Tips on Wedding Tipping

If it takes a village to raise a child then it takes a city to pull off a wedding.  And many of the folks who work "in this city" and work hard to make your simcha possible, expect a tip from the happy families in addition to their regular salaries.  
Tips are never included in that wonderful Israeli pricing invention – "the all inclusive price".  You should ask the Hall owner or your Hall representative how much you should tip Hall employees.  Remember: "Whatever you think is correct" is NOT an appropriate answer to this question!

There are three tipping etiquette issues all parents of the bride and groom should deal with. 
First of all: Who will be tipping?  If both families are equally dividing up the tipping, then calculate the tipping total IN ADVANCE. 
Secondly: Take out the cash from your favorite ATM and have each tip "group" neatly placed in a marked envelope and ready (at least) the NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING.  Believe me; you do not want to find yourself running to three different ATMs on the morning of the wedding, trying to get out the amount of necessary cash.

Thirdly: You do not and, I believe, should not have to distribute the tips personally; you should appoint someone who will distribute the tips at the appropriate times.  I would also recommend that you discuss this job position with the person in question in advance of the wedding.

Here's my recommended list:

How Much?
Other details
When and to Whom?
Kitchen staff
50 NIS per staff member
Ask your Hall rep how many people are counted in the kitchen staff.
The collective tip should be paid the morning of the wedding.  This amount should be paid to the Chef/Sous Chef.  If you live far from the hall, find out if you can bring this money a day or two before the wedding.
50 – 100 NIS per server
Ask your Hall rep how many waiters will be working that night.  In addition, find out the name of your Head Waiter and be introduced to her/him on the day of the wedding.
A collective tip for all the waiters and the barmen should be given to the head waiter.
It would be nice if everyone attending your wedding would also give a tip to their specific server – but this unfortunately does not always happen. *
70-80 NIS per barman
Ask your Hall rep how many barmen will be in attendance at the wedding.  There is usually no more than one or two.
See above.
Bathroom cleaning lady
50 – 100 NIS
Yes, this lovely lady is responsible for cleaning the Hall restrooms throughout the simcha and she does indeed deserve a tip.
Timing is tricky here – if your wedding lasts to the wee hours, she may not be there. She should be on duty until 11:30 PM-midnight.  Ask your Hall rep.  My feeling is that you should give her the tip earlier in the evening.
Photographers, videographers, makeup artists and hair stylists, wedding planners, dress makers, florists and the list goes on and on
No tip
While these service providers do not get tipped, many of them do prefer, request and require payment in CASH.  Some, like bands, ask that half their fee be paid in cash.  Find out all these sticky little issues in advance and write it down in your own To Do lists, if these details are not written in the service contracts. You do not want to run to an ATM a half an hour before the wedding.

* If you are a guest at a wedding, I warmly recommend that even if 'your' table does not give a common tip, then you should give the server something upon leaving the hall.  We usually give 20 NIS per invited guest.

Please keep in mind that you want your guests to remember the bride's dress, hair and makeup, the groom's suit and the cute bridesmaids, the great music and wonderful food; you do not want them to remember bad waiter service or dirty bathrooms.  The way to prevent this is to ensure the Hall can handle the kind of wedding you envision. 
This means that even BEFORE you sign a contract with the Hall, you have an opportunity to attend a wedding in the Hall with approximately the same number of guests you plan to invite.  Not only do you want to inspect the quality and quantity of the food served; you should also take a look at the waiters: how they are dressed (clean uniforms, aprons, gloves, etc.), their average age (you do not want 15 year olds dragging around your food), how many tables to each waiter (this is a very important point that should be closed in advance), their attitude toward serving (are they smiling or hiding) and the like.  Remember in Israel, waiting tables is not a career choice.  Tips and a polite and respectful attitude towards the waiters could mean the difference between a wonderful wedding and a wedding full of small, annoying disasters.

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