My Tips on Tipping!

20 Dec

A Guide to Wedding Tipping

Which vendors you should tip―along with how, how much, and when.

I know, I know…..your thinking that weddings are expensive enough and you have already paid quite a fortune for their services and now I am telling you about tipping them? Sorry. Would you go out to eat and not leave a tip for exceptional service? It is a fee that should just be built into your wedding budget expectations.

Weddings are pulled off by a team of service-oriented vendors who, if they go above and beyond to give exceptional service, should be thanked. Tips are an expression of appreciation for especially good service. It is customary to give a tip to many of the people that were involved in making your big day a success… so it is important that you build that into your budget. Here are a few guidelines to help you tip your wedding team.

  • All tips should be given in cash.
  • All tips should be calculated and prepared in separate envelopes ahead of time. If you have a wedding coordinator, these can all be given to them to be distributed at the end of the evening.
  • No one/single person should get more then $150.00. For example: Let’s say your limo bus is $2000.00. 10 or 15% of that total is 200 or 300 dollars, not necessary.
  • Tips should be given just before your vendor leaves. That way you can judge how much to give, according to the job they did for you.
  • All vendors would love a thank you card. It is a great reminder of happy clients and let’s face it, it’ll help them book future clients.

Check Your Contracts

It’s important to know what you are paying for, but many contracts may also state if there is gratuity already built into the price. This is very common for catering and transportation services typically 15 to 20 percent. Read carefully to avoid unnecessarily double-tipping.

“If the gratuity is not included in the contract, you might consider adding it in the contract so you don’t have to deal with it on the day,” suggests Anna Post, author of Do I Have to Wear White? Emily Post Answers America’s Top Wedding Questions ($15,

Reward Extraordinary Efforts

Beyond the customary tips, if  someone goes above and beyond for you―the baker who worked late to make the last-minute changes you requested; the photographer that stayed late to capture every moment ―consider thanking them with a gift certificate (perhaps for a great foot massage), a bottle of wine, or another tangible token. If you have your wedding planner on speed dial because of the dozens of calls to calm your nerves, or she’s knocked herself out to pull it all off perfectly, you might want to add a personal thank-you note and small gift to her customary tip.

Check Ceremony Policies

Ask if your congregation has donation guidelines. Typically, if you’re marrying in a house of worship, expect to make a donation of anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on how active a member you are. You can give this money to the officiant. For a nondenominational officiant, whom you are already paying a fee, tip between $50 and $100. However, court clerks are prohibited from accepting tips so a little gift, like home-baked cookies, or a thank-you card will be appreciated.

TIPPING SUGGESTIONS (these are just suggestions. You should give what you think is fair to those you feel are truly deserving of it):

Altar boys or girls – $10-$15 each

Limousine Drivers – 10%-15% of the limousine bill, given at the end of the evening.

Valet Parking Attendants – $.50 to $1.00 per car, prearrange this amount with the supervisor based on an estimate of how many cars will be arriving and a sign should be posted to guests that the gratuity has been taken care of.

Wait staff – If the tip is not on the contract already, 15% of the total catering bill is tipped.

Bartenders – 10% of the total liquor bill, presented to the head bartender or divided equally among the total number of bartenders who worked the full evening. Make sure that a tip hasn’t been added to your contract already.

Restroom and/or Coatroom Attendants – $.50 to $1.00 per guest, prearranged again based on the number of guests.

Makeup artist or Hair Stylists – You don’t have to tip them if they come to you. If you go to the salon, then you should tip them 15%. Why? Well the salon makes the money, not the individual.

DJ – If your DJ owns the company then the tip is optional but if the DJ is an employee $50-$100. When your guests rave about your reception later, it’s the DJ that had everything to do with the fun.

Ceremony or Reception Musicians – $5-$10/hr per person, in one lump sum given to the person in charge.

Banquet or catering manager – There isn’t any tipping needed unless they’ve thrown in extras or saved you a lot on your bill. The tip would be between $50-$100.

Photographer and Videographer – If these vendors own the company, then the tip is optional. If they are employees $50 goes to the main photographer and he/she can give a split to the assistant.

Florist – You don’t need to tip the florist for making your arrangements but you can tip them an extra $5 per delivery location (3 locations=$15.00) or $10-$20 per staff member in one lump sum, for set-up and delivery. If you have a florist that goes above and beyond delivering the centerpieces, but helps in the event’s décor and ambiance, a nicer tip is appreciated.

Wedding Cake Baker – You don’t have to tip for the baking of the cake.

Venue Room Manager– This is the person managing the reception venues staff and facility the night of your wedding = $50

Wedding Coordinator – For someone who runs your ceremony and reception = $50

Wedding Planner – This person has planned your wedding from start to finish. An appropriate tip would be 10% of their total commission or bill.


Also consider taking the time to leave some kind words of thank you to help them get more business. There are sites such as WeddingChannel, WeddingWire of even their Facebook page, that allow clients to share their reviews in the hopes of promoting the business. This is a nice gesture that goes a long way!


One Response to “My Tips on Tipping!”

  1. Sara Schlueer December 22, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    I think this is a wonderful post! My planner did so much for me and I could never thank her enough for making my day so perfect & enjoyable for me and my husband. I tipped her well…. but I LOVE the idea of sending her a certificate for a massage, I am sore just thinking of how hard she worked that day! Maybe for Christmas I will send it to her!

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