Your Guide to Tipping Wedding Vendors

Don't forget the gratuity!

While it’s not standard practice all around the world, in the United States tipping culture is the norm. If you live in America, you’re probably accustomed to leaving 15-20% for your hairstylist when you go to the salon or your server when you go out to dinner. What you may not have realized is that tipping is also generally considered proper for vendors at special events, such as weddings. Since most people don’t host extravagant soirées as often as they go out to dinner or get their hair done, we thought it might be helpful to share a guide regarding who you should tip for your wedding.

which wedding vendors do you need to tip
Photo by Bryan N. Miller Photography; Planning & Design by EverAfter Events

One thing to keep in mind – which applies to the everyday world as well – is that you don’t need to tip the proprietor of an establishment (the owner). So if you hire the head photographer who runs their own studio, no tip is necessary, though for some it would be appreciated. However, if you choose to go with someone who works under the name of a larger studio, it’s considered good etiquette to tip for their services. This would apply to wedding planners and their assistants as well, although some couples like to give their consultant a little something extra as a thank you for a job well done. 

Often gratuity will be built into the invoice for catering; much in the way it is included for larger parties at a restaurant. Double check the line items to be sure, and if it’s not included, make sure to tip the staff. This applies to your musicians, bartenders, and drivers as well. Hairstylists and makeup artists should be tipped just as you would on any other occasion. If you are not covering the cost for your bridesmaids (and we recommend that you do if possible), be sure to communicate the need for including gratuity when you quote them on what they should expect to pay for beauty services. 

Finally, if you have valet, restroom, or coat check attendants, you should tip about one to two dollars per guest. Just make sure it’s clear to your attendees that the gratuity has been covered and they don’t need to pull out their wallets. 

For more tips, learn how to write thank-you notes for cash gifts and how to be the perfect "plus one" at a wedding.

Authored by: Emily Lasnier