Wedding Tipping Etiquette | How to Properly Tip Wedding Vendors

Wedding tips shouldn't be left at the table; that's not proper wedding etiquette
Wedding tips shouldn't be left at the table; that's not proper wedding etiquette

Wedding Tipping

Knowing how to properly tip at a wedding can be a difficult thing. Guests might be unclear about tipping at the bar, and the couple might not know who to tip and how much they should give to each wedding vendor.

In this article I'll explain two things: Who to tip at your wedding and how much to tip. Use this wedding tipping etiquette for your wedding and you won't have to worry about breaking wedding etiquette.

Also, if you want to keep in touch with other wedding etiquette rules, free contests and useful wedding tips, follow me on twitter.

Tip jars at your wedding are a no-no
Tip jars at your wedding are a no-no

The INs and OUTs of Wedding Tipping

First and foremost, keep in mind that some wedding vendors might automatically include a tip in the bill. Be careful about this since tipping twice is a nice gift to the vendor and a not-so-nice gift to your wallet.

Secondly, make sure your guests aren't asked (directly or indirectly) to tip. If you have a particular wedding vendor that is traditionally tipped (such as a bartender or wait staff), inform them before the wedding that you will tip them separately. Have someone also do a follow-up to make sure a tip jar or tip glass isn't left out for guests to see.

Finally, be sure to discreetly tip the wedding vendors only after their services are completed (unless otherwise noted). You wouldn't tip a waitress before you got the bill and you probably wouldn't personally hand her cash or openly discuss with her how much you're tipping. The same is true for vendors: Tip them after they're done with the service and tip them discreetly. Money can be put in labeled envelopes and given to them through your best man or wedding coordinator.

How Much Should I Tip My Wedding Vendors?

Here's a breakdown of all the wedding vendors that should be tipped along with suggested tip amounts:

Don't forget to tip the limo driver
Don't forget to tip the limo driver

Limo driver

  • Suggested tip amount: 10-20% of total bill in the form of cash when you are picked up. (This is one of the few times a cash tip is acceptable.)


Don't forget to tip your valet staff
Don't forget to tip your valet staff

Valet parking attendants

  • Suggested tip amount: anywhere from $.50-$2 per car, depending on how many cars are expected. Money should be given discreetly (cash or check put in envelope).

Note: Make sure your guests know to not tip the valet staff! It is often a better idea to tip this group before the wedding, not after.

Remember: Your wedding caterers do most of the work
Remember: Your wedding caterers do most of the work

Wait Staff

  • Suggested tip amount: 15-20% of the total tab. This wedding tip should be given discreetly to the head of the wait staff with instructions that it's for the entire wait staff. Remember that this wedding vendor group does most of the work on your special day, so reward them accordingly!

Note: Be sure you don't double tip this group as wedding tips are often included in the total bill they give you beforehand.

Bartenders

  • Suggested tip amount: 10% of total bill given discreetly. Remember to check your bill and make sure that they didn't previously charge you for an automatic tip.

Note: Have someone in the bridal party or family check to make sure the bartender doesn't put up a tip jar anyway. You don't want your guests to feel obligated in any way to give tips at your wedding.

Disc Jockeys entertain your wedding guests, but is the tip required?
Disc Jockeys entertain your wedding guests, but is the tip required?

Disc Jockey (DJ) or Master of Ceremonies (MC)

  • Suggested tip amount: $25-75 although some say a tip to this wedding vendor is not required. Here's something to keep in mind: if the DJ owns his own company, the bill payment would go directly to him. However, if a DJ is hired by a disc jockey company, he probably will just get paid what the company gives him and a tip is more appropriate.

Note: Remember that a DJ (if they're good) entertains guests and keeps them engaged. I recommend that you tip accordingly.

Coatroom and/or Restroom attendants

  • Suggested tip amount: $.50-$1 per guest, given before the wedding.

Makeup Artist and/or Hair Stylist

  • Suggested tip amount: depends. If they come to you to do the makeup and hair styling, no tip is necessary. However, if you go to them (a salon, for example), tip them what you would normally tip them.

Which Wedding Vendors do I Tip?

Fortunately for your wallet, you aren't required to tip every vendor in the wedding. Here is a list of vendors for which wedding tips are optional:

Don't forget to tip your wedding musicians
Don't forget to tip your wedding musicians

Musicians

  • Suggested tip amount: $20-25 per musician in the form of cash at the end of the night

Note: You don't have to give a tip if the musicians are self-booked; however, a tip is proper if they the musicians were booked through an agency.

Altar boy/girl

  • Suggested tip amount: $10-15. Imagine how much that would bless your little altar person!

