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What is an appropriate "Admin Fee" for the caterers?
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jducoeur
Here's a question, looking for informed (or at least experienced) opinions.

As part of the wedding catering, there is a line item for "Admin Fee". This is, we understand, essentially the tip. We don't object to that in principle, but have no *clue* what's appropriate. And (slightly distressingly), we have to pay it as part of the final check for the wedding -- that is, before it actually happens. (And can not give them more later.)

Anybody have any idea what the right amount is here? Is 15% good? Too high? Too low? This is one of those very American things, where it is deliberately left to conventional wisdom and cultural habit, and we don't know what the habits are...
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Good food for thought, anyway -- thanks!

Check the contract carefully. It may state something to the effect of:

"The administrative fee referenced herein is for administrative overhead, documentation, preparation, and other management of the event; such Administrative Fee is not, nor is it intended to be, a service charge, tip or gratuity, for wait staff, service employees or service bartenders."

If so, it is *not* a gratuity, but is instead an actual charge for overhead. But then I would expect them to actually charge a specific fee, rather than allow you to choose it. But, expectations are not reliable. Check the contract. If it is not clear in the contract, *ask*. Ask why the vendor called it a fee, instead of a gratuity.

I remember The Knot as being the go-to place for conventional wedding practice.

No, they've actually been very clear that it's structured as a voluntary-ish gratuity, and that it is there because they forbid tipping-after-the-fact. *Why* is much less clear, and they haven't been very forthcoming on that...

I wonder if it has anything to do with tip reporting for tax purposes. If they are required, for example, to report expected tips for their employees, they may decide that this is the easiest way for them to be sure of the amount.


Tip pre-services-rendered is exactly zero in my opinion. If they insist on no tip after the fact, they would get no tip from me (with my regrets that they made that necessity).

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