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Clients ask me all the time for advice about tipping. Here are some guidelines to help you plan

gratuities for your event vendors and staff. First of all, tips are not obligatory―but it is customary to show your gratitude by tipping the people behind the scenes involved in making your event a success.

Reward Extraordinary Efforts

When someone goes out of their way for you―the florist who makes those tiny last-minute changes you requested; the emcee that rocks your party with positive energy ― consider thanking them with a $50 or $100 tip, a bottle of wine, or another token of appreciation. If you’ve texted and talked until late into the night with your event planner and the party was everything you'd hoped for, a personal thank-you note in addition to her customary tip is much appreciated.

Put Someone in Charge

Assign a family member or your planner to hand out envelopes with the non-contract tips in cash, either at the time of service (hair and makeup people), at the end of the event (which gives you the chance to adjust the tips to reflect the service), or at the beginning.

Many planners agree that if you hand out your gratuity envelopes before your event, the vendors will be more likely to go above and beyond for you on your special day.

Don't Burn Cash

Many gratuities are built into the price quotes for major items like catering―typically 15 to 20 percent―or smaller things like limos. Check carefully to avoid unnecessarily double-tipping.

Synagogue/Church Donation

Ask if your congregation has donation guidelines. Typically, you’re expected to make a donation of anywhere from $100 to $500 (or more).

Prepare Tips in Advance in Marked Envelopes

Bartenders: 10 percent of the total liquor bill (to be split among them)

Bathroom attendants: $1 to $2 per guest

Catering manager: $200+ or a personal gift

Chef: $100+

Coat check attendants: $1 to $2 per guest

Hairstylist: 15 to 20 percent

Hotel chambermaids: $2 to $5 per room; $10 to $15 if you used a suite to dress

Limo or bus drivers: 15 percent

Maitre d’hotel or head waiter: 1 to 3 percent of food and beverage fees

Makeup Artist: 15 to 20 percent

Musicians: 15 percent of fee for ceremony musicians; $25 to $50 per player for reception

DJ and MC: $250 each

Motivational Dancers: $50 each

Photographer/Videographer: If you’re paying a flat fee with no overtime, $100

Valet or parking attendants: $1 to $2 per car; 15 percent for valet parking

Waiters: $20 and up each (distributed by the catering manager or maitre d’ or 15-20 percent of service.)

Bring extra cash for anyone you may have forgotten.


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