Wedding photography is hard work
Wedding photography is hard work

Photographer

  • Suggested tip amount: $30-50 or 10-15%, given discreetly after the wedding

Note: Be sensitive to the fact that there might be more than one photographer working at your wedding. Also, if the photographer doesn't own the photography company you hired, that's more reason to give them a nice tip.

Self-videography of your own wedding: not a good idea
Self-videography of your own wedding: not a good idea

Videographer

  • Suggested tip amount: $30-50 or 10-15%, given discreetly after the wedding.

Note: Be sensitive to the fact that there might be more than one videographer working at your wedding. Also, if the videographer doesn't own the company you hired, that's more reason to give them a nice tip.

Florist

  • Suggested tip amount: $5-15 per drop off location

Wedding officiant or clerk

Although wedding etiquette doesn't require an officiant tip, under certain circumstances it might be a good thing to consider. For example, if you had your ordained friend or local priest officiate your wedding, a monetary gift to the church or a gift card to a fancy resturaunt would be thoughtful.

Keep in mind, though, that tips for wedding clerks aren't required and in some cases can be bad etiquette. Be sensitive to the situation and don't feel obligated to tip.

Your wedding planner does a lot of work for your wedding
Your wedding planner does a lot of work for your wedding

Wedding Planner

  • Suggested tip amount: 10-15% given discreetly and after the wedding is over. It's a good idea to have a family member or the best man hand this tip out since you will probably be gone by the time the wedding is over!

If you enlist a friend to do your wedding planning and they insist on doing it for free, be sure to tip them graciously and generously.

Wedding Tipping- A Final Note

Regardless of whether or not tips are required, expected or recommended, remember the purpose of weding tips. You should choose to tip wedding vendors because you appreciated their services, you felt like they went above and beyond and they made life easy for you on your big day. Don't be stingy just to save a few bucks on your wedding!

If you want to save money on your wedding, study up on how to create a wedding budget. Or you could always do what the couple did in the picture below.

You could always save tip money and cook your own food at your wedding like this couple did (not recommended)
You could always save tip money and cook your own food at your wedding like this couple did (not recommended)

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Comments 28 comments

AngelesF profile image

AngelesF 7 years ago from Castilla y León

Good hub! :-)

And very informative!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Oh my gosh, all this and the wedding too?  I do appreciate these details and now I am REALLY hoping my daughters decide to do a destination wedding with all expenses covered, haha.  Really, WC, with all these extra tips it's not just a few dollars.  I do not get why these venders don't just charge what they believe they deserve?  My hair stylist does and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that courtesy.  Tipping just adds extra stress to an already intense day.


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area Author

@AngelesF I'm glad you like it. I know it's long, so I tried to break it up as best as possible.

@Storytellersrus, I agree completely that wedding tipping can really get expensive. But there are a number of ways to avoid them...not by shortchanging someone, but by other methods. That will be the topic of another hub...stay tuned.


apeksha profile image

apeksha 7 years ago from India.

Nice its all after I will find my Cameo...

I want an imperfect cameo so that I can love him perfectely..

thanks but I am Indian and wedding method is different than this as a Hindu Marriage.


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area Author

Apeksha, you should write a hub on Indian Hindu weddings! I'd love to see it.


dipless profile image

dipless 7 years ago from Manchester

Nice post, is this specifically for the states, just most weddings I have been to here in britain tipping at weddings is never talked about and very rarely seen.


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area Author

You know, I try to encompass international weddings whenever possible with my articles. Unfortunately, though, this is more common in U.S. weddings.

One thing that is particularly disturbing (and *so* against wedding etiquette) is the "money dance" or the dollar dance. People who dance with the bride and/or groom put money into their outfit or a sack they carry. Pretty tacky, to be honest.

The good news is that the money dance supposedly originated in Poland, not America! Wshew!


wedding consultant california 7 years ago

Great article, really handy to know whether to tip or not and if so how much. A decent guideline. Will def bookmark for reference


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area Author

Thanks for swinging by wedding consultant california. You're always welcome to swing by with your input from the industry!


guest newly wed 7 years ago

My fiancé paid a deposit to reserve our wedding day with the photographers $100 (wife and husband . Two weeks before the wedding I paid the $550, which completely paid for the photographer to be at the wedding..( I forgot that he already paid $100) so we over paid by $100. So should I mention this as being a credit when we order our photographs or should I just chalk it up to forgetfulness and give her a big tip?


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area Author

guest newly wed, that's a good question. And that's a shame that they didn't mention anything about your overpayment (maybe they didn't notice it? maybe they assumed you were tipping them?).

That is a fairly big tip, but it's certainly an option to have them keep it.

