Don't Forget to Tip!
Who gets gratuity, and how much? Planners explain.
Vendors expect a tip, even if it’s small. But do you have to tip the caterer?
“Yes, even though there’s usually a service charge of 20 to 22 percent included on the total bill. Ask up front what that fee covers and what else is expected on top of it. I think you should tip the catering sales manager as well as the maître d’.”
“Ask how much of that charge goes to the waiters. If it’s not a lot, you’re more obligated to tip them.”
“I would tip $20 to $40 per table—there’s usually one waiter serving each.”
How much is usually expected on top of the service charge?
“About 3 percent of the total catering bill, or 22 percent of total food and beverages. If your caterer is off-premises, don’t tip on staff salary and rentals.”
“You should tip bartenders 10 percent of the bar cost. Coat check, valet, and bathroom attendants should be tipped $1 to $2 per guest. Tip limo drivers 15 percent. And musicians should get $25 to $50 per band member; D.J.’s should get 15 percent of the total bill.”
“Tipping the rental company’s delivery staff is a good way to smooth out the load-in and load-out process. There are usually three, so it’s not a major expense [$20 to $40 per person].”
Who doesn’t get tipped?
“The florist, the cake designer, and the photographer, but you do tip the photographer’s assistant.”
“The officiant doesn’t get a tip, but you should invite him or her to the reception.”
When do you dole out the cash?
“If you tip in advance, vendors will go the extra mile. Or tip afterward to show appreciation. Checks or cash in an envelope is okay.”
“It’s even okay to tip up to three weeks after the wedding.”
From the Summer 2009 New York Wedding Guide