By Rebecca Padgett
Let’s be honest, your vendors are the ones who rock your wedding. They are the all-stars behind the scenes making sure the day is beautiful, efficient and stress free for you. That is why tipping your vendors should not be an afterthought, money should be set aside and decided upon ahead of time.
The best way to do this is, about a month before your wedding, pull out your contracts and take a look to see if gratuity is included in your service. Gratuity is most likely to be included with caterers or bartenders, but most other vendors don’t include tips in their fee. Once you have determined who factors in gratuity, use our helpful and handy guide to designate money.
If your officiant is associated with the clergy, they may not accept tips. Instead, you should make a donation to the church. If you are a member of the church, you might consider donating a bit more. For non-clergy officiants, a reasonable rate is $50. This donation or tip should be given at the rehearsal.
Gratuity is often included for this service, but if not, $10 to $20 per serving staff is appropriate. Keep in mind that gratuity is often included because unlike in a restaurant setting, the servers are not relying on your tips — but anything extra is a nice gesture.
If they are a part of catering packaging, gratuity is often included. If you have hired your own bartenders, 15% of the pre-tax bar is a good start, which should be split between the bartenders.
Just like you would at a salon, tipping 15%–25% is expected. If you are paying for your bridal parties services, this is what you should tip; if not, it’s not a bad idea to remind your bridal party to bring extra cash or set aside extra tipping money. The money should be given upon completion of service.
Sometimes a band or DJ will include gratuity, but anywhere from $25–$100 per performer is good depending on how many are present. The money should be given at the end of the night. This task can be designated to a coordinator, family member or bridal party member.
Chauffeurs or drivers often include gratuity. If not, 15%–20% is right on the money. Valet attendants for your guests’ cars should be $1–$2 per car. You can choose to take care of this service for your guests.
Most don’t expect money beyond their fee, but if the owner brings additional help, you can choose to tip them and they then distribute the money amongst themselves. The money should be given at the end of the photographers allotted time.
Rental Delivery Staff
For those bringing equipment such as tables/chairs, sound systems and florals on the day of, you can choose to tip them $10–$20 per person. This money can be given to your planner to distribute.
Wedding Planner, Florist, Baker, Etc.
These vendors are not expecting a tip, but if you think they went the extra mile to make your day, consider tipping the day of or sending a thank-you note later with a check enclosed.