By Lynn Adams
Knowing what to tip your vendors and other staff working your wedding can be a confusing minefield to navigate. Tips can add a considerable cost to your wedding budget. It’s important to know which of the vendors to tip and which vendors do not require tipping. Before you begin to add in tips, make sure you check all your contracts. Some vendors will add a gratuity to their fee. The cheat sheet below will help you decided how much to tip other vendors and staff working your wedding.
If your contract doesn’t include gratuity, you should tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. You can also tip $50 to $100 for each chef and $20 to $50 per server, based on their level of service.
Wedding planners do not normally receive tips. This one is entirely optional based on how well you think they performed. If the planner went above and beyond their contracted services, offering a tip of $100 – $500 with a thank you note is a great way of thanking them for their excellent service. Be sure to leave them a review on their website or other appropriate media.
Photographer and videographer:
Photographers that own their own studio usually do not get tipped. If they don’t, then giving them an extra $50 to $100 is a nice gesture. If there are two or three shooters, giving a $50 to $100 tip to each person (who doesn’t own the business) is optional.
Ceremony staff and reception staff:
Check your contract, as the gratuity may already be added for the staff. If it is not added, the standard is to tip 15-20% of the food and drink fee, and $150-200 for the captain
Tipping an officiant is the norm. Usually giving them $50 to $100 in addition to the fee, including a thank you note.
Hair and makeup artist:
A 15 to 20 percent tip is expected, just like it would be for any other regular salon visit.
Band and/or DJ:
Offering a 10 to 15 percent tip is a nice gesture to your band or DJ, especially if they have to carry a lot of heavy equipment from one location to the next. For musicians, a $20 to $25 tip per band member is appropriate.
Tipping is expected here, if it is not already included in the contract. If a tip is not included, 15% of the total bill is acceptable.
The florist doesn’t expect a tip. If they do an outstanding job, you can consider giving them $100 to $500 with a thank you note.
A few more things to keep in mind:
It’s a good idea to have someone placed in charge of handing out tips to all the staff at your wedding. One of the parents or the wedding party can typically help you with this. Making sure everyone is taken care of for you.
Tipping at weddings is now more custom in all service areas, it isn’t mandatory or even expected by most wedding pros. With the exception of the catering staff and possibly the venue, tips are considered a nice surprise by most vendors.
If you don’t have the money to shell out thousands more on tips, there are a few gestures that will go a long way with your team of wedding professionals. Send an email with a review, or handwritten thank-you note. Giving your vendors an honest review on their website or other social media, are great ways to show your appreciation. Best of all, refer your vendors to your friends and family. Bringing new business to your vendors is often times better than a cash tip.
Here you can download our handy Wedding Tipping guide to keep in your wedding planning notebook.
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