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Couples often show their appreciation to wedding vendors with a generous gratuity. (Metro Creative Services)

Tipping point

There's no better way to say "job well done" to a wedding vendor than by offering a tip. Although tips are not mandatory, they can show a DJ, caterer or another hired helper just how much his or her exemplary service was appreciated.

Some vendors include tips in their regular schedule of charges, primarily catering facilities that will be hiring wait and bar staff for the event. Others do not include a gratuity into their charges, so it is up to the customer to provide a tip if desired. Fifteen to 20 percent is usually customary according to wedding etiquette experts and may be adjusted depending on the size of the wedding and the quality of the job done.

Businesses owned and operated by a single person, such as a florist or photographer, often pocket all of the proceeds charged for wedding services. Therefore, a gratuity for such vendors is typically unnecessary. Businesses that hire out staff, such as a large music and entertainment company or a limousine service, will pay employees a salary. Couples can show those employees they appreciate the job done for the wedding with an additional tip.

A catering hall typically has a staff working behind the scenes to keep guests happy. These staff members include coat-check personnel, a catering manager, kitchen staff, and parking attendants. It can be customary to tip these individuals. One dollar per guest is typically sufficient. Or you can choose to individually tip those who went above and beyond.

Even though weddings can cost several thousands dollars, and the idea of parting with another dollar can seem monumental, it is important for couples to factor tipping into their overall wedding budgets. Otherwise, they may be asking family members or the best man to loan cash for tipping or dipping into the honeymoon fund. It may be necessary to keep about $1,000 to $1,500 available for gratuities alone.

It is considered poor etiquette to tip a ceremony officiant. Instead, a donation to the church or a charity can be made.

Tipping is entirely up to the couple getting married, but it can be a nice show of appreciation to hard working wedding vendors. Thank-you notes or recommendations are other ways to show appreciation for the services provided and don't cost a penny.

- Metro Creative Services