Q: Do vendors prefer to be tipped in cash, or can we just add a tip on top of the final credit-card bill?

A: Some vendors automatically add an 18-20 percent gratuity to their service. Obviously, in this instance, the vendor prefers the gratuity to be included in the total bill, and your tipping obligations end once you sign on the dotted line. However, make sure you know which vendors do this and exactly who will get the tip. For example, does the gratuity on your reception bill just go to the banquet-hall manager and the waitstaff or will it be divvied up among the coat-check and valet-parking attendants as well? It's also important to know in advance who's charging automatic gratuity so you avoid double-tipping a vendor. If a vendor does not automatically charge a gratuity, it's safe to assume that he prefers a cash tip. Once you decide how much you want to tip, put this money aside in sealed envelopes and write the vendors' names on them. Designate someone (such as the best man) to hand them out at the appropriate times during the wedding day.

See all questions about budget etiquette

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