Gratuity is completely at your discretion. We like to keep our clients “in the know” about which vendors are often thanked for gratuity. If you are unsure who to offer a gratuity, go with your instincts. If you had a vendor that went above and beyond, you may want to show your appreciation. Within the United States it is custom to add gratuity in all areas; food delivery, nail salon, hair salon, transportation, dining in a restaurant. If you pay gratuity in all areas of your life, why would you not consider gratuity for wedding vendors? If you have become close with one of your vendors, you may learn they enjoy a specific type of wine or champagne, which is also a kind gesture. Additionally, vendors appreciate positive reviews, and this is another amazing way to thank your hired talent. We have listed most vendors our clients ask us about gratuity.
Often the bakery is not provided gratuity; however, we always recommend a handwritten thank you note after the wedding along with some type of kind gesture.
CATERING MANAGER, MAITRE D & CHEF
4-5% of food and beverage total is our suggested gratuity for the Catering Manager, Maître D and Chef combined (excluding coat check, culinary attendants, bartender fees, tax and service charges). Most venues split gratuities evenly, so ask your catering contact what is common. This is a huge misunderstanding across the industry. Many blogs suggest no gratuity to the hotel or venue management because the gratuity that is charged on food and beverage goes towards your Catering Manager and/or Maître D. This is completely incorrect. The gratuity that you are paying (15% variation) goes towards the wait staff and bartending staff. The other portion of the service charge goes to the hotel as income (7-8% variation). The total amount is typically 21%-24% and the Catering Manager, Maître D, and Chef do not receive a portion of that amount.
Since gratuity for bartenders and wait staff is included in the contracted amount, we do not recommend offering an additional gratuity. They are paid well over double digits and make more than many hotel management. If you feel the wait staff was impeccable and you would like to reward them, it might be a good idea to offer the gratuity to the person who made it happen, the Maître D.
My most memorable hotel clients gave me a hand-written note and/or wrote a thank you email/letter to the General Manager mentioning the employees that went above and beyond. Hotels appreciate written feedback and employees are acknowledged.
Musicians are often provided gratuity ($25 each for ceremony/cocktail reception), but a lot of times DJs are not. The amount is at your discretion and how happy you are with their performance. If you felt the DJ was amazing, you may always thank him/her with gratuity or a kind gesture. If you have a band/orchestra we typically recommend $100 gratuity per person.
The florist is not commonly provided the gratuity. We recommend a personal thank you and some type of kind gesture if you are happy with their service.
HAIR AND MAKE-UP
The standard gratuity for hair and make-up artists is 15% to 20% of the total amount.
Typically the invitations company is not provided gratuity; however, we recommend a personal thank you and some type of kind gesture if you are happy with their service. Remember to bring your invitation with your home address on the wedding day so that the photographer may take a great photo of the print layout and you may give them love on social media after the wedding.
The lighting specialist is not commonly provided the gratuity. We recommend a personal thank you and some type of kind gesture if you are happy with their service.
The officiant is most often forgotten and he/she is the most important person within the wedding. If it weren’t for him/her, you wouldn’t be married! If you have a religious officiant they typically will not accept a gratuity, but rather a donation to the place of worship. If you are married outside of a place of worship, most often we recommend a gratuity. If you have a personal relationship with your officiant we recommend a handwritten thank you card as well as a personal gift. If your officiant is a professional celebrant we recommend 12-15% of their fee.
The photographer/videographers are not commonly provided the gratuity. The photographer and videographers are with you all day and are one of the hardest working vendors within the wedding. We recommend a personal thank you and some type of kind gesture if you are happy with their service on the wedding day. Once you receive your photos/video and you are pleased with them, we may encourage you to surprise them with a gratuity or personal gift.
Often the photo booth attendant is not provided gratuity because they are not considered one of the primary vendors; however, if you feel you received a great price and the attendant is attentive it might be nice to offer them a small gratuity as a thank you gesture.
Depending on the amount of the transportation, this would depend on the percentage. We would suggest gratuity would be 10%.
If you have any questions about the gratuity for your wedding, please share in the comment section below!