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To Tip or Not to Tip

This seems to be a hot topic on several different platforms and communities; tipping. What’s accepted, what’s expected, and what’s allowed.

These are my thoughts when it comes to the subject. I feel like I have enough experience, as I’ve been in the service industry for over 10 years; I am a certified make-up artist and I did do freelance makeup for a few years & with my experience in catering and hotels, I can confidently say I know a few things.


I have yet to see a catering contract that does not include gratuity; check them over carefully, I’ve seen some pretty interesting wording on gratuities. Any food services, there is an expectation on tipping – Standard: 15-20%

Entertainment: musicians/band/DJ

I find most DJ’s do not expect a gratuity but will accept if offered. Musicians/Bands are tipped for their services, but remember this is YOUR budget. Always base it on the level of service, the ability to keep a crowd going and how happy you were with the entire picture – Standard $20+ per band member


Florists are one of the two who you do not need to tip.

Hair Stylist/ Make-up Artist

Out of all the vendors, this is the one I struggle with the most, and I’ve had some interesting conversations on whether mobile make-up artists/hair stylist expected to be tipped. If you went into a salon, you would likely tip. If you had a mobile team/company come to you, you would likely tip. However, I do not think it is necessary to tip freelance hair/make-up artists. I say this because these professionals, create their own rates. They should ensure they are being taken care of by the rates they make for themselves. They likely have no overhead and likely only product costs and if they are trained professions, they get all their product at extremely discounted costs. I say tip any COMPANY but you are not expected to tip any freelance – Standard 10-15% per service


Officiants typically will accept a donation to the church – Standard $100
If you are not getting married in a church – Standard $50


Now photographers are tricky; kind of like hair stylist/make-up artists, you don’t need to tip the photographer if they own their own studio/company. Tipping comes into place if there is more than one shooter, when you know for certain they are an assistant and not a business partner; it never hurts to ask – Standard $50 per assistant


This is the second where tipping shouldn’t cross your mind; I have yet to hear of tipping their planner the norm, maybe if there has been a huge discount given or compensation for them going over and beyond what was contracted; that being said, I still feel a glowing review would be just as good. A thank-you card and a bottle of wine would also go a long way.


Set-up and Tear-down is the most physical job in a wedding; they are lifting, carrying and moving all sorts of objects. You are trusting these people with some of your most sentimental items; photos, cultural pieces, expensive rentals/decor. Now most set-up and tear-down crew get paid a pretty good base, it’s always nice to thank them personally– Standard $20 per assistant


Again, check your contracts. Typically there will be a gratuity in the contact, and most of the time it is due in cash at the time of arrival. If not, base it on a few things, 1) they were on time 2) they didn’t get lost 3) comfort of your travels – Standard: 10-20%

Even though tipping is becoming the new “normal”, it isn’t mandatory or even expected by most wedding professionals, excluding transportation and food/beverage. Any business would appreciate a review rather than cash and a thank-you note is always a nice touch!

How do you feel about these standard tipping rates? I’m always happy to hear feedback and reasoning!