Robin parrot New Mexico Wedding

photo cred: Robin Parrot

You probably  have tried to think of every expense for your wedding, but sometimes the tips are forgotten. They can really add up, too! One thing to remember is a tip is appreciated, but you are never obligated to tip anyone. It is up to you to decide if their service was exceptional. However, some professionals are expecting a gratuity. It is best to ask ahead of time if gratuity is included in the service contract before you sign it. This way you will know your total cost and can also avoid double tipping. Figuring out who to tip and how much can be the hard part. Some professionals include gratuities, but many leave the amount up to you. How they treat you and your guests can influence how much is tipped. 

     These are typical vendors to tip: (people who are actually on site for event)

Wedding Planner– Your planner will usually charge a set fee and won’t expect anything. If yours did a great job offer consider tipping or a gift.  $50-$100 is average.

Caterer – Some will build a gratuity into their service fee. Check your contract or ask. If it hasn’t been included 15% – 20% of total bill or $1-$2 per guest. 

Live Band  -$15 – $20 per musician

DJ – 15% – 20% of fee

Officiant– Donate to their church if affiliated with one. If not, then consider $50-$100, but many times the standard fee should be adequate. If they are traveling, compensate for travel expenses. 

Delivery Staff– Flowers, wedding cake- They do not expect a tip if you paid their set fee. If they went above and beyond $15-$20 is sufficient. 

Reception Staff– (On-site coordinator, manager) A service charge is usually built into the cost. If the gratuity is not included then tip 15-20% of food and drink fee (labor- not cost) or $200-$300 total.

Reception Attendants (Bartender, waiters, parking attendants) Rules of tipping are usually in the contract. If the service fee is included, consider tipping only if there is exceptional service. If it is not included the standard is $20-$25 per bartender or waiter, or 10% of liquor bill for the bartender. $1 per guest for coatroom or parking attendants, $1 per car. These attendants can be tipped in advance, so your guests don’t have to. Be sure to let your guests know, so they don’t feel obligated. 

Typical to NOT tip


     Formal Attire & Gowns


     Wedding Cakes

     Reception Center

Could fall into either category:

     Florist- Is the service fee enough? Was their service extraordinary? 

     Photographer- For exceptional work– you can tip $20- $50.

     Videographer- For exceptional work– you can tip $20- $50.

Consider this:

     Tip professionals that are exceptional.

     You could also give thank you notes or gifts to the professionals.

     Do not tip the business owner, just the employees. (unless the owner’s service went above your expectations)

     The event planner, parent, or best man is usually the person responsible of handing the envelopes with the tips to the professional. 

I asked the question to our professionals, “What is customary in your business?” 

Beauty ,Health & Fitness– Hair stylist or makeup artist -tips are definitely expected. 15-20% is standard.  If the service providers come in early or stay late, more is very appreciated. (Falling Waters Day Spa) 

Bridal Attire- Our Bridal Shops do not accept tips even if offered. We do love receiving thank you notes, treats or flowers arrangements to show the brides gratitude. (The Brides’ Shop) 

Catering15-20% is standard. (Savory Catering)

20% is a good tip. 10% is usually the bottom of what our staff expects. ( Brick Oven) 

We prefer to have all of our costs included so there are no surprises. Occasionally we are tipped from $10-$20 per person for our crew of 4-6 people. (Surefire Pizza) 

Decorations & Rentals I wish they would tip, it would make us feel like it was good (Event Masters)  

Event Consultant 90% of brides tip but most of them are out of state. Tips are from 10-20% (White Ginger Events) 

Invitations I have never been tipped and do not think it is customary. (Ann Elizabeth) 

Music & Entertainment-  Usually get tipped $20-$100 a man  (Joe Muscolino)

Standard tips are $300-$500 It is nice to get a tip, it is not expected, but appreciated. Tips should be given to the band leader or manager. Greatest tip is word of mouth. (Big Easy Entertainment)

10% is a rough estimate on where tips can start, but the gesture is what means the most. ( Salt Lake Wedding DJ) 

OfficiantsOnce in a while I get a tip and it is surely appreciated ( Rev. Bozich) 

PhotographyNot expected to give your photographer a tip beyond their normal fees. If the photographer doesn’t own the studio, couples consider tipping the person assigned to their wedding $50-$200. When we do receive tips it is usually out of state. (Dezember Photography) 

Photo Booths10% of the package is fair. Our average tip is $50 (All Occasions Photobooths) 

Reception Center – We do not expect a tip (Memorial House) 

We do not require a tip (Temple Square Hospitality) 

We do not ask for or mention tips. Sometimes the hosts will receive a tip of $10-$100, but it is rare. I would not be in favor of suggesting tips to a reception center. (This is the Place) 

If the reception center is only renting the venue, customarily would not be tipped. However, if it is a full service reception that handles food, staffing, bar service, etc, then they would be tipped. In determining a tip, ask for an itemized invoice and calculate 15%-20% on the food, service and special services portion. (Culinary Crafts) 

Transportation15-20% is customary. Sometimes it is added to invoice automatically (Something Vintage)

VideographyDid the professional go above and beyond the agreed services? If they did, it would be appropriate to give them a tip. (Pointe Digital) 

If you are still wondering, ask the professional or others in that industry. Or remember, the customary amount to tip is 10-20% of the final service cost. You, as the customer, get to decide who gets tipped and how much! If you have had a professional that has gone above your expectations of service, an appropriate tip of appreciation is always appreciated. It is a mark of a gracious bride to tip for good service. Sending a thank you note or gift is wonderful. Referring your friends and family to the professional is the ultimate “Thank you!”