The concept of tipping is a no-brainer when you're getting a standard haircut or dining out at a restaurant, but it can be a little confusing when it comes to your wedding vendors.
Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist
This is a definite! When you go to your local salon for a haircut you tip the hair stylist, right? It's the same concept here. You should tip your hair stylist and makeup artist 15-20% of the total service cost.
This is the same as if you were dining out at a restaurant. You should tip the catering staff 18-20% of the total catering costs. This is often already included in your contracted catering costs so be sure to read through your invoice first.
Similarly to the caterer, you should tip your bar service company 18-20% of the total bar cost. Again, double check your contact to make sure gratuity is not already included.
The DJ is not a vendor that expects a tip, but it is a nice gesture if you feel your DJ went above and beyond. You should tip your DJ about 10% of your total invoice amount or a flat $100-$200, whichever you are more comfortable with.
Live bands are a great fun addition to any wedding, and a tip is often expected. You should tip each band member $25-$75 depending on how many members there are and how long they are performing for.
Tipping your wedding planner or coordinator is somewhat expected but, of course, not required. An appropriate tip would be 10-15% of your contracted cost or a flat $200-$400, whichever you are more comfortable with.
It is customary to tip the driver of your getaway vehicle. For professional drivers, you should tip a flat $20-$50. For rideshare drivers, you should tip 10-20% of the total trip cost.
Tipping your florist is not expected but a nice gesture of course if you feel they went above and beyond. I would recommend tipping the florist about 10% of the total floral cost or a flat $50-$100, whichever you are more comfortable with. Also consider tipping the set up crew if they are different than the actual florist. An appropriate tip for the set up crew would be $20-$50 per person depending on how many people and how much set up work is required.
Similarly to the florist, tipping your baker is not expected, but a nice gesture if you feel they went above and beyond. I would recommend tipping the baker 10-15% of the total cost or a flat $50-$100, whichever you are most comfortable with. You can also tip the set up crew around $20-$25 per person.
Although some officiants legally or spiritually may not accept tips, it is still a nice gesture. You should tip your officiant around $50. You can also donate that amount to their church or organization instead.
Tipping your photographer or videographer is not required but is of course a nice gesture. You should tip your photographer and/or videographer about 10% of the total invoice amount or a flat $50-$100 per person, whichever you are more comfortable with.
Things to keep in mind:
If any of your vendors work with a team or within a large company, be sure to notate who you want the tip to go to or how you want it distributed if you have a preference.
Always double-check your contracts to see if gratuity is already included in your contracted costs, you do not need to double tip unless one of your vendors or a specific staff member is unbelievably exceptional.
Tipping is expected for some vendors but usually is not mandatory for any.
If there is a specific staff member of the company that was particularly amazing, feel free to tip them extra individually. Keep in mind that the tip you give to the caterer or bar service is being split between the entire staff and may equal out to each person only getting about $20. So feel free to give someone a little extra if you see them go above and beyond.
"Service charge" is not gratuity. If you see a service charge in your contract, do not assume it's the tip. A service charge can technically be used for anything. It can go towards their overhead expenses, administrative costs, etc. Verify with your vendor first.
You are tipping the people, not the company. Don't think of it as "this is a major company, they make enough money" because the owner of that big business is likely not the person you've been working with or the person actually working your wedding day. The employees are just regular people and we never know how much they're getting paid. Most likely the servers and bartenders are being paid below minimum wage and depend on additional tips.
Always write a review! I love it when my couples give me a tip but honestly I'll trade it for a 5 star review any day! I said before that tipping is for the people, not the company. Well reviews are how you can show extra love to the company. If you loved your vendor and what they did and give them a great tip, that's awesome, but don't forget to also leave them a review so that the whole world knows how amazing they are too. This shows support and puts an extra spotlight on them to help them get more business.
It's okay if you can't afford to tip all your vendors (weddings are expensive enough as it is) but just be sure to at least show them some extra love by writing them a glowing review.
Support the small business owners! You may think your florist owns and operates her own business so all the money goes directly to her, and she's probably swimming in cash. Most of the time, that's a big N-O. Small business owners go above and beyond for their clients more than the big companies do (yes that is a tad bit of a biased statement). It takes a lot of courage and sacrifice to step out on your own and start a business and it takes a long time to gain traction and become profitable. Most of the time, these businesses are individually owned and operated so what a larger company has a staff of 20+ to do, a small business owner just has themselves and maybe one assistant. They also likely have much lower prices than their competitors. This means they're doing more work for less money. And that money has to not only support the business but also their family. So I always recommend booking and tipping your local small business vendors to show appreciation and support.