Who, What, and When to Tip

I get this question a lot. Tips are often forgotten and definitely something that can add some last minute stress. The best thing to do is to plan ahead. I've put together a guide that will hopefully give you a clear idea of what you should do when it comes to tipping your wedding vendors. This way you can designate someone on your wedding day to pass out those little envelopes you've budgeted for and prepared ahead of time.

Wedding Planners. Wedding planners do not expect a tip. However, if you feel their service has been outstanding and you wish to tip your planner an appropriate amount is between 15% to 20% of their fee. Personal gifts are also appropriate instead of, or in addition to the monetary gift. As a wedding planner myself, I want to stress that tips are NOT expected. I always tell my clients that tipping is not necessary, as I LOVE what I do and truly enjoy helping each and every bride create their dream wedding day. I can speak for most if not all planners when I say that a happy and stress-free bride at the end of her wedding day is more than enough! OKOTA does not need to be given any sort of gratuity.

Hair Stylists and Makeup Artist. This crew does expect a tip. Just as you would for any hair styling service you can hand a small envelope of cash to each stylist and artist when they are finished. An appropriate amount is 15% to 25%. You should have an idea of how many stylists and make up artists will be helping you and your girls on your wedding day in advance and can prepare an envelope for each. Also keep in mind, if you know you've got a picky bridesmaid, a really tight timeline that your stylists are accommodating, or a lot of girls to get through your tip should be adjusted accordingly.

Delivery People. On the day of there will be A LOT of people on their way to you and the venue. Plan to tip each person when they drop off your items. For example the florist delivery person should be tipped between $5 and $10 for taking care of your flowers in transit. Other rental suppliers and people of that nature should be tipped between $5 and $10. For those doing much more delivery and assembly (for example delivering and assembling tents or chairs and tables) should be tipped a little extra. Again, if OKOTA is supplying your florals or rentals, gratuity is not expected for any OKOTA employees.

Officiant. It is appropriate to tip your officiant. The typical amount should be between $50 and $100. If your officiant will not accept the tip, consider making a donation to their church instead. One way to prepare for which will be necessary is to offer the tip at the end of your rehearsal if they are in attendance. If they refuse, you can prepare a handwritten note that you can give them after your ceremony that explains the donation in their name. Also note, that if you will be having a traditional mass including servers it is appropriate to offer each server a small tip as well. This amount should be $10 to $20 per person.

Ceremony Musician. Tipping the ceremony musician is optional. If you choose to tip them and appropriate amount would be $15 to $20 per person. Often times this is included in their fee already so and additional tip is truly up to you.

Wedding Photographers and Videographers. Tipping these people is also optional. You should determine if you tip them, and how much you tip them on their overall service and your relationship with them. Typical amounts range between $50 to $150. If you choose to tip the photographer and know there will be an assistant with them all day you can also choose to tip the assistant. If you know how long the assistant will be there and exactly how much they will be contributing you can plan your tip amount accordingly. Again, as a wedding photographer myself I do not expect a tip. I tell my photography clients they do not need to tip me, instead something like a testimonial on social media or wedding websites is great! OKOTA does not need to be given any sort of gratuity.

Venue Coordinator. An on-site coordinator is probably someone you've been working with throughout your entire planning process and it is a good idea to offer them a tip on your wedding day, along with a handwritten note about your gratitude for their assistants. Check to be sure gratuity isn't already included in your venue fee. Typically you would tip between 15% and 20% of the labor costs (not the entire venue cost). 

Catering. There are a few ways you can handle tipping your caterer. One way to manage this tip is to take 15% to 20% of your total cost and give that to your catering captain to be dispersed amongst their staff. If you have a specific chef or a couple chefs preparing the food it is appropriate to tip them between $50 and $100 each. Server tips are also expected at $20 to $50 per server. However, first check to see if you have a service or gratuity fee already included in your quote.

Attendants. These are people you may have doing valet parking, coat check, or bathroom attendants. Tipping for these individuals is optional, but recommended. An easy way to break down their tips is: parking attendants at $1 per car, coat check  and bathroom attendants at $.50 to $1 per person. A lot of times they are getting tipped by your guests already so you can take that into account as well.

Bartenders. Bartenders usually have a tip jar at the bar. However, it is optional to tip them either $20 to $25 per person or tip 10% of the total liquor bill to be divided amongst them. Again, gratuity may already be included in your contract so start there first.

Reception Music. If you are having a band or musician play at your wedding the gratuity may already be built into their fee. However, it is optional but recommended to tip $20 to $25 per musician. If you are having a DJ it is likely their tip is already included in the contract. However, a DJ should be tipped between $50 and $100. 

Driver. Tipping the driver is expected. No matter if you are having a town car, party bus, or anything in between a typical tip for them is 15% to 20%.

Florist. A florist tip is not typical. However, as stated before you may tip their delivery driver or if you really wish to reward for exceptional service a tip in the amount of 15% your total is appropriate. Again, if OKOTA is supplying your florals gratuity is not expected.

Seamstress. Tipping your seamstress is not typical. A nice gesture though would be to send them a handwritten note and a picture of you fitting perfectly into your wedding dress. 

Overall, tipping is at the discretion of you and your fiance, and anyone else contributing to your overall wedding costs. I always recommend putting your cash tip in a small envelope (in a small simple card with a nice short and sweet note is always nice) and having a designated person to hand them out in appropriate times. This is usually the best man. Also, be sure to give the tip to your vendor at a convenient time for them. For example, handing a card to your minister just before you walk down the isle, or to your caterer just as they are getting ready to serve your guests is not ideal. 

If you really want to go the extra mile or really aren't able to dole out all the extra last minute cash, write testimonials for all your vendors that did an outstanding job for you. Future brides will see these and it will help to make their planning easier and better the business of the vendors you loved. A nice testimonial goes such a long way!

**The above are recommendations only and sometimes different vendor prefer handling gratuity differently than I've outlined above.** If you are an above vendor and have a difference of opinion or if you are a bride that experienced a different method with one of your vendors please contact me and tell me about it! I would love to be able to offer brides my most accurate advice so please share with me by emailing abbie@okotaweddings.com Anonymous information is appreciated too!**