(Closed) Who to tip?

posted 13 years ago in Beehive
Post # 3
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2007 - Ceremony at a cement and stained glass cathedral and reception at a boutique hotel ballroom

The only people I tipped were our DJ/MC (because he worked for another company and did not own the business), makeup artist, and hair stylist.

For all other vendors, they owned their own business (photographer, floral designer, etc) so I’m going to send them thank you gifts instead, perhaps in the form of a bottle of good wine or the like.

I’m also planning on sending the sales/banquet management team at our reception hotel a basket of goodies to share.

Post # 4
311 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

Here’s the email I got from a friend about tipping:

caterer, maitre d', club, banquet manager - 15 - 20% of food bill 

(unless already included in contract)-

waitstaff - 15% of total food bill.  

bartenders - 15% of total bar bill

reception musicians - $25 - 50 each

limo drivers -unless included in contract, 15 - 20%

coat check attendant - 0.50 - $2 / guest

hairstylist - 15% of total bill

makeup artist - 15% of total bill


Post # 5
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

i would also add your officiant.

Post # 6
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2005

An article just came out in the Fall 2007 Modern Bride to address this. It’s a commercial source, so I’d take these with a grain of salt (to me, tipping should never be expected for instance). Page 154 in the how-to guide. It has three categories: contract tipping, expected tipping, and your call.


Waitstaff – parties of 20 or more a 20%(ish) gratuity is added.

Transportation – 20% of the total cost

Reception staff – 18-20% of the total bill

DJ/Musicians at Reception – 5-20% ot the total cost


Delivery Truck Drivers/Setup – $5-$25 per person depending on the difficulty of the task

Organist/Music for Ceremony – $20-$25 for each musician

Officiant – $100 and up or a donation to church or synagogue

Reception-Hall Manager/Maitre d’ – $40 or more for each staff member(depending on size of event)

Waitstaff at Reception – $20-$25 per person or 10% of the total for bar tenders

Powder Room, Coat Check and Parking Attendants – 50 cents-$1 per guest

Hair Stylist/Makeup Artist – 15-20% of the total cost

Your Call

Photographer, Florist, Caterer, Baker, Jeweler, Videographer, Stationer, Consultant, Seamstress, Tuxedo consultant, Bridal shop consultant, Travel Agent

Okay, now that I took the time to type all that out, it seems a little ridiculous and over the top. I grew up thinking (and this is thanks to the game of Monopoly) that the only person to be tipped is the Officiant and that’s because it’s supposed to be a free service. But nothing should be expected unless it’s included in the contract.

I did a little more research and here’s a consultant’s association protocol on tipping.

Clergy Member – usually a donation ($10 and up) depending on ceremony size

Public Official – Usually a flat fee ($10 and up). Some aren’t allowed to accept money

Ceremony Assistants(altar servers, sextons, cantor, organist) – often covered by church fee, but ask. $5-$25

Floris, baker, photographer, musicians, limosuine drivers – 15% for drivers: other tipped only for extra-special service

Reception Staff(waiters,waitresses, bartenders, table captains, maitre d’) – 15% for servers, 1-2$ for captains, 15-20% for maitre d’

Powder Room attendants/Coatroom attendants – 50 cents per guest

Hope that helps!

Post # 7
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2007 - Ceremony at a cement and stained glass cathedral and reception at a boutique hotel ballroom

Oops, forgot about the officiant. Ours was a pastor from our church and did our wedding for free, so we didn’t "tip" him, but rather gave him a check in a generous amount.

Post # 8
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Oy — this seems awfully over the top to me, but I’m one of those people who never tip the barista.

 I have heard that tipping is not appropriate if the person you are working with is the owner.  Here’s my list:

Officiant (not a clergy at a church – Owner of business)

Florist – Owner

DJ – Owner

Caterer – all gratutity in contract (including waitstaff)

Ceremony musicians – 15% 

Hair/makeup – 15%

Baker – Owner

Photographer – Owner 

No limos for me. I think thats everybody.

So my plan is to send a nice note to each "owner" and a gift only if service is over the top fabulous.  I reject the idea that we should automatically tip everyone down to your drycleaner.  Especially since weddings already have a 20% markup, if not more. 

Post # 9
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2005

What about just a recommendation and a nice thank you…something they can add to their porfotlio to show other prospective brides and grooms? I agree with the association I listed above: others tipped only for extra special service.

Post # 10
73 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2007

we ended up tipping:

-our priest (more a gift than anything since he was coming from out of town)
-limo driver
-maitre’d at the reception
-florist delivery person
we also had tips for the photographer/videographer but they left the reception before stopping by my dad to pick up a tip! 

Post # 11
100 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

All of my vendors own their own businesses (my hair and makeup girls do weddings exclusivly out of their apartments) with the exception of the wait staff.  Do I really need to tip each on of them 20% on top of their contracted rates (and these are NYC rates!)?  Even our officiant is in business for herself (doing wedding ceremonies) and charges almost $1000.  I am fine with thier prices (or I wouldnt have signed with them!) but an extra 20% on top of that seems excessive when all the profit goes straight to them to begin with.  Thoughts?

Post # 12
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2005

Here’s a post on tipping that might help:


Remember the pirate code? It’s more like guidelines.  Really though, I suggest people tip if they did an outstanding job. One of the exceptions I can see is that if anyone working at your wedding is doing so for free. My favorite way receive a tip is a great hand written thank you for the service I provided.


Post # 13
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Okay, I am confused.  At a restaurant, if the gratuity is included in the bill, I don’t provide an extra tip.  So if there is a gratuity provided in my contract, I wouldn’t think to provide an extra tip for waitstaff/bartenders…

Also, at a restaurant, I don’t tip the various members of the staff separately – with the exception of the bartender.  So I’m not sure why I should be providing a separate tip for the banquet/catering manager and the waitstaff?  If I just provide one tip to the manager and ask him to distribute as appropriate, and maybe a separate tip to the bartender, shouldn’t that suffice?  I would tend to treat the salon the same way – as long as the personnel performing services are employees rather than renting a station, shouldn’t I be able to provide a single tip to the salon manager based on the entire bill and have him/her distribute as appropriate?


Post # 14
19 posts
  • Wedding: October 2008

Now I’m confused.   For our wedding, we’re hiring a caterer who in turn will hire the waitstaff and bartender (which costs are built into our catering bill).  Waitstaff are $25/hour each and the bartender is $125 for the entire night.  We have to provide our own alcohol.  Am I expected to tip each of the waitstaff 20% of the entire catering bill?  Or am I supposed to divide up the bill by number of waitstaff and then tip 20%?  That’s still a lot of money (about $200 each), considering they’re also getting paid by the caterer. I guess I’ll have to check my contract to see if gratuity is included.

 Are you supposed to tip musicians if you are paying them or is that just for musicians that are provided by a church?

I just don’t see why I have to tip people who are already getting paid to do their job.  It’s not the same as a restaurant where they are paid less than minimum wage with the expectation of tips… 


Post # 15
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

That is exactly my confusion about the waitstaff.  Seems like it should be 15 – 20% of the food bill divided by the number of waitstaff total – which would actually tip each person according to the work they did or food they delivered (IMO).

And in a regular restaurant, if I tip the maitre’d, or the sommelier, or other staff who performs only a very specific task, its no way 20% of what the bill ends up to be!

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