When you (or your VERY generous folks) are spending big bucks on your wedding, sometimes the last thing on your mind is tipping your vendors. Who should you tip and what's already covered in your contracts? At Spencer Special Events, we tell all our brides and families that unless a service charge is outlined in your agreement, tipping is completely optional, except for a few places. But not to stress, we are certainly there to help guide you!
You should feel free to tip anyone that exceeds your expectations (after all that is what tipping is all about!), but as a rule of thumb you tip associates and not direct business owners. It is never expected but a true token of appreciation for a job well done.
Follow these simple guidelines for tipping in these categories:
- Wedding hair stylist and make-up artist: tip 15-20%, just as you would in a salon
- Wedding officiant. If you make a donation to the church for their work, tip $100-$150 for their direct time and service.
- Delivery personnel. A few small tips ($10-$20 each) for welcome bag delivery, florists, and event rentals (particularly those doing a lot of grunt work) are appreciated.
- Ceremony musicians. Usually included in your contract but if they went above and beyond by writing something special for you or learning a new piece just for your wedding day, $20-50 per musician is considered appropriate, or 15% of the total bill.
- Reception Entertainment. Usually covered in your contract but if they go above and beyond, $20 per member is about standard.
- Wait staff and bartenders is an area that's usually covered. Check your contract here but if it is not covered, it’s usually 10% of the total liquor bill to be split among them.
- Service Staff: $20 and up each (distributed by the catering manager or maitre d’)
- Wedding transportation. Usually included in your contract, if not, tip 10%-15% of the total cost.
- Valet or parking attendants: $1 to $2 per car; 15 percent for valet parking
- Catering manager: $200+ or a personal gift
- Chef: $100+
- Coat check attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
- Bathroom attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
- Maitre d’hotel or Banquet Captain: 1 to 3 percent of food and beverage fees
- Photographer/videographer: If you’re paying a flat fee with no overtime, $100
Is this list overwhelming? Our team at Spencer Special Events can happily coordinate all of this for you ahead of time AND distribute gratuities as you see fit.
Don’t forget a hand written thank you note also goes a LONG way with vendors that you are working with. Often they will use it as testimonials for social media or on their website. Referrals are the best "tip." And the fact that you are so pleased with the product or service delivered that you shout it from the roof tops (or Facebook and Twitter!) is simply priceless and what many vendors in this business rely on.
Lastly, remember that a smiling, kind, grateful, and appreciative bride or groom is a HUGE "tip" for any vendor since it is always rewarding to work with someone who is appreciative of your service.
Though it's a tricky subject, we hope we've answered some of your wedding day tipping questions.