A big item that most brides forget to include when budgeting for their wedding is vendor tips. How much should each vendor receive is beyond confusing and can really be upsetting as weddings are already expensive enough. Whether you are a believe that tips are standard requirements, or that they are earned based on the level of service provided, tipping your wedding vendors is definitely necessary. Below, we have outlined a few tipping guidelines for brides to help budget in this hidden and usually forgotten cost. Remember, these guidelines are based vendors who provided all the services that were promised and in the way they were promised. Guidelines are meant to be broken; if the vendor goes above and beyond, or if they didn’t do the job they were hired to do adjust your tip!
For each of the guidelines listed below, keep in mind that all tips are most appreciated when given in cash before they leave. Plan on having a member of your bridal party in charge of a different vendor for tipping purposes as it will be the last thing on your mind. Remember, vendors also love thank you cards and it is a nice way to conceal their tip!
Makeup Artist and/or Hair Stylists: 15 to 25% of your total bill is standard – tip as you would your regular hair stylist!
Officiant: If the officiant is affiliated with a religious establishment, then you should plan on making a donation to that institution for at least $100. When hiring a non-denominational minister, no tip is required, however you might choose to tip $50 if the minister was above and beyond. Since you do not want to be handling money during the ceremony, if you plan on tipping the officiant, hand it to them at the Rehearsal or give it to the Best Man to handle.
Ceremony and Reception Musicians: Musicians & DJ tipping is really based on the quality of the performance and not always required. Standard tips depend on the type of musician:
*Singer and DJ’s: $20-$80
*Each member of a Band: $5-10 per hour
*Solo Instrumentalist: $30-50
Photographer/Videographer: Tipping your photographer or videographer is entirely dependent on whether they own their own company or not. If they own their own company, he/she will be keeping most of the fee and the tip is completely optional. If he/she is the employee of a company, depending on the amount of time spent, plan on leaving a tip for $50-100.
Bartenders and Catering Staff: Majority of the time, service fees, gratuities or tips are included in your contract. Make sure you check this prior to allotting more money. If there is not mention in your contract, consider leaving $20-25 per bartender or 10% of the total liquor bill. The catering staff should be tipped 15-20% of your total bill. Always hand this to the head bartender or waiter to allow equal division among the staff. If you choose to add a tip, you can pay in advance to management so that you do not have to worry about this at the close of the reception.
Wedding Coordinator – Like your photographer/videographer, if he/she owns their own company, then leaving a tip is completely optional. If he/she is an employee, such as a coordinator assigned to you by the venue, $50.00 to $100.00 is a recommended. Remember, if your coordinator put in a lot of hours for your larger, more extravagant wedding, the tip should be adjusted and dependent on the total wedding budget.
Lastly, there are a number of vendors that do not typically expect a tip: wedding stationer, bridal shop, seamstress for alterations, cake baker and florist. It if always up to you whether or not to tack on an additional amount for any vendor who has done an amazing job! These fees can add up and planning ahead will make sure there are no surprises!