top of page

Should I tip my wedding vendors? If so, how much?

A rustic Barn Adirondack Wedding seen at Sunset from a hill.

Tipping can be a nuanced practice, especially when it comes to weddings. While there are customary guidelines for tipping various wedding vendors, tipping etiquette for photographers or videographers is not always straightforward. To help navigate this, let's explore your options for tipping your wedding vendors:

Considerations Before Tipping Before offering tips to photographers, videographers, or any of your wedding vendors, it's essential to consider the following:

Evaluate Their Service Quality Ensure that your wedding vendors have provided exceptional service before tipping. While tips can serve as incentives for wedding vendors to exceed expectations, they should only be given to those who fulfill their obligations and meet your standards. It's crucial not to feel obligated to tip wedding vendors who fail to deliver satisfactory services. Are They a Local or Small Business Owner? It's generally not expected to tip vendors who own their own businesses. These professionals have already factored in their compensation when setting their rates. Since many photographers operate their own wedding photography businesses, they typically fall into this category. However, exceptional service may still warrant consideration for a tip.

Review Your Contract Before making any decisions regarding tipping, it's essential to review your contracts thoroughly. Whether you've booked through a collective or directly with your wedding vendor, the contract should outline the terms of gratuity. Some contracts may already include gratuity in their fees, eliminating the need for additional tipping. Others may leave it up to your discretion. Once you've clarified the contract's details with your vendor, you can proceed with determining who, when, and how much to tip. Who To Tip While there are no strict rules for tipping your wedding vendors, here's a general guideline:

The Main Photographer and Videographer Since many photographers/videographers operate their own businesses, tipping isn't obligatory. However, if they exceeded expectations, a tip is a meaningful gesture of appreciation, regardless of business ownership. If your photographer doesn't own the business, tipping is a good practice.

The Second Shooter or Assistant It's customary to tip additional team members, such as second shooters or assistants, when they contribute significantly to your experience.

How Much to Tip For the main photographer, consider a tip around 10 percent of their rate or a minimum of $100. For second shooters or assistants, a gesture of $50 to $75 per person is appropriate.

Other Vendors You Might Consider Tipping While not all wedding vendors expect tips, some appreciate the gesture. Here’s a rundown to help you manage your wedding budget. For vendors falling into the optional tipping category, let the quality of service guide your decision on whom to tip and how much.

Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist These professionals contribute to your wedding day look and typically expect a tip. Consider a gratuity of 15 to 25 percent of the service cost as a generous gesture.

Catering Staff Include the caterer and waitstaff, such as servers and bartenders, on your tipping list. Ensure gratuity isn’t already included in the contract and clarify with the catering company if necessary.

Musicians Whether it’s a band, violinist, or wedding DJ, consider tipping individual members if they provided exceptional service in setting the mood.

Valet If your venue offers valet service, prepay tips to ensure smooth parking for your guests. Alternatively, if you hire a valet company, gratuity may already be factored in.

Wedding Coordinator While optional, tipping your wedding coordinator is a nice gesture. Consider 10 to 20 percent of their fee as a token of appreciation, or $50 for any coordinator assistants.

When to Tip  If tipping isn't included in the wedding vendor's fees, it's customary to tip on your wedding day after all services are completed. Prepare tips in advance by organizing cash in designated envelopes for each vendor. Entrust the distribution of tips to a trusted individual, such as a family member, friend, or wedding coordinator.

Since you may continue interacting with your photographer and videographer post-wedding to receive your imagery, it's acceptable to delay tipping until afterward. You can send the tip or express gratitude once all their work is finalized, either upon your return from the honeymoon or upon receiving the final product. Tipping Isn't Mandatory Don’t stress over tipping etiquette amidst wedding planning. Remember, tipping practices vary, and wedding vendors understand. Ultimately, the decision to tip, whom to tip, and how much is entirely up to you. And if tipping isn’t feasible within your wedding budget, express gratitude in other meaningful ways.

Alternative Ways to Appreciate Your Vendors While tipping is one way to show gratitude, there are other thoughtful gestures to consider.

Write a Thank-You Note

Sending a heartfelt handwritten thank-you note via mail is a timeless gesture of appreciation. Include your wedding vendors in your list of recipients, regardless of whether you’ve tipped them already.

Send a Gift

Consider sending flowers, treats, or a personalized gift to show appreciation. Knowing their preferences can make the gesture even more meaningful.

Offer Praise

Positive feedback on their work is invaluable. Share your love for the photos directly with your photographers and consider tagging all your wedding vendors when sharing on social media.

Write a Review

Help your Wedding Vendors attract future clients by writing a glowing review on their preferred platform. Serving as a reference can also boost their reputation .

Submit Photos to a Wedding Publication With permission, submit your wedding photos for publication to help showcase your photographer's work and potentially attract new clients.

Your wedding vendors invest significant time and effort in making sure your special day is perfect. Whether through tipping, kind words, or thoughtful gestures, expressing gratitude goes a long way in fostering a lasting relationship. For more wedding planning resources and photography tips, explore related posts in The Adirondack Wedding Photographer Blog.


bottom of page