Quite often we get the question, how much should I tip my vendors? Honestly, tipping suggestions vary from person to person, and expert to expert.
Based on our research, and years of event experience, here is what we recommend. Be sure to download our handy tipping sheet for future reference!
My Big Day Guide to:
Tipping Vendors and Weddings and Events
Tips are never expected, but always appreciated. Tips are meant solely as an expression of appreciation for especially good service. Unless the service provided was less than satisfactory, it is customary to show your gratitude by tipping many of the people involved in making your event a success.
My Big Day Tipping Tips:
Check Your Contracts & Agreements
Many gratuities are built into quotes for major items, such as, catering. This will appear as a ‘Service Fee,’ a ‘Service Charge,’ or any amount that is approximately 15 - 20% of the total contract. Read your contract carefully to avoid unnecessarily double-tipping.
Don’t Tip the Venue /Owners
If your photographer owns the studio, there’s no need to tip them. The same goes for bands not booked through an agency, the owner of a wedding venue, and the beauty-shop owner who does your hair.
Reward Extraordinary Service
Beyond the customary tips, when someone goes out of their way for you―the DJ digs up that old recording that will make your Grammy misty-eyed… the florist finds you that rare flower not in season… the event planner goes above and beyond adding little touches not contracted, etc… consider thanking them with a gift certificate, a bottle of wine, or another thoughtful token.
Put Someone in Charge
Assign someone you can rely on… one of the fathers, the best man, your super-organized maid of honor - to hand out envelopes with the non-contract tips in cash, either at the time of service (hair and makeup people), at the end of the wedding (which allows you to adjust the size of the tips to reflect the service), or at the beginning.
Simple Tip Chart:
Bartenders: 10 percent of the total liquor bill (to be split among them)
Band or DJ: $20 - $25 per musician; $50 - $150 for DJs
Photographer/videographer: If you’re paying a flat fee with no overtime, $100
Catering manager: $200+ or a personal gift
Makeup artist: 15 to 20 percent
Event/Wedding planner: 15 – 20 percent of fee
Hairstylist: 15 to 20 percent
Waiters: $20 and up each (distributed by the catering manager or maitre d’)
Wedding Musicians: 15 percent of fee for ceremony musicians; $22 to $25 per musician for reception
Delivery Staff: Cake, Flowers, Rentals, Etc. $5 to $10 per person
Bathroom attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
Coat check attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
Hotel chambermaids: $2 to $5 per room; $10 to $15 if you used a suite as your dressing room
Limo or bus drivers: 15 percent
Valet or parking attendants: $1 to $2 per car; 15 percent for valet parking
Maitre d’hotel or headwaiter: 1 to 3 percent of food and beverage fees
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