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Tipping is a custom that’s so ingrained in our culture that we know to expect a final sale price of 15% to 20% higher than the original list price. However, when it comes to wedding vendors, not all tips and gratuities are created equal! Some vendors will automatically add a set percentage gratuity to your final bill, some will accept tips under the table and some won’t accept gratuities at all. We’ve compiled a handy guide for you to follow on your wedding day so you know who you need to tip and what’s already taken care of.
Your wedding photographer has already worked out her pricing and fees to cover everything, from the hours it takes to shoot your wedding to all the consultations and meetings to the post-event editing and processing. So, you don’t need to add any extra tips or gratuities for your wedding photographer if she’s the studio owner. However, if you hired a photographer who doesn’t own his own business, then giving him a small token of your appreciation along with a thank you note is always a nice, but not required, touch.
Photo Credit: Plus Size Bride to Be
Your wedding planner was probably your best friend throughout your engagement, and you also probably paid her a sizable fee. This means that your wedding planner or day of coordinator won’t be expecting an additional tip, but if you feel as though they went truly above and beyond to make your fairytale wedding come true, you might consider giving an additional tip to show your appreciation. A standard amount to add is 15% of her overall fee, or up to $500 – whichever you feel is best. Common protocol is to send a handwritten thank you note after the honeymoon with a check enclosed.
Photo Credit: Jordan McBride
Makeup Artist and Hairstylist
Many brides choose to have their hair and makeup done professionally for their wedding days. Many brides also opt to include their bridesmaids and female VIPs in the hair and makeup chairs. For both your hairstylist and makeup artist for the day, it’s common practice to tip them 15% to 20% on top of their fee. You can include this gratuity when you pay them in full, after you’ve all been beautified.
Photo Credit: Triple Twist
Whether you’ve chosen a close friend who is certified or an established professional, your wedding officiant is the one who makes it all official. As you exchange vows and say your “I dos,” the ceremony officiant keeps things in order and on track. Officiants typically have a set fee, so there usually is not an expectation for an additional tip. However, if you feel they did an exemplary job, a donation is a nice gesture. Anywhere between $100 and $500 to the church or synagogue would be appreciated, or if you have a nondenominational officiant, you might consider tipping between $50 and $100. If you plan to tip your officiant, be sure to have your best man or maid of honor give the check or cash envelope to him at the rehearsal dinner.
Photo Credit: Groom HQ
Similar to your wedding photographer, your videographer likely has set her fees to cover all the costs of shooting your wedding. So, if your videographer owns her own business, no additional gratuity is expected. However, if your videographer works with your photographer as part of the photographer’s studio, it’s a nice gesture to give a personal gift as well as a handwritten thank you card after the wedding. If you’d prefer to give cash, $50 to $200 per vendor is a good amount.
Photo Credit: Lynkz Studio
Wedding Ceremony and Reception Music
From the church organist to a string quartet, any musicians that play during your walk down the aisle won’t require an additional tip. However, if you feel that they played the exact music you wanted totally flawlessly, it’s nice to give $10 to $20 per musician. You can have your maid of honor or best man hand these tips off at the end of the ceremony. Same goes for your reception musicians – whether you’ve hired a full band or a DJ, it’s not required to tip your musicians. Of course, if they did a great job, tipping $20 to $25 per musician or $50 to $100 for DJs is always a nice touch. Delegate the best man to handle this duty at the end of the reception.
Photo Credit: Paradise Springs Mountain
Reception and Catering Staff
Typically, service charge and gratuity will be included in the contract for reception and catering staff. This means it’s already covered and you don’t need to tip them extra. If it’s not already included, then you should tip the staff 15% to 20% on the labor cost (not the cost of food and beverages) at the end of your reception. This includes the catering manager, waiters, kitchen staff, bartenders and the chef, as well as the venue coordinator and maître d.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Anne Designs
Delivery and Service People
Your wedding cake, all floral arrangements and centerpieces, equipment and furniture will all probably be delivered to your venue by different people. Make sure you tip each delivery and service person accordingly; a few dollars is always appreciated when you’re doing so much heavy lifting! $5 to $10 per person is a nice tip for making sure your wedding items are there safely and on time. To ensure everyone is taken care of, drop off cash envelopes a day or two before the wedding so the venue coordinator can ensure whoever accepts deliveries can manage the tips.
Photo Credit: SposiamoVi
Did you hire a limo to take you from your venue to your hotel? Or did you book a shuttle to bring people from your ceremony site to reception venue? All transportation you’ve booked for your wedding day usually includes gratuity as part of your contract. Double check to see if it’s already covered; if not, it is expected to tip the drivers between 15% and 20% of the total fee. After the last ride is complete, have the best man take care of tipping all the drivers the appropriate amount.
Photo Credit: Chris Dee
A wedding has so many different moving parts with so many people involved, so it’s easy to get swept up in the craziness of it all. Our guide will help you keep track of who is and isn’t expecting a tip so that you can ensure proper etiquette is followed. Delegate your best man or maid of honor to handle the majority of these tips (after you’ve figured out the right amounts), and enjoy your wedding day!