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  • Writer's pictureJess Williams

Tips on Tipping Your Vendors

It can be difficult to know how much you should tip your vendors (or even if you should!) when you are planning your wedding day. It's often a last-minute thought, something that can stress couples out and usually ends with hastily written thank you cards with a random amount of cash stuffed inside. Hopefully this guide will help you learn who to tip, how to tip, and how much is appropriate coming from a wedding venue outside of Richmond, Virginia.


Your vendors are there to help you have the best day ever! Gratuity is always appreciated but almost never expected.

The main takeaway for this should be: trust your instincts. Each vendor present at your wedding is there to make your day perfect. If you feel they went above and beyond, or really nailed their job and made your day easier, then a monetary gift can be considered like a Christmas bonus. Always appreciated but never expected.


The best tip you can give to your vendors is a 5 star review on Google and other platforms! Vendors live and die by their reviews on Google, Zola, Facebook, and we shudder to mention, The Knot and Wedding Wire. (We could write a whole blog post about how those are pay-to-play machines but that's not what we're here for today).


If you feel that your vendors deserve a monetary thanks, this guide should hopefully prepare you so when you write those thank you cards, you aren't scratching your head in confusion.


We partnered with Helen at Sonder Event Co to come up with a comprehensive guide to tipping your wedding vendors. Check out this infographic and the more in-depth descriptions below!


Photography by Amber Mae Photography

Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

This is definitely a set of vendors that expects to be tipped. 18%-20% is expected and you typically give this to them at the end of their service.


Ceremony Officiant

We often see officiants tipped with either cash or a nice gift card to a restaurant to the tune of $50-$100. This is especially nice if you know the officiant. A donation to their church affiliation is always appreciated as well.


Ceremony Musicians

Live musicians always leave a lasting impression on your guests! $20-$30 per musician is a great way to thank them for that je ne c'est quoi. This can be given to the planner to be handed out after their service.


Reception Band

This is a good group to tip because it’s usually expected. Something simple like $25/musician should suffice and can be given to the planner to be handed out at the end of the night.


DJ/Master of Ceremonies

I will always say that a DJ is way more important than most couples give them credit for. Believe me when I say, people will notice if you have a bad DJ. What's also true is that they'll notice if you have a really great DJ too. If you're lucky enough to get one of those really great ones (which you will if you work off of our preferred vendor list ahem), a tip of $50-$200 at the end of the night will be perfect. This can be given to the planner to be handed out at the end of the night.


Photographer/Videographer

This one is a little controversial because lots of websites say that you shouldn't tip a business owner and most photographers and videographers run their own business and to that I say - why? They work just as hard as an employee they may hire and if we've already determined that a tip is not necessary but rather a nice gesture, why wouldn't you want to do that for the people in charge of documenting one of the most special days of your life? Typically I see them tipped $100-$250. This can be given to the planner to be handed out at the end of the night.


Catering

The catering staff typically adds an 18% gratuity to your invoice but if they don't, I would definitely consider adding a tip to everyone that was there that night. They are in charge of one of the most important aspects of the day - your tasty menu and how clean the place stays! $100-$120 is standard for the captain, $40 servers, and $40 chefs. This can be given to the planner to be handed out at the end of the night or to the captain when they arrive.


Bartending

Again, sometimes gratuity is already added to this invoice so be sure to check ahead of time. If your bartender doesn't do that, this is definitely a service you'd want to tip for. Typically I see the couple allow the bartenders to put out a tip jar for the guests and then the couple will also tip them usually $40-$50/bartender. This can be given to the planner to be handed out at the end of the night.


Venue Staff

For Avonlea Farms, this is going to consist of your four golf cart staffers and the closer. This staff is in charge of ferrying your guests around the property, setting up tables and chairs, and cleaning the property to prepare for the event. Tipping isn't expected but if you do decide to gift them something, $20-$50/staff member is common. This can be given to the planner or venue manager to be handed out at the end of the night.


Venue Manager

Our venue managers are there to make sure the coordinator is taken care of and everyone follows the rules. They manage the venue staff and make the whole event run more smoothly. A common tip for this person is typically $75-$150 and can be given to the planner to be handed out at the end of the night.


Venue Coordinator

If you’ve hired a coordinator that only works for the venue, then they are essentially the same as a wedding planner when it comes to running the day. They are your general, they are in charge that day! 

If you choose to tip them, I’ve seen anything from $50-$500 for this person, and $50-$200 for their assistant for the day.


Helen with Sonder Event Co and Jess with Avonlea Farms

Wedding Planner 

The wedding planner typically takes what a coordinator does a step further with design and planning in the months leading up to the big day. They are there from start to finish and hold your hand the whole way which can be immensely helpful to your stress levels. Everyone thinks this is the first vendor they can cut to save money and they almost always regret it! 

If you choose to tip them, which is common, Clients typically tip 10-20% of your total package cost. 


However, if you want to go a different route than a monetary tip, Thank You cards go a long way - especially when they can make a little social media post about it!   

Another option would be that some clients give their wedding planners a thoughtful gift, gift cards to their favorite spots, or something they know they could use (aka kit replenishment like tide sticks/shout wipes, bobby pins, mini sewing kits, or crochet hooks!). 


As for the planner assistant, a tip is so thoughtful and always an incredible compliment to their hard work. I’ve seen this range from $50-$200 or a portion of the planner’s tip to be noted that it goes to the planner’s team. 


Florist

This tip is only common if you feel that your florist goes above and beyond, especially on the day of with things like installations and on-site prep. I would say $25-$50 per person on site that day, and up to $300 for the lead florist if they exceeded expectations with wedding prep, design, and quality. This can be given to the planner to be handed out at the completion of the installation. 


Transportation

Transportation is often overlooked when it comes to recognition.  Tipping is highly encouraged if you have hired a private car, classic vehicle, or trolly service. We typically say $20-$50 per driver is a common tip. If you have hired a bus company, tipping the driver cash is the way to go, and maybe a little extra should your guests get…rowdy. This tip can be given to your planner to be handed out once all of the passengers have been loaded onto the bus. 


We also suggest including a vendor meal for your drivers or having your planner bring them coffee, water, or a snack. This is always greatly appreciated and forgotten often.


Photo by Casey Ripp Photography

You have hired these vendors to make your day perfect. They deeply care about your experience and just love love. We love that you chose us to help you celebrate! Most of us are small business owners and do this because we’re passionate about you and your spouse’s big day. Trusting us in the process is crucial to this experience and when we get it right, an extra thank you just makes it that much more worth it. I’ll tell you though, a thoughtful thank you card can be just as meaningful as a monetary gift for couples that have a tighter budget, especially when that thank you is written where everyone can see it! 


Thank you for taking your vendors into consideration and reading this post. Hopefully it helps set your mind at ease to see what is expected and hopefully you learned something along the way!

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