Monday, May 24, 2010

Confetti: Wedding Gratuities

As we are approaching the busy wedding season, I thought it would be a good time to share some thoughts and advice on tipping all those service providers who work so hard to make your wedding day a success.

Some things to consider:
  • First and foremost, you should keep in mind that a gratuity is a discretionary expression of gratitude for service that exceeds expectations.
  • In general, if a vendor owns their own business, you would not normally tip them unless you feel they have gone above and beyond for you.
  • Gratuities are often included in the bill or contract, so be sure to read carefully to avoid double-tipping.
The following is a general guideline to get you started thinking about wedding day gratuities:
  • Limousine Driver:  15-20% of the total bill
  • DJ:  $50 and up
  • Clergy Member (priest, minister, rabbi):  Usually a donation ($75 and up)
  • Public official (judge, city clerk, etc.):  Usually a flat fee ($75 and up), although some will not accept it
  • Waiters, Waitresses, Bartenders, Banquet Captain, Banquet Manager:  15% for servers, 15-20% for captain/manager, 10-15% for bartenders
  • Coatroom Attendants:  $1 per guest (or pre-arrange a flat fee with your venue)
  • Parking Attendants $1 per guest (or pre-arrange a flat fee with your venue) 
  • Photographer, Videographer, Wedding Coordinator, Florist, Baker:  Only for extra-special service
  • Organist, Musicians:  $20-$25 each
  • Hair and Makeup Stylists:  15-20% of the total bill
If you have a wedding coordinator, they can distribute gratuities on your wedding day. Our clients provide us with sealed envelopes at the wedding rehearsal, and we take care of this for them. If we feel that a vendor has not met or exceeded expectations, we may choose to advise our clients of this and adjust the tip accordingly. If a vendor they may not have considered tipping does an extraordinary job, we make sure to advise them of this as well. If you don't have a wedding coordinator, you can give this job to a trusted member of the bridal party.

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