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So You've Planned Your Wedding... But What About The (Ahem) Tip?

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The other night I was in a meeting room sitting across from clients of mine, a truly lovely couple who are to be married at a beautiful historical venue in a few weeks' time. About to have our final walk-through of the wedding day, we sat with the caterer (no seafood, as per the bride, due to an allergy), the florist (with whom we painstakingly deliberated over textured votive candles), the venue manager and the photographer, and before I knew, it we were almost done finalizing the details of this sure-to-be-amazing event.

The meeting had gone exactly as any wedding planner would hope. We discussed all arrival times, details of welcoming their guests, ceremony music cues, processional, recessional, cocktails, dinner, toasts, dancing and so on. Everything seemed in place and all questions were answered.  

The group started to break up and we said our goodbyes. My bride was happy with our progress and thanked me. I gave my clients a final embrace and as we grabbed our coats to walk out the door, the groom turned to me -- slightly panicked -- and said, "What about the tips, Danielle?"

Good question.

And one I get often.

With all the details, many seem to overlook the important task (and etiquette) of tipping.

Here's my no-fail, go-to guide on making those who put your wedding together as happy as the bride and groom on the Big Day.

Golden Rule: Plan your tips as you go through your wedding timeline. This will ensure you won't forget anyone!

HAIR AND MAKEUP:
Typically they are the first vendors to show up and they transform you from beautiful to stunning. TIP: 10%-20% of their fee.

TRANSPORTATION
They do more than open the door for you. TIP: Each driver should get 10%-20% of their fee.

HOUSE OF WORSHIP or OFFICIANT
Many houses of worship ask for a small donation in advance, so you may have that already squared away, but if not, $100 is the suggested tip for the man or woman who pronounces you Husband and Wife.

VENUE MANAGER
They oversee everything at your venue. TIP: $100-$200.

CEREMONY MUSICIANS
Show some applause! TIP: $25-50 per musician.

BAND MUSICIANS
Same here. The bandleader should get a tip anywhere from $150-$200 and then a suggested tip of $25-50 for each musician.

DJ
Hired a DJ instead to keep your guests moving all night long? TIP: 15%-20% of their fee.

WAITSTAFF
Most likely you are paying a service charge for the waiters to serve your guests that night (take a peek at your contract), but a little extra is always appreciated. This is the same as if you were sitting at your favorite restaurant. TIP: 15%-20% for the team to divide among themselves.

Same goes for the BARTENDERS who keep the good times rolling. And they will! Suggested TIP for them: $200-$300 each.

CHEF
The chef is responsible for everything that your guests see and eat. If it is beyond what you expected, a tip is a good idea. Anything from $150-$250.

MAITRE D/CAPTAIN/CATERING MANAGER
This person handles all the operations of the venue. TIP: 1%-2% of your total bill.

ANY ASSISTANT
Has the DJ brought an assistant? Has the photographer or videographer brought an assistant? Chances are they have and they don't go home with the same pay for the night that your contracted vendor does. You should throw them a little something. TIP $75-$100

And, of course, if you'd like, there are a few more behind-the-scenes hands...

BATHROOM ATTENDANT
He or she smiles, maybe hands a towel to guests and makes them feel a little bit more special for the night. TIP: $1 per guest.

COAT CHECK and VALET PARKING
No one wants to wait for their coat or their car when they are ready to go home! TIP: $1-$2 per guest for coat check, TIP: $2-$5 per guest for the valet.

That's it!

Remember these folks helped you with the biggest and best party you will ever throw. Show them you appreciate it!