Should I tip the funeral director? Minister? Florist? Funeral Gratuities Explained

How much should I tip the funeral director after the funeral is complete? Or should I tip her?

What about the minister, the florist, the hearse driver, the pallbearers…?

Who gets a gratuity, and who doesn’t?

If you are confused about who to tip for services related to funerals, here is our guide to funeral gratuities. Skip to the end to find a handy condensed cheat sheet.

Funeral Gratuities Explained

General Tipping Etiquette

  • For cash tips, ask for crisp, new bills at the bank
  • Place any cash inside a white envelope with the individual’s name or role on it
  • When giving gratuities at the funeral, simply hand it to the person and thank them for their help
  • If you mail the gratuity, include a personal thank-you note
  • If the gratuity is included as part of the bill, or paid along with the bill, show your appreciation by sending a separate thank-you note

Gratuity for funeral director

Customary tip: None; fee is sufficient

To show your appreciation: A thank-you note, a small gift, an online review

The funeral director is paid from the fee charged by the funeral home. This fee typically runs several thousand dollars or more and includes things like the cost of transportation, casket, embalming, facility use, and more. Traditionally, funeral directors are not tipped in addition to this, and most will not expect a gratuity.

However, if you want to show your appreciation to a funeral director who went above and beyond, a thank you note along with a small gift such as goodies, a coffee mug, or little succulents for their office.

More: Classy Gift Ideas for Funeral Directors

Gratuity for funeral home staff

Customary tip: None; fee is sufficient

To show your appreciation: A thank-you note, a small gift (for an individual), a platter of goodies (for the office to share)

Funeral home staff, like the funeral director, are paid out of the bill you will receive from the funeral home and do not typically receive a gratuity.

But when an individual or the staff as a whole is extremely helpful and conscientious, it is entirely appropriate to recognize their kind service with a small thank-you gift. For an individual, you may consider a thank-you note with a gift card inside, or perhaps a small thoughtful gift.

Just be aware that some of the people involved may not be funeral home staff. For instance, limo drivers, pall bearers, musicians, florists, makeup artists, and others (more on this below) may not be directly employed by the funeral home. For most of these service professionals, a small gratuity of about 15% is expected and appreciated.

Gratuity for church staff

Customary tip: None

To show your appreciation: A thank-you note, a small gift (for an individual), a platter of goodies (for the office to share)

Church staff often provide wonderful, time-consuming, and genuinely helpful service when the funeral or memorial for a church member takes place.

This might include the church secretary, janitor or building maintenance team, deacons, sound team, or other staff. Someone will need to open the facilities, run the sound board, move things around on stage, and clean up afterwards.

While tips are not customary or expected, be sure to recognize their contributions!

Gratuity for funeral minister

Customary tip or honorarium: $100-300

To show your appreciation: Send thank-you note

Most ministers and clergy do not charge for their service to the family in the days before, surrounding, and after the death of a loved one. It is also considered inappropriate to ask if they “charge” for conducting a funeral service. Often, clergy members have a heart to serve those in need. No matter how rich or poor a person is, the minister will offer their services free of charge.

However, it is typical to “honor” the minister’s time, effort, and special care regarding the funeral by giving them an honorarium. A customary amount is in the range of $100 to $300, though you may go above or below that depending on your circumstances.

If you can’t afford an honorarium, tell the minister in advance. In any event, be sure to send a heartfelt thank-you note after the service.

Some ministers have a standard honorarium fee, and if they do they will mention it to you. Others waive the fee for everyone, while still others decline any fee or gratuity from members of their church or congregation.

Gratuity for funeral musicians

Customary tip: $50-100; if hired, 10-20% gratuity

To show your appreciation: Send thank-you note

Often the musicians at a funeral are talented friends and relatives or volunteers from the church community. If they are providing their services at no charge, it is customary to provide a generous tip in the range of $50-100 per musician.

When hiring musicians, their fee covers their service. However, as with most event musicians, they will no doubt perform with grace and expertise and even accommodate requests from the family. So it is customary to show your appreciation with a gratuity in the range of 10-20% of their fee.

