Wedding Etiquette Forum

Sign to acknowledge drinks and tips are taken care of?

peachy13peachy13 in my cubicle, doing very important work member
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I feel like any time I'm at a wedding, I have no idea what the bar situation is. Does it go to cash bar a few hours later? Did the host already tip the bartender if it's an open bar? 

Would it be okay to have a sign at the bar somewhere to let our guests know that drinks (and tips) are on us all night? Or is that not necessary? More importantly is that rude in anyway to do that? I kind of hate signs but have been thinking of this one for a while. Thanks!
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Re: Sign to acknowledge drinks and tips are taken care of?

  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    peachy13 said:

    I feel like any time I'm at a wedding, I have no idea what the bar situation is. Does it go to cash bar a few hours later? Did the host already tip the bartender if it's an open bar? 


    Would it be okay to have a sign at the bar somewhere to let our guests know that drinks (and tips) are on us all night? Or is that not necessary? More importantly is that rude in anyway to do that? I kind of hate signs but have been thinking of this one for a while. Thanks!
    You should be hosting the bar the whole time and tip the bartender. I find it unnecessary to put a sign up for something you should be doing anyway. 

    The host should always tip the bartender, I rarely tip at an open bar. 

    The fact that you find it necessary to do something like this makes me sad, because it means people are not hosting properly. (Which we obviously already know from this site).

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    lovegood90blabla89Chiwatkins
  • The bar should be fully covered by the hosts, including tip. 

    So the discussion you need to have with your caterer is that YOU will be tipping and they are not to put out a tip jar for that reason. If you see a tip jar out, ask them to remove it. Some guests may slip them money anyway, but the whole idea is that they don't have a tip jar sitting on the bar. It's double dipping.
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    futuremrshpSP29
  • peachy13peachy13 in my cubicle, doing very important work member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer

    peachy13 said:

    I feel like any time I'm at a wedding, I have no idea what the bar situation is. Does it go to cash bar a few hours later? Did the host already tip the bartender if it's an open bar? 


    Would it be okay to have a sign at the bar somewhere to let our guests know that drinks (and tips) are on us all night? Or is that not necessary? More importantly is that rude in anyway to do that? I kind of hate signs but have been thinking of this one for a while. Thanks!
    You should be hosting the bar the whole time and tip the bartender. I find it unnecessary to put a sign up for something you should be doing anyway. 

    The host should always tip the bartender, I rarely tip at an open bar. 

    The fact that you find it necessary to do something like this makes me sad, because it means people are not hosting properly. (Which we obviously already know from this site).

    I know I should be hosting the bar the whole time and tipping the bartender.. that's the plan. And I know for sure that people aren't hosting properly. I think I've been to like 2 weddings in my lifetime where drinks were hosted and tips were already taken care of, which is sad, you're right. And actually for those two occasions, people (including me) were kind of confused about the tips. Everyone was trying to put dollars on the bar and the bartender, who was really busy, had to keep telling people not to do that and everyone was really confused by it. That's really the only reason why I was thinking of a sign, just to make things simpler. 
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  • I get what you're saying. It's the same for me... I always feel weird asking the bartender "Is anything hosted?" because I have never been to a wedding without some sort of cash situation (either certain drinks, certain times, or both). Well, except for one wedding... that was super casual outdoors with some beers in a cooler.

    Regardless of if you're supposed to cover it all, in many circles brides and grooms usually don't, so guests don't always know what to expect.

    I am probably not going to mention tip at all to my guests and just address the tip jar situation with the bartenders themselves before the wedding. I'm going to have a sign with everything we're hosting (our venue has an established bar, and we haven't had our planning meeting yet, so I'm not 100% sure if they'll take the other taps off/bottles down or not). It will literally just read like a menu though, no mention of hosting, like this:


    MENU 

    Beer
    Micheloeb Golden Light
    Grain Belt Nordeast

    Red Wine
    Cabernet Sauvignon 

    White Wine
    Pinot Grigio
    White Zinfandel

    Sparkling
    Prosecco



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    Blue_Birdsaric83
  • Our caterer said we had a choice to either pay gratuities ourselves or the bartenders would have a tip jar. Obviously we told them to just tack it onto our bill. 

    I think your guests will understand that the drinks are included when they aren't asked to pay, and then notice there's not a tip jar. Occasionally someone will probably hand the bartender a few bucks, but for the most part I think people are smart enough to figure out that they can drink for free at your wedding. I think you're over thinking it.
    huskypuppy14
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    If people want to double tip the bartender, that is their prerogative (my husband does). You would never mention that you were covering the tips of the waitstaff though, right? So why is the bar any different?

    I understand that not everyone follows proper etiquette, but the assumption should be that the hosts are properly hosting the event. Which you are!
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  • I had the same situation. Some weddings in our circle are fully hosted, open bar, some will host select drinks and then have other drinks for sale. Some will be fully cash bars, some will have select drinks available and nothing else for sale. We ended up putting up a sign that said "Hosted wine and tap beer" so guests knew that we were hosting. That is all that was at the bar as well, so if someone asked for something else, they'd be told they can't have it.

