When planning your wedding, you may wonder how much of your budget to put aside for gratuities and tips. You may not be sure who gets tipped or how much is customary to tip. Be sure to read all contracts that you sign with your vendors to make sure that you are aware if tipping is optional (at your discretion) or contractual. Some vendor contracts will automatically add a certain percentage to your bill to cover the customary standard gratuity.
Here is a breakdown of who you should tip and how much you should tip. Note these are only standard guidelines, you may choose to add more for exceptional service. You should prepare envelopes with the proper amounts already in them, addressed to the proper vendors.
Rehearsal Dinner – 20 percent of the total bill, many restaurants will add this onto the bill on larger parties.
Hairstylist / Make Up Artist / Nail Technician – It is customary to tip 15 to 20 percent of the total cost and should be paid once services are completed.
Musicians for the Ceremony – Standard tipping is $20 to $25 dollars per musician and is expected at the end of the ceremony. The father of the bride or the best man presents the envelope to the musicians.
Officiant for the Ceremony – Customary of $100 and up, or make a donation to the church or synagogue in which you are getting married. This contribution can be in addition to or in lieu of a tip. If tipping, have the father of the bride or the best man hand the envelope to the officiant right after the rehearsal or the ceremony.
Delivery Truck Drivers / Reception Set Up – This could include the cake delivery and set up, the floral set up, decoration set up, tent set up, etc… if the set up staff who is setting up is not a part of the reception staff. It is customary to tip $5 to $25 dollars per person depending on the difficulty of the set up. The person accepting the delivery should hand out the tips. If you will not be there during delivery or set up, you should tip either before or after, to the appropriate vendor.
Reception Staff – normally is eighteen to twenty percent of the final reception bill. This amount of tipping may seem like a lot to pay, but remember this is divided among all the staff who worked your event. It is usually paid when the balance of your reception bill is paid and is normally included in your contract. You may choose to give added gratuity for exceptional service on the day of your event after the reception.
Reception Musicians or DJs – Customary to tip 5 to 20 percent of the total cost. The father of the bride or the best man presents the envelope to the musicians at the end of the ceremony. You would tip a band 5 percent per musician (20 percent total for 5 musicians) and a DJ up to 20 percent of the total cost.
Reception Hall Maitre d’ – $40 or more for each of these staff members, depending on the amount of guests and total reception bill. The father of the bride or the best man presents the envelope to the Maitre d’.
Reception Bartenders – In addition to the amount specified in the contract, 10% of the total bar bill should be tipped to the bartenders. Have the cash in envelopes in advance and have maitre d’ pass along the tip.
Powder Room / Coat Check / Parking Attendants – Should receive .50 cents to $1 per guest attending. Have the cash in envelopes in advance and have maitre d’ pass along the tip.
Transportation – It is customary to tip 20% of the total cost. Many limousine companies can offer you to pay in advance or to tip on the day the service is completed. Have the best man in charge of turning over the cash tip you prepared in advance.
Finally, the following vendors do not typically receive gratuities but you may certainly add them to the list if their service is outstanding: photographer, videographer, caterer, baker, jeweler, wedding consultant, seamstress, and florist.