Feb 20, 2020

Tipping Wedding Vendors: A Comprehensive Guide for Who to Tip, How Much, When and Exactly How to Organize it All

How Much Should We Tip?

One of the most common questions our team is asked is this, “How much should we tip our wedding professionals?”

I’ll tell you exactly who to tip, how much and when. At the end, I’ll give you some tips on how your gratuity can make the biggest impact! I’m also going to tell you how to organize all these tips so they get to the right people. And finally, I have some suggestions for how to make this quick and easy but still meaningful to the people you are tipping.

My advice in this video is influenced by Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, and by local New Orleans wedding professionals. I asked them what they tend to be tipped, and what makes the biggest impact for them when it comes to tipping.

Wedding Day Gratuity

We’ll start with the tips that you’ll distribute on wedding day. We’ll start with the vendors you’ll see in the morning and then walk you through the very end of the day.

GLAM: Hair and Makeup

The first wedding professional that you’ll see on wedding day is your glam squad. For Hair and Makeup Professionals, it is common to tip 15-20%, after completion of service. If you are footing the bill for your bridal party, you can choose to handle the entire tip. Another option is to tell your wedding party, “I’ll pay the hair and makeup service fee, you guys handle tipping the stylists/artists.”

If everyone is paying for their own services, then just worry about the tip for your own services. Be clear with your wedding party so they know how much money to have set aside for this. 

Ceremony: Altar Servers

If you have Altar Servers, they are commonly tipped $10-$20 per server immediately following the ceremony.

Ceremony: Officiant

If your officiant is volunteering his or her time, it is common to tip $100-$125, immediately following the ceremony. If you hired the officiant, sometimes you may tip. Consider tipping 15% of the service fee, immediately following the ceremony.

Ceremony: Church Volunteer

If you have a volunteer church coordinator, it’s common to tip around $100, immediately following the ceremony

Ceremony: Musicians

Ceremony Musicians are sometimes tipped, usually in the range of $20-$50 per musician.

Deliveries: Bakery, Floral, Rental Delivery

When the bakery, florist and rental company makes deliveries, it is common to tip $5-$10 per person, upon delivery.

Ceremony/Reception: Transportation

Your drivers are commonly tipped at $20 per driver and distributed after the driver’s last ride. That’s in addition to the 15% overall transportation tip that is likely included on your bill. I’m going to explain how to organize all this at the end. But just a heads up if the last ride ends at the ceremony, then keep this tip with other ceremony tips. If the last ride happens at the reception, keep this with the reception tips.

Ceremony/Reception: Police Escort or Security

The police escort and any security personnel are sometimes tipped. Consider tipping $20 per officer, after completion of services.

Now we are in the section of reception service providers. Each person who will be tipped needs their own small envelope. Use the stick, sign it, stuff it, seal it, specify and store.

Ceremony/Reception: Second Line Band

Musicians in the second line band are commonly tipped at $20-$50 per musician, after completion of services.

Reception: DJ/Band

If you have a band, consider tipping $20-$50 per musician and $25-$150 for the bandleader. If you have hired a DJ, $25-$150 is common. Both of these tips should be give upon completion of services

Reception: Bartender

If you don’t have a tip jar out, consider tipping your bartenders 15-20% of pre-tax tab. So if your tab was $1000 total, and you choose to tip 20%, and you have 2 bartenders, then each bartender would get $100. Tip when the bar closes. But check to make sure you didn’t already cover this tip in your bartending invoice.

Reception: Caterer

Very commonly, the caterer will include a 15-20% gratuity on the bill. If not, you can tip this amount at the completion of catering services. I asked one of our New Orleans catering companies how people usually tip them. They said many clients pay the percentage on the tab only. But when clients do tip extra, the easiest way is to give the tip to the Event Manager who will split/share the tip amongst the staff. When there are tip jars out at the bar, the bartenders will share the total. This caterer said that many clients do tip the couples attendant and the event manager or banquet caption separately, usually anywhere between $40-$100.

Reception: Coatroom and/or Restroom Attendant

Commonly tipped at $20-$100, after completion of services.

Reception: Specialty Entertainment

Specialty Entertainers are commonly tipped at $20-$50 per entertainer, after completion of service

Reception: Valet

If you or your venue is providing valet parking, it is common to tip $2 per car, after completion of services.

Reception: Venue Coordinator

If you have a venue coordinator, sometimes they are tipped $20-$100, after completion of service.

After the Wedding

The last section is for your professionals that likely own their business or work independently. For these professionals, tips are generally not expected. However when you want to recognize them for exceptional service, its best to mail it after the wedding. Then you’ll have a better idea of who you want to tip and how much.

For each of these professionals, a good range for tipping is anywhere from $50 – $200. Another option is to send a gift to the professional that you really want to recognize. You may included your baker, designer, chef, catering captain or sales manager, photographer, rental company owner, videographer, wedding planner or coordinator.  

Recognition Along with Tips

Did you know that 60% of Americans are as motivated by recognition as they are by money? That means that your tips will have a bigger impact if they are coupled with recognition.

Reviews

So the big piece of advice that I promised to end with is that all of these professionals would appreciate an online review. The Knot, Wedding Wire or Google seem to be the best places for wedding pros. Also keep in mind that if you plan to review in more than one place, its best to say something a little different in each one. Search engines favor unique reviews and may actually reduce the business’ ranking if there is repetition across multiple sites.

Whether it’s a thank you note, a gift, a check, or a review is completely up to you. But sending one or any combination of these things to the professionals you appreciated most, will not go unnoticed.

Organization and Personalization

Since it is your wedding, day you likely will not be the one to actually hand out any of these tips. So you’ll want to put a little time into organizing in a way that makes sure the tips get to the right people. You’ll also want to personalize them just a bit, so that your service providers feel like it is actually from you.

Envelope System for Tips

To organize your tips, you’ll need the following items:

  • A pack of sticky notes

  • A pen

  • 25-30 small envelopes

  • 5 9×6 envelopes


Organize Your Wedding Tipping.JPG

Label your 9×6 envelopes Glam, Deliveries, Ceremony, Reception, and Post Wedding.

For each tip you’d like to give on wedding day do the following: (The post wedding tips should be mailed, follow the instructions in the above section)

  1. Use a sticky note to write a quick thank you ( I do not suggest writing a full thank you card for each of these. The sticky note is enough personalization to let the service provider know it is from you and that you appreciate them).

  2. Sign your name to it.

  3. Stuff the cash and stick in a small envelope.

  4. Seal it. (This is important, your coordinator or other person who is distributing the tips, will want all the envelopes to be sealed.)

  5. Specify who it is for by clearly writing their name on the small envelope.

  6. Store the small envelopes in the appropriate larger envelope so you know who it goes to for distribution.

Organize Early to Save Stress

Many times gratuity is the last thing that couples and parents think about and it becomes a source of stress and anxiety during the week of the wedding. Avoid that pressure point by doing this early on. You can even put together your notes and envelopes and wait to add the cash till the week of. Knowing who you want to tip and how much is the most difficult hurdle. This guide should really do the trick though!

Thank you for reading, and Happy Wedding Planning.

For an easy to read, quick reference, wedding tipping cheat sheet, click here and we’ll email it over!

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