When wedding planning begins to draw to an end, questions such as, “do I need to tip my wedding professionals?” start to come up. We get this question frequently from our brides. When approached we like to provide them with a cheat sheet but another great resource over the years has been Emily Post and Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart says:
Rewarding vendors with a tip is expected, and it will serve as a thank-you for a job well done. But figuring out whom to tip, how much to pay, and when to offer it can be tricky.
Tips should definitely be considered as a part of your budget. While some vendors expect to be tipped, others see it as more of an optional display of gratitude. Most gratuities should be given to the wedding planner or best man on the day of your wedding to be distributed. Each tip should be addressed to the recipient and sealed in an envelope so they can be easily handed out to the vendors.
So who do you tip and how much?
Although it is standard to tip vendors, officiants often ask you to make a donation to their organization. If you’re an active member, plan to donate $500 or more to your officiant’s church, synagogue, or temple. For non-denominational officiants, the typical amount is $75-100 aside from the fees already charged for their services. The only instance where you will not be expected to tip is if your wedding is performed by a civil employee such as a judge, clerk or other nonreligious official.
Most caterers will already include gratuity in their fees and charges, to ensure their wait staff is taken care of on the day of the event. If you do not see gratuity added to your contract, it is not unreasonable or considered bad etiquette to ask. If gratuity is not included the standard 15-20% is ideal and would be acceptable.
Musicians and DJs:
If you hire your band or DJ though an entertainment agency, gratuity is usually contracted in their fee. If you see on your contract “service charge,” don’t assume that is gratuity. The service charge will often go straight back to the company. If you wish to tip your musician or DJ a standard tip would range from $20-$25 per musician. When only hiring a DJ, a standard tip would be $25-$100 for their services.
Stylist or Makeup Artist:
Consider their services the same as it would be visiting them at their studio or salon. A standard tip for their services, in addition to their fee would be 15-20%. If you are hiring a stylist to take time away from their regularly scheduled work day, it is polite to thank them with a tip.
Photographers, Videographers, Florists and Wedding Coordinators:
Most wedding vendors own their own business and include tipping into their fees and often don’t expect a tip. If your photographer, videographer and florist do not own their own company and work for someone else, tipping is highly encouraged. If this is the case an ideal tip would be $30- $50. In regards to your wedding coordinator, $50-$100 is expected. It is okay to send these tips after your wedding, possibly after you return from your honeymoon.
Often site staff like coat checkers and parking valets are often overlooked. Before the event you should talk to the site manager and ask them to instruct the staff not to accept tips from guests and you should plan to tip them yourself. If you have parking attendants, plan on tipping them about $1-$1.50 per car. Coat checkers should be tipped $1-$2 per guest.
Seamstress, Delivery People and Drivers:
Even though the above individuals will not be present at the wedding. Their preparation and participation are key and just as important. When considering your driver, most companies do include gratuity, but if they haven’t, consider providing 15-20%. Your seamstress doesn’t expect a cash tip however a nice gesture would be to send her photos of you in your dress. Often, that is the best form of tip.
In addition to tips, all of your vendors will appreciate receiving reviews about your experience. After the wedding, consider going to WeddingWire or The Knot to review your vendors. These reviews mean a lot to vendors because future clients can read the experiences which can help them when they are making there purchase decisions.
We hope this helps you better understand and feel comfortable with those awkward tipping questions. To learn more about the recommendations listed here consider visiting Martha Stewart Weddings or Real Simple Magazine.