Do you have to? No. Should you? Yes, perhaps so.

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Tipping your wedding vendors is not mandatory, but is a good sign of a gracious bride and groom. Just like there's a standard for tipping at hair salons and restaurants, there are benchmarks for giving to the people who helped your dream wedding come true.

Types of Wedding Vendor Tips:

Ideally, gratuity should be discussed and allocated as you plan your wedding budget so that it's not an afterthought or an unexpected expense. Keep in mind that your extra thank you doesn't have to be a cash gift. A gift certificate to the spa, a swanky restaurant, or to a fine department store is always acceptable. If your budget doesn't allow for monetary gifts, consider a handwritten note or a positive review online. You can even offer to provide a reference for future clients, a gesture that goes a long way. Your supportive feedback will yield a good return for years to come.

When to Tip Wedding Vendors:

Timing is everything so be realistic. If you know that life will get busy after the honeymoon, then consider giving your gifts on the day of the wedding. Your wedding planner would be delighted to handle this for you. If you prefer to wait until after you return from your trip, schedule time in your calendar with a glass of wine and relive all the wonderful moments of your wedding day. A post-wedding note that includes all the wonderful ways a vendor made your Big Day better is always appreciated.

How to Tip Wedding Vendors:

Catering:

Some catering contracts already include gratuity. If so, then still consider tipping the server specifically assigned to you (the couple) and your parents. It's customary to give $25-50 per server and banquet captain and $50-$100 per chef.

Photographer and Videographer:

A tip for these professionals is a way of saying thank you for going over and beyond throughout your engagement and on the Big Day. A tip of $150-250 is generous. Keep in mind that second shooters are paid by the hour or a day rate. You would be incredibly kind to think of them too.

Ceremony and Reception Staff:

You're not obligated by any means to tip your venue staff, but chances are they met with you a half a dozen times before your big day and did their best to meet all of your needs. A gift of $50-100 would mean the world and is a nice encouragement for someone who doesn't typically receive gratuities.

Officiant:

Every culture is different so be sure to check with your parish, church, or synagogue to make sure you are meeting protocol. Typically, officiants and clergy are not "tipped" rather given an honorarium between $200-400 on top of the ceremony fees.

Hair and Make-up Artists:

Industry standard for hair and make-up artists is 15-20% per stylist whether in the salon or on location. Be prepared to give your tip in an envelope on the day of your wedding. Be sure to remind your bridal party to include gratuity if they are responsible for paying for their hair and makeup.

Band or DJ:

A gift of $25-50 per musician or a 10% gratuity is welcomed by some of the hardest working vendors. The set up alone is pretty intense, and there's nothing more uplifting and motivating than to receive an envelope before the party begins!

Wedding Planner:

This is one of the professionals that has been by your side from the very beginning. The bond you share with your wedding planner is not like any other. Part friend, part family, part advisor, this person has filled multiple roles and has done the very best to make your wedding planning experience memorable. There's no right or wrong amount to give to your wedding planner or day-of coordinator, although some sources suggest 8-10% of their total fee. More importantly, give from your heart and no doubt your gift will be cherished.

Transportation:

A 15% gratuity or service charge is usually added to the contract. It's a good idea to take care of the driver's gratuity before the day of the wedding. With so many moving parts it is easy to forget your driver(s).

Florist:

Your floral designer is not expecting a tip, but keep in mind the time, talent, and creativity that your decor team invested in your wedding. A tip of $100-$200 or a gift certificate to their favorite spot would make the perfect thank you gift.

Cake Designer:

Photos are priceless and primarily the way that cake and floral businesses sell their services. Some photographers will send a gallery to enjoy while honeymooning. Sharing images of your wedding cake saves the designer time and hassle of hunting the photographer down for pictures of their work.

Delivery Crews:

Whether linens, floral, cakes, or specialty services like cigar rolling, photobooth, and dessert entertainment, there are always people behind the scenes delivering and installing on behalf of the company. A tip of $10-$20 per delivery person is an unexpected surprise for the people who bring your event to life through their helping hands.

Natalie Dawley is owner and wedding planner with Two Be Wed, a boutique wedding planning company in Houston, Texas offering event design, consulting, and management for your Big Day.

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