Tipping your wedding vendors involves the whole wedding day team. From the hair and makeup pro, the florist, your officiant, the photographer and videographer, the wedding planner, your transportation, the team of servers at your reception, your wedding musicians, the band or DJ, the list can be long. Often a wedding couple thinks nothing of tipping hair and makeup because that is a habit they have likely gotten into from their routine visits to get those services. But when it comes to tipping other pro’s, what is acceptable? What is the honest answer.
Your mother was right, you tip for exceptional service.
Sometimes wedding vendors automatically add a tip onto a contract, or they might include verbiage that says ‘tip not included’, or ‘all tips should be paid to the individual performing the service’. And some wedding pro’s don’t say anything.
In the past, somehow people said that you only tipped an employee— not the owner of the company. Which works when considering tipping the employee of a transportation company who may not have their name on the door but drive clients as their job. It does not address the fact that 90% of wedding day professional service providers own their own small business.
Honestly, you do not tip ONLY the employee—
YOU TIP FOR EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE.
You’ve likely worked with your wedding day team for a number of months if not years, you’ve gotten to know them, you see what they have done for you.
- Have they gone above and beyond?
- Are they always there to answer your questions?
- Do they help with finding you other professionals to help if that is not their area of expertise?
- Can you count on them?
- Do you feel that you have a better/happier/easier wedding because of them?
THAT is exceptional service! Tip your wedding vendors for their exceptional service! Just because one/some of your pros own the company and work for you on your big day doesn’t mean they don’t get a tip. The rule of thumb is that your vendors should receive as their tip 10% to 15% of the total contracted amount. A wedding photographer who has been contracted for $4000.00 would receive $400 to $600 dollars.
The tips can add up which means that YOU as the wedding couple needs to plan ahead for them. Consider that cost as part of your wedding budget, write it in from the beginning so you can plan for it.
How do you tip your vendors? If you have a wedding planner/coordinator they are happy to receive your tips (cash is always awesome) in envelopes addressed with the vendors name and distribute them at some point during your wedding day. If you would rather deliver them personally or have a family member distribute them, that is also perfectly fine.
Don’t tell yourself that you’ll send out lovely handwritten thank you notes after you get back from your honeymoon and include the tips. That very often falls to the wayside.
Do you HAVE to tip? Well, no. Of course not. Should you tip? Absolutely. You tip to say thank you, your work was exceptional and it made a difference in my day—- I appreciate you!
Wedding Vendor Tip Sheet:
Wedding planners– 10-20% of the total invoice
Officiant – $50-$100 on top of their service
Church– ask each individual church for protocol but routinely $100-$500
Transportation- 15% of your total bill
Wedding Ceremony Musicians– $20 per musician
Photographer & Videographer– 10%-15% of the contract is the gold standard. In reality this is closer to $100-$400.
Wedding Band– $25-$35 per musician
DJ– $50-$150 This can vary widely in different regions of the country
Reception Staff– Find out if the tip or service charge has been added to your fee, it almost always is. Make a point to find out how the staff receives their portion of this fee. If this tip/service charge/gratuity is not included you can find out in advance how many staff will be working your event and give the tip to the Room Captain to be distributed among the staff. Make sure you give cash and have it in bills that can be easily distributed to the team. The standard amount is 15-20% of your food and drink fee.
Plan ahead to tip for exceptional service, that way you won’t be overwhelmed the week before your wedding when taking care of all the last-minute details.
If you have any questions about who to tip or how much, your wedding planner/coordinator should be able to steer you in the right direction.