A close up of a casually dressed man playing the cello. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

How Much to Tip Wedding Vendors

With all the expenses involved in wedding planning, gratuity might fall under the radar, but it’s an important thing to keep in mind, especially as you create your wedding budget.

If you find yourself scratching your head as you flip through contracts and talk with all kinds of wedding vendors about costs, you’re not alone. Although most of the fees are laid out, there is still that question of gratuity/tipping. Is it expected? How much is appropriate?

Most professionals in the wedding industry do not expect tips, but it’s always a nice gesture, especially if the service was above and beyond.

And as far as gratuity charges go, always check your contracts before shelling out more cash. If there is a gratuity fee, don’t worry about tipping extra, unless there is an individual you really want to give a little extra to. If there is no gratuity fee in the contract, it is up to you whether or not extra money gets handed out to vendors and individuals.

Now let’s get into the wedding tipping details. Here is a quick guide to help clear up any confusion you may still have.

Related: How to Say No to Family and Friends’ Wedding Services

Wedding Planner  

Tipping is optional and most planners don’t expect anything on top of their contracted fees, but if yours did an exceptional job and you feel inclined, consider tipping 10-20%.

Hair and Makeup Artist  

If you’re a salon-goer then you know it’s customary to tip your stylist/nail artist/makeup artist. The same goes for your wedding hair and makeup team. 15-25% is acceptable.

Dessert table with floral arrangements and trays of desserts. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Catering Staff  

It’s common for a gratuity fee to be added to the overall catering fee, so double check before you give anything extra. If there’s not a gratuity added or the service was exceptional and you want to tip extra, consider giving 15-20% of the total bill or $50 to each chef.

Delivery and Set up Staff

For those who are delivering or setting up items like tents, chairs, lighting, etc., a tip is expected. $5-10 per person is adequate.

Ceremony Officiant

Tips to the individual aren’t expected, but a donation to the church or synagogue the officiant is affiliated with is suggested. A $100 donation to the church, plus a $50 tip to the officiant are good baseline amounts. You may consider donating/tipping more if you’re a member of the church or synagogue.

Violinist, guitar player, and cello player playing live music for an outside wedding. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Ceremony Musicians  

Whether it’s a string quartet or the church’s pianist, tipping the talent is a kind gesture. $15-20 per musician is appreciated.

Reception DJ or Band

Tipping your cover band or DJ is optional, but preferred. If they delivered a great experience and you would like to give each musician a little extra, $25-50 is the norm.


A solo photographer who owns his or her own business will not expect anything on top of the normal fees, but a photographer who works for a company (does not own business) will greatly appreciate a few extra dollars. $50-100 per photographer/videographer is a good place to start.

Bartender pouring champagne into champagne glasses. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.


Gratuity for reception attendants like bartenders, waitstaff, parking attendants and the like are usually dictated by your contract, so tipping extra is optional. If it’s not already included or you find the service to be exceptional, budget for 10-20% of the food and drink bill to be split among the bartenders and waiters. If you’re employing a parking attendant, you can tip $1 per car.


Your limo/taxi/shuttle drivers will usually expect a tip. Check your contract to see if the gratuity is included. If not, consider giving between 15% and 20% of the total bill.


Tipping is optional, but if yours did an outstanding job and you want to show your gratitude, consider giving a 10-15% gratuity after services are rendered.

Keep in mind that not all of these may apply to you and your contracts may state something different. Don’t sign on the dotted line until you’re clear on everything! And when in doubt, just ask.

You can also consider tipping in ways that don’t include cash. Whether it’s a thank-you note, a glowing review, or items for their portfolio, any kind of “tip” is a nice surprise.

Related: What To Look For When Choosing Your Wedding Florist

Have more questions related to tipping your wedding vendors? Or are you looking for Austin based vendors? I have some great contacts!

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