Tips on Tipping

7_17_08_0063Should I tip my event staff and vendors?  This question rarely comes up in conversations I have with clients.  That’s probably because rules for tipping tend to be somewhat loose in the 21st century.  But an event is much like any other service you pay for…like getting your hair cut, or taking a taxi to a restaurant.  When someone provides you with a valuable service, it is polite to consider tipping them for their time.  Tipping is just another way of showing appreciation and respect for someones work.  In the events world, custom dictates that you don’t have to tip the following, though if someone has done an especially wonderful job, you may want to offer a gratuity or simple gift: florist, photographer, videographer, baker, stationer, wedding planner, religious officiant, organist, soloist or alter boys.  Below are some guidelines which are meant to assist you in your planning efforts, however, we do understand each situation is different because of varying social and regional customs and standards.

Caterer, Maitre d’, Club Manager, Hotel Banquet Manager.

Plan to tip anywhere between 15 and 20 percent of the total food and drink bill. But pay close attention, gratuity for these service providers is often worked into the food and beverage or hotel contract.



Plan to tip 15 percent of the total food bill for the waitstaff.  But again, be aware of your contracts, because this cost can be built in.



Just as you would tip 15 percent to food service staff, bartenders should receive the same amount.


Reception Musicians/DJ.

Some believe this is not necessary.  But for a majority of the events we plan, the band or the DJ plays an integral role in the success of the event.  If they can work the crowd and get people dancing without being offensive or annoying–they have contributed tremendously to your event.  We believe that each musician and/or DJ should be paid about $25-$50 each.


Limousine Drivers.

More often than not, gratuity for this service is built into the hourly rate, but check before you sign any contracts.  If it is not included, expect to tip about 15 to 20 of the total bill.


Delivery Truck Drivers.

Plan for about $5 to $10 per driver.


Valet Parking Attendants.

Standard practice would be about $1 to $2 per guest.  However, some believe $1 to $2 per vehicle is sufficient.  Just make sure you alert your guests with a simple sign that reads “Gratuities have been arranged by the host” so your guests don’t feel obligated to tip as well.


Powder Room and Coat Check Attendants.

Plan to give 50 cents to $2 per guest and again, remember to put up a sign so your guests are aware of the arrangement.


Hairstylist and Makeup Artist.

Plan to give each about 15 percent of the total bill.


When tipping, it is always gracious to add a short note of thanks to each vendor.  Sometimes it is best to write these notes in advance of the event because on the day of, thoughts may slip your mind in the hustle to get things done.  And as always, we suggest that after the event dust settles, it is important to send a hand written note to each vendor or service provider.  A tremendous amount of labor goes into planning and executing an event, and a simple note of thanks can go a long way.

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