Updated: Jun 19
Tipping wedding vendors is certainly not required unless it is already included in your invoice/contracts. Your wedding vendors do not expect a tip, but it's always an exciting thing to receive and is a very kind gesture! In addition to tips, writing positive reviews and recommending us is always a wonderful way to say "thank you".
There is no industry standard for how to tip all wedding vendors, which can be very confusing! I have many clients ask me this question, so here is my general advice from what I have seen in the past broken down by vendor type.
A Note about Business Owners
You may see some advice when looking online that business owners do not get tipped. Typically business owners of large companies don't get tipped, however small business owners should not be overlooked (which is likely 99% of the vendors that you will work with!). Small business owners are often a one-person show or just have a few members of their team.
When and How to tip your vendors
It is easiest to tip in cash. Place all the cash tips into individual envelopes with the vendors name and/or company on the outside of the envelope. If you'd like to write a small thank you note, you can include that in there as well. Give the stack of envelopes to your Wedding Coordinator/Planner (if you have one) to hand out during the wedding, or give the envelopes to a trusted member of your family (like a parent). However, make sure that you give the envelopes of vendors who are just arriving for deliveries or set-ups to your Coordinator (or Venue rep) to ensure those vendors get them since you will not see them during the day!
Photographer, Videographer, Florist, DJ, Coordinators/Planners - I typically see folks doing a set tip for each of these types of service vendors instead of a percentage of the service cost. The amount varies but most commonly $100-200 per person, above that if you have really enjoyed their service. Don't forget those seconds and assistants too! Often a little less for them than your main person.
Deliveries/Rentals, Transportation, Cake delivery - Something set like $20 per driver/person.
Venue Coordinator - If there is someone on the venue team who has been working with you throughout your planning process and has gone above and beyond, it's recommended a set tip like $50-$100 as a thank you.
Live Musicians - Usually a set amount for each musician like $25-$50 each.
Photo booth or other stationed entertainment staff - Usually a set amount for each musician like $25-$50 each.
Hair and Makeup - Same as standard salon tipping practices... usually 15-20%. Double check to make sure this isn't already in their invoice/contract.
Bartending Services - If you are allowing a tip jar to be placed out at the event, then you don't need to tip on top of that. If you are covering the tip, usually a 15% of the service charge is standard. Make sure this isn't already included in your contract/invoice as sometimes it is automatically added.
Catering - First make sure that this is not included in your invoice. It will be listed as "Gratuity". If you see something listed as "Service Fee" that is NOT gratuity. This is an industry standard required fee that helps pay their company overhead (like staffing charges, maintenance, etc). If a gratuity fee is not already included, I would recommend following restaurant standard gratuity of 15-20% of the final bill.
Officiant - Clergy members cannot accept tips, but many couples give a donation to the church. If you have a secular, independent officiant, consider tipping them something like $50-$100. If you have a friend or family member who is officiating for you, it is more appropriate to give them a meaningful gift as a thank you.