Tips Gratuities for Your Wedding Services – Part 2

  • Posted on February 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Did the first one help you out a bit.  Not so scary tipping your wedding vendors after all, eh?  I thought  I’d ease you into it with the soft budgetary tipping first.  Here’s another part of his article.  Take notes.  Enjoy!

Gratuitous Tips on Gratuities and Tipping Your Wedding Services.


By Bill Parkison

Published by: Orlando Wedding Professionals Bridal Directory Magazine – Fall 2011 October 17, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

You have planned every moment of your dream wedding, covered every detail, accounting for every expense imaginable; then you rememberyou’re expected to tip your wedding vendors!

However, who to tip is a question many couples struggle with regularly. Regional customs and location play a large part in the amount tipped, as well as, how many service providers receive that special thank you.

Tips are never obligatory.  Rewarding vendors with a gratuity is an expression of your appreciation for services delivered beyond expectation. Tipping serves as a simple thank-you for a job well done. While researching, I came across a blog post claiming that a 20% tip on all things wedding related, products and services, was mandatory. Yeah, right!  After picking myself off the floor and dusting off, I realized how expensive 20% of an entire budget is! Unless you are willing to dig a hole in the ground and spend your honeymoon there, tipping across the board can cost you thousands of dollars. And if you aren’t careful have you doubling up on tips.

While there is no way for me to provide a universal list of tipping rules to serve the American wedding experience. I do suggest that you follow the advice your grandmother probably told you, “trust your own judgment”. Here are a few general guidelines to assist you in determining the value of your gratuity for outstanding service.


Who do we Tip?


Let’s begin by examining your vendor’s contract first. Many service agreements have a section or sentence stating if other fees and gratuities are included in your final cost. Take these vendors off of your list of who to tip. While business owners incorporate their operating, living and profit expenses in the cost of their services; it is not necessary to offer a gratuity if they are personally working your wedding. A good suggestion to follow is basically, tip only employees. Should a business owner provide an exceptional service or solution to an unexpected situation arising during your day, there is no law prohibiting you from tipping them as a gesture of your appreciation. Always remember, a thank you note with a picture with their product provides great bragging rights for their portfolio display.


I would like to add, should a service provider go above and beyond, other forms of expressing your gratitude can be made that will be equally appreciated.  I’ll address these examples later in this article.

As I have mentioned, some vendors include gratuities in their fees, others will leave that amount to you. The level of service they provide can influence what you give them.  Here is a modest breakdown of the vendors to consider who are participating in your special day:

· Transportation: Limousine service, Carriage driver etc.

· Ceremony: Hair/makeup pros, Musicians, Soloist, Officiate

· Reception:  Wedding planners, Photographers, videographers, Catering manager, Wait staff, Bartenders, Band, DJ, Valets, Restroom/coat-check attendants

· Setup/Breakdown: Delivery people, florist, baker, rental suppliers, and other vendors.

· Honeymoon: Bellhop, Doorperson, Housekeeper, Concierge



The Tipping Chart

Gratuities and tips should be made in cash and delivered in a plain white business envelope with the recipient’s name handwritten on the front. The amounts vary by region but, the Northeast seems to be the one part of the country with a consistency in posting tipping rates appropriate for the costs of their wedding services. Remember to consult your service prices and agreements before offering a gratuity to avoid overspending. I’ve chosen to include a scale of rates taken from leading charts found in my research. Any similarity to one particular chart is purely unintentional and coincidental.


· Event planner: 10 to 20 percent of your bill, depending on the terms of contract

· Officiates: $50 to $100 on top of any set fees

· Ceremony site staff: $20 to $30 per person, depending on amount of service

· Organists and ceremony musicians: $20 to $40, depending on length of service

· Reception site manager: 15 to 20 percent of entire bill for the reception

· Valets: $1-$2 per car

· Waiters: $20 to $40 each, depending upon quality of service. If you saw that there were only a few

waiters who worked their tails off, give them more.

· Bartenders: 15 percent of liquor bill

· Coat check: $1 per coat

· Limousine drivers: 15 to 20 percent of transportation bill (Check to see if tip is already included in the contract first! If so, then on-the-day tip may be smaller as a token for great service, or left out altogether)

· Photographer and Videographer: $30-$100 or more

· Delivery workers: $10 each if just dropping items off, $20 each if dropping off and setting up to great extent; even more if they’re transporting a LOT of items

· Tent assemblers and rental agency assemblers: $20 each, even more if the tent is extremely large or complicated, or parquet flooring is set down as well

· Entertainers: $25 to $30 each, more if they really exceeded expectations. Again, check your contract to see if gratuity is already included.

· Beauticians and barbers, manicurists and makeup artists: 15 to 20 percent of beauty salon bill – don’t forget the shampoo person!

· Cleanup crew: $20 each

· Baby-sitters: $30 to $40 each, plus a gift, in addition to their hourly wages; more if baby-sitter is putting in extra hours or caring for several children


With so many elements in motion during your wedding day, allow me to teach you a little trick ensuring you enjoy the most of your special day … delegate responsibilities!

For your wedding day tipping responsibilities, assign a gratuity ambassador. This person will be in charge of passing out tips to services rendered and at the end of the event. Choose someone you feel is responsible like a wedding planner, a father, mother, best man or maid of honor. A plain business envelope filled with cash is fine, but adding a “Thanks for everything!” will earn you extra points. You would be surprised how much it means to a vendor to receive a heartfelt thank-you note or email after the wedding.

Tips represent an expression and gesture of appreciation. Does this sound familiar? If a service provider makes a difference in your day, reward extraordinary effort.



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