Post # 1
The 17-piece big band that is playing our wedding reception has asked if we mind if they put out a tip jar. Has anyone else encountered this? What is your take on this?
It should be mentioned that they are amazingly reasonable–a professional band that plays many large events and weddings statewide, but is only $500/hour. Regardless of whether we have the tip jar, how much do you think we should tip the band (since it’s so large, I’ve heard ranges from $20-40/person).
Post # 3
It hasn’t come up with our band. The combo that played at my sister’s wedding had a little fishbowl on the piano. I think that people primarily tipped as they made requests, but the bowl was pretty full by the end of the evening so I guess it was successful. I wouldn’t expect to tip the band for just dancing, but it is certainly polite to drop in a few dollars if you are going to request a specific song.
Post # 4
I don’t think you should allow a tip jar. You are hiring them, and are responsible for any tipping. Your guests are just that, guests. It seems like it would fall under the same category as a cash bar, except that, of course, it isn’t like they need to put money in the tip jar for them to play.
Post # 5
I agree with bethgraced. I think it’s kind of tacky to go a wedding and see a tip jar either in front of the coat check, bartender, band, etc with the expectation that the guests have to tip the vendors. I know that in most cases, it’s the vendors that put these jars out and usually the hosts are not always aware of this but the hosts are responsible for the tip.
Post # 6
I third. You should do the tipping, but I have never hired a large band like that and don’t know what is appropriate.
Post # 7
this would be like if the waitstaff asked your guests for a tip at the end of the night. as the hosts, you’re supposed to take care of all tipping (including the little things like coat check and parking attendants). so yeah, i’m with bethgraced too.
Post # 8
It’s nice to have a variety of opinions here. Most of you said what I thought I felt–that a tip jar seems strange and probably a bit tacky. I guess I’ll ask them to not put out a tip jar.
All of the websites seem to differ on their recommendations about tipping a band, but I think we might do 10-15% of the total bill as opposed to $20/person, as that will add up for a 17-piece band!
Thanks for weighing in!
Post # 9
I don’t normally like tip jars at an event, but $500 hr for a 17 piece band is a fabulous deal. Maybe they can give you such a great rate because they augment with a tip jar. Depending on how long they play and your budget $20 a person is fair and its only about $40 more than 15%.
Post # 10
Good point, Miss Rojo Oso on the tip difference–I didn’t really even think about it.
In the end, I think we’re going to go with nice tips from us so that our guests don’t feel any pressure to contribute. Also, as the set list will be quite firm, guests won’t be able to tip for a song request anyhow.
Post # 11
You might somehow let your guests know that the band won’t be taking requests, so they don’t have to keep explaining that themselves. Even when there’s no tip jar, I have seen people come up to the band with folded bills and a request for a song. Maybe if you have a nice little sign saying "No Requests Please" or something.