When you go to a restaurant, do you always tip at least 15%, regardless of the service you receive? And do you tip more, when you feel service has gone above and beyond what you would normally expect? Or do you tip solely based on performance? Less if the service is bad but generously when the service is exceptional?
A recent groom asked me the standards for tipping – I told him I don’t like standards (I’m the type that tips solely on performance). If you feel your musicians, wait staff, photographer, officiant, DJ, coordinator, or anyone else performed above expectations, then tip them what you deem appropriate. But never feel obligated to tip.
Traditional etiquette says you do not tip the owner of a business – and many wedding professionals own their own business. But why not? If I receive an amazing haircut at a salon and the owner is cutting my hair, why shouldn’t I give a little something extra? I would if one of the other stylists had cut my hair. Why should the owner be any different? I know the thinking behind it is the owner gets all of the money anyway – but they have to pay utilities, rent and employees with that money. Why shouldn’t they be rewarded for a job done extra well?
I believe you should tip anyone that you believe performed above expectations, regardless of whether or not they own the company. The wedding business is highly competitive and cyclical – chances are a tip would be a nice bonus. And any bonus is a welcome bonus.
Another way to thank your wedding professionals is to provide a good testimonial they can post on their website – and provide at least one photo. Be specific as to what stood out about their service if you can – “I love that you found flowers the exact shade of blue I was looking for!” or “You made our day look effortless in spite of the weather!”. Try to do this within two months of your wedding date – but better late than never!
Some wedding websites are starting to let you review your wedding professionals now – Wedding Wire and the knot both have review sites available. Posting a good review for your wedding professionals can help a lot! It only takes a few minutes, and you can cut and paste your comments from one to the next. Posting good reviews will ultimately help your wedding professional get more bookings.
And of course spreading the word about your wedding professionals goes a long way. Tell everyone on your facebook, friends that are getting married, your blog if you have one…any way you can get the word out about your wonderful wedding professionals is welcome.
But just in case you are one of those standard tippers, here is a guideline borrowed from the knot…
- Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Up to $500 or a gift
- Hair Stylist and/or Make-Up Artist: 15% – 25%
- Wedding Delivery and Set Up Staff: $5 – $10 per person
- Ceremony Officiant: $50 – $100 or a donation to their church up to $500
- Ceremony Musicians: $15 – $20 per musician
- Wedding Photographer/Videographer: $50 – $200 per person
- Wedding Reception Staff: 15% – 20% of the final food & drink bill if not already included; $200 – $300 for the maitre d’
- Wedding Reception Attendants: $20 – $25 per bartender/waiter; $1 per guest per coat room attendant or valet
- Wedding Reception Band: $20 – $25 per musician
- DJ: $50 – $150
- Wedding Transportation: 15% – 20% of the total transportation bill