Here’s a Tip: Wedding Gratuity Guide and Tipping Etiquette (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Wedding tipping can be a touchy subject especially when that number can add thousands to your wedding budget. Brides often ask about etiquette for vendor tipping as well; so while we know you tip your hair stylist, your favorite restaurant & your Uber driver, do you know who & how much to pay during wedding planning? Most of our hours spent with a brides involves planning, budgeting & figuring out where to spend their time & money. With our full service planning clients, we initiate our planning journey with an in-depth budget consultation that allows us to break down expectations and align them with your budget and within each category is a line for gratuity.

Before your big day sneaks up on you we recommend taking a look at your contracts to see if gratuities are written in to any you’ve committed to. Once you check those off the list here’s a breakdown for other options:

Photo by: Anna Lizana

Catering Tipping:

If your catering contract doesn’t include gratuity, you should tip 15-20% of the food cost. *Gratuity is different than a service fee. The service fee covers the cost of business and remains with the owner for admin time and other overhead while gratuity is given to the wedding day staff.

You can also offer $50 to $100 for each chef, & $25 to $50 per server to is working your reception. Some companies may include this in their final invoice, so take some time to check those contracts – especially catering!

Bar Service:

Bartenders are usually tipped $50-$100 per person unless there is a tip jar. If there is a tip jar, there is not usually an additional tip given unless they did an exceptional job.

Foxhall Wedding Planner

Photography & Videography:

Because photographers and videographers are considered to be more skilled trade vendors, they are usually tipped at a higher rate, often as much as 15% of their total. If not tipping as a percent, the photographer and videographer tipped anywhere from $150-$300 and the second shooter is tipped from $50-$150 is a nice gesture.


If not found in the contract you can tip 15% of your total transportation cost.

Hair & Makeup Tip:

15-20% is appreciated, like any regular salon visit. On the flip-side, I have seen that some HMUA require this gratuity to be paid prior to any services rendered (weeks prior to the wedding). Let me be clear, I do not agree with this approach, however, each company has their own way of doing business.


A 10-15% tip, after services are rendered, of the total floral charge & $25 per delivery/set up crew.

Wedding Planner:

If your planner went far above & beyond (& we believe that they should!), a tip of 10-15% is a great way of saying “thank you” for their efforts. If you feel like they’ve done a great job, this will let them know!

Cake Baker:

$25 to $50 is appropriate for delivery/set-up staff, after drop off.


Cake Envy Wedding Cake

Photo by: Allie Pedigo // Cakes by: Cake Envy

Officiant Etiquette:

Often times religious officiants can’t or won’t accept tips but they will accept donations to their churches. $50 to $100 is a nice gesture in this case. Other officiants might receive $100 tips. As a general rule of thumb, an Officiant fee is typically around $450.

Musicians, DJ or Band:

This is another contract that likely includes gratuity so read carefully!

Ceremony Musicians: $25-50

DJ: DJ’s are usually tipped from $200-$500.

Band: The band members are normally tipped $25-$50 for each member.

We know this list can add up, & we do want to point out that this is a guideline for etiquette for vendor tipping but it is optional. There’s several smaller categories in planning that go unnoticed & still add up, check out this post about other areas you want to be aware of during planning!

Tips on passing out gratuities:

  • You are more than welcome to write a check to each vendor, but cash is preferred
  • If you would like to tip in cash, please place each vendor’s tip in a separate envelope with name.
  • Also, don’t forget to write a review or a handwritten thank you note. Your words of affirmation mean the world to your vendors and reviews allow for business growth, assuring future clients with the same peace of mind you had when booking your vendors.

Download our gratuity checklist here to keep track on the day of the wedding!

September 17, 2019