The Art of Saying Thank You | Vendor Tipping 101

One of most most common questions we get is regarding gratuities for vendors. Like most Brides, tipping on your wedding day is the last thing on your mind. Especially after shelling out what you already have just to reach the aisle! Trust us, we understand. Whether or not you choose to leave your vendors gratuity – and how much you leave – is absolutely your choice. Keep in mind that gratuity, by definition, is something given voluntarily for a service. But… since a successful wedding day is most definitely the result of great planning and hard working folks behind-the-scenes, it’s important to offer them a little something to show your appreciation.

When asked how… we advise our clients to decide how much – and to whom – they would like to leave a gratuity, create an envelope for each, enclose a quick note and appropriate tip, address to whom shall receive it, and seal it up! We typically collect the envelopes during ceremony rehearsal the day before and distribute to the correct vendors, but they can be passed out at any point before, during or after wedding day.

So now on to the BIG question… HOW MUCH, they ask us! For this, we trust the always reliable The Knot! They seem to have this down pretty well and, let’s be honest… they seem to know a whole lot about wedding etiquette! So, copied straight from The Knot Tipping Cheat Sheet we go.

Wedding Planner / Coordinator

Wedding planners won’t likely expect anything; however, if yours did a great job you can always offer a token of your appreciation. (Note: Non-monetary thank-yous like professional photos of the wedding for the planner’s portfolio can go a long way too.) Approximately 50 percent of couples do tip their planners — typically those with more opulent weddings.

Protocol: Optional
The $tandard: $100 to $500, or a nice gift
When to Tip: The bride should hand off the envelope at the end of the reception, or, she should send a thank-you note with photos or a check after the honeymoon.

Wedding Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

This is one area where a gratuity is definitely expected. Tip between 15 – 20 percent just as you would in a hair salon, and consider giving a little extra if there’s a crisis, like one of your bridesmaids has a meltdown over her updo and it requires a redo at the last minute.

Protocol: Expected
The $tandard: 15 – 25 percent, depending upon the quality of service
When to Tip: At the end of your service

Wedding Delivery and Set-up Staff

Slip a few dollars to anyone delivering important items to the site (wedding cake, flowers, or sound system). And if a lot of gear needs to be brought in and set up (tents, chairs, or port-a-potties), the workers deserve a tip too.

Protocol: Expected
The $tandard: $5 – $10 per person
When to Tip: Drop off cash envelopes the day before the wedding to the catering manager so the person accepting deliveries can turn the tip.

Wedding Ceremony Officiant

If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you’re often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you’re a member you’ll probably want to give a larger amount than if you’re not. However, if you’re getting married there and they’re charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. If you’re using a nondenominational officiant, no tip is required because they will charge you for their time.

Protocol: Expected (depending on officiant)
The $tandard: Donate $500+ to the church or synagogue, or, for a nondenominational officiant, an optional tip of $50 – $100
When to Tip: Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. Otherwise, have the best man pass the cash envelope at the rehearsal dinner if the officiant is in attendance.

Wedding Ceremony Musicians

If you worked with a mini orchestra to come up with the perfect score for your service (and they pulled it off flawlessly), consider showing some monetary thanks for their talent. However, you probably don’t have to tip the solo church organist who was required to play.

Protocol: Optional
The $tandard: $15 – $20 per musician
When to Tip: At the end of the ceremony.

Wedding Photographer/Videographer

You’re not expected to give your shutterbugs any dough beyond their normal fees. Yet if the wedding photographer or videographer doesn’t own the studio, consider tipping each person (or give a certain amount with a thank-you note to disperse to staff).

Protocol: Optional
The $tandard: $50 – $200 per vendor
When to Tip: At the end of the reception.

Wedding Reception Staff

This type of staff includes the on-site coordinator, maitre d’, and banquet manager. A service charge (typically 2 percent) is almost always built in to the food and drink fee, so check your contract. If the gratuity is not included, tip as follows.