    I wouldn't mention anything regarding a tip, but I also would make sure there isn't a tip jar sitting out.
  • If people want to double tip the bartender, that is their prerogative (my husband does). You would never mention that you were covering the tips of the waitstaff though, right? So why is the bar any different?

    I understand that not everyone follows proper etiquette, but the assumption should be that the hosts are properly hosting the event. Which you are!

    I think the issue with this is that a lot of people don't know what it means to properly host an event.

    Example: FMIL thinks that it is rude that we are not offering cocktails for purchase at our wedding. She thinks that proper hosting requires you to offer your guest their choice of beverage, even if they have to pay for it. If she went to the bar at our wedding and assumed it was "properly hosted" based on her opinion, she would be very disappointed that she couldn't get a gin and tonic even with her wallet out.

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  • If people want to double tip the bartender, that is their prerogative (my husband does). You would never mention that you were covering the tips of the waitstaff though, right? So why is the bar any different?

    I understand that not everyone follows proper etiquette, but the assumption should be that the hosts are properly hosting the event. Which you are!

    I think the issue with this is that a lot of people don't know what it means to properly host an event.

    Example: FMIL thinks that it is rude that we are not offering cocktails for purchase at our wedding. She thinks that proper hosting requires you to offer your guest their choice of beverage, even if they have to pay for it. If she went to the bar at our wedding and assumed it was "properly hosted" based on her opinion, she would be very disappointed that she couldn't get a gin and tonic even with her wallet out.


    Yes. I see this a lot as a reason to do a partial cash bar. Unfortunately my sister did this at her wedding, they hosted some but not all available drinks, reasoning being people would be happier with options. 

    On the OP -- I think a sign that says "Drinks and tips on us!" is ultimately a little tacky. I know you don't mean it that way, and in fact you are doing things properly and being un-tacky by properly hosting. I do totally get the fear that people will be confused. I was at a whiskey event the other night and I was talking excitedly to a couple of friends invited to our wedding about the whiskeys we've selected. One of my friends was like "Oh, right, we can bring our own booze, right?" and I was like "NO, oh no, oh no, you do not have to bring anything or open your wallet at your wedding." She was confused because I had mentioned that WE (FI and I) are allowed to serve booze we can buy ourselves, which is awesome and a great savings for us. 

    Some options to spread the word on the open bar situation: 
    1. Word of mouth. In the example above, now at least two friends of mine certainly know they are not expected to pay for anything at our wedding. They may tell others. 

    2. Advise the bartenders or whoever is providing the bartenders (our bartenders are being provided by our caterer) that they can feel free to let people know the whole drink menu is covered when people come by for their first drink. 

    3. Put it on your wedding website. I actually don't think this is a great plan, but one of my cousins does have this on his wedding website in a section about food and drink they say "drinks are on us, but feel free to tip our bartenders". Obviously they took some tacky turns there. 

    None of these are perfect ideas. Maybe others have thoughts on how to spread the word? 
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    peachy13
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited April 2015
    If you know specifically who's likely to offer the bartenders tips and the subject comes up, you could relay by word of mouth that you are taking care of all bar costs, including gratuities, so there's no need for them to pay for anything.

    But don't have a sign. Just make clear to your venue staff that you are to be charged all costs, including gratuities, and that there are to be no tip jars or charges to the guests of any kind.
    MandyMost
  • I would say your best bet is to make it clear to the bar tenders that if anyone tries to give them a tip, they should say, "That's ok, the bride and groom are covering everything." Other people at the bar will hear the same thing and it will be fine. 
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    MandyMost
  • I still personally tip at open bars. It's just my personal preference because I find it gets me preferential treatment :)
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  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    ahyatt87 said:

    I still personally tip at open bars. It's just my personal preference because I find it gets me preferential treatment :)

    Do you think that's fair? Do you deserve preferential treatment over everyone else at a hosted event? What if everyone tips, then does everyone get perks? 

    Also, when you tip at a hosted event, you are basically saying that you don't think the hosts are tipping them enough. I've tipped bartenders at work functions that were open bar, or charity events. But I don't tip at weddings or other social events that are properly hosted.

    I don't know why everyone feels the need to tip the bartender at a wedding (for open bars), when they don't tip the servers. I know people are used to throwing a buck or two when they get a drink at a bar, and it's more awkward to tip the servers at weddings. I get it. But it doesn't make it correct.


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  • Ive found that in many open bar situations tipping the bartender does three things. 1. you get a little more alcohol than everyone else, 2 sometimes the bartender is nicer and 3 you DO get preferential treatment. Everyone doesn't tip, that never happens, it may not be fair but thats life, people love money.
  • It seems weirdly braggadocios to post a sign announcing that you are doing things you ought to be doing anyway (being a good host and not making your guests open their wallets).  You wouldn't post a sign saying you're being gracious enough to provide chairs for people to sit during the ceremony.  You wouldn't post a sign outside your office door or hand a letter to your boss saying "As a favor, I showed up to work on time and will do my job today."  No, those are all things you're supposed to do.  No need to announce it.
    huskypuppy14
  • To be fair, all the weddings I have been to that have had an open also had a tip jars. So I have no idea whether or not the bartenders are being tipped.

