How much should you tip your wedding vendors?

Just how much should you tip your wedding

Just how much should you tip your wedding vendors? The Wedding Helper breaks it down. (Credit: Fotolia)

I am getting married a week from Friday and wanted to be organized with envelopes for tipping on the day of the wedding.  Can you please recommend suggested amounts to tip vendors, including the officiant and organist, maitre d, bridal attendant, photographer and assistant, limo driver and a 9-piece band. Thank you! – Allison, Sound Beach

Your wedding day is no doubt a day to celebrate — but it’s also a day that takes a lot of planning and organizing. The key is to get everything straightened out before the big day, so that on the day of your wedding you can be calm, cool and collected (OK,  and a ball of nerves). 

Seeing that your vendors are all with you on your wedding day — and some have been in contact with you as long as a year before — showing your appreciation by tipping is gracious and, often times, expected. 

The wedding officiant --- Tipping the officiant is not necessarily expected (some officiants won’t even accept a tip), so a donation to their house of worship is a great way of still showing your appreciation. Otherwise, a tip between $50-$100 is more than enough. Unless you have hired a ceremony musician, it is not necessary to tip the organist who is playing at your wedding ceremony — but if you feel funny not giving anything, $20 is a sufficient tip. 

Maitre d’ and bridal attendant --- These two people are part of the reception staff at your venue, so be sure to double-check that gratuity isn’t already included. If it’s not, a tip of 15%-20% of your final reception bill should be given to these staff members and will be divided between them.

Photographer and assistant photographer --- Though it’s not expected to give this vendor a tip, if you feel that your photographers went above and beyond, a tip anywhere from $50-$100 per person is an extremely nice gesture. 

Limo driver ---  Check to make sure that gratuity isn’t already included in the contract. If it’s not, a 10 percent-15 percent tip is typical, especially if he or she made sure you went from destination to destination without a hitch!

The wedding reception band ---The band members should be tipped $20-$25 per person. If they were the life of the party and exceeded your expectations, a tip is almost necessary. 

The other component of tipping is not a question of how much, but when exactly to do it. I suggest enlisting a few people closest to you to dispense the tips at the appropriate time. This will relieve a ton of stress from you, the bride, so you can focus on enjoying your wedding day fully without trying to flag down your list of vendors!

If you have a wedding question, email The Wedding Helper at karen.ruffini@newsday.com and your question could be featured!

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