Protocol: Expected
The $tandard: 15 – 20 percent of the food and drink fee (based on labor, not the cost), or $200 – $300 for the maitre d’.
When to Tip: If it’s covered in the contract, the final bill is typically due before the reception. Otherwise, have the father of the bride or best man hand the envelope to the maitre d’ at the end of the reception since you will need to know the final tab to calculate the percentage.

Wedding Reception Attendants

When it comes to bartenders, waitstaff, parking, bathroom, and coat-room attendants the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it’s not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.

Protocol: Optional, based on contract
The $tandard: $20 – $25 per bartender or waiter; $1 per guest for coat room and parking attendants; $1 per car
When to Tip: Although tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event, you could alternately distribute them at the beginning of the evening, to encourage all the workers to give you great service.

Wedding Reception Band or DJ

Whether you hire 12-piece swing band or grooving to a DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional. (Depending on the quality of the job and how willing they were to follow your ideal playlist!) And don’t forget about any sound technicians they bring with them.

Protocol: Optional, yet preferred
The $tandard: $20 – $25 per musician; $50 – $150 for DJs
When to Tip: At the end of the reception, by the best man.

Wedding Transportation

Again, check your contract, as gratuity is usually included. If it isn’t, plan to tip provided they show up on time and don’t get lost!

Protocol: Expected
The $tandard: 15 – 20 percent of the total  bill
When to Tip: At the end of the night or after the last ride. If  you used a separate company for the guest buses, designate a bus captain to hand  the driver a tip, otherwise, this duty falls to the best man.

Some vendor tipping resources, as the above, will suggest a tip is not necessary for one that owns their own company; however, many other sources disagree. We personally suggest brides tip any vendors that serve them throughout the entirety of their event. Finally, remember that while cash or a gift is always greatly appreciated, a grateful spirit on your wedding day and a genuine, thoughtful thank you note after your wedding are quite possibly the best thank yous you can give your vendors!


Winter Shabby Chic Wedding Inspiration

Our favorite time of the year is finally here! We are in love with the cozy and romantic feel that only winter brings. Textured decor like burlap and wood bring balance to an ivory and gold palette with subtle sparkling candlelit details. Guests will stay cozy and warm with the thoughtfulness of a basket of blankets for them to adorn.

Enjoy the inspiration! Happy Holidays!

Photo Credits (clockwise from the left): CakesSeating AssignmentsBouquet, Place Setting, Blanket and Basket, Table Decor


We name this Monday “Monogram Monday”

Every Bride loves the look of her new last name! What better way to show it off than with her monogram? From necklaces to bags, there are so many ways to show that you are the new Mrs.! You can even share the love of monograms with giving these great items as gifts to the people you love the most and have helped you plan your most memorable day… Mom, Bridesmaids, Sisters, even the guys!

Click on the pictures for more information.


Thank you Etsy… We do love you!!!


April & Stephen ~ Vista West Ranch

Just a little preview of Apil & Stephen’s awesome wedding to make you smile! Getting to spend extra time with them, we discovered how sweet and hilarious April & Stephen and their family and friends really were! Never a dull moment!!! Congratulations you two!

Photographer: Sarah Q Photography

Wedding Coordinator: Coordinate This, Casey Cameron



Kristen & Lance ~ Vista West Ranch

I am so excited to share Kristen & Lance’s wedding photos with you! They are such a sweet and thoughtful couple. Kristen and Lance’s vision of their perfect wedding day came together after many long hours of Kristen’s DIY projects and details. They are so family-centered and it shined through so sweetly on that beautiful March day.

Coordinator: Casey with Coordinate THIS…

Venue: Vista West Ranch                                                    Floral and Decor: Petal Pushers

Cakes: Classic Cakes by Lori                                               Caterer: Tug’s BBQ

Hair- Freida and Mel at Zig Zag Salon                              Makeup- Makeup by Adrienne

Bride’s Dress- Allure from Belle Saison Bridal                Bride’s Jewelry and Accessories- Serendipity Tiaras

Bridesmaids’ Dresses- Bari Jay from Melange Bridal    Bridesmaids’ Earrings- RewElliot (

Groomsmen attire- Jos A. Banks                                        Flowergirls’ dresses- OliveandFern (