Wedding Ideas

Tips for Tipping: A Guide to What’s Standard in NJ

Posted on March 14, 2023 by New Jersey Bride

It’s the week before your wedding and you’re all ready to go. But wait, what about those “tip envelopes” you’ve heard other brides talking about? Are tips really necessary? How much is enough? Do you pay a set 20 percent across the board? Do you need to tip everyone?

The concept behind tipping at weddings—and any event—is to thank a vendor or individual who has done an outstanding job or has gone above and beyond. We’ve recently talked to brides who think they are obligated to give a tip to every wedding vendor, but that’s not always the case. You’re already paying your vendor for their goods or services, and while tipping may be customary or expected for some, you don’t need to get carried away and assume that you have to tip everyone, regardless of a job well done. And contrary to what we hear from some brides, you DO NOT need to tip every vendor an additional 20%!

Here, we break down what’s customary in New Jersey. But remember that you can always tip more or less depending on your own experience!

Reception venue: A service tip is almost always included in your contract but may or may not include tips for your onsite wedding planner, maitre d’, banquet manager, bartenders and waitstaff. Ask in advance and read your contract’s fine print so that you’re not caught short-handed a few days before the wedding. This is a sizeable amount, so you need to budget for it. If gratuities for reception staff are not included in your contract, there are a couple ways to handle it. Some go by the 15% to 20% of your food and drink bill, while others suggest $5 to $10 per person (so if you have 200 guests, you’d tip $1,000 to $2,000). These tips are given to your maitre d’ at the end of the night who will disperse to everyone. Your best bet is to talk to your venue’s wedding planner about what’s customary at your specific venue—to make sure that you’re not paying too little, too much or twice!

Wedding planner: In most cases, he or she will have pulled off your dream vision, saved you tons of time and money and had priceless connections. This is one tip you won’t mind paying and we’ve seen 10% to 20%, up to $500—or a really nice gift. 

Hair and makeup: This gratuity is typically 20% and expected, regardless of whether the artist is the owner or not. This is for all beauty services, not just for the bride. So if you’re paying for your maids’ hair and makeup, be sure to factor in a tip on top or let your maids know they need to tip.

Music: It’s standard to give $50 to $100 per musician to the bandleader or $100 to $200 for deejays at the end of the night.

Photographer/videographer: If your photographer and/or videographer owns their own business, it’s not required to tip them on top of their contracted fee. If they have assistants working with them that day, you can tip them $50 to $100 each. If you have an engagement session included in your photo package, I always recommend tipping them $100 the day of your engagement shoot, especially with the cost of gas these days.

Transportation: Gratuities are usually included in your contract, but if not, tip your drivers at the end of the night, typically 15% to 20%. 

Flowers: You don’t need to tip your floral designer on top of your total bill, but you can give $10 to $20 to the delivery people the day of your wedding. 

Cake: You can tip the cake delivery people $10 to $20 the day of your wedding. 

Cigar roller/event painter/photobooth/other reception entertainment: If these vendors have done an outstanding job, you can tip them $50 to $100 each.

Coatroom attendant or valet: If not included in contract, standard gratuities are $1 per coat and $1 per car.

Officiant: If the officiant is a member of your religious institution and you’re making a donation, give a small tip on top, such as $50 to $100. If the officiant is being paid for his or her services, a tip is not expected but can be given if they do a great job. If the officiant is a friend or family member doing it for free, give a gift as thanks!


Photo by Thomas Curryer on Unsplash

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