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Saturday
Feb272010

I Am Such a Bitch

Source

This morning after I downed a few cups of coffee into my face, I was able to get caught up on some outstanding blog reading. I read something that just pissed me off to no end. Here's what set flame to my kindling. The blogger was discussing tipping. Here's what was written:

Take it for what it is worth, not ALL of these people need to be tipped. A good rule of thumb is, if they provided entertainment, they get a tip! Most Caterers and Photographers may include gratuity in their contract, look closely.

Caterer/Banquet Manager
15% to 20% (usually included in contract, however, if the caterer or manager has done an exceptional job, an additional $1.00 - $2.00 per guest is suggested.)

Waitstaff
15% to 20% (usually included in contract, however, if it is not included, the tip should be given to the maitre d' or head waiter along with an additional 1% - 2%.)

Bartenders
15% to 20% (if the bartender is not accepting tips from guests, an additional 10% is suggested, but not required.)

Limousine Drivers
15% to 20%

DJ's
15% - 20% (gratuity is not usually required, however, if you feel he/she has done an exceptional job or has provided extra or special services, a tip is a wonderful gesture.)

Bands
$25.00 per band member (gratuity is not usually required, however, if you feel he/she has done an exceptional job or has provided extra or special services, a tip is a wonderful gesture.)

Photographer and Videographers

15% (gratuity is not usually required, however, if you feel he/she has done an exceptional job or has provided extra or special services, a tip is a wonderful gesture.)

Florists
15% (gratuity is not usually required, however, if you feel he/she has done an exceptional job or has provided extra or special services, a tip is a wonderful gesture.)

Bakers
15% (gratuity is not usually required, however, if you feel he/she has done an exceptional job or has provided extra or special services, a tip is a wonderful gesture.)

Restroom and Coat Check Personnel
$0.50 - $1.00 per guest (if not accepting gratuity from guests, the host would be responsible for tipping personnel at the end of the event.)

Parking Attendants
$1.00 - $2.00 per car (if not accepting gratuity from guests, the host would be responsible for tipping parking attendants at the end of the event.)

Officiants
$75.00 - $100 .00 (Note: It is appropriate for a clergy member (priest, rabbi, minister, etc.) to accept gratuities or a donation along with their regular fee (if any), however, civil officiants (judges, clerks, etc.) receive a flat fee and are usually not allowed to accept gratuities.)

Ceremony Staff

$35.00 - $75.00 is suggested for organists/musicians. $5.00 - $25.00 is suggested for altar boys, sextons, etc. (gratuity is not usually required, however, if fees for the above are not included in the ceremony site fees, the suggestions above are appropriate.)

Wedding Planners / Coordinators
10% - 20% (gratuity is not usually required, although, for something better than usual to exceptional a 10-20% tip is not unheard of.)


OK, I call total bullshit on this post. If you add up all this, you could be talking thousands of dollars. You know who I tipped? I tipped my reception venue because it was built into my bill. I tipped my hair/make-up lady. I kinda tipped our driver. And THAT'S IT.

Why? Because I hired mostly independent vendors who are the sole proprietors of their companies. I am going to assume that they are going to go ahead and build in a tip into their pricing. If they don't - that's THEIR fault, not mine. Charge what you're worth, not what you think people might pay you. Any business person who expects tips to pay the bills won't be in business for long.  If anyone expects a 15-20% tip on top of the cost of their services, that's their miscalculation of the human psyche.

Second problem with this post: it suggests that if there was an exceptional job done that a gratuity should be paid. How does one know if an exceptional job is going to be done until after the fact? I don't know about y'all, but I had my bills paid down to the penny. How much was the ceremony guitarist, $270? Then here's $270, Bub. You showed up, you played the guitar for 20 minutes, you sat through a 15 minute ceremony and then played for another 5 minutes and you left. You did your job. You got paid. Now go home. WHY would I pay him another $54 for doing his job? Do I get to  pay him LESS if he effed it up? No. I really wish this kind of philosophy was applied in my job every day. I'd be an effin' bajillionaire.

Now, if you hire a limo and it's through a big limo service, go ahead and tip the driver. He's getting an hourly wage, which is NOTHING compared to what you're paying for that limo. Our cool-ass ride and the driver who owns that cool-ass ride is an independent vendor. We did tip him a little because we asked him ahead of time to help us out since The Candyman's truck was stolen 2 weeks before the wedding. However, he ended up making some extra cash because he wasn't booked that night. We both got a little sumpin-sumpin and it worked out fine.

