Gratuities: The 411 on Who and How Much to Tip

From a bride’s (or, perhaps, father of the bride’s) standpoint, one of the biggest etiquette oversights can be vendor gratuities – who to tip, how much and when.

After hiring your vendors and leaving them fantastic post-nuptial reviews, gratuities are the next best way to show appreciation and respect – especially if they met the requirements of your contract in a kind and professional manner. Today, we’re giving you the complete (but brief) rundown on all things gratuity.


*Disclaimer: Before heading to the bank, double-check all vendor contracts to ensure gratuity isn’t covered in upfront fees or on final invoices. Also, some contracts plainly state a suggested percentage or fee. 

Officiant: This will vary for each couple and their relationship to the person performing their marriage service, as well as whether pre-marital counseling was provided, but we suggest extending an honorarium of somewhere between $200-$600 at the rehearsal.

Photographer/Videographer: You’re not obligated to tip the owner of a company, and most photographers or videographers own their businesses. Feel free to tip $100 or more, but if they bring an assistant, be sure to tip him or her $50-$75 at the end of the night.

Caterer/Bartender/Waitstaff: Gratuity is often included here, but if not, bartenders should be tipped $100-$200 each, kitchen and waitstaff should be tipped $50-$75 each and banquet or service captains tipped $75-$150 each. Divide the cash into separate envelopes with the proper staff member labeled on the front, or, simply add the gratuity to your final payment and designate what it’s for. 

Hair and Makeup Artists: Similar to a salon, this standard gratuity should be 15-20% of the service. If paying for your bridesmaids’ hair and makeup, pay the tip yourself, or pre-pay the tip that each bridesmaid would owe if your girls were paying for their services. Get more of our thoughts on that, here!

Musicians: Not required, but sure to be appreciated, consider extending $20-$50 per person for both ceremony musicians and/or the band at your reception and can be handed over at the end of their performances.

Drivers: A required and standard gratuity to extend, tip your drivers 15-20% of the total bill. Be sure to double check your invoice and/or contract beforehand, if this is already included in the final bill. 

Valet Attendants: This is a required gratuity and it is not your guests’ responsibility. Be sure and extend a cash tip to each valet attendant of $30-$50 at the end of your event. 

Coat Check Attendants: Again, this is a required gratuity that is not your guests’ responsibility. Figure up between $0.50 and $2 per guest for this and extend to your coat check attendants at the end of the night. 

Wedding Planner, Cake Baker, Stationer and Florist: These professionals may not be expecting a tip, but if you feel so inclined, send them cash or a check in the mail post-wedding. Anything from $50-$200 will do the trick!

Whether you’re financing your wedding alone or with the help of your fiancé or other family members, keep this list handy for when it’s time to start tipping.

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