Wedding expenses really are the gift that keeps on giving. You may think you’re done after you’ve paid the florist, the caterers, the photographer, and everyone else for their services. But as with most jobs in the service industry, many of the people who work your wedding will be expecting a tip. The amounts vary, and there are some people you shouldn’t tip, and some you should tip more than others. It can be confusing to know what the etiquette is, but follow this guide and you won’t stiff or overpay anyone.
Don’t tip the owner
The main rule of thumb for not tipping is that the owner of a business does not receive a tip. They’re the direct recipient of every dime you pay in fees, so they don’t need a little extra on the top. That goes for photographers, hair stylists, even florists: if they own the business, you’re not expected to tip.
As we mentioned up top, if you have one photographer and their name is on the van they pull up in, you don’t need to tip. But if you’ve hired a few photographers from a studio, it’s customary to tip each one $50-$100.
Hair stylist/makeup artist-20-25%
Unless the hair stylist and makeup artist is the owner of the beauty salon, tip as you would when you get your hair done normally, at 20-25%. If they come to the venue, set up, and do a fantastic job making you and your bridesmaids look fabulous, a little over 25% is perfectly appropriate.
Wedding planner–gift or up to $500
Some sources say not to tip the wedding planner, some say to get a small gift rather than cash, and some say you should tip cash up to $500. We think it comes down to the size of the wedding, your wedding budget, and how much your planner made your life easier. We do tend to come down on the side of a thoughtful gift rather than a cash tip, though.
Caterers – 15-20%
Just like dining out at a restaurant, it’s customary to tip your caterers 10-15%. Unlike a restaurant setting, you don’t need to tip individual wait staff.
Officiant – donation to church
If you’re having a church wedding, there’s a good chance the minister officiating will forgo a fee in exchange for a donation to the church. Most couples donate around $100–after all, it’s for a good cause.
Florist – 10-15% if you want to
Your florist is most likely not expecting a tip, but if the flowers were exceptional and they did great work staging the arrangements, you may want to add 10-15% as a sign of gratitude.
DJ/Band – 10-15% if you want to
Likewise, DJs and bands generally don’t expect to be tipped. You can add 10-15% for exceptional party-starting, or tip individual band members $15-$20 apiece if they had to schlepp their own equipment.
Set-up/tear-down people – $5-$10 apiece
Make sure that the people helping to set up chairs and to take down tables when the dancing starts get a little consideration for their labor. Slip each of them a $5 or $10 bill when you get the chance.
Wedding ceremony musicians – $10-15 apiece
In addition to their fee for playing, it’s customary to tip the musicians who play at your wedding up to $15 apiece for their time and as an appreciation of their art.
When you’re calculating your wedding budget, don’t forget to add in the tips to avoid sticker shock on the day. After all, the people who worked hard to make your wedding as beautiful as it can be deserve a little extra consideration for their labor.