Monday, August 29, 2011

Step 98 - Prepare Wedding Tip Envelopes for your Wedding

(Week before Wedding)
Tipping etiquette at weddings can be very bewildering. Traditionally the wedding custom is to tip a wedding supplier if you think they did a great job of providing you outstanding service for both the wedding day and for the run up to the wedding day. Tipping is suppose to be voluntary, however almost all your service providers expect to receive tips.

Tipping is an additional cost you should have included and accounted for when you created your wedding budget so that you ensure that you have money allocated for this purpose. Whenever possible, calculate the tips you intend to give before your actual wedding day. Wedding tips are commonly overlooked when couples set up their wedding budget.

When you meet with every wedding vendor and you negotiate a contract, be sure to discuss tipping and read through the contract to see if tips are included which might be disguised, called something different such as service fees or service charges. Certain wedding vendors most notably to look out for that add tipping in their contracts include caterers, reception facilities, some rehearsal dinner restaurants, banquet halls, and hotels that host weddings. Always ask these businesses about their tipping policies and if there are any things you don't understand in the contract, ask for what each item covers so you don't end up paying for tipping twice.

To avoid confusion on tipping for weddings, tipping guidelines are listed below according to wedding etiquette. Review the list and create a wedding vendor tipping summary for your particular situation.

Wedding Tip Guidelines for your Wedding Vendors

Bartenders - 10% of total liquor bill, (No tipping jar please).
Bed & Breakfast - No tipping required for business owner, $3-$5 per night for outside maid service.
Bridal Fashions - Not required, 15% of alteration bill for exceptional service or $15 - $30, $5 for deliveries.
Catering - Check if tipping is included as a Service Charge or Service Fee, if not 15-20% shared amongst entire catering staff or $1-$2 per guest, if waiters and waitresses are not with cater 15% - 20% of total food bill given to head waiter or maitre' d.
Cleaning Staff - If you contract a cleaning service, not part of your basic wedding staff (caterer,
reception hall, wait staff) 15-20% of contract for services
Ceremony Sites - No tips, $50 tip for manager or coordinator if there is a reception at site.
Church & Chapel - No tips, provide stronger donations to house of worship, $50 for small church
$500 for mega church, mid size church ($ somewhere in between).
Dance Instruction - None required.
Decorations - No tips unless exceptional service - 15% of decorations bill.
Disc Jockeys - $50 or 15-20% of total bill.
Favors - Not applicable.
Florists - No tipping usually a set fee, $5 per delivery.
Gifts & Registries - Not applicable.
Health & Beauty - Depends if included in service, if not 15% of bill, 20% for exceptional service.
Honeymoon - Travel agents don't expect tips, if service is exceptional pick up and drop off a gift.
Hotels & Resorts - $50 to coordinator or manager if wedding on premise, $3-5 per night to maid paid last day working.
Invitations - Not expected unless exceptional service, 15% of bill.
Jewelers - Not expected.
Live Music - $5-10 per person, or 15-20% of total bill under one organization.
Church Organist or Church Musician $25-$40 per person
Makeup Artist & Supplies - 15% of total bill, 20% for exceptional service.
Officiants - Not suppose to take tips, donate extra money to place of worship, a small wedding $50, a mega wedding $500, mid sized wedding somewhere in between, if they travel outside their local area, compensate them for travel costs. If using a civil servant, such as a judge, Justice of the Peace, City Clerk or Notary, you are allowed to tip them but should be called "Donation" rather than "Tip" and ensure it is paid outside of court/office hours.
Photographers - If it's the owner no tip is required, very exceptional work $20-$30, an employee $50.
Reception Facilities - Check if it's in part of the bill, if not $50 to coordinator or manager, coat check and restroom attendants $1 - $2 per guest given to head attendant.
Rehearsal Dinner - 15-20% of bill shared amongst all servers, bartender 10% of bar total bill.
Rental Services - $5-10 for delivery.
Sweets & Treats - $5-10 for delivery.
Transportation - Check if gratuity is included in their bill, if not15-20% of total bill, valets $1-4 per vehicle paid to mgr, inform guests not to tip.
Videographers - If it's the owner no tip, very exceptional work $20-$30, an employee $50.
Wedding Cakes - No tip, decorators 10-15% for exceptional service on exceptional cake, $5-10 for setup or delivery.
Wedding Planners - Tip may be part of set fee, if extremely happy with service 10% more of total commission.

