Last week one of my clients asked about proper etiquette on tipping her vendors and service providers because she realizes the hard work and efforts they contribute to make her wedding day a success and wants them to be compensated fairly for it. While customs and amounts vary across the world, tipping is necessary as it is intended to supplement the low base salaries earned by many hard workers.

Photo by Steven Torres (via

Here are a few rules of thumb:

  • Vendors that provide a product (i.e. cake baker, caterer, florist) typically do not receive a tip, but vendors that provide a service (i.e. musician, limo drivers, bartenders) should be tipped.
  • Remember, tips are intended for workers who receive lower base salaries so vendors who are self-employed or the owner of a business do not generally receive a tip unless certain circumstances compel you to.
  • Anyone that has gone above and beyond their call of duty, no matter if they’re providing a product or service should be acknowledged with a spontaneous tip.


  • Hair & Makeup – 15% to 20% of the total bill
  • Ceremony Musicians – $25 to $50 per musician
  • Officiant – $50 if married by a judge or clerk; clergy member do not accept tips so instead, make a donation to their house of worship (typically $100)
  • Photographers/Videographers – $100 to $200 if they are part of a large agency, but not the owner
  • Servers – 15% of the total pretax food bill
  • Bartenders – 10% to 15% of the total pretax portion of the bar bill. *Be sure to request that the bartender does not set out a tip jar for guests to feel obligated to tip
  • Reception Musicians or DJ – $25 to $50 per person
  • Limousine Driver – 15% to 20% of the total bill. *You can request their gratuity be added on to the bill so you have it out of the way.
  • Valet Parking – $1 to $2 per car given to the supervisor at the beginning of the night and split among the staff. *Display a sign at the valet station that says gratuities have been taken care of. Instruct the valet attendants to refuse any tips offered by guests.
  • Restroom/Coat Attendants – $1 to $2 per guests
  • Delivery People – $5 to $20 per driver depending on the amount of heavy lifting, on-site setup and pick up that come with producing your wedding.
You’ll want to set aside an extra 15% of your budget for unexpected tipping. Many hotels and clubs include a service charge for their staff so before signing any vendor contracts, ask whether or not gratuity is included in the total cost. 
Some service providers should be tipped before the event, which your wedding coordinator can take care of for you. They will also ensure your service providers do not set out a tip jar of any kind as to make your guests feel obligated to tip.
When preparing your tip envelopes, be sure to include a handwritten note of thanks and seal each envelope securely. If a tip is spontaneous and unexpected, the best way to disburse is to wait until the next day so you can prepare a handwritten note of thanks to include. Be sure to point out what they did that made you extra appreciative.


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