Who would have thought that tipping at a wedding could be so controversial and complicated?!? Everyone has a different view on whom and how much to tip! I have put together some simple guidelines to help you navigate the world of tipping.
First, make sure to decide BEFORE the wedding (not the day of) which vendors and how much you would like to tip. No one wants to decide tips on the day of the wedding.
Next reread and double check your contract! Some gratuities are built in to your contract and you wouldn’t want to tip twice.
Here are some of the vendors that are traditionally tipped and an average amount that is appropriate:
Hairstylist/ Makeup Artist: A standard tip for the makeup and hairstylists is 15-20% of the total amount of the bill.
Officiant, Church Musicians, etc.: Many times these “tips” are built in to the church contract. If these fees are not included for church musicians or other members in attendance an average of $50 per musician/helper is satisfactory. Most officiants will not accept tips however you can give a donation to the church anywhere from $100-$300 for their service.
Bartenders: Check to see if the facility has a policy with tipping the bartenders. If you decide to tip the bartenders make sure they do not put out a tip jar during the event. Typically you would tip the bartenders 10% of the alcohol bill to be split amongst the bartenders.
Waitstaff, Bathroom attendants, Coat Check Attendants: Again, check to make sure that these tips were not included in your gratuities when signing the contract with either your facility or caterer. Usually these fees are included. If not, $10-$20 per server and .50- $1 per person for the bathroom and coat check attendants.
Chef: If the food is tasty $100+
Catering Manager: Usually 1-3% of the menu total or between $100 and $200
DJ: If they keep the party rockin’ 15% of the service fee
Vendors such as the Photographer, Florist and Cake Baker are not usually tipped. My advice is that if they go above and beyond a tip of 10% is appreciated.
Limo/Transportation: Usually this is included in the fee. If not, 15% of fee is customary.
Wedding Planner: If your planner goes above and beyond to make your day special 2% of the total wedding amount is appropriate (or 10-15% of the package price)
Although some vendors expect a tip, tipping is not mandatory. Remember that the key to tipping is to tip those people who go above and beyond their contractual agreement. If you are on a tight budget, this may not be a reality to tip every vendor.
My advice is that even a small amount shows your appreciation. Never feel like you are not tipping enough so you decide to not tip at all. Trust me, it will be appreciated.
Remember that a thank you letter and your testimonial can mean a whole lot. Word of mouth is how many of these vendors grow their business. If they went above and beyond for you, make sure to share your experience and story. Sometimes that means more to them than any amount of money!
Good luck and happy tipping!