Yesterday we shared about how to tip your hair & make up folks, musicians/DJs and officiants. Today, we share about tipping your catering staff and transportation people. See what four other wedding websites say and then let us break it down for you below!
Catering & Foodservice
Who they are: As in other circumstances, there is usually a hierarchy of catering staff. Typically you will have some variation of the following chain of command: your banquet captain, chefs/bakers, table servers (who usually also clear the tables), and other kitchen staff. Each can be tipped separately, or you can give one lump sum to the banquet captain. One important note: most caterers do not expect you to tip a percentage of your final bill, just a percentage of your food & beverage total. This can make a big difference when you add up the taxes and fees. Take the time to note the difference so you can decide how to tip accordingly.
Martha Stewart Weddings says: “Give roughly $100 – $200 for the catering or banquet manager, $50 each for chefs (and bakers), and $20 – $30 each for waiters and kitchen staff, divided into separate envelopes.”
The Knot says: Give 15-20% of the bill, or $200 – $300 to the maitre’d to be divided amongst the rest of the staff.
Wedding Bee says: Give 15-20% of your food & beverage total.
A Paper Proposal says: Give15-20% to the head caterer be distributed to the rest of the staff.
Our thoughts: It is a good idea to check and see if any gratuity is included in your contract because sometimes that is the case. However, beware that contract listings such as service fees, service charges, administrative fees and event fees are NOT the same as gratuities. On this one, we really think Martha has it down and would tip accordingly. If you’re curious how/where you find out exactly how many servers will be working your wedding, many times your catering contract and/or BEO (Banquet Event Order) will have that information listed. If not, it doesn’t hurt to ask your catering manager in advance by stating that you’d like to know for the purpose of tipping appropriately – they will appreciate your forethought.
Who they are: Your drivers are usually folks who drive professionally. The good ones take the time to stock their vehicles with ice and/or beverages for your rides. They might welcome you with a red carpet or some (silly 😉 decorations on your limo/bus. They may help load up anything that needs carrying and they should know your schedule well enough to work to help keep you on time. Some are owner-operators who manage a small fleet of vehicles and still drive for clients themselves.
Martha Stewart Weddings says: Give 15-20% of your total bill.
The Knot says: Give 15-20% of your total bill.
Wedding Bee says: Give 15-20% of your total bill.
A Paper Proposal says: Give 20%, unless the bill is thousands of dollars then use your best judgement.
Our thoughts: Check your contract before tipping these folks, as many times gratuity is already included for transportation vendors. If not, we go with the flow on this one and wouldn’t argue the suggested 15-20% rate based on how happy you are with the service you receive.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 3 of How to Appreciate your Vendors and learn how to tip your Photo/Video staff, wedding planner and for our final thoughts on tipping! Also, if you missed Part 1, check that out here!