Just like almost any job in the service category within Napa and Sonoma counties, the practice of tipping for work well done is typical with your wedding vendors. Note that some vendor contracts include a standard gratuity, and others do not. If in doubt, early on in your vendor discussions if a tip is customary or included. In this article, we are outlining customary vendor tipping practice in Napa and Sonoma counties.

Dress Fitter, Alterations or Seamstress

In most cases, it is not customary to add a tip for fitting services. Still, if you find yourself thrilled with your final fitting, a typical tip is usually $20-$30.

Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Nail Technician

This one is easy – just tip 15-25% as you would if you received the same service in a salon or spa.


Your baker and florist usually provide the staff necessary to ensure your flowers and wedding cake arrive on schedule. Tips are not required unless you feel they went the extra mile in some way. If this is the case, a tip of $20 is reasonable.

Your florist or baker usually hires the staff responsible for delivering your flowers or wedding cake. This cost is typically included in the service contract. Tips are not required, but if you feel the delivery person put in an excess effort to make you happy, a tip of $15-$20 is reasonable.

Church Musician

Check your contracts to determine if your musicians’ fees are included in the cost of the church rental. If not, a reasonable tip ranges from $20-$40 per musician.

Live Musicians

Musicians at weddings do not expect tips. That being said, if your guests are raving about the music, you might consider a tip $20-$25 per musician.

Your Wedding Officiant

Depending on the type of officiant you have selected, a tip may be traditional cash, or it may come in the form of a donation to a church or other organization. You officiant will most likely suggest an appropriate amount before finalizing your contract. In Napa and Sonoma, the amounts range from $100-$500. Also, if your officiant has to travel to your wedding, you typically reimburse them for their travel expenses.

Wedding Planner

Your wedding planner is your vendor liaison, confidant, and general go-to person for everyone at your wedding. And while he or she has already been paid a set fee, if you feel they have done exceptionally well, you may consider a 10-20% tip.


If your DJ helped to keep your wedding on schedule and entertained guests with exceptional music choices, you can tip between 15-20% of their fee.

Serving Staff

Once again, check your service agreement to determine if your caterer has already included a set gratuity. If not, and the food was up to, or exceeded, expectations, consider a 15-20% tip on the total food bill.


If your wedding included such things as limos, chauffeurs, or even horse-drawn carriages, the average tip is 15-20% of the total transportation bill. Note: in northern California, a gratuity is often included in the bill, so no tip is expected.


In most venues in this area, the bar manager will add a service charge to your bill, and you do not need to tip your bartenders. If you find your bar bill does not include a service fee, it is customary to tip your bartenders 10% of the total liquor bill. Don’t forget to have your wedding planner round up all the extra wine, beer, and liquor at the end of the night.

Catering/Venue Manager

Most of the local caterers here will add a gratuity line item to the service bill. You should, however, check your contract to determine if you should provide a tip at the end of the evening. If your agreement doesn’t include a service charge, 15-20% is customary.

Most caterers will build a gratuity into their service fee. Check your contract. If a service charge hasn’t been included, tip 15-20% percent of the total bill or $1-$2 per guest.


Most of our local photographers do not expect tips, but if you are exceptionally impressed with their work, consider a tip of $25-$35 to say thanks.


If you are working with a wedding planner, you can give them the cash or checks, and they will distribute your tips at the appropriate time. Now that you understand the wedding tipping process, you can finalize your total wedding budget.