Tips on Tipping

Who gets the gratuities—and how much

It's customary to give gratuities to your wedding vendors. But to whom? When? And how much? To add to the confusion, some vendors include a gratuity in their contracts, while others leave tipping to your discretion. Ask before you sign, so that you know whether tipping is optional or contractual. Here's a breakdown of what to expect and what to do:

When Gratuities Are Expected

Waitstaff at the rehearsal dinner

How much tip? For parties of 20 or more, a gratuity of approximately 20 percent will automatically be added to the bill.

Wedding-day transportation

How much tip? 20 percent of the total cost.

When to tip: Most transportation companies allow the option of paying in advance or on the day of the wedding.

Give the job to: the best man. He can be in charge of paying any outstanding transportation bills and tips.

Reception staff (including the manager, maitre d', waitstaff, bartenders, and powder-room, coat-check, and parking attendants)

How much tip? 18–20 percent of final reception bill. (This is usually split between the manager, maitre d', waitstaff, and attendants.)

When to tip: The bill and tips are usually paid a few days prior to the reception.

DJ/musicians at reception.

How much tip? $20–$25 for each musician.

When to tip: at the end of the reception.

Give the job to: the best man. Have cash envelopes prepared in advance.

When Tipping is Optional

Delivery-truck drivers (cake, rental equipment) and workers who set up rental equipment (tents, tables, and chairs)

How much tip? $5–$25 per person, depending on difficulty of the tasks.

When to tip: Upon delivery or post setup.

Give the job to: The person accepting deliveries or the person in charge of setting up the ceremony and reception sites. Have cash envelopes prepared in advance.

Officiant

How much to tip? $100 and up. It's common to make a donation to the church/synagogue or to a charity in the officiant's name in lieu of a tip.

When to tip: Donations can be made prior to the wedding, presented at the rehearsal dinner or given after the ceremony.

Give the job to: the best man, if you wait until the wedding weekend.

Organist/musicians for ceremony

How much to tip? $20–$25 for each musician.

When to tip: at the end of the ceremony.

Give the job to: the best man. Have cash envelopes prepared in advance.

Reception-hall manager/maitre d'

How much to tip? $30 or more for each, depending on the size of the wedding and the final reception bill.

When to tip: at the end of reception.

GIVE THE JOB TO: The father of the bride or the best man. Have cash envelopes prepared in advance.

Waitstaff and bartenders

How much to tip? $20 per person or 10 percent of the total bar tab for bartenders. (Also, instruct the maitre d' that guests should not be solicited for tips.)

When to tip: at the end of the reception. If you are tipping a percentage, you will need to know the final bar tab first.

Give the job to: the maitre d'. Have cash envelopes prepared in advance.

Powder-room, coat-check, and parking attendants

How much to tip? Each attendant should receive $.50–$1 per guest. (Also, instruct the maitre d' that guests should not be solicited for tips.)

When to tip: at the end of the reception.

Give the job to: the maitre d'. Have cash envelopes prepared in advance.

Hair and makeup artists

How much to tip? 10ndash;15 percent of total cost.

When to tip: at the end of service.

Manicurist

HOW MUCH TO TIP? 15-20% of total cost.

When to tip: At the end of service.

Masseuse (pre-wedding massage)

How much to tip? 15–20 percent of total cost.

When to tip: at the end of service.

Tips You Can Ship

Although you can always tip or send a thank-you note for exceptional work, these vendors do not generally receive gratuities for their services:

Wedding consultant

Stationer

Bridal shop

Seamstress for alterations

Tux shop

Jeweler

Cake baker

Florist

Caterer

Photographer and assistant

Videographer

Travel agent for honeymoon

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