Wedding Vendor Gratuities
Tips. It’s the last thing you want to think about on your wedding day. However, you have many vendors all contributing toward making your day amazing, and much of that work happens before you slip yourself into that beautiful dress and say “I do.” Sure, these vendors charge for their services, but a gratuity goes a long way toward saying “thank you” for helping make your day as wonderful as you imagined. Here’s a quick guide to who should get tipped and how much:
While they don’t usually anticipate a tip, if yours did an excellent job, a token of appreciation is always an excellent way to thank the captain of your wedding ship. While it is an optional tip, about 50% of couples tip their wedding planner with a 10-20% gratuity.
Most stylists expect a tip – it depends on the scope of the work, but most brides tip between 15-25%. Your face and hair are front and center, and a monetary thank you is definitely appreciated!
Delivery and Setup Staff
They’re carrying chairs and tables and setting tabletops – they represent the muscle behind the curtains of your wedding. A gratuity is definitely appreciated for these hard working folks! Ask your caterer how many employees were brought in to set up your event, and about $5-10 per person is a standard tip.
If your officiant is associated with a religious venue, you are generally expected to make a donation in lieu of a gratuity. However, if you enlist an outside professional to officiate your wedding, a gratuity (large or small, depending on your relationship with them and time dedicated to your wedding) is generally expected.
The music can really set the stage for your wedding, and you really should help out these hard-working players with a gratuity if they did a great job. Standard tipping for musicians is $15-20 per musician (for ceremony or reception), and $50-100 for your DJ, depending on scope of work. Did the DJ bring any lighting elements? Did they offer karaoke? Any additional services should be rewarded with a little more padding on the tip.
Photographer and/or Videographer
You’re really not expected to tip a photographer/videographer if they’re self-employed or own their own company. However, if your photographer/videographer work for a larger firm, a tip is an awesome way to say thank you to the people who are memorializing your wedding. Generally, a $50-200 gratuity is standard, but you may want to tip a smaller amount the night of and wait to dole out a larger tip until you see the finished product (which could take up to four weeks).
These servers are working hard to make sure your guests have an awesome time and have full glasses all night! Just like a restaurant, an industry standard of 15-20% of the food and beverage portion of your final bill should be given as a gratuity to the group.
This includes bartenders, valet, coat check, etc. If there is no service charge for these folks on your contract, you probably want to tip these folks. Bartenders should be tipped along with the reception staff (check with your caterer or the venue manager to make sure they’re not sourced from an outside vendor), and coat check and valet attendants should be tipped $1 per guest.
If you hired shuttles to transport your guests to and from the wedding venue, gratuities for these drives is generally expected if it’s not already billed on your contract. You should budget 15-20% of transportation bill as a gratuity for these dedicated drivers.
It may seem like a lot, but all these people are really the force behind your big day. Without these hard-working people, tables don’t get set, cars don’t get parked, lighting isn’t cast, music isn’t played, there’s no food, and there’s nowhere to sit!
When drafting your budget, make sure you factor these costs into each line item. This can be the single biggest factor that causes you to go above your expected cost. Also, bring cash – staff may have to wait for gratuities that are issued in the form of checks or credit cards. Cash also has an immediate effect of “thank you” that has more impact than a gratuity that is handed out days or weeks later.