Wedding Etiquette Forum

Confused about tipping

Our wedding is around the corner and I'm very confused about the tipping. The DJ and photographer both own their business. Are we not supposed to tip them? Should we set aside money just in case we feel they go 'above and beyond'?

Now for the caterer- she does not add on mandatory tipping. We have 72 guests at $33/person. Is $200 a fair tip or is that being cheap (less than 10%)? She has 3 staff members we pay separately at $25/hour. I don't feel they need a tip if they're making that much money. Do we not tip the caterer because she runs the business?

Any help would really be appreciated so we can stop stressing about how much money to set aside.

Re: Confused about tipping

  • I can't answer because I get confused about this too, so I will be eagerly awaiting responses. :)

  • Gratuity was built into our catering contract, so I am no help there.

    All other vendors received tips, regardless of whether or not they own their own business.  We didn't really do percentages, but DJ, photographer, DOC and videographer received $50-$100 each.
  • Are you certain that the servers actually receive the $25 an hour? If they definitely do I would maybe just give them an extra $25 each. My photog and dj are the owners of their businesses but I plan to send them a thank you card with a gift card to a local restaurant after the wedding. I will be tipping the ceremony musicians and the DOC in cash the day of as well.
  • ^ This is a good question. The caterer may bill for their labour at that rate, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's what they actually go home with. Like if my husband does engineering consulting work for a company - that company may bill their client $100 an hour for his work, but that's not what he would see on his paycheque.
  • being both a photographer and having worked in the food industry I can say that you should 1) tip the wait staff over and above ($25ish+) and the wedding photographer tip, for me, would depend on how long she'll be there for your wedding.
  • I will have to ask the caterer if we pay the staff directly or through her. My issue is they're making $25 an hour for 8 hours. That's $200 each, and we're using disposables so the only cleanup is throwing it in the trash. I've worked a lot of crappy jobs for 1/4 the pay and would have killed for $25/hr. At such a high hourly rate I don't know if they really deserve extra (assuming they keep the full $200 each).

    The photographer will be there for 6.5 hours and the DJ 7.5 hours including set up. Is $50 each too cheap? The photographer's bill is about double the DJs.
  • I would be surprised if they got the whole $25, but the depends on if they are employees or not.  If they are part of the $25 will go to employer paid taxes and benefits.   If they are contract employees they might, but still doubt it (unless they are paid directly from you).

    I would tip at least $50 a person for catering.

    I would never tip a photographer until AFTER you get the photos back.   DJ $50 seems okay.  We tipped more, but the was amazing under a difficult situation.

    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • We had an 80 person wedding and also used disposables.  This is what we did for tips:

    For our caterer, we had 2 staff members, which were paid $40 an hour.  I had an extra $50 set aside for each of them, but they actually didn't get it.  They forgot to bring the sauces for our BBQ food and also completely butchered our cake when cutting it.  They were paid to be there for 4 hours, but left at 3.5 hours.  So in the end, I didn't feel they deserved a tip (and they got an extra $20 each anyway for leaving early).

    For our bartender, who was a family friend, we gave her a $50 tip.  We let her discreetly accept tips from guests if they offered them, and several people did (open bar, no tip jar out, but she kept one underneath the bar).

    Our limo driver had tip included in the contract.

    We tipped our DJ, also a family friend and it's his own business, a $50 gift card.

    We haven't yet received our photos back yet (we were told 6-8 weeks and today marks 8 weeks), but when we do, we plan to send her $100.  She was there for 8 hours and it's her own business.

    Cake delivery driver got $5.

  • We asked the caterer and we have to pay the servers through her. I'm guessing she takes out taxes etc so they're not seeing the full $25/hr.

    So for tips: is $50 each for the photographer and dj good? $25 for each server and $100 for the caterer?
  • Sorry to thread-jack, but did anyone tip their florist?
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