Gratuity for funeral florists

Customary tip: $2-5 for deliveries; 10-20% for a hired florist

To show your appreciation: Write a glowing review on their website or social media; include photos of the flowers

Flower deliveries will probably happen regularly as friends and family members send their condolences. The delivery person relies on tips for much of their income, so it is expected that you have a small gratuity for each flower delivery. A tip of $2-5 per delivery is appropriate. Be sure to keep some single dollar bills on hand to tip delivery drivers.

If you have hired a professional florist for the funeral, a gratuity of 10-20% is a great way to show your appreciation. Often a florist will spend plenty of time preparing, delivering, and arranging the flowers to make the funeral look gorgeous. A tip for all this work is highly appropriate.

Gratuity for caterers

Customary tip: 15-20% of the total bill

To show your appreciation: Write a glowing review on their website or social media; include photos of the food

Gratuities for food services are pretty standard across the board, so this is familiar territory. You should tip the caterers about 15-20% of the total bill, to be shared among the staff.

Gratuity for funeral procession drivers

Customary tip: 10-15% of the total bill

To show your appreciation: Write a review for the website or social media profiles

Professional drivers should be tipped about 10-15% in addition to the fare. It is customary to do so, but not required. Some limousine or transportation services include a gratuity on their bill as part of the cost, so make sure to review the details of your arrangement ahead of time.

Gratuity for pallbearers

Customary tip: None, as pallbearers are typically friends or relatives

To show your appreciation: Send thank-you note

To be chosen as a pallbearer at a funeral is a sign of honor and respect. Typically this role is reserved for the decedent’s closest friends and family members. If that is the case, no tip or payment is required.

However, sometimes there are occasions where you need to hire pallbearers. Often the funeral home staff members will step in to fulfill this role. As noted above, there is no need to tip the funeral home staff. If the pallbearers are not funeral home staff and you are still unsure about whether or not to tip, ask the funeral director. There is no established protocol but a gratuity of $5-20 for non-funeral-home-staff pallbearers would be an appreciated gesture.

Funeral Tipping Cheat Sheet

Here is the quick lowdown on funeral gratuities.

  • Funeral director: No tip. A thank-you note is appreciated, perhaps a small gift like a shirt or cookies.
  • Funeral home staff: No tip. Same as funeral director.
  • Minister or officiant: No tip if charged a fee; if no fee, $100-300 is an appropriate honorarium.
  • Musicians: 15-20% gratuity if hired; if volunteers, a tip of $50-100 each is appropriate.
  • Deliveries: $2-5 for deliveries of flowers and other items relating to the funeral
  • Florist: 10-20% of the bill. Check invoice first to see if gratuity is included.
  • Caterers: 15-20% of the bill. Check invoice first to see if gratuity is included.
  • Funeral procession drivers: 10-15% of the bill. Check invoice first to see if gratuity is included.
  • Pallbearers: Typically no tip. If hired, $5-20 each is appropriate.

Read Next: 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Funeral Directors

Funeral Gratuity Cheat Sheet

11 thoughts on “Should I tip the funeral director? Minister? Florist? Funeral Gratuities Explained”

  1. You failed to mention the church staff – specifically the church secretary who will spend many hours publishing the service bulletin and coordinating the service and possibly a reception for the family following the service. At the very least a thank you note would be appreciated.

  2. Hi Bernice,

    No, military honor guard should not be paid and cannot accept an honorarium. It’s natural to want to do so, but it is part of their official duties as soldiers and employees of the government, and thus they cannot receive payment or honoraria in any form for anything they do as part of their public service.

  3. We are having a VFW volunteer Military Honor Guard presenting at our dad’s service. While it’s not appropriate to tip members of the military, is it appropriate to tip VFW volunteers?
    Very helpful article. Thank you.

  4. Typically military service members (even retired ones) do not accept tips. But for the best practice, I would simply call them up and ask.

  5. My mom passed 3 weeks ago & we’ll need to be thinking about this next month when her Memorial & Funeral take place. Is it ok for tips/honoraiums to be by check? Or should they only be by cash?

  6. This is so misunderstood! The funeral director and staff fee goes back into funeral home overhead. Funeral Directors make a small hourly wage like any other worker bee in the mix and are rarely gifted or tipped. We are overworked and underpaid! Please tip your directors -from funeral directors everywhere

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