Don’t forget to factor tips into your budget. Depending on the size of your wedding and how many vendors you’ve hired to make the big day a reality, your tips could reach hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Forgetting to account for this could cause you to bust your budget, creating undue stress and worry as the two of you begin your lives together.

Tipping guidelines vary from vendor to vendor. Bring up the matter at your initial consultation so you can incorporate it into your costs. Be sure to set aside the cash you’ll need for tips before the big day, and assign a friend or family member to this responsibility so you don’t have to worry about tracking down the caterer when you’re about to have your first dance.

What vendors are we supposed to tip?

As a general rule of thumb, ask yourself whether your vendor owns the business. If this is the case — as it often is for photographers, some DJs and bands, and hair stylists who own their own businesses — tipping isn’t necessary. That being said, a tip is certainly appreciated in cases where you are especially pleased with the vendor’s performance, or when he or she has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Some couples often choose to offer an extra token of gratitude to photographers, in particular, even if he or she is an independent operator.

Tipping is necessary for a number of other vendors, however, and the more of them you have, the more you’ll need to allot for tips. In the instance of a catering company, you may find gratuity is included in your fee. If it isn’t, you’ll need to tip servers, bartenders, chefs, and even the banquet manager. This vendor is typically pricier in terms of tips than others.

If you hired an officiant or minister to perform your wedding ceremony, first establish if he or she is legally allowed to accept a tip. If not, making a donation to their respective organization is a good alternative. If a personal friend or longtime minister performs your ceremony, gift cards also are appropriate.

Do tip bands and DJs employed by an agency, as well as florists and hair and makeup stylists who are part of a salon.

While it may be easy to forget those who work behind the scenes, such as site staff who check coats, attend to bathrooms, or park cars, don’t overlook these individuals.

And finally, consider the help that seamstresses, delivery people, and limo drivers provide, and the tips deemed appropriate for each.

Who is responsible for paying tips?

When you’ve hired a wedding coordinator to juggle the details of your big day, he or she should handle this task. Otherwise, you can appoint the best man, or as an alternative, either the groom or bride’s father.

How much do we tip each vendor?

Whenever you consider tipping at restaurants, you usually assume the 15 to 20 percent benchmark is appropriate. In many cases, this amount will apply to your vendors, but since it can vary, the following guidelines may help:

Caterers – if gratuity isn’t included in your bill, you’ll need to allot 15 to 20 percent of the total bill to the banquet manager. He or she can then divide it among the kitchen and serving staff. Otherwise, plan to give $100 to $200 for the banquet manager, $50 for chefs and bakers, and up to $30 for each kitchen and serving staff member.

Officiants – if your officiant is part of a religious house of worship, you can opt for a gift card or an offering to their place of worship, as you’ll often find they won’t accept tips. For civil employees like justices of the peace, tips typically are illegal, so don’t offer them.

Hair and makeup stylists who work for spas and salons – plan to tip up to 20 percent whether the stylist comes to your home or you go to the salon. Allot a few dollars for assistants.

DJs and bands who work for an agency – tip up to $25 for each band member, and $25 to the DJ.

Photographers and videographers who work for an agency – tip up to $50.

Florists who work for a business – a tip of up to $50 is appropriate.

Wedding coordinators – tip $50 to $100.

Site staff – valets and coat checkers should receive between $1 and $2 per car or guest, and bathroom attendants should receive up to $1 per guest.

Drivers and delivery people – in general, pay 15 to 20 percent in cash to limo drivers at the time of pick up. For delivery people, at least $5 per delivery is customary.

With these parameters in mind, you can tweak your budget and save yourself the unpleasant surprise of a day-of overage on your finances. Like any budget, you may want to factor in a smidge of wiggle room, particularly for those instances when someone you hadn’t planned on tipping – say, for instance a salon owner – knocks your socks off with superior service or you want to reward a job done particularly well. 

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