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Tipping Etiquette for Wedding Vendors

With full swing wedding season approaching, we are getting more and more specific questions leading up to a couple’s big day. We know tipping can be a big concern for wedding couples. Which vendors should you tip? How much is standard? When do you dole out the tips? If you do plan on tipping your vendors, make sure you have built that into your wedding budget. Once you realize how many people are involved in your big day, you will notice that you may be shelling out more cash than originally anticipated.

Considering the cost of an average wedding in the Seattle area, you may be a little overwhelmed at why you’ll have to factor in tipping into your budget. However, try not to think of why you have to tip vendors and focus more on how and when. You don’t HAVE to tip and most vendors don’t EXPECT a tip at the end of the night, but it is often done. Consider this: would you walk away from a restaurant without leaving a tip? Tipping is about saying thank you to everyone who had a part your wedding, and with planning you can accommodate everyone on your list without having to blow your budget!

Who to Tip

The best way to decide who you want to tip is to go over your vendor list and take note. Make sure the contracts you have don’t already have a tip built in, as well. We find that this often happens with catering services more than any other vendor. Don't worry, if it is included your contract will definitely state this.

We like to suggest that you tip people that have contributed greatly to the success of your big day and those who will actually "touch" a guest. Here are a few people that we suggest you consider tipping:

  • Bartenders

  • Caterer

  • DJ/Band

  • Florist

  • Hairstylist(s)

  • Makeup artist(s)

  • Musicians/Entertainment

  • Photographer(s)

  • Transportation Drivers

  • Videographer(s)

  • Waiters

  • Wedding Coordinator or Planner

Note: Tips are often not accepted by religious officiants, but you could consider making a donation to their place of worship in lieu of a traditional tip.

How Much to Tip

Once again, tips aren’t expected but are appreciated, especially for great service. So you've made a list of the vendor you plan on tipping, but how do you know how much is best? You can go with a standard percentage of the your total spent with that vendor, like 15 to 20 percent. However, that does add up quickly and it may not be appropriate for all services. Just use your best judgment. If you go to the hair salon, tip your wedding hair stylist what you would normally tip for a hair cut. If your florist also built your ceremony arch or your chuppah, consider tipping them a little more for the extra work they put into building, delivering, setting up, decorating, and tearing down.

We understand if you feel as if you truly can’t factor tipping into your wedding budget. In that case, consider a small gift to express your gratitude and appreciation. Regardless of your choice between tips and gifts, a handwritten thank you card to every wedding professional should be included on your newlywed to-do list! Wedding vendors also love a good review. Ask which website they would prefer you contribute to. For example, we here at Willow & Ivy Events love a good Facebook, Wedding Wire or The Knot review. A good review goes a long way in this line of work!

When to Tip

Vendors should receive their tips at the end of their service. For example, tip ceremony musicians at the end of the wedding ceremony, photographers at the end of the reception, or hairstylists at the end of the appointment. If you have a wedding planner, give him or her the tips in labeled envelopes to dole out at the end of the night or at the end of each service. If you don’t have a planner, consider assigning a family member or friend to do this. Trust us, you probably won’t remember to do it yourself by the end of the day. It’s the last thing you want to be worrying about!

Now that you know all of the ins and outs of wedding tipping, you can move forward with your planning process stress free. If you're still feeling a little overwhelmed or are just looking for help, feel free to reach out to us! We are always up for grabbing a cup of coffee or a cocktail and chatting about how we can make your wedding day extra special. Shoot us an email at We look forward to talking!

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