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To tip or not to tip?

Tips at weddings are certainly not a requirement, mandatory, or even expected by most wedding professionals. Other than catering staff, usually tips are a nice surprise bonus for those doing an outstanding job above and beyond their contracted services.

For those looking to have a guideline for typical gratuities given for vendors, here are a few suggestions:

For catering: If your contract doesn't include gratuity, you should tip 18-21% percent of the total bill.

Check contracts prior to offering this - as almost any caterer out there will already have included this in their bill prior to catering a large gathering event.

Wedding planner: Wedding planners won't expect a tip, so this is optional based on service. If you were given a huge discount or the planner went far above and beyond their contracted services, offering a tip of 10 to 20 percent is a nice way of saying "thank you" for the efforts.

Photographer and videographer: While most will be with you throughout the entire day, dinner is always expected and may even be part of the contracts, but again tips are not expected. If going above and beyond - $50-100 per shooter would be a nice bonus.

Ceremony staff and reception staff: It's not mandatory to tip the ceremony staff, reception staff and delivery staff, but if you'd like to, then you can offer them $20-$50 each.

Officiant: Most officiants offer a nominal fee for their services. Often times officiants won't accept tips, but a $100 donation to their church is a great way to thank them. If the officiant is non-denominational, consider giving them a $100 tip, especially if they aren't charging for your service.

Hair and makeup artist: A 15 to 20 percent tip is expected, just like it would be for any other regular salon visit, but it isn't required.

Band or DJ: A 10 to 15 percent tip is a nice gesture to your band or DJ, especially if they have to carry a lot of heavy equipment between locations. For musicians, a $25 to $50 tip per band member is appropriate.

Transportation: Check contracts prior - some facilities may already include tips in their bill. A 15-20% percent tip is optional if it isn't included in the contract. This includes limos, shuttles, horse & carriage or other alternative offerings.

Florist: The florist doesn't expect a tip. However, if they do an outstanding job, you can consider giving them a 10 to 15 percent tip after services are rendered.


If the facility has delivered, decorated, and gone out of their way to make sure your edible delicacies have arrived in perfect condition - a 10-15% gratuity may be offered if it was not covered in their contracted bill.

Keep this in mind:

Wedding professionals have been given their payments. Tipping is just a way to say thank you to those who have gone above and beyond their contracted service requirements to show outstanding customer service, and provide top notch provisions for your day. If you feel any of your providers have done this - but you just don't have the extra funds for tips, there are a few gestures that will go a long way with your team of wedding pros....

Send an email with a review, a handwritten thank-you note or a review on Yelp or WeddingWire as a great way to show appreciation and offer something the vendor can use when booking future clients. Even better, refer your vendors to your friends — this gesture will go much further than a monetary bonus - as it will give them future clients and more free advertising!

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