To Tip or Not to Tip: Navigating Wedding Vendor Gratuity

You’ve crafted your wedding budget, but have you factored tipping your vendors into the equation? While tipping is a customary way to show appreciation for exceptional service, it’s not always clear-cut, particularly when it comes to tipping your wedding vendors. You’ve already paid them for their services, but how much of a tip should you leave them, and when should you do it? We’re shedding some light on how to navigate this sometimes controversial topic.

Is Tipping Required?

Tipping your wedding vendors is a nice way to show appreciation, but it’s not mandatory. Usually, folks like your hairstylist or caterer expect tips, similar to those outside of weddings. Deciding how much to tip can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re expected to tip 20% on a big bill. Always check your invoice for any included service charges. And remember to tip on top of the base rate for the rental, excluding other service charges.

Tipping Your Wedding Photographer and Videographer

In wedding photography, tipping is not expected but it is appreciated. A wedding photographer will not take offense if you do not tip them. It is largely down to your personal preference, particularly if the photographer has gone above and beyond, or if they are not the business owner”  says Zoe Larkin, owner of Zoe Larkin photography based in San Francisco. “Generally speaking, a tip is not standard practice. Personally speaking, I would say that only about 15-20% of all wedding clients give me a tip.”

How Much to Tip Photographers and Videographers

According to Zoe Larkin, you can choose a flat rate of a range of $50-$200 or a percentage of 5%-15%. The range depends on what feels best to you, remembering there is no expectation to tip in the first place.

When to Tip a Wedding Photographer and Videographer

A good time to tip your photographer and videographer, if you choose to, is at the end of the reception.

Tipping Your Wedding DJ

Tipping a wedding DJ is optional but preferred. Wedding DJs play a crucial role by not only providing the musical ambiance but also serving as the event’s emcee. While some DJs operate independently, others may collaborate with sound technicians or additional personnel, all of whom should be considered when contemplating tipping. It’s advised to review your contract to know who will be present on your wedding day.

How Much to Tip a Wedding DJ

If you decide to tip your wedding DJ, $50-$150 is a good range. 

When to Tip a Wedding DJ

A wedding planner or attendant should tip the DJ at the end of the reception. 

Tipping Your Wedding Band Members

Tipping wedding band members is optional but preferred. When determining gratuity for your wedding band, take into account the number of band members scheduled to perform on your special day. If you decide to provide a tip for your band, ensure that each member (as well as any accompanying sound technicians) is appropriately acknowledged.

How Much to Tip Wedding Band Members

The range of $25-$50 per member is recommended.

When to Tip Wedding Band Members

A wedding planner or attendant should tip the band members at the end of the reception.

Tipping Your Wedding Planner

Wedding planners work hard to ensure your special day unfolds seamlessly, so tips are greatly appreciated.”We see a wide range of tipping in our category,” notes Matthews. “Typically, between $250 to $1,000 depending on the level of service booked. Some may opt to do 15 percent of the total package price” says Jennifer Matthews, founder of Memorable Events

How Much to Tip a Wedding Planner

Anywhere from $250 to $1,000 based on the services, as well as $50 to $150 for each assistant.

When to Tip a Wedding Planner

At the end of the reception or days following the wedding.

Tipping Your Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Your beauty professionals will arrive bright and early to ensure everyone looks flawless for the day ahead. Just as you would at a salon, it’s strongly advised to show them some additional appreciation. If your bridal party or family members are also getting their hair or makeup done, decide whether you’ll be tipping for each person, or include tipping in the amount you’re asking them to pay for their services.

How Much to Tip Wedding Hair Stylists and Makeup Artists

The standard gratuity typically ranges from 15% to 20% of the total service cost.

When to Tip Wedding Hair Stylists and Makeup Artists

Tip your stylists at the end of your service. If your bridal party is paying for their own hair and makeup, advise that they complete payment and give a tip after their turn. 

Tipping Your Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff

Tipping delivery and setup staff are expected, but make sure you check your venue contract to see if they’ve already included this.  Don’t forget to acknowledge the hard work of those handling the setup and breakdown tasks. Consider offering a gratuity to individuals delivering crucial items to the venue, such as the wedding cake, flowers, or sound system. If there’s a significant amount of equipment to be installed, like tents, chairs, or portable toilets, it’s thoughtful to show appreciation to the workers involved with a tip as well.

How Much to Tip Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff

A good tip range for these hard workers is $10-$50 per person. To ensure everyone contributing gets gratuity, work with your planner, caterer, or venue manager to get a head count. You can also make some extra envelopes to be safe. 

When to Tip Wedding Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff

The day before or morning of your wedding, deliver cash envelopes to the catering manager to ensure that the individual coordinating deliveries can distribute the tips accordingly.

Tipping Your Wedding Ceremony Officiant

Tipping varies with the officiant. Generally, tipping is anticipated. If your wedding officiant is associated with a church or synagogue, it’s customary to offer a donation to support the institution, as they may not be able to accept a direct cash tip. Members often give more substantial contributions compared to non-members. However, if you’re being charged for using the venue for your wedding, a smaller donation may be appropriate. Expressing gratitude through tipping is also welcomed by both non-denominational and denominational officiants.

How Much to Tip Wedding Ceremony Officiant

Donate $100–$500 to the church or synagogue, and for the officiant, a tip of $50–$100.

When to Tip Wedding Wedding Ceremony Officiant

Typically, ceremony fees are due before the wedding day. Alternatively, if the officiant attends the rehearsal dinner, designate a responsible attendant to pass the cash envelope at that time.

Since these tips usually go toward an institution, it is important to be mindful when choosing your wedding officiant. They will set the tone for your ceremony and reflect your values as a couple.

Additional Ways to “Tip”

Other service providers, such as your calligrapher, florist, baker, invitation designer, rental company, and more, may not typically receive gratuities. Nevertheless, expressing gratitude through kind words can mean the world to them, especially in the form of positive online reviews.

Leaving a Good Review Online

Taking a moment to share your positive experiences on platforms like Google, social media pages, or their website can be immensely beneficial. Not only does this gesture help future couples in their decision-making process, but it also offers invaluable support to small business owners and entrepreneurs within the wedding industry.

Writing a Thank-You Note

Show appreciation for the dedication and effort your vendors put into bringing your vision to life by sending them a personalized thank-you note. Regardless of tipping traditions, a sincere expression of gratitude can leave a lasting impression and make their day brighter.

Giving Them a Gift

For vendors who may not typically receive tips, consider expressing your gratitude through a thoughtful gift. This gesture serves as a tangible token of appreciation, acknowledging their hard work and dedication in contributing to your special day.

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