Tipping is generally not required when you hire musicians; however, a small token of appreciation will always be accepted with a major smile. Musicians want others to appreciate their time, effort and dedication to their art. So a smile, a handshake or a thumbs-up will often be thanks enough. But if you can afford to share the love with them, don’t hesitate to tip the band or DJ.
Just like dining out, tipping expresses your appreciation for exceptional service. The same holds true for your wedding’s entertainment. And since musicians and DJs are in the service industry, similar rules apply. So what qualifies as exceptional service? A DJ who customizes the playlist or a band playing the happy couple’s favorite song remains par for the course. But when a DJ convinces Aunt Edna, who never dances, to bust a move — that’s exceptional. And when a singer in the band performs a duet with the maid-of-honor for the happy couple, that goes above and beyond basic expectations. The bottom line is that if you feel someone has gone beyond a standard level of service, it is appropriate to tip them.
With the bride and groom preoccupied, what about the logistics of tipping? Who should handle the money? And how much is customary? First, select someone responsible and someone likely to stay sober. If this second qualification eliminates the best man and maid-of-honor, the wedding planner or a parent would work fine. Tips range from $20-$25 per musician to 10-20% of the price of the entertainment.
Even after tipping, a sincere thanks from the couple either at the end of the night or in a follow up thank-you note will often make their day. In the end, you want to take care of those who took care of you on your special day. Treat your musicians and DJs well and you will be seen as the gracious and generous couple others have come to admire.