Gratuity Etiquette Part II

Yesterday we talked about etiquette when it comes to paying gratuities to your wedding vendors. Knowing how much to tip can be confusing, so I’ve broken it down per vendor. These numbers aren’t hard and fast and the amounts usually vary by region, but they’ll help give you a general idea of what’s appropriate.

Officiant: Check with your officiant about gratuities prior to the wedding day. Depending in the type of officiant (judge, clergy member, etc), there may be a law or rule prohibiting them from accepting tips. If not, then plan on tipping them 15-20% of their fee.

Wait Staff and Food Service Employees: These include the catering manager, banquet captain, chefs, bakers, bartenders and anyone else assisting with the culinary side of your reception. The gratuity scale is similar to that of a restaurant with the amount totaling around 15-22% of the total bill. The total amount should be split amongst them.

Hair Stylist and Make Up Artist: Whether you go to the salon or the stylists come to you, 15-20% is the standard rate for tips.

Valet: $1-3 per vehicle is appropriate. Make sure the valet is instructed to graciously decline any tips guests may try to offer them. A simple “thank you, but it’s been taken care of” will suffice.

Chauffeurs: 15-20% of the total bill is appropriate for your limo driver, trolley driver or attendant, or any other wedding day transportation professional.

Musicians and DJs:For exceptional service, 15-20% of the total fee is a nice gesture of thanks. This amount can be split amongst the band members or DJs, if there were more than one.

Photographers and Videographers: 10-15% of their shooting fee is appreciated.

Wedding Planner: 10-15% of the consultant’s fee is a nice way to say thank you, although most consultants will not expect it.

Delivery Staff: Delivery fees are often included in your contracts, but most of those costs go towards fuel and overhead and not the drivers. If you’d like to tip the people who deliver your rental items, flowers, cake, etc, then $10-15 is sufficient.

Most vendors will not expect tips, but it is a nice gesture of thanks. The best way to say thank you, however, is not monetary, but rather by sending future referrals. The wedding industry thrives on word of mouth, and spreading some positive love about your vendors is the best way to show your gratitude.