Some vendors include gratuities in their fees, but many will leave the amount up to you -- and the level of service they provide can influence what you give them. Tips can add up quickly, costing you a few thousand dollars. Most tips should be handed out the day of the wedding, so it's wise to assign the job to a friend or family member. A follow-up thank-you note is often a valued tip in itself, as your word can be a recommendation for the vendor.
Consider handing your officiant $100, a thoughtful present, or, if you're having a religious service, making a donation to their house of worship in the celebrant's name.
The Catering Staff
If the gratuity isn't already included, plan on tipping all staff members, including the catering or banquet manager, waiters, bartenders, chefs, and other essential workers who help serve guests. You can calculate the tip as a percentage of the cost of your total catering bill. Figure on paying about 15 to 20 percent of the amount for the banquet manager to share with the kitchen and serving staff. Another way to compute the gratuity is to offer a flat amount for each worker, which is often a more economical method. You'll want to give roughly $100 to $200 for the catering or banquet manager, $50 each for chefs (and bakers), and $20 to $30 each for waiters and kitchen staff, divided into separate envelopes.
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Musicians and Deejays
If you employ your band or deejay through an entertainment agency, the company will usually either include a gratuity in the contract or suggest that you give each band member or deejay a little extra in cash. If your contract includes a "service charge," don't assume that it is the gratuity. Musicians should be tipped about $20 to $25 a piece; deejays get at least $25. Many bands offer a vocalist for the ceremony at an additional cost. Tip him or her the same amount as you would one of the other musicians.
Stylists and Makeup Artists
Even though it's a particularly special day, you can still tip stylists and makeup artists as you would for a regular appointment -- 15 to 20 percent. For each assistant who helps with secondary tasks, such as shampooing, plan on giving a gratuity of $3 to $5.
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Photographers, Videographers, Florists, and Wedding Coordinators
For people who own their own businesses, as many of these vendors do, tipping isn't necessary. They've already negotiated their fees and expect only that amount of money. So if you love their work, give them the greatest gift of all: a rave review online, letting other brides know how much you enjoyed collaborating with them. For photographers, videographers, and florists who do not own their own businesses, tip $30 to $50; wedding coordinators should be given about $50 to $100.
Wherever you have your wedding, there will likely be many behind-the-scenes workers, such as coat checkers, powder-room attendants, or parking valets. While you may not have much contact with them throughout the celebration, they help keep guests happy, so do not overlook them. Sometime before the wedding, ask the site manager to instruct workers not to accept any tips from guests. At the end of the evening, pay coat checkers a total of $1 to $2 per guest, which they can share. Powder-room attendants should receive $1 per guest, to be divided among them. Set aside $1 to $5 per car to give to the parking manager, who can then divide up the cash among the valets.
Seamstresses, Delivery People, and Drivers
The people delivering the flowers and cake should receive at least $5 each at the time they make their deliveries. A gratuity for your limousine driver may already be included in your bill, but if it's not, consider giving a tip of 15 to 20 percent of the cost (pay it in cash when the driver picks you up). For seamstresses, a cash tip is not expected, but sending a small gift such as a photo of you in your dress is a wonderful way to show your gratitude.
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