What To Tip Your Wedding Vendors

A Guide to Gratuities

brevard county wedding coordinator
Photo: Lisa Marshall Photography

With so many wedding expenses, the sticker shock at the end of your soiree can be quite unsettling. Fees added into contracts, budgets being blown and miscellaneous expenses only add to a couple’s financial burden. And if there’s one confusing area in the world of wedding planning, it’s paying gratuities. Traditional etiquette says one thing while modern trends tell another, putting this topic in a gray, oftentimes, difficult area to navigate. Whether your vendor is a small business or an hourly employee, this guide to gratuities will help you decide what to tip your wedding pros.

Tipping is never mandatory but is greatly appreciated by all wedding vendors. The countless hours they put in to make sure your special day runs smoothly deserves recognition and this should be determined by the quality of their performance. At the end of your wedding day, if you loved their service – show it with a tip.

Photo: Scribbled Moments Photography, Inc.

Catering Staff: $20-50 per person

Remember your catering staff will be actively working during your entire event. It’s appropriate to give $20 per person to the onsite staff and $50 to the lead catering manager. To help gauge figures, ask the caterer for a headcount of wait staff beforehand. You can also give the manager the amount you intend to tip each person for them to distribute themselves.

Photo: Bumby Photography

Bartender: From $20-50 to $100-200 per person

They have to deal with some of the craziest guests of the evening. Typically bartenders who work on a catering staff make higher hourly wages than a typical restaurant so tipping them the same amount as their team is appropriate. However, this isn’t always the case and varies for each caterer. Not sure what to tip a particular wedding vendor within a catering team? Use this guide to gratuities loosely and when in doubt always ask!

up the creek farms wedding coordinator Briana hoover fixing a boutonniere
Photo: Scribbled Moments Photography, Inc.

Wedding Planner: $100 to 10% of fees

Most people assume you don’t tip your planner if you’re paying them for their service. However, considering they’re the one vendor (and most important) who has done the bulk of the wedding planning work, a tip is a nice way of saying “thank you” for the extra effort. Did they go above and beyond to execute your wedding flawlessly? While optional, you can feel comfortable giving between $100 to 10% of their fees. We always recommend consulting with the venue owner first.

Photo: Lisa Marshall Photography

Florist or Designer: $50-100

These are the creative people responsible for executing your wedding vision and theme. Sourcing flowers, suggesting decor and finding design elements are crucial to any event. A tip is a wonderful gesture to say thank you for their exceptional service throughout the wedding design process. Regardless of your floral budget, a $50 to $100 tip for the florist or designer is appreciated for all their hard work on your wedding day. 

brevard county bluegrass band serenading guests at outdoor ceremony
Photo: Winship Photography

Musicians: $25 per person or 10% of fee

Not sure what to tip the string quartet that serenaded guests or the choir that sang during your ceremony? If it’s a professional group, $25 per person is considered appropriate or 10% of their fee to be split amongst the musicians. If it’s a church group or band that didn’t charge you, opt for a donation.

natural and simple bridal beauty inspiration
Photo: Scribbled Moments Photography, Inc.

Hair + Makeup Stylist: 15-20% of service fee

The magicians behind making you look and feel your best are just as important as the photographers capturing your beautiful wedding day look! Treat this tip just like you would for a regular salon visit. 

outdoor wedding ceremony at up the creek farms
Photo: Magnolia and Magpie

Photographer + Videographer: $50-150 per person

These vendors will be two of the most important people you choose. Not to mention they’re the creatives behind capturing all those wonderful moments from your wedding day. As a nice gesture, each photographer should receive between $50-$150 dollars depending on your satisfaction with their service.  If there are two or three shooters, giving a $50 to $100 tip to each person is also a nice optional gesture.

Treasure Coast Trolley for a wedding at up the creek farms
Photo: Lisa Marshall Photography

Transportation: 15% of fees

Your driver is the chariot waiting to whisk you and your partner away once the wedding is officially over! A 15% tip is optional but a nice thank you if it isn’t already included in the contract. 

Wooden cross and religious wedding ceremony at up the creek farms
Photo: Scribbled Moments Photography, Inc.

Officiant: $100 Tip, Donation or Thank You Note

Often times officiants won’t accept tips and traditional etiquette says no cash should be given. Yours could be a family friend who registered online, a judge or a pastor you knew from high school. A $100-300 donation to their church is a great way to thank them. If the officiant is non-denominational, consider giving them a $100 tip for their role in your ceremony. Given the scope of variation, this depends on the relationship and type of officiant.

wedding reception at up the creek farms featuring sombreros
Photo: Jenna Nicole Photography

Entertainment: DJ $100-200 tip / Musicians $25 per person

This vendor is the key ingredient in creating the entire flow and energy of your event, so they deserve a lot of gratitude for guaranteeing a good time! Was every guest on your dance floor and the party didn’t stop all night? Show thanks to each entertainer for ensuring your guests enjoyed your wedding.

There are a few other things worth remembering as a guide to gratuities. Some vendors may have them already included in their contracts. If this is the case, no tip is necessary. Still unsure about what to tip your wedding vendors? Read over your contracts to be certain and don’t be afraid to ask!

Need more wedding planning advice? Check out our post on the Break Down of Wedding Costs