Get the lowdown on wedding tipping etiquette, including who to tip and how much

Deciding on what to tip your wedding vendors can feel like navigating through a twisting labyrinth of confusing etiquette. For instance, who should you tip, how much, and when? And how can you show your gratitude to everyone who played a part in your wedding—without watching your budget spiral out of control? No need to worry any longer, because we’re here to break it all down for you. Here’s our guide to tipping wedding vendors, from bartenders to makeup artists, to floral designers (and everyone else). 

Understanding the basics of gratuities for wedding vendors

Before we get into the specifics, let’s clear the air on a couple of things. First off, not every vendor expects a tip. Yes, you heard that right. Some vendors, especially business owners, don’t necessarily anticipate a gratuity (but hey, if they’ve gone above and beyond, a little something to show your appreciation is always welcomed).

Plus, some vendors may have already factored in a gratuity within their fees, so check your contracts carefully to avoid double-tipping. Also, never confuse a service charge with a gratuity as they’re not the same thing—trust us on that one.

Finally, unless it’s contractually obliged, don’t feel pressured to tip—or tip big—if you’re really unhappy with an aspect of your service. Tipping is a token of appreciation for a job well done, it’s not obligatory if that job isn’t carried out correctly (but fingers crossed this won’t happen and that every aspect of your dream wedding will go super smoothly!).

Guide to tipping your wedding vendors

Tipping the wedding officiant

Should you tip your officiant? It all depends on their status. If they are church clergy or a civil or courthouse official, then they’re not usually allowed to accept tips. Other types of officiant might be able to do so, but bear in mind that in New Jersey, your officiant will have to either be approved by the registrar general or a religious body. This means it’s unlikely that they’ll be allowed to take a gratuity.

Yet even if you’re not officially allowed to tip, a donation to a religious officiant’s church would probably be welcome (although not obligatory). To work out your donation, you might want to add 15% to 20% onto the overall officiant bill.

Tipping wedding makeup artists and hair stylists

Let’s give a round of applause to the beauty specialists who work their magic to ensure you look like a million bucks on your wedding day. With every stroke of the brush and twist of the curling iron, they bring your beautiful bridal look to life.

And when it comes time to show your gratitude, typical salon rules apply here—tack on 15 to 20% of the service cost as a tip for those fabulous updos and that flawless makeup. 

Also, if you are getting additional services from your beauty artist—for instance, a makeup touch-up at the venue—then make sure that your level of tip acknowledges this. Likewise, if you feel that your hair and makeup artists went the extra mile with trial sessions and helped you to create a super elaborate look, then you could reflect this in your tip, too. 

Finally, if you have a huge wedding party and an army of bridesmaids, then you might want to add an extra generous gratuity to show thanks for all that pampering and preening.

Tipping bartenders

Bartenders play a big part in getting your party started. These magical mixologists are the ones who make sure Aunt Linda’s G&T is just right, and Uncle Bob’s Old Fashioned is as smooth as silk. But how do you work out what to tip them?

As a rule of thumb, for a wedding with around 150 guests, consider budgeting between $300 to $500 for a bartender gratuity. You can decrease or increase this amount depending on the size of your guest list.

Also, if you’re serving up a signature wedding cocktail and your bartender has consulted with you in designing it, then you might want to increase the tip as an extra thank you for their hard work.

Tipping the catering team

Your catering team plays a big part in setting the tone of your celebration by shaping, sourcing, and crafting your dream wedding menu. They’re busy in the kitchen all day, filing fish and torching creme brulee so your guests can have a meal they’ll never forget. 

So when it comes time to show your appreciation to the catering team, you don’t want to scrimp on tipping. Instead, aim to leave a gratuity of around 15 to 20% of the total food and beverage cost. 

Tipping chauffeurs and drivers

Chauffeurs and drivers play a big part in ensuring that your wedding day runs like clockwork. They are also there for one of the most important parts of a bride’s day—that moment when she steps out in her dream gown to be spirited away in a limo like Cinderella. In other words, they’re your behind-the-wheel heroes.

Generally, you’ll want to tip wedding drivers around 15 to 20% of the pre-tax chauffeur service total. 

