How To Tip Event Vendors

4 min read

Events are a tipping industry as a service industry. It can be very frustrating to try to figure out who you’re supposed to tip when planning your wedding, baby shower, or other large event.

Let’s be clear though, a tip is a tip unless it’s required in the contract. You should check the contracts of your vendors as it’s sometimes written what the expected tip or gratuity is.

Some contracts already have a gratuity built into the pricing while others add it as a fee or charge.

A tip is an optional thing. No one is required to tip unless it’s in your contract.

Let’s say that again: unless it’s in your contract, you are not required to tip someone.

There are vendors who will be expecting to be tipped if they have done a good job for a client. There will be some vendors who don’t expect it but still enjoy receiving them. To make this a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of vendors and detailed which are expecting a tip and who isn’t.

If you are asking for extra hours, that cost of the extra hours is not a tip. If they obliged you by staying late, that does merit additional tip or to receive one if it was not expected in the first place.

It’s important to note that often, a tip isn’t about the money involved. It’s the feeling of appreciation that comes from receiving one.

Vendors Who Always Expect a Tip

Bartenders. Bartenders will expect a tip to be paid at the end of the night or during the night with a tip jar. If you don’t want a tip jar put out, this is something you should bring up with them in advance. They’re expecting a minimum of 10%.

Keep in mind that they don’t just serve drinks. They are also keeping an eye out for the safety of your guests by preventing some guests from overindulging. If your venue includes bar service, their tip may be worked into the contract.

Caterers and/or Serving Staff. Many contracts will have this written out. If it isn’t written out, they are expecting 15-20%. This would be given at the end of the evening. Definitely check your contract.

Hair and Makeup Artists. A tip of 15-20% is expected though if they go out of their way to make your day special, do an exceptional job, or are helping with multiple people’s hair or makeup, it’s customary to tip extra. This would be given after the service is performed.

Vendors Who Sometimes Expect a Tip

Music Providers. This includes DJs, band members, instrumentalists, and singers. Typical tips are $25-50 per musician for a wedding ceremony only. Tips for reception musicians are typically $50-150 per musician. This would be given at the end of the evening.

Valet Service. Guests will often tip these providers which would mean you would not have to but they may not. The tip amount is around $1-2 per car. This would be given at the end of the evening.

Transportation. These would include shuttle drivers and chauffeurs.

Rental Delivery Persons. This will be expected when the items are being dropped off and is $5-20 per person.

Vendors Who Do Not Always Anticipate a Tip

These professionals do receive and appreciate tips but they don’t expect them to happen. That also means that they are surprised and honored when they are tipped.

Event Planner or Coordinator. Planners I know and have talked to get tipped about 50% of the time. The standard is about 15% of their pricing. Gifts like a gift card are also sometimes given instead of or with a tip, particularly if they have gone above and beyond for you. This would be given at the end of the evening.

Photographer. If your photographs are gorgeous and your photographer did an excellent job, tipping $50-200 per person is customary. This can be given at the end of the service or when you pick up the photos.

Videographer. If you love the video and would like to show appreciation, $50-200 per person is a nice gesture. This can be given at the end of the service or when you receive the video.

Florist. If the florist is providing specialty or large arrangements or if they have designed something specifically for you, a tip of 10% is appreciated. This would be due at time of delivery of the florals. If you’re picking up and setting up your florals that you purchased from a florist, no tip is generally given.

Officiant. This could be a tip given to them or a donation to their church or organization, if they prefer that. Customary tip for an officiant is $75-150 and would be given after the ceremony.

Cake Baker/Cake Artist. If the baker or cake artist created a unique cake for your event, went above expectations, or you are very happy with the product, a tip can be given. The person delivering and setting up the cake is more commonly the person tipped.

Vendors Who Rarely Receive a Tip

These professionals do receive tips on occasion but it isn’t often.

Rental companies. If the company sets up the tables and chairs, it’s nice to tip the persons doing that and the delivery person. The company itself is rarely tipped.

Dress shop. It’s rare for a dress shop or designer to be tipped but the person doing alterations does occasionally receive tips.

All tips should be factored in and prepared before your wedding day. Envelopes containing tips should be given to your event planner, your Day Of Manager, or to someone you trust to distribute for you. They should not be handed out before the event.

Know that if service is poor, the person completely drops the ball, or if the person does an amazing job and you want to do extra for them, the amounts in those envelopes can be adjusted before handing them out.

If you are on the fence about tipping but still would like to do something nice for your vendors, a 5 star review is one of the best gifts to give. Great reviews are PRICELESS! Say some nice things on social media or on a Google Review (or both, just make sure they are worded differently). That is a very valuable gift to someone who has worked hard for you!

Reviews mean so much!

As a personal opinion, I feel as though tips should always be a way of showing appreciation. This is a hot topic among vendors and anyone in the service industry. The above is my opinion only.