Bride and groom speak with owners at Melhorn Manor while getting photographed

How Much Money Should You Budget to Tip Wedding Vendors?

One of the categories that many brides or grooms forget to add to their wedding budget is a gratuity for wedding vendors. Photographers, officiants, wedding planners, and caterers in Lancaster County, PA, often appreciate a tip for a job well done. While it’s not mandatory, tipping your wedding vendors is a thoughtful gesture and can be done in more ways than just monetary gifts.

At Melhorn Manor, we want to make your wedding day the most magical day of your life, and that includes taking away as much stress as possible. That’s why we put together this handy guide, so you know who to tip and how to do it. Owners, Allory and Jess, can help with vendor management, including distributing your prepared tips, if desired.

General Gratuity Guidelines for Wedding Vendors

First, we want to start by saying that tipping your vendors is not mandatory. It’s customary for some service providers, especially in the United States, to receive tips, but don’t get too stressed with worrying if you’re tipping the “correct amount.” The tip can often reflect how well of a job they provided, or you can show appreciation in other ways.

When deciding on the amount to give each vendor, first check your wedding contract. Some contracts include gratuity in the fees you’ve paid, in which case, the tip is included in your budget. Service fees generally don’t count as gratitude, as they’re often mandatory administrative fees for the business owner.

And speaking of business owners, like photographers or florists, most don’t expect a tip. However, it’s nice to show your appreciation if they’ve done a superb job.

Tip Amounts by Vendor

After you’ve figured out which vendors don’t include tips in their contract, you’ll want to have a list of your remaining wedding providers and how much you’re paying them, so you can quickly figure out percentages based on the suggestions below. The best way to prepare the tips is to make envelopes with each vendor’s name on them and put the cash or check inside it to be distributed by a responsible person.

The traditional time to deliver the tips is after they have provided the service. However, if you want to give them extra motivation to provide exceptional work, consider giving them a tip before delivering the service. And of course, if you were blown away by the job they performed, you can always provide an additional bonus afterward.

Baker/Florist/Stationer

Tipping your baker, florist, calligrapher, or other preparers of wedding-day specialties is optional. Most of these providers are charging you what they expect to receive in exchange for their talents. If you decide to give extra to these providers, consider $50 to $150, depending on the complexities of the service they delivered.

Bartenders

Bartenders typically expect tips. It would help if you planned to give about 10 to 20 percent of the final bar bill to be distributed among the bartenders. If bartenders are tipped throughout the reception by wedding guests, you can take this into consideration when deciding how much to tip the bar staff.

Catering Companies

When you book your special day at Melhorn Manor, we provide you with a list of eleven exceptional caterers in Lancaster County, PA, from which to choose. For tipping catering services, 15 to 20 percent of the total bill before taxes is standard. Most catering companies add the gratuity into the final catering bill, so be sure to check your contract to know if the gratuity was already added or if you need to add the gratuity yourself. You can give a tip to the catering manager, who can distribute it among the waiters, if applicable.

Delivery People

For people who deliver your flowers, wedding cake, chairs, or linens, you may want to consider putting aside $5 to $20 per person, again depending on the difficulty and complexity of the delivery and setup. It’s expected to tip these folks, especially if they pay great attention to detail.

DJ/Band/Musicians

If a DJ keeps your wedding guests on their feet and creates an enjoyable experience, a customary tip is about 10 to 15 percent of the pre-tax bill. Ceremony musicians or reception band members typically receive about $15 to $50 per person. Tipping your music providers is optional but always appreciated.

A bride getting her make-up applied by a stylist on her wedding day.

Make-Up and Hair Stylist

General salon tipping rules apply for weddings, about 15 to 20 percent of the bill. Typically, this tip is mandatory and not included in the fee. If the stylist is a salon owner, they generally don’t require tips. But, if they bring an assistant, you should tip them.

Officiant

If your officiant is a member of a religious organization, many typically won’t accept tips. You can, however, make a monetary donation to their house of worship. If you are also a member of their congregation, you may want to consider donating a little bit more, about $100 to $500.

If they are a government official, like a judge, or an ordained minister without a congregation, $50 to $100 is a standard tip. They typically receive their tip at the rehearsal dinner.

Photographer/Videographer

Your photographer and videographer are other optional-tip vendors. Many of these service providers are business owners, and thus, don’t expect tips. However, if they bring a second photographer or assistant, it’s customary to tip them. You can tip either one about $50 to $200, depending on how long they’re with you and the amount you paid them for their services.

Transportation

Catered events like weddings in Lancaster County often include transportation from one venue to another. For example, if you’re getting married at a church and having your reception at our stunning Equestrian Tobacco Barn at Melhorn Manor, you may hire a limousine or a party bus to take you from one place to the other. In this case, you’ll want to give your driver about 15 to 20 percent of the total bill as a tip.

Venue Attendants

Your venue may include numerous attendants, like valet, coat check, restroom attendant, event managers, and more. You can plan about a $1 to $2 tip per guest divided among all the attendants. You can give these to the venue event manager to be distributed before the reception.

Wedding Planner

If you use a wedding planner to help plan your special day, and they go over and beyond what you expected them to do, you may want to tip them. A general tip amount is about 10 to 15 percent of the total charges for the time they spent planning your wedding. However, they frequently don’t expect tips and would be appreciative of a gift.

Other Ways to Show Appreciation

If you are unable to provide monetary tips to your vendors, don’t fret. There are other ways to show your appreciation to them, like:

  • Write a fantastic business review on their Google, Yelp, The Knot, or Wedding Wire pages
  • Allow them to use photos from your big day as part of their portfolio
  • Give them a seat at your reception, pay for their dinner, and give them a favor to take home
  • Purchase a small gift of appreciation instead
  • Write a hand-written thank-you note and mail it to them after the honeymoon
  • Give credit to your vendors when posting your wedding photos on social media

For a Stunning Venue with Caterers in Lancaster County, PA, Visit Melhorn Manor!

Tipping wedding vendors, like wedding planners, limo drivers, and caterers in Lancaster County, PA, doesn’t have to be complicated! Simply follow the guidelines above, or tip them the amount you believe they deserve for the job they performed. Or choose from a different way to show appreciation for the work they did for you.

And when you need a beautiful, historic property that includes remarkable caterer options and can take the stress out of planning your wedding day, visit Melhorn Manor! Our owners—Allory and Jess—have more than three years of experience helping over 180 couples navigate the wedding planning process. We also have a list of 11 full-service catering companies from which to choose to make your day even easier. Let us help you sort out the nitty-gritty details, like tipping your vendors so that you can enjoy the happiest day of your life!