Tipping Your Wedding Professionals
Photo by Jeannemarie Photography
You may have heard that it is customary in the United States to offer gratuity or tip to service professionals, whether it is in the restaurants, for hired transportation, or your wedding day. This expression of gratitude also presents some challenges regarding just how much is appropriate to tip. I hope this guide offers some assistance and eliminates any confusion.
Tips should be given in the form of cash and typically just before your vendor leaves, unless your contract (ie. Catering) requires it in advance. It helps if the tips are prepared in labeled envelopes and given to someone responsible (ie. Best Man) to disburse.
You will want to confirm that gratuities are not already included in the service contract. You may see something called a “service charge.” That is not necessarily a gratuity. Typically, a portion of that is the gratuity, but that service charge is really a fee for the office costs that the professional or company incurred for your wedding.
Many professionals will leave the gratuity up to your discretion. Understand that most gratuities are not expected, but appreciated. Most professionals provide above and beyond service, and more than is what is actually listed on your contract. So, a gratuity is always appreciated.
WHEN GRATUITIES ARE EXPECTED
WEDDING HAIR STYLIST and MAKEUP ARTIST, MANICURIST, MASSAGE THERAPIST: Tip 15% to 25% percent, depending upon the quality of service, just as you would do in a salon.
WEDDING DELIVERY and SET-UP STAFF: This includes anyone who delivers items to your wedding, including the florist, wedding pastry chef, rental company workers, sound equipment professionals, etc.). A
WAITSTAFF/SERVERS: Anywhere between 18% to 20% of the total bill. Sometimes it is added automatically to the bill, and sometimes it is not. Be sure to ask how much gratuity is included in the service charge, and then you may decide to add to that. If you plan to tip each server individually, 10% is appropriate, but optional.
TRANSPORTATION: 15% to 20% of the total cost of service. You should ask if the gratuity is already included in your quoted price or contract, or if it is at your discretion. You may be able arrange to tip the driver through your complete payment to the company.
BARTENDER: The bartender may or may not have a tip jar at the bar. Typically the bartender should receive 18% to 20% of the total cost of his/her service, not including what is in the tip jar.
OFFICIANT/MINISTER/RABBI/CELEBRANT: This is a little tricky. Sometimes the Rabbi or Priest/Minister charges a “donation fee” for his/her service to the synagogue/church. They also expect a “donation” tip of anywhere between $50-$100 for a nondenominational minister to $500 for a Rabbi or Priest. .
ALTAR BOYS/GIRLS: $10-15.00 each
WHEN TIPPING IS OPTIONAL
WEDDING PLANNER: Up to $500 or a nice gift, plus a positive review goes a long way. Typically the wedding planner who has planned the wedding from start to finish receives 10% of the fee for a gratuity. The crew workers receive $50 per person.
CEREMONY or RECEPTION MUSICIAN: $20 to $25 per musician
DJ: Typically $100, but we have had clients tip our DJ’s more than that. It really depends on the cost of the service and how happy you are. I would say a good rule of thumb is at least 10%.
PARKING, BATHROOM, and COAT-ROOM ATTENDANTS: Typically between $.50 and $1 per guest. You may want to provide a sign to your guests saying that you have taken care of the gratuity.
BANQUET or CATERING MANAGER – Usually between $50-$100 if that person has provided exceptional service.
PHOTOGRAPHER and VIDEOGRAPHER: $50 – $200 per vendor