Two hard working women finishing decorating of banquet hall with blossom flowers

Are you wondering which vendors you should tip? How much? And when?

How much should you tip your amazing vendor dream team? We know it’s confusing, so read on we’ve put together a tipping guide for you.

We’re glad you asked! We have some best practices to help make answering your questions easier. We know you have itemized your wedding budget down to the last cent and do not want any surprises.

You have painstakingly chosen each of your vendors and they are instrumental to the success of your big day, and when they meet and/or exceed your expectations you’re going to want to reward them! 

Some things to know before diving in.

1. Take a good, look at your wedding contracts

Read through them to see if a gratuity is included. It’s standard for it to be covered in your venue, catering, and even transportation contracts. When it is, no additional tipping is required.

2. A “service charge” is not necessarily a gratuity

Contracts can be so confusing! A “service charge” is a mandatory fee that gets added to your venue and/or catering contract. Service charges don’t necessarily go directly to employees, so you’ll need to ask how that money is being used. This extra fee can be applied to anything from venue maintenance to administrative costs, so unless you see the word “gratuity” spelled out on your final bill, you may still want to tip.

3. You’re not required to tip business owners

Technically you don’t need to tip the owner of a business—just their employees. The thought process behind this is that you’re already paying what the business owner has deemed an adequate price for their service. However, feel free to ignore this rule if they rock your socks off.

4. Prep tips in advance

Go to the bank before your wedding, pull out cash, and put each tip into a labeled envelope. Then give to your wedding planner/coordinator or assign parents or the most responsible member of your bridal party to hand them out over the course of the event.

5. And finally, unless it’s built into your contract, tipping is never mandatory

If you simply don’t have funds to spare, you can express your appreciation in other ways. Write your vendors a rave 5-star review online, let them use some stunning photos from your wedding for their portfolio, give them a big bottle of wine, or send them a handwritten thank-you note. They’ll feel all the warm fuzzies from your thoughtful gesture.

Now without further ado… Behold our Wedding Vendor Tipping Guide organized by whether tips are expected, included, or optional, and then in alphabetical order by vendor.

Expected Tips:


If your bartenders are a package deal with your venue, then the gratuity will most likely be included. If you’re using a bartending company, see if they require an additional gratuity for their staff. Note: wedding guests shouldn’t be asked to tip, so just say no to bar tip jars.

  • How much? 10–20% of the alcohol bill (to be split among them), if a gratuity was not included.
  • When? At the end of the reception, when you know just how much liquor your wedding guests were able to throw down.

Catering Staff
Their gratuity should be included in your venue and/or catering contract, but if not:

  • How much? 15–20% of the food & beverage bill. You can also opt for cash tips as follows:
    • Catering/Banquet Manager and Head Waiter: $100–$300 each
    • Head Chef: $50–$100
    • Wait Staff and Kitchen Staff: $20 each
  • When? At the end of the reception. Or, give it at the start to inspire fab service!

Oftentimes transportation companies will include the gratuity in their contract. But if yours doesn’t, here’s what you can tip for an on-time arrival for the bridal party transportation, as well as any guest shuttles!

  • How much? 15–20%
  • When? Upon pickup or after the last ride.

Venue Attendants
This could include parking valets, coat check attendants, or restroom attendants. Again, a gratuity should be included, but if it isn’t:

  • How much? $1–$2 per guest—or per car for parking valets.
  • When? It’s recommended to tip these attendants at the beginning of your wedding, so they can let well-meaning guests know that all tips have been taken care of by the hosts!

Optional Tips:

Coordinator / Wedding Planner
Although your wedding planner doesn’t expect a tip, you can always provide one if she or he went above and beyond for you!

  • How much? 15–20% of their fee, up to $500 cash or a nice gift!
  • When? At the end of the reception, or upon return from your honeymoon.

DJ / Musicians
Consider tipping your ceremony, cocktail hour, reception musicians, and/or DJ for a job well done. And don’t forget about the sound technicians, if applicable.

  • How much? Here’s a general guideline:
    • Ceremony Musicians: 15% of the ceremony music fee or $15–$25 per musician.
    • Reception Band: $25–$50 per musician.
    • DJ: 10–15% of the total bill or $50–$150.
  • When? After their performance.

Floral Designer
Your floral designer bends over backwards to ensure your wedding flowers are perfect—from design to installation. A tip is a wonderful way to express your gratitude for their hard work!

  • How much? 10–15% of the total bill, $50–$150 cash, or a gift
  • When? Upon delivery / setup, or at the end of the reception.

Photo Booth Attendant
They’re handing out props, encouraging people to “say cheese”, and interacting with the kiddos. If they’ve done a stand-up job, you may want to include them in the tip count.

  • How much? $50–$100 depending on the duration of your reception and number of guests.
  • When? At the end of the reception.

Photographer + Videographer
If the photographer/videographer owns their business, a tip isn’t mandatory; but again, you may want to give one as a token of your appreciation. And if there are any second shooters or assistants, it’s considerate to tip them as well.

  • How much? $50–$200 each or a nice gift!
  • When? At the end of the reception, or upon return from your honeymoon.

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