When it comes to tipping, wedding DJs, and wedding vendors in general, are not exempt from tipping. Remember, your wedding vendors are still providing a service to you and your guests. The biggest question is, how much should you tip your wedding DJ or band? Do you have to tip them or any of your wedding vendors? The short answer is: it depends. You may be wondering, well, it depends on what?
Believe it or not, some wedding vendors have tipping built into their contract. Some vendor contracts will specifically add a 15% - 25% gratuity onto the total bill for the servers or other staff. We've seen many venues do this, catering companies, bartending companies, and yes, even wedding DJ companies, too! We get it, tipping is a nice way to incentivize the staff who work to do a great job, but in our opinion, it's more beneficial to the vendor than you. Why? Well, this is money that they can promise their own staff, without having to directly pay it out of their own pockets or profits. You, the client, are directly paying the gratuity. Is it fair? Yes and no.
Yes, it's fair, because well, it will be in the contract that this is required and hopefully, you read the contract thoroughly! No, because vendors should want to pay their staff well and not force the clients to spend more, just to keep the staff happy. This is our policy. We don't require tipping and leave it 100% up to the client. If the client wants to tip us, great! If they don't, that's totally okay, too! We're happy to get a "thank you," and always very happy to get a great review from happy clients!
We pay our DJs a great pay rate to keep them happy and we offer our own bonus programs and incentives. None of which rely on the client to pay for. We're certainly not bashing anyone who does include mandatory tipping. We're just choosing to do things differently. The main reason is because tipping should always be optional, in our opinion. If you're less than happy with the service, being forced to tip for a service you were unhappy with just doesn't seem fair to us. :(
Our advice is to read the contracts, thoroughly, and find out about tipping, if it isn't in the contract. If it's mandatory, ask about what happens if you're not 100% happy with the service? Are you still required to tip for bad service? Hopefully not!
The bottom line is this: If you're 100% happy with your service and feel a tip would be a great idea (if it's not mandatory in the vendor contract) a 10% - 20% tip would certainly be appreciated by your wedding DJ! Many times, clients will simply tip $50 - $150 to the wedding DJ and this is more than acceptable. We know that some wedding DJ companies can charge upwards of $2000 - $4000, which means $200 - $400 tip (for 10%) and this is a lot! We get it. Do you have to tip even 10% - 20% of the bill? No, you do not.
As stated above, $50 - $150 is the average tip we've seen. You can tip more, or even less, if you'd like. Remember, wedding DJs get paid a decent salary and are not paid $2.14 like some waitstaff may be paid at a restaurant. If your wedding DJ is not getting paid what they want to be paid and expect a tip, that's a problem for the DJ company to solve, not you. There is not any DJs making minimum wage or less, for their work, so don't worry if you don't have the budget to tip 10% - 20% of the total bill. Again, your DJ will be happy with any tip that you do leave, because at the end of the day, wedding DJs want their clients to be happy and a happy client that simply says "thank you for doing a great job" is always appreciated, with or without a tip! :)
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Gratuity for wedding and event vendors is a subject that has various opinions, from various people. If you're planning a wedding, quinceanera or event, in our market (Austin & central Texas), or anywhere, then you're likely wondering about gratuity for all your vendors. Be sure to read every contract, thoroughly. Many vendors actually require a certainly percentage for gratuity, and it's stated right in their contracts. We often see 18% - 20% added on to the total bill.
Is this fair? Depending on who you're asking, the answers will vary. My thoughts are, what if you're not happy with your service? Are you still required to give a tip? That part doesn't seem fair to us. Tipping should be completely optional, and it is with us. We certainly are always happy to receive gratuity, but it's never a requirement. We do encourage our clients to tip, if they feel like the service deserves it.
We are aware that many companies are owned and managed by completely different people than who will actually work your event, so this is a way for those companies to offer a nice incentive to their employees, as part of working with the company. The people who actually work your event usually get paid a small fraction of what your total cost is, in most cases. So gratuity is certainly appreciated by those staff members, of course.
I won't take a side on whether a company should pay their staff more, to avoid the staff from depending on tips, but for us, this is what we choose to do. We want our staff and clients to be happy. We pay our DJ and photo booth staff very well, in order to keep them happy and so that they don't have to depend on a tip. If they do get a tip, it's a nice bonus, but never expected.
Our one suggestion would be for brides, grooms, parents, or whomever hired the staff, to actually be the ones to give the tips. It's much more meaningful and appreciated when the client(s) directly give(s) a tip and mentions how happy they were with the service. We know that people are busy at the end of the night, but it's certainly a nice gesture and is always appreciated.
Another reason we encourage clients to directly give tips, is to consider the possibility of the planner or coordinator losing the tips. This has actually happened at one of our events. The coordinator came up to us at the end of the night and asked if we saw any money on the floor. We didn't. She said, "well, I had the tips, but I think they fell out of my pocket." She then proceeded to give us a crinkled up $20 bill and said, "here's your tip. I didn't lose your tip, I lost mine." We thought it was odd, but just said "thank you." We then helped her look around, but didn't find anything. We're not saying that this will happen, but know that it can; it only happened to us, once.
Additionally, we've also had a few brides and grooms come up to us, at the end of the night, thank us, and say, "I left your tip with the coordinator." We of course said thank you, but never actually received a tip from the coordinator. When we mentioned it, the coordinator said "they never gave me a tip, sorry." We left it alone, but this has happened a few times. We're not suggesting that anyone was lying, but we thought it was strange that this happened. The good thing is, we set our rates so that we don't depend on tips. So if we get a tip, great. If not, that's fine, too. :)
Overall, be sure to thoroughly read your contracts and find out exactly what is required. Ask questions about the requirements and be sure to ask "what happens if I'm not happy with the service or product?" If you're completely happy with your service, sure, feel free to tip. In lieu of a tip, it's always nice to leave a review for your vendor. For us, great reviews are just as appreciated as gratuity!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Wedding & Event Planning Tips - Written By Certified Wedding/Event Planners!
We've taken our decades of experience and compiled it into a few helpful articles, to help you plan your wedding or event!
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