Anne Marie, 26, started out with a budget of $22,000. By the time all the contracts for her wedding were signed, the calculator showed a total tab of $43,717.60. Her parents, who had never refused their only daughter anything, remained stoic but tense. They used a pre-approved home equity line of credit to pay for her dream wedding.
It was just one “little thing” after another that jacked up the total, the newlywed explained. It started with discovering the guest favors she had ordered were out of stock and having to substitute much more expensive ones.
When it was time to figure out whom to tip and how much, she admitted, it was all too easy to err on the side of too high a gratuity than it was to risk shorting someone.
Until you actually plan a wedding, you will probably underestimate the individuals who provide wedding services and who expect a gratuity. Here’s a list, courtesy of Weddings for Dummies, of who gets a gratuity and how to calculate the proper amount.
1. Banquet manager: It’s appropriate to tip at least $200 or offer a personal gift, depending upon the specifics of the event.
2. Head bartender: Plan on at least $50 for services.
3. Other bartenders: $25 and up for each one is adequate.
4. Bathroom attendants: First check to see if the facility requires a flat fee. If not, $1 to $2 per guest is sufficient.
5. Bride’s dresser: Most expect 15 to 20 percent of the agreed-upon fee.
6. Catering party manager: You may offer a personal gift or a gratuity of at least $200, depending on the particular event and its complexities.
7. Chef: Gratuities start at $100.
8. Civil ceremony officiant: A gratuity of $25 to $50 is normally appropriate. However, some have specified fees.
9. Clergy officiant: Call the individual’s home church or parish to ask what’s customary. Depending on the size of the wedding, $25 should be a minimum.
10. Coatroom attendant: If the facility doesn’t assess a flat fee, $1 to $2 per guest is customary.
11. Cook: A reasonable tip is $25 each.
12. Hairdresser: Depending on the number of individuals whose hair is styled, use 10 to 20 percent of the total fee as a guideline.
13. Hotel chambermaid: A tip of $1 to $2 a day is typical.
14. Maitre d’ or head waiter: If off the premises, figure $150 to $300, depending upon the number of your guests. When on site, calculate one to three percent of the food and beverage tab, again dependent on the number of guests you have.
15. Makeup artist: A good guideline is 10 to 20 percent of the fee.
16. Musicians at ceremony: Figure on 15 percent of their charge for services.
17. Musicians at reception: The gratuity should vary between $25 to $50 per musician, depending on the number of guest requests.
18. Parking attendant: If you have a flat fee for valet parking, at 15 percent. Otherwise, plan on $1 to $2 per vehicle.
19. Photographer: Assuming your bill includes a flat rate without an overtime fee, you might wish to offer a gratuity of $100 for excellent service.
20. Porter: A good amount is $15 each.
21. Room captain: Plan on spending at least $50.
22. Tailor: Calculate 10 percent of the fee for a tip.
23. Transportation driver: For a van or bus driver, use $25. When using a limo, 18 to 20 percent is typical but is usually already on your bill (be sure to check). If the service is exceptional, it’s appropriate to offer an additional $25.
24. Wait staff: When off the premises, use $10 to $20 each as a guideline. Give $25 and up for waiters serving the head table, whether at or away from the dining establishment.
25. Wedding planner: A personal gift is always appropriate. In addition, 15 percent of the fee is a frequent figure. If you’re charged on an hourly basis or only for services on the wedding day, figure a gratuity of 15 to 20 percent of the tab.