Tips on Tipping…A Guide to Wedding Day Gratuities

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Tipping is the act of thanking your wedding day “superhero team” for their devotion, dedication, hard work and service. You have handed over the biggest event of your life to these people, but you’ve also handed over some pretty lofty fees to them, so it can seem overwhelming to understand wedding venue tipping culture. There is always value in tipping those who you feel have gone above and beyond throughout your journey, but understanding just how much you should spend on showing your appreciation is something that we get asked quite often by our couples. After all, it’s usually the first time that they are navigating this process. Although gratuities in most cases are appreciated, but not expected, we urge our couples to include gratuities in their initial budget if you know you’ve assembled a wedding day dream team, and suggest you start preparing these little “gifts” months in advance, so you are not in a financial frenzy days before the wedding.

Historically business owners in the service industry did not receive tips (this was something reserved only for on-site employees), however, with the number of small businesses that make up the wedding industry, it is safe to assume that the business owner is also the person that is snapping pictures, building floral arches and getting your guests out on the dance floor on the day of. That being said, most small business owners go above and beyond for your special day, so this may need to be thought about when you’re considering who gets an envelope at the end of the night. These men and women are devoted to you on your wedding day, and a tip is a gesture that can go a very long way.

Our Tipping Guide

Tipping is always at your discretion and is never required (unless noted in your contract with the company). While we feel strongly about showing gratitude to vendors, we also want you to know  that there are no “set in stone” rules for tipping on a wedding day. We can offer you suggestions, but in the end if someone clearly went above and beyond for you or you feel like a vendor really dropped the ball; adjustments are always allowed and encouraged. Planner’s Tip: Make sure someone you trust (best man, a parent, or your Wedding Planner) has some extra cash on hand for these adjustments.

The Caterer

The caterer will often include their gratuities in the contract (so make sure you read through it!), but if this is not the case then we suggest 15-20% of the pre-tax cost of food and beverage. We think the easiest way to tip your caterer and wait staff is to put a lump sum in an envelope to be handed off to the catering manager. He or she can then distribute it out to bartenders, servers, etc. as they see fit. Another option is to ask how many waitstaff will be on-site for your event, and tip per person (don’t forget your bartenders!). We would recommend around $100 per staff member in this case. 

Hair and Makeup 

Your beauty team should receive 18-20% of the total cost of services for the day. This gratuity is often expected and should be extended at the time the services are completed. If your wedding party is paying for their own beauty services be sure to include the tip in their price so they know what to have on hand. If you are covering gratuities for your VIP’s make sure to give 18-20% of the total amount of all services. 

Photographer and Videographer 

While this is a gratuity that is not expected, it is most certainly appreciated and should range anywhere from $200-$250 per shooter. Your photos are the one thing you will take with you years after your wedding day is over, so share the love with this super important vendor. Keep in mind that your photographers and videographers are not only there to document moments, but they are often part of your day-of entourage and their personality can make or break your wedding day vibe. You’ll quite honestly see them more than your other half on the big day! 

Ceremony Musicians 

Similar to the band members, each ceremony musician should receive a tip of about $100 each.  Once again this gratuity should reflect your appreciation to these musicians, so using your discretion is always recommended. If your musicians are leaving directly after you say “I do”, make sure to have their envelope ready for them at the close of the ceremony.

When we are talking about the person who is responsible  for “getting the party started”, we suggest a gratuity of $150-$250. Again, unless otherwise stated in the contract, a tip is not required but always appreciated. This can be given to your music man…or woman at the completion of the reception. 


If you chose a band for your entertainment, a gratuity of $100-$150 is suggested for each band member. The band members should be tipped at the completion of their performance or at the close of the reception, if they stay until the end. Gratuities for band members is another instance when you may want to increase your original amount, especially if they were able to come through will song requests, nailed your first dance or kept the party going longer than agreed upon.


Your wedding planner can receive anywhere from 10-20% of the total services provided. Again, while this tip is not required, it is most certainly appreciated. For nearly every wedding they plan, a wedding planner goes above and beyond to bring your vision to life. Your planner is the one person (or team) that keeps your day running smoothly, so much so that oftentimes the couple is not even aware of impending disasters and snafu’s that could have happened had their Wedding Planner not stepped in. If your planner has a team with him or her, we suggest tipping them separately or giving a lump sum to the lead planner to distribute accordingly. 

A number of different professionals help make your day a success, and it is mostly thanks to them that your wedding day runs smoothly. These “superheroes” absorb the stress and put in the effort to make sure the only thing you are thinking about is the love you are celebrating  with your new spouse. 

While we are on the subject of money, we recommend you take a look at some Budgeting 101. If you are in the early stages of planning and are looking for some information on planning your budget, take a look at our blog; What Goes Into a Wedding Budget.

Follow along for our best tips, tricks, and advice that we've gathered after almost a decade of making wedding magic happen! 



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