November 2012 Weddings
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Service Charge vs Gratuity

It's Friday afternoon, so naturally I am procrastinating at work.  I was adding up costs for our wedding and I noticed that our venue paperwork mentioned an additional 6% PA tax as well as a 21% service charge.  We knew this verbiage was in the contract, but it just now occurred to me that the wording says "service charge" rather than "gratuity."  This may be a dumb question, but is the service charge the same thing as gratuity?  

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Re: Service Charge vs Gratuity

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    According to my computer dictionary, a service charge is
    an extra charge assessed for a service.

    A gratuity is

    money given in return for some service or favor

    Which would suggest they're the same. "Service charge" can go to management, though, as a charge. Gratuities have to go to the servers. You should ask how the service charge is distributed amidst the staff.
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    the service charge and the gratuity are two sepeate charges. Almost all venues (at least from my experience in my area) have a service charge and tax. thats why its ++

    so for example, if your venues base price is $100 and theres a 20% service charge and a 7% state tax, it would be $100 x .20%= $120. The sales tax would be added on top of this $120 price. It's amazing how they get you with this!
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    I would just ask that is what we do, all the venues I have seen that with don't require gratuity. 
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_november-2012-weddings_service-charge-vs-gratuity?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20Club%20BoardsForum:46c2f53c-680c-4532-aa96-4cca92890b59Discussion:ff7c2fda-1a76-4fb2-be91-ff1024f27b78Post:c198652f-a2ec-42f8-9f49-08d1df996d52">Re: Service Charge vs Gratuity</a>:
    [QUOTE]the service charge and the gratuity are two sepeate charges. Almost all venues (at least from my experience in my area) have a service charge and tax. thats why its ++ so for example, if your venues base price is $100 and theres a 20% service charge and a 7% state tax, it would be $100 x .20%= $120. The sales tax would be added on top of this $120 price. It's amazing how they get you with this!
    Posted by ChristineM1020[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>So it's possible that we could be paying the base price plus 21% service charge plus 6% state tax... and we'd also need to pay 18-20% gratuity on top of that?  Is that really how it works?  That's crazy!</div><div>
    </div><div>I will definitely ask our venue to clarify!

    </div>
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    That's what I love about the venue I booked. The price I agreed to in the contract is the price I pay, no hidden charges that pop up later. It's explicitly stated in the contract. :D
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    You should be able to look at the "Service Charge" and pretty easily decide if that means Gratuity or not. Some Service Charges I have seen are a smaller percent than the tax, and some are, like yours, closer to 20%. Those closer to 20% mean gratuity is included. If you do tip further, be sure to give it to the servers and bartenders, not to put it on the bill, where it would go to the owner of the business, and not necessarily to the workers who deserve the tip.
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    Quick update.  I did speak with my venue a few weeks ago.  The service charge includes the gratuity.  
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