November 4, 2016
When building your event budget, it’s important to remember vendor gratuity that may be expected on your Wedding Day. Generally speaking, a vendor that provides a service should be provided with gratuity, especially if you’re extremely pleased with the service you have received. If a vendor is the owner of their small business, gratuities are usually not expected although, they’re always welcome if you are happy with your experience. Here is a guideline for gratuities:
Vendors where gratuities are expected:
- Setup/Delivery Staff – $10 – $20 per person (rentals, baker, misc. deliveries)
- Hair stylist and makeup artist – 15 -20% (similar to how you would tip at the salon)
- Musicians (Ceremony & Band) – $25 – $50 per person for a band; $50 – $150 for a DJ
- Officiant – normally a donation (of about $100) to their house of worship is best
- Onsite Venue Manager / Catering Manager – $250 – $500
- Transportation – 15%-20% of trip provided to the driver (unless built into contract)
- Valets – $1 – $2 per car (if you’re providing gratuity, ask valets not to accept tips from guests)
- Photographer & Videographer – if your photographer/videographer is not the owner of the studio, consider tipping $50 – $250 ($100-$200 for the main vendor; $50-$75 for second shooter). If the vendor is the small business owner, it isn’t necessary to tip them.
Based on the reception venue contract, there might be a service & gratuity fee built in that would cover the onsite manager, waitstaff, bartenders, and attendants. If you’ve experienced exceptional service, you may want to provide additional gratuity to staff such as your event manager and bridal attendant. If you do not have this built into your contract, budget about 15% of pretax food bill for the catering manager to distribute to waitstaff. An additional 10-15% of the pretax bar bill should be provided to the bartenders after the event – if this is the case, ask them not to put a tip jar on the bar. For your event/catering manager, provide them a gratuity of $250 – $500.
Your Wedding Planner can be responsible for distribution of vendor gratuity on your behalf during the wedding so you don’t have to worry about it. If you become close with your vendors, an alternative could be to give them a small, meaningful gift. Regardless, if you work with great vendors and you’ve enjoyed your experience, it’s always nice to give them a little nod of thanks.
If you have questions about vendor gratuities or related etiquette questions, please let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org