Soiree Special Events

Monday, November 26, 2007

Soiree Classroom: Tipping Guidelines

Our clients always ask us about protocol and etiquette when tipping their wedding vendors. First, there are three major rules to remember:

1. Gratuities are always at your discretion and while they may be expected, poor service should not warrant a tip. Of course the opposite is true -- if you have received stellar service, it should be rewarded.

2. Tips are generally reserved for professionals who do not own the company you hired. Profits pass through to the owners and a tip is not necessary. Cake bakers, photographers, florists, DJs, and coordinators often fall into this category. Keep in mind the delivery person is not always the person you signed a contract with.

3. Check your contracts before determining gratuities. Some companies include a tip in their total bill.

You may wish to prepare well-marked envelopes in advance and have your coordinator or close friend hand them out to the appropriate vendor on the wedding day. Here are some suggestions:

* Hair & makeup artists
10-15% of the total cost

* Ceremony musicians
$20 per player

* Officiant (outside of a church)

* Officiant (in a church)
$100-500 donation to church, depending on other church fees paid

* Catering staff
15-18% of your total bill, divided per person
$20-30 per person, including waiters, bartenders, and kitchen staff
$40-50 for your sales person (if present & useful on the wedding day)
$40-50 for your banquet captain

* Photographer (& assistants)

* Videographer (& assistants)

* DJ

* Band
$20-40 per member

* Wedding cake

* Florist
$20-50, depending on number of delivery locations and extent of setup

* Coordinator

* Limo driver

Of course these are simply suggestions based on our experiences. Before you decide on the appropriate gratuity amount for your vendors, think about the service you've received prior to the wedding day and the cost of each individual vendor's services.



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