    I also tip at all inclusive resorts at the bar for the same reason. Sorry, not sorry. If the service I get is good, I'm going to tip. It has nothing to do with the hosts, it has to do with how well the server and service is that I'm getting.

    ahyatt87 said:

    I still personally tip at open bars. It's just my personal preference because I find it gets me preferential treatment :)

    Do you think that's fair? Do you deserve preferential treatment over everyone else at a hosted event? What if everyone tips, then does everyone get perks? 

    Also, when you tip at a hosted event, you are basically saying that you don't think the hosts are tipping them enough. I've tipped bartenders at work functions that were open bar, or charity events. But I don't tip at weddings or other social events that are properly hosted.

    I don't know why everyone feels the need to tip the bartender at a wedding (for open bars), when they don't tip the servers. I know people are used to throwing a buck or two when they get a drink at a bar, and it's more awkward to tip the servers at weddings. I get it. But it doesn't make it correct.



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  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree the tipping aspect gets confusing- because most people do not understand the host should be paying for the bar and gratuities. The last wedding we went to was open bar, no tip jar out, my husband still tipped the bartender. (He was an awesome bartender). 

    Perhaps you could include something on the menu that is placed at the tables?

    Something like:

    Hosted bar includes:
    Red wine
    White wine
    Budwiser
    Stella
    Vodka
    Rum
    Etc...

    I know that doesn't really take care of the tip aspect, but if you make sure no tip jar is out, if guests try to tip the bartender can tell them it's taken care of (or they'll do it anyway). 
    charcoalandblush
  • I think a menu sign would be fine for your situation, but leave off the tip piece.  There's no graceful way to include that.  

    But I absolutely have been to many cash bars or partial cash bars, and it does get confusing, so I would appreciate a menu of what's hosted.  Obviously, it would be ideal if everyone hosted everything, so this was the expected norm.  But unfortunately, that's simply not the case in all areas.  So if your guests wouldn't automatically assume it's fully hosted, I don't see anything wrong with a menu. 
    charcoalandblush
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    ahyatt87 said:

    To be fair, all the weddings I have been to that have had an open also had a tip jars. So I have no idea whether or not the bartenders are being tipped.

    I also tip at all inclusive resorts at the bar for the same reason. Sorry, not sorry. If the service I get is good, I'm going to tip. It has nothing to do with the hosts, it has to do with how well the server and service is that I'm getting.

    ahyatt87 said:


    All inclusive resorts are not the same thing as a hosted social event.  If someone takes you out to dinner and pays the bill and the tip, do you also tip the server if they're excellent?

    Also, just because there is a tip jar out, doesn't mean they aren't being tipped. I went to a wedding last year where the MOB had to tell the bartender to put the tip jar away, because she had already tipped them. Some people are just greedy.

    Regardless of whether people tip or not at a hosted event, the hosts should never say they are covering the tip, because they should be anyway.
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  • To be fair, all the weddings I have been to that have had an open also had a tip jars. So I have no idea whether or not the bartenders are being tipped.

    I also tip at all inclusive resorts at the bar for the same reason. Sorry, not sorry. If the service I get is good, I'm going to tip. It has nothing to do with the hosts, it has to do with how well the server and service is that I'm getting.
    ahyatt87 said:


    All inclusive resorts are not the same thing as a hosted social event.  If someone takes you out to dinner and pays the bill and the tip, do you also tip the server if they're excellent?

    Also, just because there is a tip jar out, doesn't mean they aren't being tipped. I went to a wedding last year where the MOB had to tell the bartender to put the tip jar away, because she had already tipped them. Some people are just greedy.

    Regardless of whether people tip or not at a hosted event, the hosts should never say they are covering the tip, because they should be anyway.


    Yeah. I don't know if I would characterize a bartender wanting to be tipped as greedy given that they really do live off tips. But I do know sometimes a tip jar ends up out even though the b&g have already tipped. 
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  • I was in a similar situation--we had a limited hosted bar (and we took care of the gratuity, or course), and a crowd that was not used to having open bar. To be honest, I have no idea if there were any awkward situations at the bar where people were confused about not paying, or were told not to tip. I know I never say any cash laying around or in hand at any point in the night when I was near the bar, however.

    We put out a drink menu, in a frame on the bar. We also had the DOC (through the catering company) essentially let the bar tenders know the situation, and to politely tell guests that tips were already covered, and everything was hosted. We also "spread the word" a bit before the wedding, so people knew what to expect. This was easy to do through my mom, who spent months talking to everyone she'd ever met about how fancy the wedding was going to be, and how she was so excited about it (she had nothing to do with he planning or the budget, so this came off as an adorably proud mom instead of being boastful). 
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