In the midst of the holidays season, most people have the spirit of giving on their minds. And when it comes to your wedding, there are many people you’ll want to thank. In some cases, it’s best to express your thanks with a small gift and heartfelt note (think: your bridal party, both sets of parents). For certain vendors, like your hair and makeup artist, a tip is generally expected. But tipping other vendors, like, say, your wedding photographer, can be a bit trickier. After more than a decade in the wedding business, we’ve got the scoop on wedding tipping protocol. Here are some wedding-day tipping guidelines to take the guesswork out of saying thank you.
First, take a close look at all of your contracts. Many vendors, like caterers, include gratuity in their fees (sometimes this is noted as a ‘service charge’, so double-check!), and tipping extra isn’t required. Be sure to plan ahead so you don’t have to worry about divvying up cash on your wedding day, and designate someone like a parent or bridal party member to hand out the tip envelopes at the end of your reception.
Other wedding-day tipping guidelines? Tip your hair and makeup artists what you normally would (so, 15 to 20 percent of the cost). If you’re getting married in a church, synagogue or other place of worship, it’s customary to leave a donation, anywhere from $100 to $500. If a friend or family member is officiating the ceremony, show your thanks with a small gift and thank-you note.
If a vendor is also the business owner, you don’t have to tip. (This typically means your photographer, florist, baker and videographer, in which case you’re simply expected to pay the agreed-upon amount in your contract.) Wedding planners also don’t often receive tips. Of course, if you’d like to thank any of these vendors for a particularly extraordinary job, you can offer a tip, or send them a nice note after the wedding. Plan on around $20 and up for each member of the waitstaff (if not included in the contract), and from $1 to $2 per guest for restroom and coatroom attendants. Tip parking attendants $1 to $2 per car, and make sure to let them know not to accept cash tips from guests. Tip live musicians anywhere from $25 to $50 each, and 15 to 20 percent to limo or bus drivers. Anyone else go above and beyond? Remember: A sincere thank-you note never goes out of style.