Post # 1
Okay sorry if this issue has been brought up before, but I am not sure if I am supposed to tip the bartenders, or any of the venue staff really, at my wedding. The venue already charges a 22% service fee (plus taxes), so I assumed this was going to the staff already? My venue coordinator asked if the bartenders could put a tip jar out and I was slightly confused. I absolutely don’t mind tipping someone, but feel a little cheated since I already paid a ridiculous amount in “service fees”…like several thousand dollars. Is tipping on top of that? If so, what amount do you bees recommend?
Post # 2
I think that it would not hurt anybody to allow the bartender to have a tip jar. I also don’t think that a service charge is necessarily ‘gratuity’ per say.
I’ve been told that if your contract doesn’t include gratuity, you should tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. Another way to tip is offering $50 to $100 for each chef and $20 to $50 per server.
Post # 3
Are you asking if you should tip or if the bartender should have a tip jar? Those are 2 separate things. Most bartenders live off tips and aren’t super stoked about making $10/hr or whatever caterers pay for their time. Several people attending my wedding are in the service industry and I actually specifically requested that my caterer put out a tip jar for the bartenders. My guests will want to tip. It’s possible the bartenders are excluded from any service gratuity you paid for. It’s also possible they just want to make more money. I’m pro tip-jar, but I understand that it make some people feel bad because many guests don’t carry cash to a wedding and feel guilty. For me, that’s not an issue because I have a large pool of cash-carrying service industry buddies. You can choose to have it or not, but it’s a considerate thing to do for your bartenders.
As far as whether *you* should tip, I don’t know. A service fee is not necessarily the same thing as gratuity. Sometimes places just call it a service fee to make it sound more obligatory and avoid arguments about whether clients should decide what gratuity the servers “deserve.” On the other hand, a service fee might just be covering the costs of hourly wage. A percentage-based service fee makes sense when you consider you need more servers to serve more food. I would ask if the price you are paying includes gratuity. If it doesn’t and you are already at the top of your budget..well, I would be annoyed and tip whatever you can afford, since there is no mandatory gratuity.
Post # 4
You should ask your venue what the service fee includes.
Post # 5
jgargiulo : Sorry, just to clarify, I don’t mind the tip jar being out, but rather her asking makes me feel that the bartenders have not been tipped. I would feel like crap if the bartenders didn’t think I personally tipped them! Plus many of my friends don’t carry cash, so I would be worried they wouldnt be tipped properly with only the jar.
Post # 6
texasgal747 : That makes sense. In that case, I would make sure to have some cash on you, and if it seems like they really didn’t get tipped much during the night (based on the jar), I’d throw in a bit more. But I would also clarify with the venue what is included in the service fee.
Post # 7
Following this thread because I have similar questions about tipping too. My venue also charges 22% service fee but they gave me a break down of that: 20% to the service staff and 2% to the kitchen staff. So I’m wondering if bartender is included in the service staff too.
Post # 8
First I would clarify what the service fees include, who is being tipped and for how much and who isn’t included.
I would tip anyone it’s customary to tip who hasn’t been included. I would also tip extra in cash to anyone who went out of their way to provide excellent service.
I would also be fine with the bartenders having tip jars out, like others have said, it’s a good chunk of their salary they count on.
Post # 9
When you are hosting an event, it is your responsibility to tip, not your guests’. Allowing a tip jar to be on the bar, implies that you expect your guests to ensure the bartender is properly reimbursed.
Post # 10
You need to check and see what is covered under the “service charge.” For my vendors, it did not include tips for any staff.
I’d also suggest not having a tip jar out, since it’s your obligation to tip the staff, and not your guests.
Post # 11
unforutnately service fees generally don’t go to the waitstaff or bartenders which is why many people will tip these people at the end of the night – it is a total scam in my opinion. Maybe some one who works at a venue can talk more about it but from everything I have ever heard no one that actually serves at the wedding sees any of that money.
for our wedding we said no tip jar and gave each bartender and server something extra at the end of the night (my parents handled it but in the area of $50-100) when we saw that they still had a tip jar out after this we were very unhappy about it since we didn’t want any suggestion that guest should have to pay a tip (of course if a guest was just overcome with wanting to tip and did it out of their own feeling we didn’t expect that the server would refuse it either — but just no blatent mention)
Post # 12
julies1949 : I disagree that this is the implication of a tip jar at a wedding. I think most guests understand that the tip would be in addition to a bulk gratuity from the hosts, and is an option to tip on top of an acceptable wage (much like the way people tip in other parts of the world, where a tip is truly an optional gift, not something necessary for making a living wage). When I’m at weddings I typically tip less than what I would tip at a bar, usually just a few dollars. It’s a gesture just from me to the bartender as a thanks for doing something for me. I tip bartenders at weddings even when there isn’t a tip jar (this has been a rare experience for me). One time I didn’t have cash at a wedding and I didn’t sweat it because I knew it tipping wasn’t mandatory, but I still wished I had at least one stray dollar. My sister has bartended for several private events and there is always a tip jar. My company christmas party always has a tip jar for the bartenders. Perhaps this is a regional thing, or a generational thing, or perhaps it’s an evolving preference in an age where people are becoming more aware of the financial situation of people in the service industry, but most of the people in my social circle always want to tip. No bulk gratuity payment by the host would ever be so high that I would be like “I’ll just save this dollar in my pocket.” I’m fairly certain several of my friends would think me a snob if they tried to tip the bartender at my wedding and he or she said they weren’t allowed to accept tips.
Post # 13
texasgal747 : I wouldn’t allow a tip jar – that seems tacky. I would ask the venue where ther service charge goes – at 22% some of that should go to their servers and bartenders.
Post # 14
I paid extra to prevent the tip jar (they gave me two “service charge” options, one with tip jar and one without). I really dislike them: as a guest they make me feel like an asshole for not having cash on me, and I didn’t want to make my guests feel that way.
I agree with pps.. ask them what the service charge is for, if not tip…
Post # 15
beckybee787 : Everyone is free to disagree and to ignore good etiquette at all times. Unfortunately when hosting an event, it affects your guests more than it affects you (see the hundreds of threads on cash bars, for example).
If you don’t think a tip jar implies that the guests are expected to tip, what do you think it does imply?
Just like our mothers said, “Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t make it right.”