We all have asked ourselves, “Did I tip enough?” or “Did I tip too much?” at one point or another. Tipping should be the act of expressing gratitude for above-and-beyond service, but we are often required to tip, losing the motivation to use it as an expression of our thanks.
Keep in mind: If the recommended tip seems too expensive, consider a less expensive service so you can still tip the appropriate amount.
Here are some guidelines to help you tip:
Vendors with Contracts
15-20 percent of total bill
*For every vendor that you have a written contract with, read it carefully to see if it includes gratuity. If it does, it will most like say whether it is 15 or 18 percent (for example). While completely optional, feel free to tip more if you were extremely satisfied with the service you received.
Hair and Makeup
15-20 percent of total bill
*To make it easier on your bridesmaids, figure out the tip ahead of time and tell them one total that includes the services and the tip. This will save each individual from having to figure out what to tip.
Check if a tip is included in the contract; otherwise, you do not need to tip them. If you want to tip them, tip $10-$20 per location for set-up and delivery, unless it’s already included in the contract.
Food and Beverage
Bartenders: 10 percent of the total liquor bill (you can give one tip to be split by them)
Catering manager: $200+
Waiters: $20+ (to be distributed by the catering manager, unless it is already included)
Music and Photos
Ceremony Musicians: 15 percent of fee or $15-$20 per musician
Reception Musicians: $25-$50 per musician
Photographer: $50-$100 (depending if he or she owns the studio or is an employee)
Videographer: $50-$100 (depending if he or she owns the studio or is an employee)
If you have the ceremony in a church, making a financial contribution to the church is recommended. If you are charged for your ceremony space and the officiant is included, a smaller tip (or none) is acceptable. If you are not being charged for the space, a tip of $50-$100 is appropriate for the officiant’s time.
Limo, bus, trolley drivers: 10-15 percent
Valet or parking attendants: $1-$2 per car (this can be figured out ahead of time by estimating how many guests will use this service)
Hotel: $2-$5 per room; $10-$15 if you used a suite to dress
Wedding planner: While a tip isn’t expected, it is always a nice way to let them know how much you appreciated their help. If you have multiple planners, $50-$100/person is recommended.
A few days before the wedding, set aside cash for each tip in a labeled envelope. It is also a good idea to put someone in charge of handing out the tips that day, such as the wedding planner or father of the bride or groom.
Sources: The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss (2007) and Wedding Vendors: Tipping Cheat Sheet by Celeste Perron (TheKnot.com).