Wedding Tipping Etiquette | Indianapolis + Destination Wedding Planner

You’ve accounted for every expense you could possibly think of (and more) while budgeting for your wedding day, but there is one expense that brides often forget… gratuities.

Tipping is not mandatory, however it is often expected as proper wedding etiquette; and it’s a nice way to say thank you for all the hard work each vendor put into your special day. We’ve laid out some guidelines below on tipping your wedding vendors. We hope this helps you to be prepared on the wedding day!

General Rules

Tip vendors who offer exceptional service, write glowing online reviews or send a nice thank-you note.

Gratuities should be issued the day of the wedding, generally toward the end of the day or immediately after a service is rendered. A tip can also be motivation for exceptional service – for example tipping bar staff before service begins.

If you have a planner, he or she can be assigned the responsibility of handing out tips the day of your wedding. Foregoing a planner? A parent or trusted wedding party member should hand out your vendor tip envelopes.

Traditionally, business owners don't get tipped—just their employees. Even small business owners rarely expect to be tipped, they’ve already negotiated their fees in your contract. If you receive exceptional service from a small business owner, a monetary gratuity can go a long way to show your appreciation, however, it is never expected.

One of the most powerful and appreciated gratuities to good service is to tell your friends and leave a positive online review – it’s priceless.

Here is a further breakdown by vendor:

Wedding Planner

Protocol: Optional, Never Expected

If the lead wedding planner does not own the agency, you may consider tipping the associate. Wedding planners won't likely expect anything, but if yours did a great job, you can always offer a token of appreciation. Non-monetary thank-yous like a glowing online review and/or release of professional photos from the photographer for their portfolio go a long way.

The Standard

If you choose to give a monetary tip: $50-$100

Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Protocol: Expected

This is one vendor that will definitely expect a gratuity. Consider giving a little extra if there's disaster like your bridesmad has a breakdown and her updo requires a redo at the last minute.

The Standard

15–20 percent, depending upon the quality of service – consider giving a little extra if there is a crisis, last minute add on

Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff

Protocol: Expected

Tip a few dollars to anyone delivering important items to the site such as the wedding cake, flowers or sound system. If a lot of materials need brought in and set up (tents, chairs or porta-potties), the workers deserve a tip as well.

The Standard:

$5–$10 per person

Wedding Ceremony Officiant

Protocol: Expected

If your officiant is affiliated with a religious institution, you're often expected to make a donation to that establishment. Many religious establishments have a “suggested” donation amount: If you're a member, you'll probably want to give a bit more than if you're not (unless you are getting married there and have been charged a fee for the space).

Tipping the officiant, both nondenominational and denominational, is also appreciated.

The Standard

Donate $100–$500 to the church or synagogue

$50-$100 tip to the officiant

Wedding Ceremony Musicians

Protocol: Optional

If you worked with a quartet to come up with the perfect composition for your service consider showing some monetary thanks for their talent. In contrast, you aren’t expected to tip the solo church organist who was required to play unless noted by the church.

The Standard

$15–$20 per musician

Wedding Photographer and Videographer

Protocol: Optional

If the wedding photographer or videographer doesn't own the studio, you may consider tipping each associate. These additional gratuities are not expected but always appreciated.

The Standard

$50–$100 per employee

Wedding Reception Staff

Protocol: Expected

This type of staff includes the on-site coordinator and banquet manager from the venue or catering company. A service charge is almost always built in to the food and drink fee, so check your contract. If the gratuity is not included, tip as follows.

The Standard

$50- $100 onsite coordinator

$50- $100 banquet manager

$200 maître d'

Wedding Reception Attendants

Protocol: Expected, based on contract

When it comes to bartenders, wait staff, valet, bathroom and coat check attendants, the standard of tipping may be dictated by your contract. Service charges are often listed in your contract; if the service charge is not spelled out, verify with the company what it means. For example, if the catering company lists a service charge, you’ll need to verify what this charge is – is it gratuities for the staff, a commission for the sales team or something else all together?

If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it's not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.

The Standard

10–20 percent of the liquor or food bill to be split among bartenders or waiters respectively

$1 per guest for coatroom

$1 -$2 per car for parking attendants

Wedding Reception Band or DJ

Protocol: Optional *(Exception: Expected if booked through agency)

Did you hire the band or DJ through an agency or independently? If you hired the talent on your own, the money is going directly to the musician and there is no need to add gratuity. If you’ve hired through an agency, you should tip the musicians and/or DJ as well as any sound technicians.

The Standard

$20–$25 per musician; $50–$150 for DJs

Wedding Transportation

Protocol: Expected

Again, check your contract, as gratuity is usually included or suggested. If it isn't, plan to tip provided they show up on time and don't get lost.

The Standard

20 percent of the total bill

Seamstress

Protocol: Optional, Never Expected

According to Jessica, owner of Sohpia’s Bridal, alterations usually require several visits and a step-by-step process; typically the seamstress will charge accordingly. A tip is always appreciated however rarely expected from a seamstress. If you choose to tip this vendor, consider the quality of work

The Standard

If you choose to give a monetary tip: $20-$50

Photo: Danielle Harris Photography

Creative Design: Bridget Davis Events

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