You’ve heard us say it before! Those last few weeks of wedding planning are the most detail heavy of the entire planning process. Tensions are stressing, budget is straining, and then WHAM! You realize you haven’t allotted any tips for your wedding vendors.
First things first, let me say this— Tipping is always appreciated, but never expected! I know each vendor in our industry will agree that we welcome any gift you choose to offer. But truly, the best tip ever? A referral or review on Google, Facebook, or The Knot will go just as far in our hearts as anything else. But if you decide you’d like to go above and beyond for your wedding vendors, we’ve pulled together these easy tipping guidelines to help you roll through the process!
Here are some common questions we get about tipping your wedding vendors:
- Should I tip my wedding vendors at all?
- Which vendors should we tip?
- How much do we tip each vendor?
- What are some alternatives to cash tips?
Vendor Tipping Etiquette
There are certain wedding vendors who are more generally tipped, like hairstylists and makeup artists, while others don’t require it but would appreciate it, like your DJ. Some vendors even build the gratuity into your bill, like your caterer. With all the variables, it can be hard too figure out who needs to be tipped and who doesn’t! Here’s the quick lowdown:
- Decide which vendors need to be tipped.
A few weeks before your wedding (or months if you’re type-A 🤓 like me!), go through your vendor team and make a list of who definitely needs to be tipped, who might need to be tipped, and who doesn’t require being tipped. If you have a wedding planner, they can help you with this task!
- Check your contracts.
Review your wedding vendor contracts to figure out if gratuity is already included in your bill. You can use this information to determine how much you do or don’t need to tip each vendor.
- Add it to your wedding budget.
If you’re super organized, you might have already added this expense to your wedding budget from the get-go! If not, adjust your budget accordingly.
- Determine when tips will be given and who is in charge of doing so.
If gratuity was already included in your bill, you’ll likely have paid for it before the wedding so you don’t have to worry about it. For tips that given after services are rendered (like hair + makeup), you’ll want to decide if you’ll tip cash or by card on the final receipt. If it’s cash – put the money in an envelope labeled with the vendor’s name and info. Since you and your family be busy on your wedding day, it’s a good idea to ask your wedding planner or a bridesmaid to handle giving out the tips.
Here’s a complete guide to which wedding vendors you should tip and how much
Hair + Makeup Artists
How Much: 18-20%
When to Tip: Usually provided after getting ready is completed, before their departure.
How Much: 18%
When to Tip: Often included in the contract and on the final bill. Typically the final bill is due 14 days before the reception.
How Much: 15-20% or Tip jar
When to Tip: Calculate tip based on the final alcohol bill. If your bartenders are contracted through the venue, gratuity is most likely included on the bottom line. Make sure to check in with your venue or review your contract to find out. Typically the final bill is due 14 days before the reception, after you submit your final headcount.
Photographer + Videographer
How Much: Personalized gift and/or flat $100-200 (optional)
When to Tip: Typically, your photographer and videographer don’t expect a tip! However, many couples will give a small gift or tip as a way to say thank you. If you decide to gift them something, then you can give it at the end of the reception or after you return from your honeymoon. If they provide a second shooter, it’s considerate to offer them a small token of appreciation as well.
How Much: Personalized gift and/or flat $100-200
When to Tip: Like photographers, tipping your wedding planner isn’t necessary, though most brides give a small gift. From our perspective, our package price covers all of our overhead, expenses, services, etc so a tip isn’t necessary. But if you feel like we went above and beyond, feel free to ignore this rule!
If you’re one of our Lovely brides, the greatest tip you can give us is an online review!
How Much: Flat rate of $100-200 or small gift (optional)
When to Tip: After your wedding suite or signage has been created.
How Much: $100-200 or a tithe to the Church if you’re using a religious officiant
When to Tip: After the ceremony, your officiant will grab you for a few minutes to sign your marriage license so that’s the perfect time to give them their tip!
Musicians or Live Bands
How Much: 15% or $20-50/person
When to Tip: At the end of the ceremony or reception.
DJ’s and Other Entertainment
How Much: 15% or $100-150
When to Tip: At the end of the ceremony or reception.
Delivery or Set Up Vendors On-Site
How Much: $25/person (optional)
When to Tip: Given after drop-off or setup. Vendors on-site usually include: florists, cakes, rentals, etc. Sometimes, extra fees are already added to your bill to account for this, so make sure to check your contract!
How Much: Flat rate of $100-200 or depending on guest count, $1/guest
When to Tip: At the end of the reception.
How Much: 15-20%
When to Tip: Generally, gratuity is included in the contract and final bill. If not, ask your wedding planner to deliver the tip prior to your getaway.
How Much: $25-50/person
When to Tip: Specialty vendors include anything like photobooths, balloon arches, food trucks, etc. Typically you don’t tip the business owner, but instead, tip the employees.
Don’t forget these tipping “tips!”
Often, gratuity will already be included in your final bill, so tipping is usually done for the actual employees who are setting things up or working the event. Of course, if you feel like a vendor did a great job and would like to tip them, then just use your best judgment to decide how much. It’s the thought that counts!
Additional Ways to Tip your Wedding Vendors
Truly, the best tip ever? Leaving reviews far and wide! Sharing how much you loved your experience with a vendor by leaving a review is the ultimate thanks. Customers rely on these honest opinions when wedding planning and your kind words could help persuade them to book!
If your vendor has an online presence, leave them a review on:
Thank You Cards
Never underestimate the power of a thoughtful, handwritten note expressing your gratitude. It brings tears to our eyes when we receive a thank you card in the mail from one of our Lovely brides because it shows us that you LOVED your experience with us! So much so that you took time out of your day to write the letter AND go to the store to get stamps – because let’s be real, no one has stamps just lying around these days. 🤣