Your Wedding Vendor Tipping Cheat Sheet

Our tips on how to tip, straight from the experts.
kim forrest the knot
by
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated Dec 19, 2023

When you're already digging deep into your (or your parents') pockets for wedding expenses, allotting room in your budget for gratuities on top of that can be hard to handle. And even though service charges may be spelled out in your contract, tipping wedding vendors is always appreciated for a job well done, not to mention a kind and thoughtful gesture. So don't forget to factor in tips when making your wedding budget.

Since some wedding vendors will expect a gratuity, and other gratuities will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, you have a few things to consider. Traditionally, business owners of larger companies don't get tipped—just their employees—but you can and should tip an owner when the service exceeds expectations. Small business owners should never be overlooked either, since their businesses are often run by just one person.

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"Tips or gratuities are at the sole discretion of the couple," says Sarah Chianese, owner, planner and executive chef at Mangia and Enjoy!, based in New York and Colorado. "The definition of a gratuity is something offered beyond obligation or voluntarily, usually connected to anyone in the service industry. So, is a tip required? Certainly not, yet it is expected for a job well done. Although not obligatory, not tipping at a wedding, particularly if the gratuity is excluded in the pricing structure, is seen as an insult to the love and labor poured into your experience."

Tip wedding vendors who offer exceptional service, write thank-you notes (they're always appreciated) and assign the responsibility of handing them out to a trusted person, such as your wedding planner, a parent or wedding party member. Here's a helpful breakdown of what's customary when it comes to how much to tip wedding vendors.

In this article:

How Much to Tip Wedding Vendors | Printable Wedding Tipping Cheat Sheet | General Wedding Tipping Tips | How to Tip Your Wedding Vendors

Wedding Photographer and Videographer

You're not expected to give your shutterbugs any money beyond their normal fees. But if the wedding photographer or videographer doesn't own the studio, consider tipping each person (or give a certain amount with a thank-you note to disperse to staff).

Do You Tip a Wedding Photographer and Videographer?

"For photographers, tips are not required or expected but are generally very much appreciated," says Jenny DeMarco, owner of Jenny DeMarco Photography in Austin, Texas. "Tips should be for the main shooter (even if that is the business owner) and the remaining photography team members. When couples tip their photographer and the team on the wedding day after seeing they have worked hard and were great to work with, it's generally remembered as they go home and work on delivering your images."

How Much to Tip a Wedding Photographer and Videographer

According to DeMarco, it is recommended to tip 5-15% of the photography contract or $50-$200 per photography team member.

When to Tip a Wedding Photographer and Videographer

Tip your photographer and videographer at the end of the reception.

Wedding DJ

Wedding DJs serve an essential role, both providing music and emceeing your event. While some DJs work solo, others bring sound technicians or other providers who should also be included when it comes to tipping. Be sure to carefully read your contract (you'll be hearing that advice a lot!) to know who will be on-site on your wedding day.

Do You Tip a Wedding DJ?

Tipping a wedding DJ is optional, but preferred.

How Much to Tip a Wedding DJ

If you plan on tipping your wedding DJ, $50 to $150 is usually a good range, depending on the total cost of service.

When to Tip a Wedding DJ

An attendant or wedding planner should tip your DJ at the end of the reception.

Wedding Band Members

When figuring out tipping for your wedding band, factor in how many band members will be present on your wedding day. If you opt to tip your band, each member (and any sound technicians) should be included.

Do You Tip a Wedding Band?

Tipping band musicians is completely optional, but preferred.

How Much to Tip a Wedding Band

It's recommended to tip $25–$50 per band member.

When to Tip a Wedding Band

An attendant or wedding planner should tip the musicians at the end of the reception. According to Rachel Held of Confetti & Co. Events in New Orleans, Louisiana, a lump sum can be given to the bandleader to divide amongst the band members, or individual envelopes can be given to each person.

Wedding Planner

Whether you've hired a full-service or month-of wedding planner, this pro has likely worked hard to ensure your day runs smoothly. While monetary tips are most common, a thoughtful gift is also appreciated. Don't forget about any assistants or helpers who are also putting in the work.

Do You Tip a Wedding Planner?

According to Nora Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin and founder of Bridal Bliss. "Wedding planners definitely do expect a tip. I would say close to 80-90% of our clients tip our planning team."

How Much to Tip a Wedding Planner

A wedding planner should be tipped 15–20% of their total fee, or sent a nice gift.

When to Tip a Wedding Planner

Hand off the envelope at the end of the reception or send a thank-you note with a check or gift right after the honeymoon.

Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Your beauty pros will be on-site early in the AM to make sure everyone looks picture-perfect. It's highly recommended to give them some extra love.

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Do You Tip a Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist?

Just as you would tip your hairstylist at a salon, this is one area where gratuity is definitely expected. Make sure to factor in how many people are getting their hair and makeup done, and how many stylists will be working on your crew.

How Much to Tip a Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Tip between 15 to 25 percent of the total bill just as you would in a hair salon, and consider giving a little extra if there's a crisis, like one of your bridesmaids has a meltdown over her curls and it requires a redo at the last minute.

