Cheat Sheet for Tipping Vendors
Tipping is a big part of the service industry, but sometimes its tough to figure out how much to tip or when it is appropriate depending on the vendor. Here is a complete guide to which vendors you should tip (and how much!).
Catering: If your contract does not include gratuity, you should tip 15-20% of the total bill. Check with your caterer, as sometimes the 20% is what is included as cost to cover the servers. However, it is always a nice surprise to do an additional tip if you feel you'd like to. You may think to offer a tip of $50-$100 per chef and $20-$50 per server.
Wedding Planner: Wedding Planners don't generally expect a tip, so this is optional based on service. If you were given a large discount or the planner went above and beyond their contracted services, offering a tip of 10-20% is a nice way to say "thank you."
Photographer & Videographer: You're not required to tip if they own the studio. If they do not, then giving them an extra $50-$200 is a nice gesture depending on their performance.
Officiant: Often times officiants will not accept tips, but a donation of $100 to their church is a great way to thank them
Hair & Makeup Artist: A 15-20% tip is expected, just like it would be for any other regular salon visit, but is not required.
Band or DJ: Offering 10-15% tip is a nice gesture to your band or DJ, especially if they are carrying heavy loads of equipment from one location to the next. For Musicians, a $25-$50 tip per band member is appropriate.
Florist: Your florist doesn't expect a tip. However, if they do an outstanding job, it is always a nice gesture to give them a 10-15% tip.
Though tipping at events, weddings especially, has become more customary, it isn't mandatory or even expected by most pros. With the exception of the catering staff & the venue, tips are considered a nice surprise by almost all vendors.
Remember, if you do not have the means to shell out thousands of more money on tips, there are a few gestures that will go a long way. Sending an e-mail with a review, a handwritten thank you note or a review on Yelp or Wedding Wire is a great way to show your appreciation for all of their work. This offers something to your vendors that they can use for future bookings. Even better-refer your vendor to your friends!