6.19.2009

The dreaded 'B' word: tipping.


One of the questions I get asked most about from my couples is what to tip their vendors. It's always helpful to read a guide like this before the big day and divvy up each tip to the appropriate vendor, marking them in envelopes. If you don't have a planner or day-of-coordinator, you can give the envelopes to a family member or friend you trust to hand out at the end of the day.

Tipping of course, is not required and is simply a gesture of gratitude. However, you wouldn't stiff your waiter on a Friday night and it's important to remember that although your wedding is costing you a small fortune, your vendors are offering you a unique service and work extremely hard to make your day perfect. Receiving a little extra something at the end of the day can well, make their day.

Waitstaff/Bartender: 15-20% of the food and/or beverage cost. Make sure this gratuity isn't included in the contract before you decide to hand them cash. The 'service charge' on your catering invoice however, is not gratuity.

Officiant: $50-100, if they are not associated with a church or synagogue. If they are associated with a house of worship, it is customary to make a donation of $250-500.

Band/DJ: $15-25 per musician in a band or $150 for a DJ.

Hair/Makeup Artist: They will usually expect between 15-20% of the total bill, same as if you were going to a salon.

Delivery and setup staff: $10 per staff member. This can also be applied to floral delivery staff (depending on the amount of time of setup), any food/cake delivery.

Transportation: 15-20% of the bill.

Site Coordinator and/or Wedding Planner: If either has done an amazing job for you, a tip of $50+ is always appreciated.


Remember that one of the most important 'tips' you can give your vendors is your word-of-mouth. If you loved something a vendor did, tell everyone you know. The wedding industry thrives on recommendations. Also, a nice thank-you card goes a long way.

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