Tipping advice for your wedding

19 Jun
Sooner or later, at some point in the planning process, the question of ‘tipping’ always comes up.  Couples are not only confused about who to ‘tip’, and how much to ‘tip’….but also that they even have to ‘tip’ at all…

 Well, as crazy as it may seem, when you ask, ‘Do I have to tip my vendors?…the answer is always going to be a definite, ‘YES!’  It’s standard in the industry nowadays to tip your vendors for the jobs they do at your wedding…end of story!  So be prepared to add tips and gratuities to your budget.  There is no getting around it! 

Ok, I know what you’re thinking…’it’s already ‘over the top’ expensive to host a wedding, so why do I have to add more to my bottom line when I’m already paying
these people?’

Good question!

But, the bottom line is you do…it’s a fact.  And according to Martha Stewart, “Rewarding vendors with a tip is expected, and it will serve as a thank-you for a job well done.”

How much you tip is a bit more challenging, so I’m going to break it down for you, according to the ‘industry experts and standards’.

Caterer & Staff

Protocol: Optional
The experts say, most caterers build in a ‘tip’ into their final total. However, ‘the rule of thumb’ is to tip waitstaff between $20-30 per person in addition to whatever is already built into the catering contract. This includes bartenders.

~ Give these tips as the staff is packing up to leave.

Reception Staff:

Protocol: Expected
Typically these professionals are your ‘on-site coordinators’, ‘banquet managers’, or the ‘maitre d’. Tips for these extremely helpful individuals is usually about 15-20% of your total food and drink bill. Many argue that this percentage should be based on labor, not food costs. The choice is yours. It’s recommended this tip to be at least $100-200.

~ These tips are usually given at the end of your event.


Protocol: Optional
Many brides choose to tip their florists because of the fabulous work they’ve done to create floral magic at their weddings, however it’s not expected. If you choose to do this, we suggest anywhere from $50-100.
~ Tips should be given when work is completed before your florist leaves the venue.

Hair Stylist/Make-Up Artist:

Protocol: Expected
Can you ever put a price on beauty? No Way! But the experts say, the average tip for your beauty expert is between 15-20% of your total charges.
~ Tip at the end of service.

Photographer & Videographer:

Protocol: Optional
The exception to this rule is if the photographer/videographer doesn’t own their own studio, but works for the photographer or videographer. If this is the case, it’s customary to tip each photographer between $50-100.

~ Tips should be given at the end of the event.

DJ or Band:

Protocol: Optional
Experts say, if you feel your DJ or band has gone ‘above and beyond’ to make your reception InnCredible, then tip each musician between $20-25, and a DJ anywhere between $50-125. This is in addition to their contract price.

~ Give tips as they are packing up to leave.

Ceremony Music:

Protocol: Optional
It’s a wonderful gesture to tip each of the musicians playing at your ceremony between $15-20 before they leave your ceremony site. After all, they do walk you down the aisle and set the mood for your ceremony.
~ Tip them prior to your leaving for your reception, typically as they packing up to leave.


Protocol: Expected
Traditionally, officiants are given between $50-100 in addition to the fees for their services and/or use of their church or synagogue.

~ These gestures of kindness are usually given after your ceremony is completed.

Wedding Transportation:

Protocol: Expected
Regardless of the mode of transportation that you choose to use, the standard is between 15-20% of your total bill.
~ Always give these tips at the end of service, typically at the end of the night.

Wedding Planner:
Protocol: Optional
Ok people, here is where I’m going to go out on a limb and go against the grain. I honestly believe your wedding planner should to be one of the vendors given a tip. I know a lot of industry professionals will disagree with me, and that’s ok. I’m just recommending you tip the one person who has been responsible for making your dream wedding comes true, that’s all. Stepping off ‘soap box’ now…LOL! And I’ll refrain from making a suggested tip range on this one. I’m leaving this one totally up to each of you!
~ These tips can be given at the end of the night or sent with a ‘Thank You’ note via ‘snail mail’. 

And, let’s not overlook the importance of the presentation of the ‘tip’ itself because that’s important too. It’s such a lovely gesture to place each of your vendor tips in a separate envelope with a hand-written ‘Thank You’ note signed by both you and your groom with the cash or check inside the note.

If you’ve hired a wedding planner, which of course we hope you do, they’ll be the one responsible for making sure each of your tips get handed out to each of your vendors at the appropriate time so you don’t have to worry about it, or have another member of your bridal party, or your parents handle it. InnCredible, right?

(Photo courtesy of ‘Unforgettable Portraits’)

So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! The good…the bad…and the ugly facts about tipping. I hope this has helped clear up this tricky subject. But if not, you can always shoot me your questions and I’ll get back to you.

Until next time…

Making YOUR wedding InnCredible! ‘InnCredible Events

Carrell Halley & Marjorie Sanborn
InnCredible Events – Wedding & Special Events Planning



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2 Responses to “Tipping advice for your wedding”

  1. traveltomaui June 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Reblogged this on Traveltomaui's Blog.

  2. traveltomaui June 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Aloha and thanks so much to todays guest blog by Carrell Halley & Marjorie Sanborn of InnCredible Events – Wedding & Special Events Planning.
    This was a very informative blog about who and how much to tip at your wedding.
    Marie Glodt
    Travel to Maui
    Specializing in honeymoons and destination weddings to Hawaii and Tahiti.

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