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Tipping Etiquette for Weddings

May 23, 2011

Here’s a subject we get asked about all the time.  What’s the proper etiquette for tipping at my wedding?

Tipping can be hard for everyone, especially when it comes to tipping at a wedding. You have already spent a great deal of money for the event – bringing yourself to dish out large gratuities can be difficult. Unless stated in a contract, it is not required to tip vendors for their services. If vendors exceed your expectations, by all means show your appreciation but always make sure you are comfortable with what you are giving. Read thoroughly through all contracts and ask questions to make sure gratuity is not already included. Below are a few guidelines for tipping vendors.

Caterers- Many caterers add the gratuity of 18% to 20% onto the bill. This is oftentimes listed as a service fee or service charge. Every contract differs in wording, as a customer it is best that you understand the bill in general and its breakdown. It is best to ask your caterer if they have a tipping policy and, if so, what it is. If the service is above and beyond your expectations and you have discussed a tipping policy, you may want to tip $2 per guests to the catering staff after the reception.

Bartenders- In regards to tipping the bartenders, it is most important for you as a client to choose whether you will tip them or allow your guests to do so. If you as the client will tip the bartenders it is a good idea to place a sign on the bar that states, “No tipping please”.

Ceremony Officiant- If you are a member of the church or synagogue you may make a donation to the organization. It varies depending on Officiant as to whether they will accept any type of gratuity. The standard is $50 or more.

Ceremony Musicians- If the musician is required to play by the church, you do not usually have to give him/her a tip. If you have made specific arrangements and the musicians impressed you, the standard tipping is $15-$20 per musician.

Transportation- It is usually expected that one would tip for transportation granted that they show up on time and do not get lost. The standard is to tip 15-20% of the total bill. It is best to tip at the end of the night.

Band/DJ- Tipping these vendors are usually optional but is preferred by most. It is standard to tip each musician $20-$25 per musician and 15% of the bill for the DJ.

Photographers/Florists/Bakers- Gratuity is not usually required for these vendors but if they did an exceptional job, a 15% tip is a great bonus for them.

It is best that you include tips in your wedding budget; depending on the size of the event, tipping can become a substantial cost. Before the wedding it is suggested that the responsibility of tipping vendors be given to a parent, best man, or wedding planner. Always remember that these are simply averages, use your own personal feelings and the level of service you have received when it comes to tipping! Give it to those that you felt went out of their way to ensure that your day was one to remember!

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