To tip or not to tip?
It’s a personal choice and there are no hard and fast rules.
Here are helpful guidelines for tipping ceremony musicians in 4 common situations:
Situation #1: professional musician owns their business
As a general rule, business owners do not receive tips.
This guideline applies regardless of the industry. If your favorite café was understaffed one day and the owner stepped in to serve your table, etiquette would not require you to tip them.
So, if your ceremony musician is a professional who owns their business, there’s nothing wrong with omitting the tip.
situation #2: professional musician hired through an agency
In contrast to the situation above, perhaps your ceremony musician is a professional but you hired them through a third party.
This could be an agency or organization that employs several musicians. In this situation, you pay the organization, and they pay the musician.
In that case, the musician is an employee like your regular restaurant server, and it would be considered good etiquette to tip.
situation #3: music school student
This one is a gray area and could go either way!
You are paying the student directly, but they’re not really a business owner. On the other hand, you are probably getting a much lower rate than you would with a professional.
My personal inclination would be to tip, as a thank you and encouragement for a young person still developing their skills. But it comes down to your personal inclination in this case!
situation #4: family member or friend
If you have a friend or family member performing for your ceremony, you may have agreed to a fee, or they may be offering their talents for free as a wedding gift to you.
In this situation, it would be more appropriate to give a thank you gift or card, rather than a cash tip.
A gift (even if it’s a gift card) is more personal than cash, and more accurately reflects your relationship.
overall tipping guidelines
If you do decide to tip your ceremony musicians, here are a few suggestions:
- Always tip cash
- Assign someone to be in charge of tipping your ceremony vendors
- Keep in mind when your musicians will be leaving (immediately after your ceremony in most cases) and be sure your assigned tip helper catches them before they go
- Tip amounts are a personal choice, but a general guideline would be to tip 15-20% of the musician’s fee.
There you have it! Figuring out tipping etiquette can be a headache, so use these guidelines as a starting point to make your decision.