Tips & Tricks: Understanding Vendor Gratuities

Today is a short, but sweet, post to tackle a trickier wedding budgeting subject - gratuities. Who do you tip? How much? Isn't that already included in the crazy-expensive amount of money I'm paying them? We're here to break it down. Let's get started!

The Beauty: Hair Stylist + Makeup Artist

Just like your normal trip to the salon, you are expected to tip your stylist + make up for getting you pretty on the big day. We suggest you tip between 15-20%, but give your stylist a little extra love if she just pulled off six up-dos for bridesmaids with super thick hair, one of whom had a total meltdown about her bangs. 

The Bottom Line

  • This tip is expected.
  • Tip 15-20%, at the end of your service. 

The Help: Delivery + Set Up Staff

Think: flower delivery, wedding cake, sound set-up. If you're at a venue that requires extensive set-up (tent, chairs, tables), include those guys too. For these services, consider a tip of $5 - $10 per person. 

The Bottom Line

  • This tip is expected.
  • Tip $5 - $10 per person. Ask your Wedding Planner or Venue Coordinator to distribute these tips at the end of delivery. 

The Service: Wait Staff, Catering Manager + Venue Coordinator

For this one, contract matters! Most halls + venues will build in a service charge into your contract that acts as a tip to your service staff. However, if you're hiring staff for your wedding (either through your catering company or an alternative vendor) consider a tip for your service staff. 

The Bottom Line

  • This tip is expected if not included in your contract.
  • Tip 15% - 20% of the food & drink charges at the end of the reception. 

The (Additional) Help:  Bartenders, Attendants  + Valet

Again - check your contracts, friends!  If a service charge is included in your contract, there is no need to tip your additional attendants unless you feel their service was above and beyond  your expectations. If the service charge is not included, follow these tipping procedures:

The Bottom Line:

  • This tip is expected if not included in your contract. 
  • Tip $20 - $25 per bartender, $1 per guest for coat room, bathroom + parking attendants at the end of the reception

The Big Guy:  Officiant

Tipping the officiant depends on a couple things. Are you getting married in a religious venue? Consider making a donation to the church in lieu of a "tip". If you're a member of that congregation, your donation should be larger than if you're not. Are they charging you to use the space? Your donation can be a bit smaller. Religious venue not your cup of tea? Tipping your officiant is still greatly appreciated. 

The Bottom Line

  • This tip is (mostly) expected. 
  • Donate $500+ to a religious venue, depending on your membership. 
  • Tip a nondenominational officiant between $50 - $100.
  • Tip prior to the ceremony, often after the rehearsal. 

The Music Man: Ceremony Musician

If you've hired additional music for your ceremony (a string quartet, an amazing guitarist), consider tipping them for their talent. If you've only used required music (your church pianist), no need to add an additional tip. 

The Bottom Line

  • This tip is optional.
  • Tip $15 - $20 per musician at the end of the ceremony.

The Party Starters:  Band or DJ

Tipping your reception musicians is totally optional, but (just like the other vendors) appreciated if they went all out to maintain a perfect party playlist. 

The Bottom Line

  • This tip is optional.
  • Tip $20 - $25 per musician, $50 - $150 per DJ at the end of the reception. 

The Creative Eye: Photographer

This tip is totally optional, though especially appreciated if the photographer doesn't own the studio. Consider giving this tip if your photog has gone out of their way to capture all of your must-have shots with a particular eye for detail. 

The Bottom Line:

  • This tip is optional. 
  • Tip $50 - $200 per photographer at the end of the reception.

The Director: Videographer

Just like your photographer, tipping the videographer is optional, but appreciated if you're not working with the studio owner. Did your videographer provide a little additional coverage to get those great candid moments? Consider a tip at the end of the night as a thanks.

The Bottom Line

  • This tip is optional.
  • Tip $50 - $200 per videographer at the end of the reception. 

The Carriage: Transportation

Similar to venue staff, check to see if your gratuity is already included in your contract. If it's not, consider tipping if the driver did their best to get you exactly where you needed to be, when you needed to be there.

The Bottom Line:

  • This tip is expected.
  • Tip 15% - 20% of the total bill at the end of their service. 

 

Is there any vendor that we missed? Not sure how to figure out your gratuity? Leave your questions in the comments below!

xo,

Kaitlynn + Emma