When building out your wedding day budget, comprehending every expense imaginable can be overwhelming. In the midst of all your planning, gratuity fees may elude you. Although tipping can be expected, it is also a thoughtful gesture that will serve as a thank you for a job well done. From photographers and florists to caterers and DJs, it takes an army to make your dream wedding happen. 

Even if service charges are spelled out in your contract, many will leave the amount up to you to decide gratuity on a case-by-case basis. Prepare cash envelopes for vendors who offer exceptional service or gifts with a personal thank-you note before your big day. Assign a responsible friend or family member to distribute so you don't need to stress on the big day! To help you navigate vendor tipping etiquette, here is a cheat sheet that breaks down who, how much, and when to tip.


Seamstress, Drivers, Delivery and Setup Staff

Although they may not be in attendance for the big day, these vendors are a huge part of making your dream wedding come to life. It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes individuals to create a flawless event. Be sure to thank them in any way you see fit!

Protocol: Expected 

The Standard: $5-$10 per driver, delivery, and setup worker. For seamstresses, a cash tip is not expected - send a small gift, note and a photo of you in your dress to show your gratitude.  

When to tip: Drop cash envelopes to the staff manager responsible for accepting deliveries to ensure the tips are distributed.


Wedding Ceremony Officiant

If your chosen officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, they most likely will not accept cash tips. Donating to your officiant's institution is often required or strongly encouraged, and is an excellent way to thank them and pay tribute to their place of worship. Also, consider sending them a personal gift and note as an extra thank you. If your wedding is being performed by a nonreligious civil employee, then you most likely paid a flat rate for services rendered and local law may prohibit tipping. Of course, if a friend or family member is officiating your wedding, a gift and personal note is an appropriate gesture. 

Protocol: Expected 

The Standard: Depending on the officiant, donate $100-$500+ to a church or synagogue, provide either a cash tip of $50-$100, or personal gift.

When to Tip: The majority of ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding day. Otherwise, have a responsible friend pass the cash envelope to the officiant at the rehearsal dinner (if they are in attendance). If you are choosing the personal gift route, have one prepared for the day-of so that you can deliver it with a smile!


Catering Staff (Waitstaff, Bartenders, Banquet Managers, Chef, Etc.)

When it comes to bartenders and waitstaff, gratuity is often built into your contract. If service fees are not included, be sure to ask how many workers will be on staff so that you can prepare to tip each staff member. 

Protocol: Based on contract

The Standard: Calculate gratuity based on a percentage of the total bill. 15 - 20 percent of the liquor or food bill should be given to the banquet manager to split among staff. Offering a flat rate for each worker is another alternative for calculating gratuity. $100-$200 for the catering manager, $50-$150 for each chef, and $25-$50 for waiters is the average amount for a flat monetary rate.   

When to Tip: Tips traditionally are paid to the banquet manager at the end of the reception. However, tipping the staff members at the beginning of the event is a great way to encourage your workers to provide excellent service.


Band or DJ

Whether you have a DJ or a jazz band, entertainment tipping customs depend on the type of musician. If you booked through a band or DJ through an agency, the company will most likely include a gratuity charge. Take note that a "service charge" typically does not include a cash gratuity directly distributed to the musicians. Tip your musicians in accordance to the quality of their performance - and don't forget about the sound technicians!

Protocol: Optional, but preferred 

The Standard: $50 per musician is appropriate for a band; $100-$150 is appropriate for DJs.

When to tip: Musicians should be tipped at the end of the evening after they have completed their performance.


Wedding Hair Stylists and Makeup Artists

Treat this wedding day vendor as you would at a salon. Although it may be a special occasion, they are still providing the same services. If there is a crisis, such as one of you bridesmaids stressing out about her curls, consider giving a bit extra.  

Protocol: Expected 

The Standard: 15-20 percent

When to Tip: Tip your stylists at the end of their service.


Photographers, Videographers, and Florists

For vendors that own their own businesses (such as these) tipping is not necessary, although a gift and heartfelt note goes a long way. The majority of these businesses have negotiated their fees into the contract and do not expect anything more. If you feel the service was extraordinary, an extra 10 percent tip is a lovely gesture. However, if your shutterbug or florist does not own the business, consider tipping each individual worker. 

Protocol: Optional

The Standard: $50-$200 per vendor 

When to tip: Tip these vendors at the end of their service (i.e. photographer and videographer at the end of the reception; florist after set-up is completed)

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