Who do you tip? How much should you give? Mitzvah parents wonder about this. A lot. So we went straight to the vendors to ask for their expectations and guidelines when it comes to gratuities.
First things first: you won’t tip every vendor. Photographers, photo entertainment providers, and decorators do not expect gratuity. And you wouldn’t tip the owner of a company. (If you do, they’ll just distribute it to working staff members.)
Caterers and Venues
For safe, on time pick-ups of the kid crew or relatives, a tip of $20-$30 for the coach or limo driver is appropriate.
You might offer a $20-$40 tip to the support services staff of your synagogue, depending on the size and scope of your on-site bar mitzvah arrangements – for setting up your Shabbat dinner, Kiddush luncheon or evening affair.
While this isn’t a “tip”, it’s a nice touch to make a donation to your synagogue (through a discretionary fund, religious school fund, or whichever category is meaningful to your family) in appreciation of the rabbi and cantor following the bar/bat mitzvah weekend.
Remember, it’s totally OK to have conversations with your vendors beforehand about their tipping policies and how you can acknowledge outstanding service. And that’s an important TIP!
Choosing a theme for a bar or bat mitzvah celebration seems easy. After all, right now your teen is SO into soccer, or YouTube, or dance. But if you’re planning the simcha one to two years ahead of the date, be prepared that his or her passions, hobbies and interests may change dramatically during this time.