When to Tip a Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Tip your beauty stylists at the end of your service.

Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff

Be sure to consider those who are doing the heavy lifting during the setup and breakdown process. Slip a gratuity to anyone delivering important items to the site such as the wedding cake, flowers or sound system. If a lot of gear needs to be brought in and set up (tents, chairs or portable toilets), the workers deserve a tip too.

Do You Tip Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff?

Absolutely! Tipping wedding delivery and setup staff is expected.

How Much to Tip Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff

Tip these workers between $10–$50 per person. It may be hard to know how many delivery workers will be on site, so work with your planner, catering manager or venue coordinator to figure it out—and include a few extra envelopes, if possible.

When to Tip Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff

Drop off cash envelopes the day before the wedding to the catering manager so the person accepting deliveries can distribute the tip.

Wedding Ceremony Officiant

If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you're often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you're a member, you'll probably want to give a larger amount than if you're not. However, if you're getting married there and they're charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. Tipping the wedding officiant, both non denominational and denominational, is also appreciated.

Do You Tip a Wedding Officiant?

Depending on the officiant, tipping is usually expected.

How Much to Tip a Wedding Officiant

Donate $100–$500 to the church or synagogue, and for the officiant, a tip of $50–$100 (maybe more, depending on how much time they've spent with you leading up to the wedding, say, in premarital counseling, for example).

When to Tip a Wedding Officiant

Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. Otherwise, have a responsible attendant pass the cash envelope at the rehearsal dinner if the officiant is in attendance.

Wedding Ceremony Musicians

If you worked with a soloist or ensemble to come up with the perfect score for your service and they pulled it off flawlessly, consider showing some monetary thanks for their talent.

Do You Tip Wedding Ceremony Musicians?

As with other music pros, tipping wedding ceremony musicians is optional, but preferred.

How Much to Tip a Wedding Officiant

Each ceremony musician should receive $15–$50.

When to Tip Wedding Ceremony Musicians

Ceremony musicians should receive a tip at the end of the ceremony.

Attire Alterations Pros

While it's not required to give the person who is altering your wedding dress, suit or other wedding attire a tip, it's definitely a nice gesture.

Do You Tip Attire Alterations Pros?

Tipping those who alter your wedding attire is optional, but definitely appreciated if your pro did excellent work.

How Much to Tip Attire Alterations Pros

If you opt to tip your alterations pro, $20–$30 is the suggested amount. If your attire required major restructuring, you may want to tip more.

When to Tip Attire Alterations Pros

Present your pro with the tip envelope at your final fitting.

Wedding Catering Team, Waitstaff & Bartenders

When it comes to your catering team, bartenders and waitstaff, the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. A service charge (typically 2 percent) is almost always built into the food and drink fee, so check your contract and clarify who is receiving the gratuity. If the gratuity is not included or if you wish to provide an additional gratuity, tip as follows.

Do You Tip Your Wedding Catering Team, Waitstaff and Bartenders?

"Plain and simple, tips are unnecessary if gratuities are already listed on your contract or invoice," says Chianese. "Of course, suppose specific vendors or service members at your wedding go above and beyond. In that case, an additional tip is always welcomed and appreciated by those who went the extra mile. Caterers work for many days prior to your wedding day…the food service may last 5 or 6 hours over the day, but the hours leading up to your wedding are considerable. Considering a gratuity to the catering company or individuals you notice offering stellar service at your wedding is an excellent thing to consider for a job well done."

How Much to Tip Your Wedding Catering Team, Waitstaff and Bartenders

If the service charge is not included in the contract, 15–20% of food and drink fee to be split among the waitstaff and bartenders, $200–$300 for the maître d'.

When to Tip the Wedding Catering Team, Waitstaff and Bartenders

If it's covered in the contract, the final bill is typically due before the reception. Otherwise, have one of your parents or an attendant hand the envelope to the maître d' at the end of the reception, since you'll need to know the final tab to calculate the percentage.

Valet Parking Attendants

Many couples opt to tip parking attendants themselves so that guests don't have to worry about shelling out cash. A sign may be posted at the valet stand notifying guests that the gratuity has already been taken care of by the newlyweds.

Do You Tip Valet Parking Attendants?

Yes, valet parking attendants are traditionally given tips.

How Much to Tip Valet Parking Attendants

A good formula for valet parking attendant tipping is $1–$5 per car, split between the attendants.

When to Tip Valet Parking Attendants

Although tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event, you could distribute them at the beginning of the evening to encourage all the workers to give you great service.

Photo Booth Attendants

If you're including a photo booth as part of your wedding reception entertainment, it's a nice gesture to provide a tip to the attendant at the end of the night, particularly if the service was stellar.

Do You Tip Photo Booth Attendants?

Yes, we recommend tipping photo booth attendants.

How Much to Tip Photo Booth Attendants

Photo booth attendants typically receive a gratuity of $50–$100.

When to Tip Photo Booth Attendants

Your planner or a wedding party member should give the photo booth attendant their tip at the end of the reception.

