A Quick Guide to Tipping Your Vendors

Your Vow Renewal Vendors: Who to Tip and How Much

While tipping is typically never mandatory, it is customary for good service. The people executing on your vendor agreements, like waitstaff, valets, and bartenders, do their very best to make sure you and your guests have an enjoyable experience. Those that go above and beyond are all the more deserving of this extra expression of thanks. Overall, you should expect to hand out 20 percent of your total vow renewal vendor bills in tips. But you’ll want to read all of your vendor contracts first to see if gratuity charges were included before you start handing out tips. Some vendors have started including a standard rate, much like restaurants do for large parties, in the total bill. Also, any self-employed vendor or the owner of the business you’ve hired won’t be expecting a tip. This may include your favor maker, cake baker, stationer, seamstress, and florist.

To make sure you tip everyone else on your vendor list appropriately, here’s a quick guide to tipping your vow renewal vendors.

Ceremony

  • Hairstylists and makeup artists: 15 to 20 percent of the total bill.
  • Musicians: $25 to $50 each if they are working for an agency.
  • Officiant: $0 as most vow renewal officiants work independently and charge a set fee. For clergy members, the house of worship typically has a suggested donation amount for members ($50-200).

Reception

  • Coordinators and planners: $0; however, each junior staff member that is required and actively involved, should be tipped $50 to $100 each.
  • Photographers/videographers: $100 to $200 for the primary person if they are the staff of an agency (but not the owner), and $50 to $75 for assistants.
  • Catering manager: $250 to $500 or 20 percent of the bill, whichever is less.
  • Waitstaff: $10-20 per person should be given to the catering manager or “captain” to distribute to waitstaff if you feel they provided exceptional service. An overall gratuity is typically included in your contract.
  • Bartenders: 12 to 15 percent of your total pre-tax bar bill should be split amongst the bartenders. Be sure you inform the bartenders of your intent to tip after the reception and request that they refuse tips from your guests.
  • DJ/band: $25 to $50 per person should be given to the on-site point person for distribution unless gratuity was included in your contract, or they are the owners/working independently.
  • Chauffeur/driver: 15 to 20 percent of the total bill is typically given at the end of the day when you are dropped off at your final destination unless the gratuity was included in your contract.
  • Valets: $1 to $2 per car that is expected. This should be given to the supervisor in advance to distribute amongst the staff. You should request that a sign be displayed at the valet station stating that gratuities have been taken care of. Valets should be instructed to refuse tips offered by guests.
  • Restroom/coat-check attendants: $.50 to $2 per expected guest. This should be given to the reception site manager in advance to distribute to the staff.

Setup & Breakdown

  • Delivery people and support staff: $5 to $20 per person for deliveries arriving from your florist, baker, rental company, and other vendors. These staffers may also be doing the real work on-site, including heavy lifting, setup, and hauling away after the celebration, so tip accordingly.

Pro Tip: It’s in the envelope!

To make handing out tips easy, put cash in envelopes labeled with the role they are for. Don’t seal them unless you are sure that you will be giving a set amount to a particular position, so you can make adjustments as needed. Keep an extra $200 in small bills handy for this purpose!