This seems to be a hot topic on several different platforms and communities; tipping. What’s accepted; what’s expected; and what’s allowed. I consider myself to know a few things about gratuities and tipping, as I’ve been in the service industry for +10 years; I did freelance makeup for a few years; and with my experience within catering and hotels, I can confidently say I’ve seen it through a few different set of lenses.


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. For any food services, there is an expectation on tipping – Standard: 15-20%

Entertainment: musicians/band/DJ

I find most DJs 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 but again will appreciate the offer.

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/hairstylists 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 15-20% per service.


Officiants typically will accept a donation to the church – Standard $100


Now photographers are tricky; kind of like hairstylist/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 once the product is received


Any Planner would take a glowing review and referrals over a monetary gift any day. This has been known to happen if there has been a discount given or they have gone over and beyond what was contracted; that being said, a thank-you card and a bottle of wine would also go a long way with me.


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, it’s always nice to thank them personally – Standard $20 per assistant


Again, check your contracts. Typically there will be a gratuity in the contract, 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!





Edmonton, Alberta, Canada