Read the Fine Print
Although tips are supposed to be voluntary, many people are actually charged taxes on tips whether they receive them or not. Because of this, some vendors include tips in the contract price. Make sure to read your contract carefully and take note of any "service fees" or "gratuities" included in the price you're already paying. If tips are not included in the contract, you may want to ask the vendor if you can include them. That way you don't have to worry about tipping on your wedding day.
Sure, it's embarrassing to ask questions about money. But, the truth is you have a business arrangement with your vendors. If your vendors are counting on you to provide their workers with a tip, you need to be aware of that. Ask vendors what their policy is on tipping and what's customary. Make sure to find out how tips to various members of the staff are handled. For example, do you need to tip each band member separately, or can you give the bandleader a tip and ask her to split it with the band?
The easiest way to handle the tipping is to create a separate envelope for each person and put in the appropriate amount of cash, and label the envelope with the name and role (ex. John, catering manager). It's important to put the name and the role because the person handing out the tips might not be familiar with all of your vendors. Give these envelopes to someone responsible such as your day of coordinator, best man or father. If you want the money in the envelope to be split among several people, note that as well (i.e. Becca and the rest of the fabulous band).
Don't Forget the Officiant
Strangely, one of the most overlooked professionals in a wedding is the only person truly needed, the person performing the ceremony. If you're getting married in a house of worship, make sure to ask about the donation policies. Typically, you'll be expected to make a donation of $50 to$200 dollars. This donation can be made before the wedding, or you can give it (in an envelope) directly to the officiant with a note saying that it should be donated to the fund of his choice.
If you are hiring a minister or other officiant, to whom you are paying a fee, you do not necessarily need to tip him, but if you feel he went over and above what was necessary, a tip would likely be appreciated. Court clerks and judges are not legally allowed to accept tips.
Here's a tip
Here are some common tipping guidelines, make sure to ask questions though as these numbers vary depending on the party of the country in which you live.
Musicians -- $20-$25 per musician, including ceremony musicians and DJs (if a DJ or band leader goes above and beyond the call of duty, feel free to add on)
Delivery Drivers -- $5 each, to be paid by the person accepting the deliveries
Bartenders -- 10% of liquor bill (do not allow bartenders to put out a tip jar, since you yourself are tipping them)
Catering -- 3% of food and beverage fee to the catering manager, $20 each for waiters.
Wedding planner --15% of planner's fee, or personal gift
Hairstylist/Nail Technician/Makeup artist -- 15% of service
Limo or bus driver -- 15%
Finally, don't forget to budget in tips for your honeymoon as well. But that's a topic for a different article!
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