SUGGESTED GRATUITY GUIDE
We like to keep our clients “in the know” about which vendors are often thanked by gratuity. If you are unsure of who to offer a gratuity to, go with your instincts. If you had a vendor that went above and beyond, you might want to show appreciation. Within the United States, it is customary to add gratuity in all areas; food delivery, nail salon, hair salon, transportation, and dining in a restaurant. Why would you not consider gratuity for wedding vendors if you pay gratuity in all areas of your life? 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 fantastic way to thank your hired talent – GOOGLE reviews are the best option. We have listed most vendors our clients ask us about gratuity.
Often the bakery is not provided gratuity; however, we always recommend a hand-written thank you note after the wedding, along with some 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 (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 charged on food and beverage goes towards your Catering Manager and/or Maître D. This is entirely incorrect. A portion of the gratuity that you are paying (18-24% variation) goes towards the wait staff and bartending staff only, and a portion goes to the house and is taxed (which is called an administrative fee).
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 triple digits and make more than 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 a gratuity to the person who made it happen, the Maître D.
My most memorable hotel clients gave me a handwritten note and/or wrote a thank you email/letter to General Manager mentioning the employees that went above and beyond. Hotels/catering companies appreciate written feedback, and employees are acknowledged.
Musicians are often provided gratuity ($75 each for ceremony/cocktail reception). 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 a 10% gratuity or a kind gesture. If you have a band/orchestra, we typically recommend $500 for the band leader and a $100 gratuity for each additional band member.
The florist owner is not commonly provided gratuity; however, if an extraordinary piece is created or a tight room turn, you may tip the staff $75 each. 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 18% to 20% of the total amount.
We generally recommend providing a gratuity for the lighting staff, which stays until the end of the party, ranging between $75-$100 each.
The officiant is often forgotten, and he/she is the most important person at the wedding. You wouldn’t be married if it weren’t for him/her! 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 and a personal gift. If your officiant is a professional celebrant, we recommend 15% of their fee.
The photographer and videographers are with you all day and are one of the hardest-working vendors within the wedding. Depending on the size of your photography/videography team, the gratuity amount may range. I recommend $250-$500 each if you only have a few photographers. You may provide more for the leader and $100 for the assistants if you have a large team. Once you receive your photos/video and you are pleased with them, we may encourage you to surprise them with a personal gift.
If you received a great price and the attendant is attentive, it might be nice to offer them a gratuity of $75.
Typically the gratuity for transportation is listed as an additional amount of 10% in the invoice, but if it is not, we recommend 10%.
Please let us know if you have any questions about gratuity for your wedding!