When you plan a funeral, you’ll realize that it takes a whole team to make sure the event goes on seamlessly and without any issues. After all, it’s not easy to prepare details and execute plans for such a trying time and sensitive matter. Moreover, you’ll likely feel very emotional during this period, so you will be relying on the support of your funeral service providers.
Their expertise and assistance give you a measure of comfort. At the same time, having the service providers give you confidence that you can execute a memorable last send-off for the deceased even if you’re not feeling your best. And because of this unparalleled service they offer, you may be wondering if you should tip your funeral director, florist, musicians, minister, and other people who have helped.
Who expects gratuity and who doesn’t need it as per industry standards? If you feel confused about who and how much to tip for services at your recent funeral or cremation event, check out this mini-guide on funeral gratuities. These general tipping suggestions may help you figure out what to do.
Gratuities Explained for Funeral Director and Staff
It’s no longer customary to give a tip to the funeral director and staff because their fees are sufficient. They are paid from the funeral costs charged by the funeral home. Usually, this will run a few thousand dollars, and it already includes transportation of the body, funeral caskets, embalming, facility hall use, and staff services. Most of them will also not expect a gratuity.
However, if you find the funeral director or staff member extremely helpful, you can show your gratitude through gifts. Those who went above and beyond will appreciate small goodies like a grocery gift basket, coffee shop gift card, baked goodies, and the like. Send these treats with a heartfelt thank you note to show you value their help.
Bear in mind that some funeral service providers who assisted you are not directly employed by the funeral home. Hence, it is acceptable in their industry to accept gratuity for their services. This may include the florist, musicians, pallbearers, and others (more on this later).
Customary Tip for Church Staff or Religious Clergy
If you’re doing a religious ceremony with your funeral service, there are applicable gratuities to give to the clergy or ministers. Although ministers don’t demand a payment for their services, and being there with you at the funeral is technically free, it is customary to honor them for the time they spent going to the venue and officiating the proceedings. Note that it is also inappropriate to ask them how much they charge for conducting a funeral service because their heart is to serve those who belong to their congregation or even non-members who are in need.
The customary honorarium for clergy or ministers ranges from $100 to $300. You can go below or above that based on your budget and circumstances. If you truly cannot afford an honorarium, tell the minister and show your appreciation by sending a thank you card. Some would even decline any gratuities.
As for the church staff like the church secretary or building maintenance personnel, giving tips is not customary nor is it expected. However, if they did a lot for you like moving things or cleaning after, it would be prudent to recognize their contributions. You can give money to one person, or if it’s a team, baked goodies which the office can share will be very much appreciated. After all, they provide genuinely helpful and time-consuming service to make sure your memorial goes on without any glitches.
Other Funeral Service Providers
Other funeral service providers like caterers, florists, car drivers, musicians, and pallbearers will appreciate a tip of about 10 to 15% of their fees. However, some providers like musicians in a church community will give their services at no charge. In this instance, you can give a more generous tip of $50 to $100 per musician.
If service providers go above and beyond, feel free to express your satisfaction in the form of tips. For instance, musicians often accommodate requests from families. By the same token, florists spend a lot of time beautifying the venue. If you hired a florist to prepare, design, and arrange flowers at the venue to make it look gorgeous, it is highly acceptable to give at least 10% of the total service fees. However, single-flower deliveries from consoling friends and relatives are a different matter. The delivery person usually expects tips per delivery. A tip of $3 to $5 per floral delivery is appropriate.
Tipping Etiquette to Remember
Though gratuities are not required, it makes sense or is even considered appropriate to leave a tip for some services, especially those that are exceptionally done. You can tip as a way of saying good job or thank you to those that go the extra mile. Some would assert that it’s good etiquette to leave a gratuity to service personnel. Here are some appropriate tips to remember::
- Get new bills in the bank for cash tips
- Place cash in an envelope with the name
- Give gratuities with verbal thanks
- Mailed gratuities should come with a thank you card
If gratuity is already incorporated into the bill, you can show appreciation by giving gratuity in kind. That being said, you don’t have to feel pressured to leave a tip. Give what you can afford, especially since people understand that it’s expensive to hold a funeral.