Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who to Tip, When to Tip, and How Much to Tip: A Guide to Wedding Vendor Tips

As if thousand dollar cakes, cars and corsages weren’t enough to stress out even the most well-intending budget-minded bride, you also have to worry about rules.

And no, I’m not talking about these rules. Or even these.

I’m talking about who you have tip, when you have to tip and-most importantly-how much you have to tip.

It is downright mind-boggling!

But there is help.

According to, unless service charges are outlined in your contract, you aren’t obligated to tip. That being said, many vendors appreciate-and secretly expect-a little extra love. So here is your own little mini-guide to wedding vendor tipping to help you understand who to tip, when to tip them and how much to tip!


Wedding Planner
Your wedding planner doesn’t expect a tip, however if she went above and beyond her duties, feel free to offer her a token gift and/or offer to write a testimonial for her website or brochures. As the bride, you will have likely spent most of the time with your planner. You can create a specially-crafted thank you card from American Greetings, enclose the check and either hand it to her discreetly at the end of the night or mail it to her following your honeymoon. The standard gift is up to $500.00

Musicians - Ceremony Musicians
This depends on who your musicians are and if you are already paying them to perform at your wedding. Many churches require their organist to be on-site and include their payment in with your rental fees. If this is the case, there is no need to tip. Otherwise, you can tip between $15-20 per musician after the ceremony.

- Reception Musicians, such as DJ or Band
Again, this is an optional group to tip, but if they worked hard to engage your crowd, were easy to meet with before the wedding and pulled your wedding off without a hitch, then feel free to ask the best man to slip them an envelope at the end of the night. The standard is $20-$25 per live musician and up to $100 for the DJ.

Videographers / Photographers
Absolutely not expected, but if you are feeling generous, some people tip photographers and videographers who don’t own the studio between $50-$200 per person at the end of the reception.


Although this falls into the “expected” category, it really depends on who the officiant is, whether he is affiliated with a church to which you have already made a donation or if you are already paying a nondenominational officiant for his time. The standard tip is $75-$100 per officiant and is usually paid in advance.

Delivery and Set-Up Staff
This group, including anyone who sets up items such as your cake, flowers, tents, chairs, etc gets a tip that ranges from $5-$10 per person. So you don’t have to worry about this on the Big Day, give your catering manager or wedding planner an envelope the day before your wedding and ask her to distribute the tips accordingly.

Hair and Makeup Staff
Just like you do when getting your trim, add in 15%-20% percent of the service and give it to your stylists once you are happy with your look.

Catering Staff

This group, including the on-site coordinator, banquet manager and servers get a tip, however read your fine print … it is often already added to your bill in the form of a service charge. If it isn't, expect to pay 15%-20% of the food and beverage fee, pre-tax. If it is included as a service charge, then you will likely settle this bill a few days before the wedding, otherwise, ask the best man to deliver an envelope to the maitre d’ at the end of the reception.


Just like with your catering staff, your driver’s tip is likely included in your transportation rental fee. If not, plan on 15%-20% percent of the final bill and ask the best man to hand it to the driver at the end of the night.

Do you have any other questions about tipping? If so, ask away!

Photo courtesy of jtyerse

1 comment:

Lynnifer said...

Where did you go? I look forward to reading your blog every time its updated. I was a bridesmaid in August and was just asked to be a maid of honor... You have wonderful insights that have been helpful to both of my friends, me, and I'm sure thousands more.