The Ultimate Guide to Tipping Wedding Vendors: The Cheat Sheet Every Bride Needs

You’ve created your budget and stuck to it the best you could. All the checks have been written and the down payments and final payments... Read More

You’ve created your budget and stuck to it the best you could. All the checks have been written and the down payments and final payments are made, but have you remembered one final expense?

Event vendor tips are not required outside of contracts, but are sometimes expected and always appreciated.

Tips are a great way to say “thank you” for exceptional service. But when should you leave gratuity and how much? That’s what we’ll cover in this ultimate guide to tipping your wedding vendors. (Trust us when we say this is the cheat sheet every bride needs.)

First and foremost, make sure you read our do’s and don’ts of wedding vendor gratuity. Then follow the tips for each wedding vendor below.

Catering Tipping

Catering tips are typically included in contracts, so be sure to read yours thoroughly. Also, if you are taking care of the tip, ensure that your guests know they don’t need to tip the bartenders, waitstaff, and so on.

Protocol: expected

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract)

  • For general gratuity: 15 – 20% of the total bill
  • For individuals:
    • $50 – $100 per chef
    • $20 – $50 per server (or 15 – 20% to be split amongst all servers)
    • 10 – 20% of liquor bill for bartenders to split
    • $250 – $500 for a catering or banquet manager

When to give: at the end of the reception

Ceremony & Reception Staff Tipping

There are a ton of hard working staff that will help you make your wedding day special. A few include: venue attendants, parking valets, bathroom and coat room attendants. Let your guests know that you’ve taken care of gratuity for these staff members.

Protocol: optional

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract)

  • Attendants (parking, coat check, and restroom): $1 – $2 per guest (or vehicle)
  • General staff: $20 – $50 per staff member
  • Photo booth attendant: $50 – $100 depending on duration of service and number of guests

When to give: at the beginning of the wedding (to encourage great service) or at the end of the reception

Delivery & Setup Vendor Tipping

It takes a lot of work to set up the perfect wedding day and you’ll often have delivery and setup professionals to make it happen in a timely manner. From event rentals to flowers to the cake and even the sound system, you’ll have vendors delivering any number of items. While you may have paid a delivery fee, that goes to the company and not the workers, so be sure to tip when applicable.

Protocol: expected

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract): $5 – $20 per person

When to give: at the time of drop-off or setup

DJ & Band Tipping

Tip the members of the band or your DJ for working hard during your reception and keeping your guests on the dance floor. 

Protocol: optional

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract)

  • DJ: 10 – 15% or $50 – $150
  • Musicians: $25 – $50 per band member

When to give: at the end of the reception (or after the performance)

Florist Tipping

Florists don’t expect a tip – especially if they own the shop – but it’s a great way to say thank you for exceptional work and service.

Protocol: optional

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract): 10 – 15% of the total bill

When to give: with final invoice or after honeymoon

Hair & Makeup Tipping

If you’re accustomed to getting your hair done in a salon, you’re likely already well versed in gratuity for your hair and/or makeup artist. Services for your wedding day are very similar.

Protocol: expected

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract): 15 – 20% of the total bill

When to give: at the end of service

Officiant Tipping

Your officiant likely spends a fair amount of time with you as a couple to ensure the ceremony proceeds how you envisioned. After all, they are the ones who are managing it. If your officiant is a religious official, they may not accept gratuity; so you can instead make a donation to their church, synagogue, or institution. 

Protocol: optional

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract)

  • Religious official: $50 – $100 to person or $100 – $500 to institution
  • Non-denominational official: $50 – $100

When to give: prior to the ceremony

Photographer & Videographer Tipping

Like other business owners, if your photographer or videographer owns the studio, you aren’t required to tip. However, gratuity is a very nice gesture to show your appreciation for hard work. Another great option? A personalized gift.

Protocol: optional

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract): 

  • Non-owner: $50 – $200 
  • Additional shooters: $50 – $100

When to give: at the end of the reception

Transportation Tipping

It’s your wedding day, so you don’t want to be the one worrying about driving yourself (or your wedding party) around…nor should you! Whether you have a limo, trolley, bus, or horse-drawn carriage, tipping your driver is another optional gratuity. 

Protocol: optional

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract): 15 – 20% of the total bill

When to give: after the final ride

Wedding Planner Tipping

Tips also aren’t expected for wedding planners, as many are business owners themselves. However, some do include gratuity or service fees in their contracts, so be on the lookout for this. Tips for your wedding planners are for those who go above and beyond and they’ll be grateful for the special “thank you.”

Protocol: optional

How much? (if gratuity is not included in your contract): 

  • 10 – 20% of the contract bill (up to $500) 
  • $50 – $150 for an assistant

When to give: at the end of the reception or after the honeymoon


Tipping can be confusing, since it’s often an optional custom, but follow this easy guide and you’ll understand what’s expected, optional, and typical for your wedding day!

And for help with New England event rentals, give us a call at Sperry Tents Seacoast!


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