The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Tipping Wedding Vendors

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Tipping Wedding Vendors // Toledo Wedding Guide

words by // Eve Green


One of the most important expenses to factor into your wedding budget is the tip. While giving your wedding vendors a tip isn’t mandatory, it is customary to express your gratitude to the people who made your wedding day so special. And even though those tips can add up, tipping your service providers is not where you should economise. Knowing who to tip and how much can be a little confusing so we’ve created The Toledo Wedding Guide Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Tipping Wedding Vendors.

We will start off with a general guideline. These are non-rules that do not have to be strictly adhered to. Use your judgement, and most importantly, let your experience determine how much you tip. Keep in mind these are simply suggestions to help guide you through the tipping process.

  • Some vendors will have a gratuity built in, so always check your contract first.

  • You don’t have to tip business owners who run large companies, their employees, however, typically should receive tips.

  • Small business owners with one or just a few employees should usually be tipped.

  • You may be wondering if it’s appropriate to give the vendor a gift in lieu of a tip. Unless the vendor has already built a gratuity into the contract or tipping them is optional, we recommend skipping the gift and providing a well-earned tip.

WEDDING PLANNER

Tipping your wedding planner isn’t expected. However, we always recommend acknowledging exceptional work, so if you feel your wedding planner went above and beyond, please do consider a tip or a thoughtful gift. If your wedding planner or day-of coordinator doesn’t own her own business, a tip is always appreciated.
Standard Rate: Not expected. Optional 15% or a nice gift.

OFFICIANT

Tipping an officiant is optional. If the wedding takes place in the officiant’s house of worship, there will be set fees for the use of the facility. Donations to the church in the officiant’s name are always appreciated. If music for the ceremony is provided by one or more of the church’s regular musicians, remember to take them into consideration.
Standard Rate: Not expected. Optional $50 - $100 to the officiant or a donation to the church.

HAIR STYLIST AND MAKEUP ARTIST

Tipping your hairstylist and makeup artist is a must. If you’re helping your bridesmaids cover the cost of getting beautified don’t forget about those tips, too!
Standard Rate: 15% - 20%

CATERING

Catering gratuities are often baked into the bill so check your contract beforehand. Always ensure that everyone, from the chef to catering attendants and the banquet manager, are properly compensated for their hard work.
Standard Rate: 15% - 20% of the total food bill.

BARTENDERS

Bartenders are an extension of the catering staff and should also receive a tip. In some areas, bartenders may want to put out a tip jar, but often deemed an unacceptable practice. Huffington Post states the following: “You shouldn’t allow your bartender to put a tip jar on the bar at your wedding reception. You are tipping your service staff and the caterer has been paid for the beverages.” The article further states: “If some of your guests wish to slip a bill to a fantastic bartender, great!” If there is any pushback about the absent tip jar, assure your bartender(s) that they will receive an appropriate tip when their contracted for services are completed.
Standard Rate: 10% - 15% of the total bar tab.

PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VIDEOGRAPHERS

As with all wedding vendors, if your photographer or videographer owns their own business a tip is not expected. If however, if that isn’t the case or there is a team of photographers or an associate photographer at your wedding, a tip is customary.
Standard Rate: 15% - 20% (for associate photographers or teams, not business owners).

FLORIST

Tipping your florist is not expected but if you want to recognize stellar work consider a tip to express your appreciation.
Standard Rate: Not expected. Optional 10% - 15% or a nice gift.

TRANSPORTATION

Drivers should always be tipped, so be sure to provide at least 15% after they complete the final drop off.
Standard Rate: 15%

DJ, BAND, AND MUSICIANS

Tipping isn’t customary for DJs, bands, or musicians who work independently or own their own business. If the musical talent is part of a larger company then consider leaving each individual a tip.
Standard Rate: $25 - $50 per person for a group or $50-150 for a solo act.

GENERAL STAFF AND ATTENDANTS

This category applies to a lot of different people that have a role in your special day from delivery staff to ceremony and reception setup and attendants.
Standard Rate: $10 per person.

If you still aren’t sure ask yourself this: “Did the wedding vendor go above and beyond to provide exceptional service?” If the answer is yes, tip ‘em!

You will be busy getting your photos taken and dancing the night away, so assign a trusted friend, family member, or your wedding coordinator to pass out tips to the designated vendors. Give the tip a personalized touch by including a handwritten thank you note, or follow up with a thank you note after the wedding so you can be more specific about the exceptional services provided.

Tipping isn’t the only way to show your appreciation to your wedding vendors. After the tips have been distributed, remember to give your vendor a shout out with a thoughtful online review and recommendation!