Should We Put a Tip Jar on the Bar?

Etiquette, Food & Drink

Ahhh, the open bar. The groomsmen will joke that it's the real reason they're at your wedding, and your parents might wince at the cost (pro tip: see if the liquor distributor will buy back unopened bottles!), but it's a generous gesture that your guests will notice and appreciate. There's no money exchanging hands over the counter, but there are bartenders back there pouring glasses of wine and mixing those specialty cucumber margaritas! Should there be a tip jar on the bar so guests can thank their servers? Here's what our experts think.

Tip jars are definitely not necessary, especially when you're offering an open bar. Most contracts include a service fee and gratuity, and if they don't, you and your groom should have a tip ready to share with the bartenders when the evening is over, so tips are totally covered.

However, you might look at the people rattling cocktail shakers, straining Cosmos, and dropping perfect twists into Old Fashioneds and think that, in almost any other situation, they'd be getting a little something for the Tom Cruise-style show they're putting on. And while any good bartending company, hotel, or caterer would never let their own bartenders put out a tip jar, none will fight you if the bride or groom insist that they put one out.

See more: 6 Creative, Tasty Food Pairings for Cocktail Hour

If you do choose to put a tip glass on the bar, you might want to stick a dollar or two into it so the other servers don't accidentally clear the glass. You should also let your planner, the catering manager, or the banquet manager know that you were the ones who put the glass there, just to make sure the bartenders don't get in trouble for going against company policy. Your guests might not have any cash with them, but if they do and their drink was particularly good, they might want to slip a dollar in there, too.


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