November 4, 2016

Kelly Strong Events: Vendor Gratuity Guidelines

**This post has been updated: 12/2021**

When building your event budget, it’s important to remember vendor gratuity that may be expected on your Wedding Day. Generally speaking, any vendor that provides a service should be provided with gratuity, especially if you’re extremely pleased with the service you have received. Gratuities are a really great way to show your appreciation for your vendors that have worked so hard to make magic for your wedding day! Here is a guideline for gratuities:

  • Setup/Delivery Staff – $10 – $20 per person (rentals, cake delivery, misc. deliveries)
  • Hair stylist and makeup artist – 15% – 20% of service fee (similar to how you would tip at the salon)
  • Musicians (Ceremony & Band) – $25 – $50 per person for a band; $50 – $150 for a DJ
  • Priest or Officiant – $100 – $300 donation to their Church or $50 – $100 for Civil Officiant
  • Transportation – 18%-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: $100 – $300 for the main shooter and $50-$100 to the second shooter
  • Florist: 10%-15% is appreciated but not required
  • Baker: 10-15% is appreciated but not required

Catering: 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 catering/banquet 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.

One of the best ways you can thank your vendors for providing excellent service on your wedding day is to write them a review! This helps when future clients are considering options and might be the tipping point for those clients to book your wedding vendor!

If you have questions about vendor gratuities or related etiquette questions, please let me know!

Kelly Strong Events: Toronto Wedding & Event Planning

Vendor Gratuity Guidelines