Thanking your wedding vendors with a tip is proper, and it tells them you appreciate them for a job well done. The difficult part is knowing who you should tip, how much you should tip, and when you should tip.
Some vendors make it easy for you and include gratuities in their fees, but most will leave it up to you to decide how much. And of course, the quality of service you were given dictates how much you give them. Wedding vendor tips can get expensive and end up in the thousands. For example, the tip for your caterer can be quite costly depending on the number of guests, or how much your total catering cost is.
Tips should be handed out by a friend or family member on the day of the wedding. You will want to calculate each vendor’s tip ahead of time and place it in an envelope with their name. It is a very good idea, as well as quite proper to follow up with a thank you note. Your word is a valued recommendation for the vendor.
If your wedding is performed by a priest, a minister, or a rabbi, you might consider making a donation to their house of worship. A typical amount to donate is $75 to $100, and is completely separate from the fee you were charged for the officiant to perform the ceremony. Another good idea is to send them something personal, such as a gift certificate to a nice restaurant.
The Catering Staff
If the gratuity is not included in the caterer’s contract, you should tip all the catering staff. This includes the catering manager, waiters, bartenders, chefs, and any other workers who are serving your guests.
Calculate the catering tip at 15 to 20 percent of the cost of your total catering bill for the banquet manager to share with the serving staff. Or, if your catering is very expensive, you may tip a flat amount to each worker. This is more economical and appreciated just as much. You’ll want to give roughly $100 to $200 for the catering manager, $50 to the chef and $20 to $30 each for other staff. Be sure and place each tip into separate envelopes for each person.
To make it easier, tips can be paid in advance to the catering manager or you may hand them to the catering manager at the end of the event.
The Musicians and DJ’s
If you hire a band or DJ through an entertainment agency, the company usually includes gratuity in their contract, but you’ll want to check to be sure. Independent musicians or band members should be tipped about $20 to $25 apiece and a DJ at least $25. Give all tips in cash at the end of the night.
The Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist
Tip your hair stylist and makeup artist 15 to 20 percent, as you would for a regular appointment. If the hair stylist or makeup artist has an assistant who helps with shampooing, etc., then you should plan on a tipping them $3 to $5.
Hand out these tips in envelopes directly to stylist, or leave them at the salon’s front desk. You may also tip by check rather than cash and include it with your charge. If the stylist and makeup artist comes to your home or the wedding site, you should tip just the same as you would at their salon.
The Photographer, Videographer, Florist, and Wedding Coordinator
For a photographer, videographer, and florist who do not own their own business, it is proper to tip $30 to $50. The wedding coordinator should be tipped $50 to $100.
For these vendors who own their own business, tipping isn’t necessary unless you feel that the service you received was extraordinary. For example if the photographer stayed beyond the number hours stated on the contract and did not charge you for the additional time. In this instance, an additional 10 percent tip would be greatly appreciated.
The Site Staff
Staff that are considered to be behind-the-scene workers, such as coat checkers, powder-room attendants, or parking valets should not be overlooked. Typical tips for coat checkers are $1 to $2 per guest. Powder-room attendants should receive 50 cents to $1 per guest. And $1 to $1.50 per car to the parking manager, who will divide up the cash among the valets.
The Seamstress, Delivery People, and Drivers
A seamstress, delivery person, or driver plays a crucial role in preparing for your wedding. You will want to thank them with a tip, as well.
The person delivering your flowers as well as the person delivering the wedding cake should receive at least $5 at the time they make the delivery. If a gratuity for your limousine driver has not been included in your bill, you will want to tip 15 to 20 percent of the total cost of the limo. It should be paid in cash when the driver picks you up. For seamstresses, a tip is not expected, but it would be a nice gesture to send a thank you note with a photo of you in your dress.
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