Traditionally it is the best man's duty to take care of tips on your behalf on your wedding day. These duties can also be performed by the maid of honor or by the person paying for the wedding (not the bride or groom). Last choice, a very close family member or friend of the bride or friend of the person paying for the wedding. When paying the wedding vendor their tips, the nominated person handing out the tips should confer with the bride or family if they are satisfied with service and hand out wedding tips between 30 minutes to an hour before the wedding vendor is expected to end their duty.

The preference and tradition stipulates that wedding tips be handed out in cash rather than check. The cash should be stuffed in envelopes labeled with each wedding vendor's name or name of head person of a group, the envelopes to be handed out at relative times throughout the wedding day. You should always carry a couple of contingency fund envelopes in the event you may have forgotten to tip someone important (don't forget to carry a pen to label the envelope) or for one of the hosts or hostesses that performed exceptionally at your wedding.

Always remember when you are tipping a group, a group of waiters, waitresses, busboys, or a group of musicians, give the tip to the head waiter or maitre'd or band leader and to ensure the tip is distributed amongst the team. If any service providers are close family or friends try to tip them generously, you don't want someone who you may see often in your life consider you a stingy tipper and get your reputation sullied to family and friends.

Bartenders, valets, coat checkers, and restroom attendants are notorious for putting out their own "tip jars". Make sure for your wedding that you talk to venue managers that it is totally unacceptable for these reasons to accept tips directly from your wedding guests. These vendors are already being tipped by you. A sign should be placed near each of these services that states "no tipping please" should be sufficient to deter your guests from offering tips and deter staff from accepting them.

Inevitably, some of your wedding vendors that are working your wedding will need to eat and drink. You need to formulate a plan to see that they are well nourished, they tend to perform their duties best when they have a satisfied stomach. Talk to the caterer and talk to the wedding vendors. Depending on your budget, can they be included a meal like a wedding guest, or can the caterer provide them a sandwich or a pasta, or can you have a family member or friend bring them a sandwich. Also provide them with two drinks that are on the house just as long the drink is not too expensive.

Another thing which you can do to help your wedding vendors, is either include a reference of them on any wedding programs you have for the wedding or have an announcement about midway in the musical part of your wedding selection and let your disc jockey or band leader announce if any of your wedding guests are interested in any wedding vendors they can pick up business cards at the musician's table. Many wedding vendors will appreciate the help as often their business is based on referrals.

Lastly, many of your wedding vendors are looking for references. If you like their service, offer to write up a recommendation to them, the recommendation can be done a number of ways, a letter to them, a comment on their website, a "youtube" video, or if you are comfortable with receiving a phone call for reference from a future potential client. Taking photos with wedding vendors at your beautiful reception too, your photo may end up in the wedding vendors website and helps with their credibility. Also take photos of your wedding bouquets, floral arrangements, table centerpieces, other wedding decorations, and wedding cake. Forward the pictures to your florist, decorators, and wedding cake baker and help these businesses out showing off their beautiful work and and these photos sometimes end up in brochures and websites helping them drum up further business.

The rule of thumb is to tip for exceptional service for weddings, don't feel you need to tip if you are not happy with a vendor's service, if the vendor is rude, unprofessional, unkept, does not perform to satisfaction, comes drunk or high or is late. The key in having a great wedding, is to check and double check your wedding vendors and see them in action before your wedding day.

See you on the other side!

1 comment:

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