Gratuity Guidelines – Who and How Much?


One of the most common questions we get from clients is the desire to understand the industry norms around gratuity – we got you!  It is also so important to us to highlight that offering gratuity is a way of recognizing vendors who have gone above and beyond. It is always a personal decision and is 100% at your discretion.  We also always encourage you to read through your contracts closely, as sometimes gratuity is already included.

In the final weeks leading up to your wedding, we will talk through the topic of gratuity in depth and answer any additional questions you may have.  At your rehearsal, you can bring us all tips, in addressed, sealed envelopes for us to distribute on the night of the event. We always have recipients sign for the envelope, so you can rest assured that everything gets delivered as it should.  

Depending on your unique vendor list, we may recommend additional or modified gratuity. Generally, vendors who own their own businesses (many photographers, videographers, florists, etc.) do not expect any form of gratuity.  Again, if you feel a particular vendor has gone above and beyond, a personal token of gratitude is always appreciated.  And remember – there is no sign of gratitude more appreciated than a positive review and referral!  


Officiant: If you have asked a personal friend to officiant your wedding, a personal gift is typically a more appropriate show of appreciation than cash.  A donation to the congregation is appropriate for a religious/clergy member officiant (we recommend $200+).  No gratuity is required of a civil employee like a judge or clerk.

Hair + Makeup Artists: 15-20% of the services total (not including travel costs, if any)

DJs: $100+

Live Musicians (ceremony music, reception band, etc.): $30+ per musician, including technicians

Venue Manager: $100+ or a meaningful gift with a personal thank you note

Catering Staff: First review your contract, as this is one that is sometimes already included.  If there is a “service” fee on your proposal, confirm with the caterer if this is a gratuity for staff or an administrative fee. There are two ways to calculate catering gratuity.  Option #1 is to calculate 15-20% of the true food and beverage costs (omit labor charges, rental orders, etc.).  This sum will be presented to the Banquet Manager and left and her/his discretion to distribute to staff.  Option #2 is to itemize per staff type.  In this case, it would break down as follows: Banquet Manager – $100+ each; Chefs/Bakers – $50+ each; Servers/Kitchen Staff – $25+ each.

Transportation Drivers (shuttles, limos, etc): $35+ per driver




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