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To tip, or not to tip?

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To tip, or not to tip?

Tipping, not a city in China!  The word TIPS is believed to be an acronym derived from the phrase To Insure Proper Service.  Why is it such a point of frustration and confusion?  Because there really is no standard when it comes to tipping vendors for weddings and other special events!  We all know that when you go out to a restaurant the standard tip is generally between 15-25% depending on the level of service you have received, but what about tipping catering staff, DJ's, and Bartenders? 

The best piece of advice is to ask ahead of time!  Your wedding day is stressful enough without worrying about taking care of gratuity, not to mention it can be very uncomfortable for both you and the staff.  They don’t want to ask for it, you don’t want to forget or look cheap, but you already have spent a good chunk of change and may be feeling a little light in the pocket already!  Many catering companies have already included the gratuity into their contract.  Maybe a DJ has as well.  This should be discussed during your initial consultation when the pressure is off.  A good caterer will guide you as to what is appropriate.  DJ's should do the same. 

Something that we see with the Bartending Service is that they are often hired by a catering company and are not included in the gratuity paid to the servers and kitchen staff!  You should inquire when paying for the catering service if they contract out the bar service.  You would be surprised at how may of them will hire an outside service, then dress them up like their own staff and you would never know the difference!  They don’t do it to be sneaky; it is generally just a matter of outsourcing the liability because they do not carry the proper insurance. 

However, the catering manager is often times the only one that knows that the Bartender is not really on the catering staff.  Also, they may be the only one that knows that the Bartender is NOT included in the gratuity split at the end of the event!  Again, the appropriate time to ask is before the day of the event. 

Usually arranging individual envelopes with cash gratuity prior to the wedding day is easiest.  You should then assign one of the groomsmen to be in charge of holding the envelopes and handing them out upon successful completion of the event.

 Don't be afraid to pull a couple dollars out of the envelope if someone does a lousy job!  Same standards apply as if you were in a restaurant; if you are usually a great tipper but the service was sub par you should adjust accordingly.  If you are usually an average tipper, but the service was spectacular the only way to properly thank someone is by leaving a little extra!  And please do not punish the DJ or Bartender if the food service was not as good as expected, they had about as much to do with that as the florist did!  Hope this article helps.

Article Submitted By: Hey, Bartender! LLC Beverage Catering & Bartending Service
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