If you belong to a church, your own minister or priest may perform the wedding at no charge. In this case, you could make a donation to the church, and as an extra thank-you, consider sending something personal, such as a gift certificate to a nice restaurant.
If your wedding is performed by a civil employee such as a judge, clerk, or other nonreligious official, then forgo a gratuity. Such officiants are paid a flat rate and are usually not permitted to accept tips or donations -- local law may actually prohibit it. A thoughtful card, however, is always appreciated.
"Most catering staff members receive a decent hourly wage, however, so you needn't go overboard on their tips," says Joe Piane, sales manager and executive chef at Piane Caterers in Wilmington, Delaware.
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, especially if your catering company is expensive. You'll want to give roughly $100 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.
Tips can be paid in advance to the director of the catering company, or you can hand them to the banquet manager toward the end of the evening.
"No matter what your deejay or band is charging, the money is going right into their pockets, so don't feel like you have to give extra, unless of course they really went above and beyond," says Kelly Scriven, owner of the Bride's Maid, a wedding consulting business in Whitman, Massachusetts. Valerie Romanoff, owner of New York City--based Starlight Orchestras, adds, "We're always pleasantly surprised when clients tip us and recognize the entertainment value of what we provide, but it's not expected."
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. "The service charge often goes right back to the company," says Scriven.
Musicians should be tipped about $20 to $25 apiece; 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. Hand out the tips in cash at the end of the night.
You can hand out tips in envelopes directly to stylists, or leave them at the salon's front desk. If you're short on cash, it's fine to tip by check or include it on a charge. If a stylist comes to your home or the wedding site, tip as you would at a salon, but in general, makeup artists and hair stylists who own their own businesses are not tipped.
If you feel that the service you received from one of these vendors was extraordinary (say, if the videographer stayed and took footage of an after-wedding party even though it wasn't in his contract), an additional 10 percent tip would be a nice gesture, says Ruth L. Kern, an etiquette consultant in Barrington, Illinois. Or you might send a thank-you gift such as flowers or a print from your photographer showing the vendor in action at your wedding.
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.