Tips on Tipping

Who gets the gratuities—and how much

Updated 12/06/06

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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