Monday, May 10, 2010

How to Tip Wedding Vendors? Is it Mandatory?

A lot of couples might find tipping to be a “gray area”. When you have spent most of your wedding in expenses such as your venue, ceremony, photographer, videographer, DJ, makeup artist, officiant, limo, and the list goes on…. we always ask our selves –“Should I tip and to whom should I tip”?
The answer is yes and no. Gratuities are a kind and generous gesture of appreciation for going the extra mile to make your wedding day perfect. It is customary, but not mandatory.
It all depends if your vendor provides you with exemplary service on your big day. If your vendor/venue provides excellent service and goes beyond what is contracted, then a nice tip would show your appreciation or referring the vendor to your family and friends. Most of the business in the wedding industry comes from word of mouth.
You want to prepare your gratuities before the wedding such as 2 or 3 days. (This should be included in your budget). All tips should be in cash. Enclose your gratuities in an envelop and give the envelops to your wedding planner to distribute. If you do not have a wedding planner you may have your Best man to distribute it. It is best to distribute your tips towards the end of your reception so that way you can judge if the tip is well deserved, according to the service that was performed.
Please read the fine print on your vendors’ contract to see if a tip is included in their price. In particular cases the tip is on the contract, in that case you do not need to tip, especially if you have already paid it. In contrast, if the gratuity is not stated on the contract-Here are suggested tip guidelines:

Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Beautician:
Tip between 15-20% in this category. You should expect to tip these vendors just as you would on a normal visit to the salon.

Florist (Delivery & Setup): $15-$20 per person

Baker & Party Rentals (Delivery & Setup): $5-$10 per person

Officiant (Clergy, Priest, Minister etc):
If you are having your ceremony at a church, synagogue, or at any religious denomination institution it is suggested to give a donation. If you are a member at your church, synagogue, or any religious institution it is suggested to give a donation of $500 and up. Please inquire with clergy the donation amount to officiant and organists. Otherwise, if you have a non-denomination officiant that performs your ceremony at a location (i.e. the venue) and charges you a fee, then a tip is not required.

Wedding Ceremony Musician:
$20-$25 per person in a band/quartet

Limousine: 15-20%. In most cases the gratuity is already reported on your contract.

DJ & Emcee:

Maitre’d: It is usually $3.00-$6.00 per invited guest or some venues may charge 5%, which will be noted on the contract.

Reception Hall: 20%- that is noted on the contract, which is split amongst the staff (banquet manager, bartender, clean staff, chef/kitchen staff, etc). It is a good idea to ask the catering hall who receives the 20% just to make sure all essential staff is included.

Valet Drivers: If the 20% reception gratuity doesn’t include valet drivers, you can give $1.00-$1.50 per car. The total should be divided between the valet drivers.

Wedding Photographer/Videographer:Suggested $50-$100-If your photographer & videographer is not the owner to a studio and works under a photography/videography business.

Wedding Planner:

It is optional to tip the Wedding Planner if they have their own business. But if you wish to tip them 10-15% is adequate. In addition, a great review, photos of your big day posted to their site, and word of mouth referral is greatly appreciated.


  1. I admire what you have done here. I like the part where you say you are doing this to give back but I would assume by all the comments that this is working for you as well.

  2. Awesome tips. I’ll be passing this post on for sure