Post # 1
Tax and gratuity are not included in our contract.
Cost per person will be about $125.00 before tax and gratuity. This does not include alcohol (still deciding on consumption or prepay pp)
Am I expected to pay 20% of the $125.00 as gratuity? That could be around $4500.00! Can I just ask how many severs there will be and decide how much per server I want to give.
As for alcohol, this is a PA wedding…will there be an additional tax and gratuity to pay on that portion of the bill or will tipping the bartenders be sufficient?
Post # 3
All of the proposals I’ve gotten include 20% gratuity on food and beverage, and tax on food, beverage, labor, equipment, and venue.
If your $125pp includes servers or any other non-food items, I would subtract off the labor etc. costs and then tip on that amount.
Post # 4
18% seems the going rate here (NJ), plus 7% sales tax. So tack on about %25 of the original.
Post # 5
@Greenhouse: You said PA but I’m not sure where. My wedding is in Philly so our bar tab is getting hit wit the good old 10% Philadelphia Liquor Tax. Ugh.
As for tipping on bartender, it depends on who staffs and pays them. Ours are through our caterer and we’re paying the caterer 18% service. But our bar is through our venue, not the caterer. Confusing but really – it all depends on how your venue handles alcohol.
You need to find out 1) whether your wedding is subject to a city liquor tax and 2) how your contract with your venue and caterer breaks things out. There’s no set rule but if I had to guess, yep you’re on the hook for tipping on $125 x # of guests.
Post # 7
I actually asked a friend of mine who is a catering services director/event director for a big multi-national organization here in DC this very question. Her advice on tipping the waitstaff/catering staff:
-It’s not expected to tip in the same levels as in a restaurant. Catering servers generally make quite a bit more than restaurant waiters do
-$100-125 per waiter, more if they are extra helpful
-$200 for the event coordinator (if you have one)
-$50-75 per chef unless it is a very complex menu or there is something challenging about your venue that would warrant a bigger tip
-$100-125 per bartender unless you are doing a cash bar (since guests will be paying cash they will be more likely to leave a tip with each drink than if they are getting the drinks for free, since they already have small bills in hand) or letting them put a tip jar out, in which case you can decrease the tip a bit
-Put it all in an envelope together by company (like if the bartenders are provided by the venue and the waiters are provided by the caterer, two envelopes) and hand to the senior staff member to divide up
-Don’t seal the envelopes till you’re ready to hand them over because someone may warrant an extra tip, and if there is one person who goes beyond exceptional, feel free to slip them an extra $20-50 directly, and still include them in the counts above
These are DC rates so adjust accordingly for your area. We did our tips like this and did go to the higher end of the scale as we did get excellent service, and I got a card from the caterer in the mail a few days later, thanking me for my generosity, so I guess it was solid advice!
Post # 8
@Greenhouse: These are questions for the caterer. Most companies actually tack on their own percentage for gratuity and you don’t get a choice. Check your contract carefully to see if it’s in the fine print.
Post # 9
I would check your contract carefully — sometimes they include a “service” fee or charge of 18-20%, but they don’t consider that a “gratuity.” So the service charge may already be included in what you’re paying, but not any extra gratuity you may choose to give above and beyond that. (The service charge generally includes all the labor/setup etc.) If that’s the case, the service charge should be separated out, since you shouldn’t be taxed on it. I would be really surprised if your venue didn’t automatically include some kind of service charge, and left it entirely up to you whether and how much to give!