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Bartender Preparing a CocktailUpscale cocktails and DIY bars are gaining in popularity, but you need to think beyond ingredients and drinks when planning your wedding reception. Even if you’ve carefully selected your cocktails, wine, and beer and calculated how much alcohol you need, your job is not done. You need a professional bartender. This person does much more than prepare and serve your drinks. To hire the best bartender for your reception, check out this helpful advice.

The Benefits of Professional Bartender Services

Choosing an experienced bartender helps ensure that your guests have a great experience both with drink quality and customer service. Martha Stewart Weddings’ Alyssa Brown also points out that some venues require you to hire a bartender, especially if they don’t provide one for you. This professional can also perform other useful services:

  • Product ordering and delivery
  • Bar setup and breakdown
  • Cleanup

Even if your setup is very basic or you’re only serving wine, beer, and batch cocktails, you need someone who’s trained and licensed to serve alcohol. Without this individual, you could expose yourself to unwanted liability stemming from overconsumption or food poisoning from improper preparation and handling. Not only that, a self-serve bar makes it easier for minors to drink and people to overindulge. A bartender can help you steer clear of these problems by checking IDs and refusing to serve intoxicated people. These hazards make it clear that the potential legal and financial consequences are not worth saving a few bucks by not staffing your bar.

How Much Will It Cost?

According to Thumbtack, the average cost for a bartender ranges between $270 and $390. However, pricing structures can vary widely. You may pay an hourly rate but have no minimum time requirement. Some bartenders do set a minimum number of hours and charge for additional time at a flat hourly rate. Bartending rates also tend to be higher during holidays. Depending on the company, you may be required to pay for tool rental or be restricted to using its mobile bar and equipment. Some businesses do not allow their staff to receive tips, so they charge a higher hourly rate instead.

Understand Your Staffing Needs

GigMasters recommends hiring one wedding bartender for every 75 attendees. The average wedding guest count ranges between 140 and 170, so you’d probably want at least two bartenders or perhaps three if you think your invitees will frequently order drinks. Your staffing needs may also include barbacks, or assistants who ensure that the bar is stocked with ice, garnishes, glassware, alcohol, and cocktail ingredients.

When you’re searching for bar staff, you may encounter both independent professionals and full-service bartending companies. With a full-service firm, you can hire multiple staff members in one place. This is a wise idea if you’re planning a large wedding and you need additional labor to ensure good service. On the other hand, a single wedding bartender may work well for smaller events with fewer guests. Either way, you should check a few important details about each prospective candidate:

  • Request proof of liquor liability insurance.
  • Confirm which services the vendor offers.
  • Request references from past clients if you’re hiring a single bartender.
  • Check for online customer feedback.
  • Ask the vendor how its staff deals with intoxicated guests.
  • Discuss your dress code requirements.

Martha Stewart Weddings’ Caitlin White lists some more great questions to ask. She also mentions that getting feedback on your alcohol choices can be useful, especially to help you determine if a drink is too complex or if you’re ordering enough product.

Keep Your Guests Happy and Safe

Like many engaged couples, you want to serve phenomenal drinks to your wedding reception guests. A professional wedding bartender helps you deliver both great beverages and service. Researching, budgeting, and setting your priorities are all important in choosing the best one for your event.

Category: Wedding Materials

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