How (and how much) to Tip Your Maryland Wedding Vendors

Feb 9, 2023

Tipping vendors (from photographers and florists to caterers and DJs) is typically expected, and it will serve as a thank you for a job well done. But figuring out whom to tip, how much to tip, and when to offer it can be tricky.

While some vendors include gratuities in their fees, many will leave the amount up to you and the level of service they provide can influence what you give them.

Vendor tipping can add up quickly, costing you a few thousand dollars. Gratuities for caterers alone can be $200 to $600 or more, for example, depending on the number of guests, and your catering costs. Most tips should be handed out on the day of the wedding, so it’s wise to assign the job to a friend or family member. A follow-up thank-you note is often a valued tip as your word can be a recommendation for the vendor.

How much should you tip your Officiant?

A typical amount is $75 to $100, separate from any fee you may be charged for the officiant’s time.

If you belong to a church, your own minister or priest may perform the wedding at no charge. In this case, you could donate to the church, and as an extra thank-you, consider sending something personal, such as a gift certificate to a nice restaurant.

If your Maryland wedding is performed by a civil employee such as a judge, clerk, or another nonreligious official, then forgo a gratuity. Such officiants are usually not permitted to accept tips or donations-local law may prohibit it. A card is always appreciated.

How much should you tip your catering staff?

Many caterers include a gratuity in their contract to be divided among the workers but be sure to check the contract closely or to ask.

If the gratuity isn’t included, plan on tipping all staff members, including the catering or banquet manager, waiters, bartenders, chefs, and other essential workers who help serve guests.

Most catering staff members receive a decent hourly wage, so there is no need to go overboard on their tips. A tip of 15 to 20 percent of the amount of the total catering bill is appropriate.

Another way to compute the gratuity is to offer a flat amount for each worker, which is often a more economical method, especially if your catering company is expensive. You’ll want to give roughly $100 to $200 for the catering or banquet manager, $50 each for chefs (and bakers), and $20 to $30 each for waiters and kitchen staff, divided into separate envelopes.

Tips can be given in advance to the director of the catering company or handed to the banquet manager toward the end of the evening.

How much should you tip your DJ / Musicians?

Tipping customs vary, depending on whether you hire an independent band or a Maryland DJ or book through an agency. For independent bands that book their own gigs, tipping is not customary.

Musicians should be tipped about $20 to $25 apiece. Many bands offer a vocalist for the ceremony at an additional cost. Tip him or her the same amount as you would one of the other musicians.

A Maryland DJ is generally tipped 10% – 15% of the DJ contract.

Hand out the tips in cash at the end of the night.

How much should you tip stylists and makeup artists?

Tip stylists and makeup artists as you would for a regular appointment 15 to 20 percent. For each assistant who helps with secondary tasks, such as shampooing, plan on giving a gratuity of $3 to $5.

You can hand out tips in envelopes directly to stylists or leave them at the salon’s front desk. If you’re short on cash, it’s fine to tip by check or includes it on a charge. If a stylist comes to your home or the wedding site, tip as you would at a salon.

Photographers, Videographers, Florists, and Maryland Wedding Coordinators

For photographers, videographers, and florists who do not own their own businesses, tip $30 to $50; wedding coordinators should be given about $50 to $100.

If you feel that the service you received from one of these vendors was extraordinary (say, if the videographer stayed and took footage of an after-wedding party even though it wasn’t in his contract), an additional 10 percent tip would be a nice gesture.

How much should you tip your Venue staff?

Wherever you have your Maryland wedding, there will likely be many behind-the-scenes workers, such as coat checkers, powder-room attendants, or parking valets. Make sure you do not overlook these people. While you may not have much contact with them throughout the celebration, they help keep guests happy.

Sometime before the wedding, ask the site manager to instruct workers not to accept any tips from guests. Instead, plan on tipping them yourself.

At the end of the evening, pay coat checkers a total of $1 to $2 per guest, which they can share. Powder-room attendants should receive 50 cents to $1 per guest, to be divided among them. Set aside $1 to $1.50 per car to give to the parking manager, who can then divide up the cash among the valets.

How much should you tip the delivery people & drivers?

Though they won’t be at the wedding, these workers’ roles are just as important, so be sure to thank them. The people delivering the flowers and cake should receive at least $5 each at the time they make their deliveries.

A gratuity for your limousine driver may already be included in your bill, but if it’s not, consider giving a tip of 15 to 20 percent of the cost (pay it in cash when the driver picks you up).