Tipping your vendors can be a bit tricky and a lot overwhelming. You have just paid for one of the most intense events you will probably ever throw and tipping after the party seems like an odd way to end the night. There are two options: 1. pre-tip or 2. have your best man or maid of honor dole out the tips in pre done envelopes. The problem with pre-tipping is you never know how the service is going to go. For my wedding we pre-tipped the cake person and our cake was the worst thing (monstrosity) ever! And we paid $10 per slice! I would have never even tipped him had I thought to do it after rather than before. If you choose option number 2, make sure the person doling out the tips knows who the envelope should go to. I have had this happen twice where the envelope was given to my assistant and not me. The first time it happened, my assistant knew better, and handed it right over. The second time, my assistant told me about it, but said that the person handed it to her and told her it was for her. So she kept it. A, hello??? The tip was more than I paid her for the night. Obviously the person who gave it to her was not clear as to who it should have gone to. Here is a list of service providers and the appropriate tips to consider:
Coordinator: 10-15% of the bill.
Caterer: most add in 18-20% and it is up to you if you want to give a tip above that.
Bartenders: 10% but make sure your guests are not tipping them. Place a sign at the bar if need be. It is in bad taste to have your guests tip anyone at your wedding.
Hair and Makeup: 15% of the bill
Limo driver: 15-20% of the bill but not more than $150
Music: $25 per band member or 15% of the bill for DJs
Officiant: considered inappropriate however a donated gift of $50 – $75 is welcomed.
Flowers: not normally tipped but if they do a really great job, 10-15% is welcomed.
Photographers: since I am a photographer, I will give you the inside scoop. Normally photographers are not tipped, however it is welcomed and I always feel really appreciated when my clients do tip me because only about 10% of them do, so they stand out in my mind. It can get a bit tricky tipping the photographer because it is a larger portion of your bill. You would not do a percentage but rather a flat value tip. $100 to $300 is what I normally get from my clients who want to tip me. Occasionally I will get flowers sent to me or a nice gift card. This is another way of thanking a vendor for an exceptional job done.
With all your specialists, remember, they are your team and without them the wedding would not be the day you dreamed about. If you are on a tight budget, a thoughtful handwritten thank you card after the day will go a long way!
Jen is a boutique wedding photographer based out of Beverly Hills, California.
She specializes in alternative, photojournalistic wedding photography and is known for capturing the unique definitive moments during your event.