When setting up a budget for a wedding, many couples forget to include a line item for tips and gratuities. Sure, you could bypass this area completely, but that really wouldn’t be very nice, now would it? It would also go against accepted wedding etiquette.
Maybe you think a quick $100 will cover tips to everyone? Well, it may have 50 years ago, but in current times, it’s not uncommon for this area to run into the hundreds of dollars. This is why it’s important to include them in the budget. Tips & Gratuities are known for being budget busters of many a wedding.
You will want to be sure to check contracts out because some have a gratuity included. In these cases, there is no need to tip those associated with these particular contracts, unless of course you feel that one of the staff goes way above and beyond. If that’s the case, you may want to slip that person an extra tips.
Now, as far as wedding etiquette goes, the following people should be (and expect to be) tipped:
Altar boys / girls – $10 to $15 a piece
Bartenders – 10% of the total bill (unless a cash bar)
Chauffeurs – 10 to 15% of the total bill
Coat Check / Restroom Attendants – 50 cents to $1 per guest
DJ – $50 to $100
Hair Stylist / Makeup Artist – 10 to 15% of the total bill
Valet Parking Attendants – 50 cents to $1.00 per car (on top of what guests give them)
Waitstaff – 15% of the catering bill
There are also some optional folks you may want to tip as well. You’ll need to know about how these type of folks operate and make the call from there. For example, if you are doing business with the business owner directly for a particular service – say a florist – they may be doing the work themselves and have been compensated fairly in the contract you have with them. In this case, a nice thank you note may suffice and would be most appreciated. However, if you are dealing with an employee of the florist, a tip would likely be appropriate.
Here are the folks that tipping is optional with:
Baker / Cake Designer – $10 or $20
Catering / Reception Manager – $50 to $100
Musicians – $5 to $10 per hour, per musician
Florist – $10 to $20 per staff member
Officiant: $75 to $200 – This can also be paid as a donation to the church
Photographer / Videographer – $50 to $100
On site Wedding Coordinator – $50
Wedding Planner – 10% of their total bill
Tips should be paid in cash and should be placed in envelopes. Plan on them being paid just as the vendor and staff are leaving. By doing this in this fashion, you’ll be able to judge how much of a tip they have actually earned. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments on the fly if necessary. The best man – or trusted person – will generally be in charge of taking care of this for you.
You may not have considered tips and gratuities to be an item worthy of being in your wedding budget. Hopefully, this article has shown you otherwise. You may want to set up a second account for expenses that may be overlooked so that you aren’t shocked by them. Consider funding this account to the tune of 10 to 15% of your total wedding budget. This is something that could save you from pulling your hair out trying to redo your budget so that it comes in where you need it to.
Be sure to keep these extra funds separate from your main wedding account. Don’t use these funds unless you run into unexpected expenses. This extra fund could go a long way to ensuring your wedding comes in at or under budget.