Quite often I get the uncomfortable question from curious brides and grooms about tipping. I always say the same thing. “It is optional at weddings. A tip for any service is appreciated, but usually not at all expected. Just tip if you were really really happy with your outcome.”
I did a little looking around on the net to see what other people say about wedding gratuity. Before sharing my findings below, I have read that for the most part, I am right. Tips are a voluntary thing, and you should really use your discretion.
So, how do you make the decision?
DO YOUR HOMEWORK – First off, if you are thinking about tipping, you may want to find out from your vendors if, tipping is allowed at all. There are many services, caterers for one, that include the gratuity for their staff directly in their quoted price, so they sometimes actually discourage tipping. In this economy, be sure not to double tip!
Giving wedding professionals and vendors a tip is completely up to the couple, how happy they are and how much they can afford. There is no percentage, if any, as you see expected by restaurants.
All tips should be given in cash. If the person serving you is an employee of the company, their tip should be in a separate envelope, so that the business doesn’t try to absorb it.
Tips should be given just before the party ends. That way you can judge how much to give, according to the job they did for you.
DOLLAR GUIDELINE ACCORDING TO SERVICES PROVIDED:
Limousine Drivers – 10-15% of the limousine bill, given at the end of his/her service.
Valet Parking Attendants – 50 cents to $1.00 per car, is about right.
Disc Jockey – When your guests compliment the reception later, remember it was the DJ that had created a big part of the fun stuff. While it is not expected, if there is one DJ, $50-100.00, isn’t totally unheard of. If you have two DJs, some people give each person $50.00 in separate envelopes. It’s really up to you, as, again, there is no need to tip at all.
Photographer / Videographers – The tip is optional. Usually if they own the photography business, no tip is necessary. If they are employees, $50.00 goes to the main photographer and who splits in with any assistant.
The Wait Staff – Usually the tip is worked into the quote. If the tip is not in the contract, a 15% of the total catering bill is tipped.
Bartenders – 10% of the total liquor bill is normal, if you are not allowing your guests to tip.
Ceremony Musicians – $5-10/hr per person.
Wedding Officiate – Usually you do not tip. You pay the set amount, and offer a donation to the church, if you wish to offer more for their help.
Hopefully, you have a rough idea of what to give now, if you feel the urge to tip.
Again, the amounts above are only examples and are not written in stone. They are, however, what I have found people have suggested to give when you are impressed and overly satisfied with your service provider.