Wedding Transportation Company

Again, check your contract, as gratuity is usually included. If it isn't, plan to tip provided they show up on time, provide a smooth ride and don't get lost.

Do You Tip Your Wedding Transportation Company?

Tipping your limo or shuttle driver is expected, but be sure to check if it's included in your contract.

How Much to Tip Transportation Company

Typically, 15–20 percent of the total bill is a good rule of thumb, or $50 per driver.

When to Tip Transportation Company

Tip transportation pros at the end of the night or after the last ride. If you used a separate company for the guest buses, designate a bus captain to hand the driver a tip, otherwise this duty falls to a designated attendant.

Cake Baker and Florist

These vendors do not typically receive tips, but if you feel they went above and beyond the call of duty, you certainly can send them a tip. Remember, though, that delivery people who work for these pros should be tipped (see above).

Do You Tip Your Cake Baker or Florist?

Tipping these pros is optional, but certainly appreciated, especially if they were present on site.

How Much to Tip Your Cake Baker and Florist

A tip for your cake baker and florist could range from $50 to $200, or you could send a small gift in appreciation.

When to Tip Cake Baker and Florist

If you'd like to tip these pros, send them a thank-you card with the tip enclosed after the big day.

Printable Wedding Tipping Cheat Sheet

To view our guide to tipping wedding vendors all in one place, check out our printable cheat sheet. And don't forget to save it on Pinterest for easy access.

Tipping Wedding Vendors Printable Guide
Design: Natalie Romine

General Wedding Tipping Tips

So now you know who to tip and how much. Here's some additional info you'll need to know before starting to put those tip envelopes together, straight from the experts.

Read contracts closely.

Some vendors (particularly caterers and transportation companies) may include tips as part of their contract. If gratuities are included in the contract, be sure to read closely to see if you need to provide any additional tips.

"It's always helpful to print out contracts and go over them with a highlighter to review extra fees, gratuities and penalties to prepare for the budget," says Terrica Skaggs of Cocktails & Details in Coastal Georgia. "If gratuities are factored in already in the agreement, ask questions that go a bit deeper—does this extend to the day of staff,drivers and production team? Is there anyone else that it does not include that may need or should be tipped at the end of the evening?"

Factor tips in your budget.

If you're not prepared, tips can put a major dent in your budget. As you're working on your initial wedding budget, don't forget to factor in the tips. The Knot's free Budget Tool can help you keep it all organized.

"Gratuities should be tied into your original budget, so it's not an additional expense at the tail end of planning," says Sheils. "I like to have a separate line item for gratuities that can auto-calculate as vendors are booked. Your planner should be able to educate you on gratuities and include reasonable amounts in your budget."

Trust your planner.

Wedding planners are an incredible resource when it comes to tipping your vendors. While the above list is a general guide, tipping customs vary even within the United States, and your planner will know what is customary in your area. They'll also help organize your tip envelopes before the wedding and help distribute them on the day of.

"When working with a couple, I have a cheat sheet with vendor payments and a tipping column," says Chandai Raghunauth of Chandai Events in New York City. "Whether I'm hired for event management or partial or full planning, I ask. When at a catering or hotel venue, the couple and I ask what the recommended tipping for their staff is. While planning, you should ask upfront if there is tipping and what the vendor may be looking for."

Write a review.

While writing a thank-you note is certainly appreciated, a positive review on a site like The Knot goes even further in helping a wedding pro's business. Ask your wedding vendor if there's a particular site where they'd like you to post your review.

"One of the best things we ever receive is a review," says Held. "It's a great opportunity for other potential clients to see the level of service we provide."

For destination weddings, learn the local customs.

If you're getting married outside the U.S., be sure to ask your wedding planner or venue coordinator about the local tipping customs. Also, make sure you tip in the local currency when providing cash tips to vendors.

Share photos.

Sharing professional photos from your big day is another way to thank your wedding vendors. Pros, particularly florists, cake bakers, stationers and planners, need photos of their work for marketing materials, so if you're able to get permission from your photographer to provide these images, you'll score extra points. Tagging your vendors as you share photos on social media is another great way to give them a shout out.

How to Tip Your Wedding Vendors

While you can certainly go the extra mile and ask individual vendors how they prefer to be presented with their gratuity, cash is usually a safe bet. "It is up to the individual vendor to report their tip earnings, so you may offer it in any way you deem fit," says Chianese. "Traditionally, cash in envelopes handed out at night's end is the most welcome offering. Venmo is convenient because it allows you to reflect on the service and determine the final amount you wish to offer the day after the event if you don't mind setting aside time on your honeymoon to do so. A check is good if you need to account for expenditures and you have a record to show for it, as is Venmo or Zelle (if your vendor uses one of these apps)."

A few days before the wedding, obtain the needed cash amount, and divide and organize the tips into envelopes for each vendor—or delegate this responsibility to a parent or wedding planner. This will take a few hours, so be sure to carve out the time so you're not scrambling the night before your wedding.

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