Or, if you did want to mention it to them, you could say something like:

"When I was looking through my records, it seems I overlooked something...do your records show that too?"

As long as you're not accusatory, there's nothing wrong with asking your photographers if their records show an accidental overpayment.

I hope that helps!


Quanza profile image

Quanza 7 years ago from Charleston, SC

Great hub! I never really thought about the tipping aspect of each vendor. This will definitely come in handy for a lot of people.


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area Author

Thanks for swinging by and commenting Quanza.

And I do hope it helps lots of people understand the tricky subject of vendor tips. Unfortunately it's sometimes considered a taboo subject to discuss, which has led many to not know who to tip and how much.

Hopefully this hub will clear that air a bit.


biolfu profile image

biolfu 7 years ago from Dallas, Austin, Texas, nationwide, worldwide

Great posting!

www.phoeticmemories.com


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area Author

biolfu, thanks and welcome to hubpages.

Quick tip- I'd steer clear of posting your website after a brief comment like "great posting"...it's spammy and shows that you probably didn't read the hub in the first place.


propeshka 7 years ago

I'd say you ought to always tip the DJ. Having been a DJ myself, I can tell you that DJs spend a lot of time off the clock loading, setting up, and breaking down heavy equipment. Good DJs, regardless if they own their own company or not, spend time finding music and troubleshooting technical problems before the reception. Not to mention, they often double as your emcee and can make a world of difference in how much fun your reception is.

Also I recommend tipping towards the middle of the evening as it makes the DJ feel really good to get a tip, especially in this economy in which so many people are being so stingy!


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 6 years ago from DC Metro Area Author

propeshka, thanks for the input from the perspective of a former DJ. Great pointers.


wedding officiant 6 years ago

WOW -- the person who makes the party a wedding is not tipped?


MakeupGal 6 years ago

So what happens when your handed your envelope with payment and realize you were shorted money never mind a tip? I am a professional Make-up Artist and the money made at a wedding is definitely not as significant as some wedding vendors. For example, in my area, a 'good' photographer charges $3000 per wedding. If they were out $25 it would be a tiny dent in the scheme of things. However, being shorted $25 out a $175 wedding is fairly significant! YIKES! And let's be honest, if I go back to the bride now, I will probably look petty and will probably never get the money back. It's sad. Of course I should have caught this earlier but am a bit 'old school' and have been engrained not to count money in front of the bride. Lesson learned??!?


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 6 years ago from DC Metro Area Author

makeupgal that's such a bummer. Personally I'd go back to discuss it, politely and professionally. Think about it: if a "well established" business is shorted money, they'd mail a bill for the difference! Sure it might not be much, and sure they might think you're being petty, but they didn't pay you the correct amount.


Theme Wedding Planner  6 years ago

I'd say you ought to always tip the DJ. Having been a DJ myself, I can tell you that DJs spend a lot of time off the clock loading, setting up, and breaking down heavy equipment. Good DJs, regardless if they own their own company or not, spend time finding music and troubleshooting technical problems before the reception. Not to mention, they often double as your emcee and can make a world of difference in how much fun your reception is.


eventsyoudesign profile image

eventsyoudesign 6 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

My grandmother was Polish. When my brother married many years ago my grandmother insisted that he have a money dance. She probably spent the largest amount of money on this dance. It was fun and she enjoyed it. That was the only time I have ever seen a money dance at a wedding.

When tipping vendors tip those that you feel have done a great job. Most couples that want to tip the banquet staff will give the money to the captain and ask him to share it with the waitstaff. Sadly to say the waitstaff does not always receive their cut. I have seen this happen many times.

I like your articles. I will read more. Thanks! Teresa


moonlake profile image

moonlake 6 years ago from America

Good information. My granddaugther is getting married next year have to show her this.


Dpetalssingapore 5 years ago from singapore

I would say that make sure your guests aren't asked (directly or indirectly) to tip. If you have a particular wedding vendor that is traditionally tipped (such as a bartender or wait staff), inform them before the wedding that you will tip them separately.singapore florist


weddingguestanti-tipper 5 years ago

your not supposed to tip the wait staff as a guest. its not about the $$ its about the point of doing what's right or what's totally TRASHY!!! you should not feel obligated AS A GUEST to make a tip to the wait staff. cryin'out loud youir not at a freekin diner.


what? 5 years ago

where does it say guests should tip? never heard of that ever???


Sabra Brown 3 years ago

When you say to tip the wedding coordinator 10-15% is that of what they charged you or the cost of the wedding?


z-photography profile image

z-photography 21 months ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

very nice article about tipping! Appreciate it.

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