By Leigh Bawcom
“Should I tip my wedding vendors? How much do you recommend?” Many of my clients ask these questions. First know that anything you give, whether it’s money, a thoughtful gift or a glowing testimonial, will be appreciated. Vendors might make their job look easy, but let’s face it, weddings are hard work and full of tiny details. When you receive service that is above and beyond, a great way to say thank you is by rewarding your vendors in some way. Here’s a guide to customary gratuities for each vendor.
There are many talented artists in this world, but musicians hone their craft for years to achieve flawless performances. Are you requesting a special song that isn’t in their repertoire? Consider giving a $15-$20 tip per musician at the conclusion of the ceremony.
DJ or Band
While tipping your DJ or reception band is optional, these wedding professionals not only make sure your guests are on the dance floor and keep the party going, but they also emcee the event and make the important announcements. When the reception is over, show your thanks with $50-$150 for your DJ or $25-$35 per musician.
Whether transporting the bride and groom, the wedding party, or your guests, your driver should provide safe and on-time service. Be sure to check your transportation contract, as gratuity is sometimes included or it can be added so you don’t have to think about tipping when you are dropped off at your destination. 15%-20% gratuity is customary.
Hair & Makeup Artists
These are the people that make you look and feel your best! They know all the tricks to keep your hair and makeup perfect for hours. Just as you would tip at your favorite salon, you will want to tip your hair and makeup artist 15-25% once your services are complete.
Delivery & Set-Up Staff
It may seem like delivering flowers or a cake are easy, but they are major components of your special day and a big responsibility. If your venue only includes the space, the crew setting up and breaking down are likely working long hours and moving dozens of tables and hundreds of chairs at multiple venues. Your wedding wouldn’t happen without these behind-the-scenes people, so giving $5-$10 per person when their job is done is an appropriate way to recognize their efforts.
Planners don’t expect a tip, but at the end of a long day when their feet and back are hurting, it’s the best surprise! Orchestrating the many logistics of a wedding and reception (and sometimes troubleshooting along the way) is no small feat and is mentally and physically exhausting. Show your thanks with a 10%-20% tip, a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant, a personal gift or a handwritten note that can be used as a testimonial.
Catering Staff & Bartenders
Some catering contracts include service charges. Talk to your caterer to see what is included. In many cases, service charges only cover their equipment, props and transportation. If gratuity is not part of your contract, you’ll want to tip the staff that are serving and taking care of your guests throughout the event. 15%-20% of the food or liquor bill is customary or $50-$100 to each chef and $25-$50 to each server and bartender is acceptable at the end of the reception.
Photographer and Videographer
Your photographer and videographer don’t typically expect gratuity, but remember that they are capturing every detail of your day and giving you images that will last for generations to come. If they don’t own their studio, consider giving $50-$200 per vendor.
Sometimes an overlooked “vendor,” the marriage wouldn’t be legal without your officiant. Their work isn’t just done on the wedding day. They often spend hours providing premarital counseling and getting to know you and your fiancé in order to create a personal ceremony. Whether a $100 gratuity to the officiant or a donation of the same amount to his/her church or synagogue, this is a nice way to express your appreciation.