While the bride and groom know they'll need to tip their vendors at the end of their wedding day, guests probably aren't arriving with change in their pockets to hand out to servers and staff members throughout the evening. Is that totally acceptable, or are wedding guests everywhere committing a huge faux pas? Our experts weigh in on whether guests need to tip anyone at someone else's wedding.
Between the cost of goods and services, fees, service charges, and the tips distributed by the newlyweds, anyone working at a wedding is pretty well covered when it comes to being compensated for their work and time. So the short answer is, no, guests are not obligated to tip anyone at a wedding. However, of course, there are a few exceptions — so keep some ones in your pocket!
If the venue has valet parking, you may want a few dollars available to tip the valet attendant. You probably won't need to pay to have your car parked, but just like at a hotel or restaurant, a small tip would be greatly appreciated!
You should also be sure to have cash with you if the reception will include a cash bar for either part or all of the evening. In this instance, your interaction with the bartender is more like one at a bar than a private event, so tip accordingly.
Did the bride and groom spring for an open bar? You probably will not see a tip jar on the bar, and there's a good chance the bartending company or venue doesn't allow their employees to accept tips in this situation. If you receive particularly great service, you can offer the bartender a tip, but know that they may not be able to accept it. Don't force the money on them (and risk them getting into trouble later!), but instead thank them profusely and make sure the couple knows how great the service was.