Post # 1
I’m getting married on New Year’s Eve and am so excited that it is coming up soon! I do have a few questions about tipping on the day.
1) My officiant charges a $200 flat fee and we will be serving her one of our $74/plate reception meals. Our wedding is at a hotel and she is not affiliated with a church. Do we tip her?
2) Our photographer owns her own company and charges $1400 (a great price I have found out!). Do you tip the sole proprietor of a business?
3) Everything else is handled through the hotel (served dinner, alcohol, DJ service, etc.). Do we tip the wait staff? Bartender? We are already planning on tipping the DJ.
Thanks! I wanted to make sure we were doing what was expected.
Post # 3
@KatiePi: Well I’m no etiquette guru, but here’s what I would do.
Post # 4
Why would you tip anyone when you’re already paying for there services? It must be an American thing because here in the uk we wouldnt weddings are exspensive enough
Post # 5
@mandy86: Exactly! However, I’ve seen some debate on this and wanted to be clear on what was “appropriate” before we head into the final payment stage of things.
Post # 6
@jadlnc: Thanks! This is exactly what we thought, but wanted to make sure.
Post # 7
NYE Bride too! WooHoo! 6 wks away!!
Post # 9
Etiquette recognizes that people have two kinds of fundamental relationship: social relationships such as friends and family; and business relationships such as employers, employees, and tradesmen. What distinguishes the types of relationship, is the exchange of money. For example, you might not like people touching your hair, and would only allow your closest friends to take that liberty. But you also allow your hairdresser to touch your hair — and the fact that you pay her to do so makes it clear that she is *not* intimate with you but simply is providing her professional services. If you actually pay someone else — the owner of the hair salon, for example — your relationship with her becomes ambiguous again. So you pay her a tip, directly, to settle the ambiguity. Payment of cash creates distance between the payee and the payer.
Outside of North America, therefore, you pay a nominal tip to anyone who provides you with a direct personal service, whom you are not yourself paying directly. If a waitress brings you a glass of water in response to your direct request (rather than just filling all the water-glasses at the table as she is paid to do) then you tip her. This is also why (despite the bad advice to the contrary distributed on other wedding forums) that guests tip any wait staff who provide them with personal individual service rather than assuming that the hosts are covering all tips. The hosts’ tip whatever it is, does not protect you from the appearance of inappropriate intimacy.
In the United States the same rules apply, but in addition you must ensure the social justice of your payments to the hotel staff, because the immoral minimum-wage laws in many states assume that wait-staff will be heavily tipped and therefore allow the actual employer to pay unjustly low wages that will not support the staff’s livelihood, leaving wait-staff dependent on the voluntary generosity of their employer’s clients. Of course, some employers pay a living wage regardless. And some caterers charge a “service fee” that might — or might not — be distributed to the staff in addition to their wage. But you will not know unless you ask. If your venue does indeed pay the staff at the state’s defined minimum wage or higher, then you can follow the same tipping logic as is followed in the rest of the world. However, if the staff are being paid at a lower rate, your tip is expected to make up the difference — usually to the rate of fifteen per-cent of the total catering fee. Hostesses are well-advised to ask these questions directly when negotiating their contract with their hotel or caterer, and have documented in their contract how any tip is to be distributed among the wait-staff to ensure that they are justly compensated (for example if your coordinator is already getting $20 per hour, and the wait-staff and bus-boys are getting $2 per hour, you probably do not want her taking any share of the tip).
In Canada, minimum wage for wait-staff is either identical to or very close to the normal minimum wage, but expectations from the United States tend to flow northward over the border. So, even though the wait-staff may be getting $10 per hour or thereabouts, the social expectation is that you will still add an additional 10% (at least, more commonly 15%). Obviously between being an underpaid waiter in the US relying on tips to make ends meet, and being a fairly-paid waiter in England or Australia getting only the rare special tip, Canada — where waiters get more-or-less fairly paid and have the expectation of regular tips — is a not-bad place to be stuck in the service industry.
Post # 10
1) Did you hire your officiant from a company, or does she act like a sole proprietor? If the former, remember that company will take some money from her fee. If not, it’s not required that you tip her, but you certainly may.
2) Again, you are not required to tip since the photograher owns her own company, but it wouldn’t be out of bounds to do so.
3) Read your venue contract and see if gratuity is included. If not, yes you tip the wait staff and the bartender.
Post # 11
@HisMoon: Both the officiant and photographer are the sole proprietors of their businesses. I will check our contract! Thanks. 🙂 Appreciate the help!