Who to Tip at a Funeral? Simple Etiquette Guide

Published October 1, 2020
handing tip at funeral

Figuring out who to tip at a funeral is something bereaved families want to know before the service and reception are complete. Being prepared with cash for the appropriate vendors and service providers will alleviate stress.

Questions About Who to Tip at a Funeral

A number of people are involved in planning a funeral for your deceased loved one. While you will have a signed contract for payment for many of these vendors and service providers, you might wonder if tipping is appropriate. Make sure you read your service contract closely to see whose services are included and whether tips are added to any vendor bills.

Do You Tip a Funeral Director or Employees?

In general, you do not give the funeral director a tip. Their services are covered in the signed contract with the company and you should pay it in full. While funeral home employees may be given tips, their payment is usually considered part of the contracted services. Anyone providing services outside the contract can be offered a tip, such as third party limo drivers or hired custodians.

How Much Do You Tip a Priest, Pastor, or Rabbi for a Funeral?

The pastor, priest, or rabbi usually performs funerals as part of his or her job description when the deceased is a member of that church. The religious leader's tip is referred to as an honorarium. The tip for a priest or pastor could be anywhere from $50 upwards of several hundred dollars, and the amount to tip at a Jewish funeral for the rabbi's services is similar. The religious leader may not accept the tip; in this case, you may want to ask them to consider it a donation to the church in honor of the deceased. In cases where you are paying the priest, pastor, or rabbi for the service, a tip is not necessary unless s/he went beyond their normal scope of duties.

Do You Tip the Limo Driver?

If the limo driver's services are not included in the list of funeral costs provided to you from the funeral home in your package, then you will want to offer a tip since they are an outside vendor. If the limo driver is included in the package, check to see if a tip is included in the bill. When there's a funeral, you can tip the limo driver if it is not included.

Are Funeral Musicians Given a Tip?

When musicians are provided as part of the service package at the church or funeral location, check to see if they are paid a fee for their services. If not, you should offer them a larger tip than you would if they are included in the contract. Anyone you hire yourself will be paid according to their own contract structure, so a tip is nice but not necessary. If you request a special song be learned and performed for the funeral outside the musician's normal repertoire, you should offer a gratuity based on the extra work.

Should You Tip the Florist?

A florist who is contracted to provide the family's flowers, including altar flowers, wreaths, casket flowers, and reception arrangements, will have a contract that includes all charges. However, the delivery person should be tipped for arrangements that are dropped off.

How Much Should You Tip the Caterer?

Most caterers will include a standard 15, 18, or 20% automatic gratuity in their contract. If they do not, then you should plan to tip a minimum of 15% of the final bill. If all or part of the funeral reception luncheon is provided by the church through volunteers, like desserts, then consider making a donation to the providing group's mission or to the kitchen/building committee.

How to Give a Gratuity at a Funeral

Gratuities should be handled discreetly at a funeral.

  • Place the cash in a small, plain envelope with a brief thank you note and seal it.
  • Make sure you label the envelopes and keep them in your purse or jacket pocket so you can hand them out after the services have finished.
  • Thank the person for their work, mentioning a specific thing or two that s/he did, and then give them the note and envelope with gratuity enclosed.

Exceptions to this would include florist deliveries, where handing them a few dollars upon delivery is fine, and catering bills where you pay with a card and can add the tip to the total.

More Ways to Thank Funeral Vendors and Service Providers

While offering gratuities are a great way to let vendors know their services were exceptional, you can find other ways to thank them. Posting a comment, rating their services, or reviewing them on social media helps them build their business and lets them know you were appreciative of their funeral services. Referring others to the funeral home, religious organization, and other vendors, such as caterers and florists, are also good ways to thank them after the services are over.

Who to Tip at a Funeral? Simple Etiquette Guide