $100 donation to their church or a $100 tip for non-denominational officiants is a thoughtful way to show appreciation for their services.

Hair and Makeup Artist:

A 15 to 20 percent tip for your hair and makeup artist is expected, similar to any other salon visit, even if they are the company owner. While not mandatory, it's a courteous gesture to acknowledge their talent and hard work.

Band or DJ:

Offering a 10 to 15 percent tip to your band or DJ is a nice gesture, especially if they have to transport heavy equipment between locations. For musicians, consider giving $25 to $50 per band member as a token of appreciation.


A 15 percent tip for transportation services is optional if not included in the contract. It's a courteous way to thank drivers for their professionalism and assistance on your wedding day.


While florists do not typically expect tips, you can consider giving a 10 to 15 percent tip for outstanding service. It's a thoughtful way to acknowledge their creativity and attention to detail.

Keep in Mind:

While tipping has become customary in many wedding service areas, it's not mandatory for most vendors. With the exception of catering staff and possibly the venue, tips are generally considered a pleasant surprise rather than an expectation. However, showing appreciation through tipping is a meaningful way to thank vendors for their hard work and dedication on your special day. At the end of a long event, these moments of expressed appreciation go a long way with your vendors.

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