Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wedding Day Tipping

Tipping can often be a tricky and touchy subject, so Stephen and I made sure to do our research about the expected courtesies well in advance. Plus, to ensure a stress-free day for ourselves, we then placed all of our tips and final payments in envelopes so that our coordinator could easily distribute them at the end of the wedding.

Here, the general tipping guidelines we followed.

Photographer: Our photographer was the owner of his business, and the etiquette advice we read recommended against tipping.

Hair & Makeup Stylist: I tipped between 10-15 percent for all services, just as I would following a regular hair or spa appointment.

Baker: Since cake delivery and setup fees were included upfront in our total cost, we didn’t offer any additional tip.

DJ: As thanks for a job well done, we provided a $50 gratuity at the end of the evening.

Wedding Coordinator: We sent her a post-wedding “thank you,” rather than giving a monetary tip.

Clergy/Church Ceremony Staff: All of the staff members at our church were paid according to a set fee outline, including the musician and coordinator, but we offered our priest a separate donation as thanks for his time and guidance, both on the wedding day and throughout our engagement.

Reception Venue Staff: Our venue included an 18 percent gratuity as part of the overall bill, so there was no need to offer any additional tip. Before you tip, check your contract and receipts to be sure you haven’t already been charged for gratuities!

Transportation: We avoided this category altogether by renting a van for the day, but the standard etiquette is usually 15-20 percent of the bill, along with covering any valet costs and tips that would otherwise be your guests’ responsibility.

Videographer: Just as with our photographer, we didn’t offer any gratuities in addition to our videographer’s set fees.

Florist: As with the baker, all setup and delivery fees were covered by our regular payments, and we didn’t leave a separate tip.

Have you given a lot of thought to wedding day tips, and do you agree with the guidelines we followed? Do you prefer that gratuities are worked into the final bill, or that you’re able to decide for yourself what percentage to pay?

(Photo Credits: Alex Neumann Photography)


  1. YOU DON'T TIP IF THEY OWN THE COMPANY!? And, we tipped above our caterer's outrageous added gratuity.
    I feel like a sucker...

  2. I have heard about not tipping if the vendor owns the company, but we are getting such a good deal with our friendor-photog, I think we'll probably throw in a little extra. This post is really helpful. Is it pretty standard not to tip if setup and delivery fees are covered? That seems like it would pretty much be every vendor aside from hair/makeup and the DJ, who not only has to deliver and set up, but also entertain your guests throughout the night.

  3. These are great tips! I was just looking at what is left to pay vs. the money in the bank and wondering . . . do I tip all of these people on top of everything? Since most of the people we are using are the business owner and taxes & gratuity are already included, I guess this means we don't need to tip above that. . . unless they do just an outstanding job.

  4. I'll be giving a small tip to our photographer as we won a giveaway and they're traveling to our wedding. Also, I wanted to know the proper ettiquete for tipping band members. Do I tip all of them?

  5. Wow...I have to say that if this is true, I have not seen it on the research I have done online and in magazines. I have always thought you tip pretty much everyone unless the gratuity is included. Even with our caterer where the gratuity was included, Mr Fix It still tipped the owner $100 at the end of the night because he was so thankful for all he had done for us above and beyond what we had contracted.

    And I planned to tip the photog, video, DJ, florist, coordinator, etc. Since you have done this, I just scheduled a post for the 30th of this month sharing our own tips and thoughts :)

    Great post.

  6. Thanks for all the feedback, ladies! Here’s the link to an article below on The Knot that includes some of the guidelines I mentioned. Of course, tipping is a courtesy, and if you have the money and feel so inclined, it’s always OK to throw in a little extra even if the “protocol” says you don’t have to. In fact, in the article below, there’s often a discrepancy between the protocol and the “standard” that many couples follow.

    PartyPlannerGal, in terms of tipping for setup and delivery, I think it depends who is handling it. If it’s the florist or baker him or herself, and they’ve already charged you a delivery/setup fee, I don’t feel it’s necessary. But in the event that there are other delivery staff involved, it might not be a bad idea to slip them a little something in thanks.

    Nicole-Lynn, the article above also provides details about tipping band members.

  7. Wow i have not even though about tipping. Thanks Heather. This is a really useful post!

  8. Wow this was a big help!! I've been wondering about tipping for my May 2011 wedding! thanks!