And parking attendants? WHAT WHAT WHAT??? As a guest, if someone valet parked my car, I would tip the attendant. I certainly would not expect my host to. Are there people out there who actually think this is the right thing to do? WHAT? And how, as a guest, would I know if the host is picking up the tipping tab? I have been to several fancy-schmancy weddings that included valets and never once did I not think to tip, thinking that my host was taking care of that for me. Who does that? Really?

If they "provided entertainment" they need a tip? WHAT? I thought my drunk girlfriend was entertaining, should I mail her twenty bucks? I heard my DJ play TWO songs we had on our lengthy and specific play list. TWO. TWO songs. Was I supposed to account for a tip for her ahead of time for potentially great service, only to have my day-of planner hand it over for a job not well-done? Dumb.

OK, maybe "dumb" is harsh, but I feel this particular post is a regurgitation of some Miss Manner bullshit found on some website somewhere versus real-life scenario stuff.

Yes, tipping is important. In my life I have been a waitress. I have also been a bartender. I know about making a living off of tips. I'm not some lame Daddy's Girl who is stingy with her cash (OK, I have been known to be stingy with my cash, but it's never been where tipping is involved). Generally, 20% is my starting point for tips and I go up from there for fabulosity. I just truly believe that a vendor is going to charge you for their services in order to make a profit. If that vendor behaves in a way that is above and beyond their call to task, then a tip is perhaps a really awesome thing to do - after the fact. Perhaps I just expect too much for what I pay for. Maybe. I hired people based on my belief that the job they would do would be exceptional for what I was being charged. I expected a job well-done. Is that wrong? I don't think so.

I just think lists like this can give a bride a freakin' budget heart-attack. I based my own tipping strategies off of my gut, my experiences as a tip-earning person as well as a guide from The Martha. Am I completely off-base here? If I am, do tell. If any vendors care to chime in, I'm all ears.

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Reader Comments (7)

i have worked all over "the industry" and while a tip was always greatly appreciated, i never came to expect it. i got paid by my employer (a caterer, a venue, a florist...a little of everything) and generally made a commission as well, so for me to "expect" a tip was really just greedy.

to be honest, the things that i have remembered the most, and have kept (as opposed to a $20 here and there which I immediately blew on a bottle of vodka...) are the incredibly loving and thoughtful thank you notes that I received from mothers and father's of the bride and groom, guests that attended the event, and other vendors that found it easy to work with me. Sure, money is great, but appreciation will get you everywhere.

So, I totally agree-that list is bull shit.

February 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercaro

We'd discussed this during your planning process. If someone blows you away, by all means. If you have some of your budget left and are feeling generous, go ahead, more power to you.

But I'm with you - gratuity is built in and they've accounted for staff being there overtime. When it comes to bands, each band member is paid by the hour with a minimum of X hours built in to their fee.

Tipping, while nice, is not required. It's not as if they provided the services on the house - there were fees attached to everything.

I call shenanigans.

February 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTabitha

I'm glad you posted this...I'd written about this a couple of weeks ago. I realized months ago that all of that "required" tipping wouldn't be happening!

February 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHappy Nappy Bride

As a Vendor, AMEN SISTER, on the charge what you are worth. I've been in the floral business for 15 years and I have tipped ONCE in that time. But, I always do my best because that is what I expect of myself and my business.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Presley

My favorite line: If they "provided entertainment" they need a tip? WHAT? I thought my drunk girlfriend was entertaining, should I mail her twenty bucks?
That is awesome.

Great post!!

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrb

Those lists are ridiculous.

I'm totally with you and this does not make you a bitch! The only vendor we anticipate tipping is our caterer and crew and in all honesty, I think we are over-estimating. I'm not even planning to tip my stylist because she is doing it freelance outside the salon and will get to pocket all the money for herself (versus surrendering half to the salon, per normal).

We built in taxes and gratuities into our budget document, so everything is accounted for on the front end. I will be sending out thank you notes to all our vendors who do a good job and trying to come up with ideas for nice gifts for our friends who will be helping out (officiant, dj and florist - all friends).

You go girl! Great seeing you yesterday :)

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNatosha

Dear lord, that list of tips nearly made me panic. I've already been privately enraged about the 20% "service charge" that's not actually a tip for the staff. Silly me for assuming that the presumed "tip" line would go towards the wait staff. Good thing we're not likely having typical wait staff and I can pay them what they're worth upfront.

Thank you for a moment of sanity.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

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