We don’t think twice when tipping our waiter or hair dresser, but sometimes tipping wedding vendors that perform a service on your big day can slip your mind. While some vendors include gratuities in their fees, many will leave the amount up to you—and the level of service they provide can influence what you give them. Most tips should be handed out the day of the wedding. I often advise clients to set tips and any final payments aside in marked and sealed envelopes ahead of time so they don’t have to have payments on the brain during their wedding. We can also hand out the envelopes on your behalf so it doesn’t slip your mind as you dance the night away. A follow-up thank-you note is also a valued gesture in itself, as your word can be a recommendation for the vendor. After years of research and planning weddings, I compiled the general tipping practices below that can service as a nice starting base point from which each client can build and modify to fit their experience.
Hotel Delivery & housemen: $5-$25 a piece (any employees who take care of set-up and breakdown)
Site Manager: $50+
Beauty (Hair + Make-up): 15%-20% (if other members of the wedding party are paying for their own hair and makeup, it’s a nice gesture for the bride to pick-up the tip)
Caterer: 15% of total food cost or you can do it by staff:
Catering Manager (Banquet Captain) $50-$100
Chefs: $50-100 each
Wait staff – If the tip is not on the contract already, $20 – $50 per staff member
Bartenders: 10-15% of liquor bill to divide among themselves or $20-50 per bartender
Photographers/Videographers: 15% – 20% of total or $50-$200
Florist: $50-200 appropriate and $15 per delivery/set up staff
Officiant: A gift or $50-100 for a hired officiant. If the officiant is part of the church in which you’re getting married, then a $100-200 donation to the church before wedding day will suffice
Band Members: $20-$50 per member
Coat room & Restroom Attendants: $1 – $2 per guest
Transportation/Limo Drivers: 15%-20%, but typically no one/single person gets more than $150
Valet: $.50 – $2 per car. A sign should be posted to guests that the gratuity has been taken care of in this case.
Wedding Planner: Some articles advise 10% of the total bill, but ultimately it comes down to each clients budget. I’ve received anything from $200 to $2000+, depending on the level of production of the event.
Assistants to Vendors: $25 – $50 (Photographer Assistants, Wedding Planner Assistants, etc.)
Distribution of Tips:
The best way to distribute tips is to sort and put them in individual envelopes with vendor names and give them to your planner. He/She will pass them out after the services have been performed.
Additionally, you can give a thank you card or endorsement. It is a great reminder of happy clients and let’s face it, it’ll help them book future clients.
As a reminder, gratuity is not contractual, so whether you plan on tipping your vendors and how much is totally up to you. This outline just serves as a guide.
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