Tipping the wedding venue team

From the moment your guests arrive until the last dance, the venue team is busy creating the wedding wonderland of your dreams, ensuring everything runs smoothly. From parking attendants to coat check attendants to the venue manager, the venue team creates a seamless experience for you and your guests. They’re ambiance architects, ensuring your wedding vision comes to life. 

So, when it comes to showing your appreciation, consider tipping around 15 to 20% of your total venue service bill. It’s a gesture that acknowledges the dedication and hard work of every member of the venue team.

Tipping the wedding planner/coordinator

If you’ve hired a wedding planner, then you’ll know how invaluable they are. From helping you find the perfect wedding venue to bringing your theme together to negotiating prices with suppliers like florists, photographers, and caterers, they ease the burden of wedding planning in a major way.

As far as gratuities go, think $250 to $1,000. The exact amount will depend on the comprehensiveness of the support, as different wedding planners offer different service tiers. 

Tipping DJs and musicians

Let’s hear it for the rockstars of your wedding. From working out playlists to learning your favorite romantic songs, DJs and musicians are the heartbeat of your big day. Whether it’s the soulful tunes of a live band or the electrifying beats of a club DJ, your musical maestros are the ones who set the tone, maintain the ambiance, and keep the party going until the early hours. 

For gratuities, budget around $200 to $500 for your DJ and $25 to $50 per musician in the band. With this in mind, if you’re thinking of hiring a huge band with various instrumentalists, backing singers, and a groovy saxophone trio, this could push your tipping budget up considerably.

Tipping the floral designer

It’s safe to say that wedding floral designers do a whole lot more than arranging flowers. A good floral designer will transform your venue into a dreamland of plants and blooms, weaving together colors, textures, and scents to create a breathtaking backdrop for your special day. 

From bridal bouquets to floral archways to table centerpieces, they use the language of flowers to express your wedding theme, capturing the essence of your love in every petal. They’re also on top of the latest wedding floral trends, making sure you create a look that’s fresh and contemporary. 

As far as floral designer gratuities go, you have two options. You could either consider tipping around 10% of the pre-tax total to the floral team (the people who help set up the flowers on the day), or $50 to $100 per person. You’ll probably also want to tip your main floral designer more than this (say 15 to 20%) to acknowledge their role as the coordinator.

Tipping the photographer/videographer

Photographers and videographers immortalize the key moments of your wedding, from your first kiss as a married couple to your swoony first dance. Because of them, you get the joy of flipping through your wedding album decades later or cozying up together to watch your wedding video on your first anniversary. These memory-makers can transport you back to those magical moments in time, with all the smiles and happy tears.

When it comes to tipping, a gratuity of around 5% to 15% for the photographer or videographer is pretty standard. If you’re hiring a second shooter for your wedding (a person who accompanies your main photographer and captures different scenes, guests, and angles), then make sure to tip them, too. Around $50 to £150 is usual, although it really depends on total costs. If the videographer comes to your wedding with an assistant, then tip them the same as a second shooter. 

However, you should also take into account the length of time that your photographer will be spending at your wedding. For instance, if they are with you first thing in the morning for “getting ready” photography—or they agree to stay later than normal to capture your magical wedding send-off—then you might want to add a little extra to the gratuity to reflect this.

Finally, some couples prefer to hold off on tipping their photographer and videographer until after they’ve seen the final photos and video. After all, you want to make sure that you’re satisfied with what’s been produced before deciding on the level of gratuity.

Tipping the wedding delivery and setup team

Finally, make sure to show some love to those folks lugging around chairs and setting up wedding decor. Typically, you should tip around $5 to $20 per team member, depending on the complexity of the job.Ready for your big day?

Now that you’re up to speed on gratuities for wedding vendors (phew!), it’s time to pick the perfect New Jersey venue. Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove is ideal for a stylish ceremony and reception surrounded by Italian gardens. Our venue has just had a makeover and has been praised by New Jersey Bride, The Knot, and Wedding Wire. The Il Tulipano team will treat you like family, so get in touch with us today, and let’s plan your dream wedding.

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