Funeral Tipping Etiquette
We know to tip at least 15 percent when we dine out at a restaurant, and that it is polite to leave our change in the jar for the barista. But when it comes to planning a funeral, is there an expected gratuity?
Depending on what services you sign up for and use, it may be a good idea to have some cash on hand for tipping purposes. Many basic funeral functions should be tipped out of courtesy, while others should be tipped when the service goes above and beyond your expectations.
Funeral Musicians or Singers: If you hired a professional singer or musical group, the agreed-upon fee should be sufficient. However, if you have volunteers providing the live music, it is considered polite to tip between $50 and $100 to each volunteer. This can be offered as a cash gesture, or, if you prefer, a gift certificate somewhere you know it will be used.
Limousine Driver/Procession Officials: Anyone helping you with transportation should receive a 15 percent tip above and beyond the traditional fare. Like hiring a cab, this kind of gratuity is appreciated, but not required. In many cases, the tip might actually be included in the overall costs, so be sure and check the fine print first.
Flower Deliveries: All flower delivery agents should be offered a tip. These do not have to be excessive (anywhere from $2 to $5 is fine), but the flower deliveries can quickly add up, so be prepared with plenty of single bills.
Caterers/Food Service Staff: If the funeral will include a catered meal, it is considered good form to offer the servers a tip of 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. This is usually done regardless of where the funeral luncheon or meal is served.
Clergy Member/Celebrant: If you are paying a fee for a minister or other officiant to oversee the funeral, you do not need to worry about tipping. If these professionals are working by “donation” or as an “honorarium,” however, you should expect to offer $50 to $200 of payment in gratuity form.
The one group of people you do not need to worry about tipping are the funeral director and funeral home providers. Their fees are included in the overall funeral costs, and it is not expected that you will tip them or offer anything more beyond a thank you card once the services are concluded.
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By Amy Johnson