Who in the heck are you supposed to tip on a wedding day? There are a million different blog posts and opinions out there in cyber land but I am going to give you the nitty gritty on what is standard here in Colorado.
Gratuities (according to Webster’s) noun, gra·tu·ity \grə-ˈtü-ə-tē, -ˈtyü-\
The definition of gratuity is a sum of money given to someone who provides service or a favor as a way to show graciousness or thankfulness. Just as you would most likely not leave a restaurant without a thank you – you should absolutely consider tipping your vendors. It’s your wedding day and they (hopefully) just worked their tooshes off making your day amazing!
Here is the lowdown, tips are always appreciated but never required outside of food and beverage and hair and makeup. Most of the time those vendors will add the gratuity as a line item in their proposal or final invoice. If they do not – plan on 20% for those people. There is a common misconception (in my opinion) that self employed business owners should not get tipped. In my experience, people who are self employed work harder for you than anyone else. Showing them your thanks in dollars definitely goes a long way. That being said a handwritten thank you note and a great review on Wedding Wire or The Knot is always appreciated.
I agree with rewarding those who go above and beyond (accommodating last minute changes and / or taking meetings and calls outside of business hours). Double check the rules though with officiants. Some clergy are not allowed to take personal tips (donations to the church are a great substitute) and I am 99% sure it is illegal to pay a judge (although I did live in Chicago for 10 years so not totally sure if that matters all the time 😉
Long and Short – here is your cheat sheet and standard in Colorado…
Bartenders (if working through caterer): $100 directly into the tip jar with a smile and a request to keep the tip jar out of site
Bathroom attendants: $1 to $2 per guest
Catering manager | Banquet Captain: $200+
Catering Chef: $100+
Coat check attendants: $1 to $2 per guestFlorist: $200-300
Hairstylist: 15 to 20 percent
Hotel chambermaids: $2 to $5 per room; $10 to $15 if you used a suite as your dressing room
Limo or bus drivers: 15 percent
Makeup artist: 15 – 20 percent
Musicians: 15 percent of fee for ceremony musicians or $50 per musician for reception
Valet or parking attendants: $1 to $2 per car; 15 percent for valet parking
Venue Contact: $200-500
Waiters: $20 and up each (distributed by the wedding planner)
Wedding planner: 15 percent of fee or a personal gift
I also have this crazy opinion that you should tip at the beginning of the event. Cash in hand has an amazing effect on perking up even the most exhausted staff. I am always happy to collect the envelopes and distribute on your behalf. And please remember, these are recommendations because so many of you asked. Every wedding and every client is different.