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4 Things You Need to Know About Staffing Your Wedding Bar

The bar will be the most popular spot at the party so you'll want to get it right.

Contributing Writer
kaitlin jeremy rehearsal dinner whiskey mules on tray
Photography by: Sylvie Gil Photography

Since each wedding guest generally consumes about two drinks during the cocktail hour alone, you'll want to make sure there are enough bars and bartenders taking care of your family and friends throughout the evening. Whether you're working with a catering team on the drinks or hiring a dedicated bartender or mixologist, there's a lot that goes into the perfect big-day bar. To ensure you have a well-thought-out watering hole at your party, we're explaining what you need to know about setting up and staffing the wedding bar. Cheers!

 

Related: Cocktail Hour Ideas from Real Weddings

 

Figure out how many bars you need.

If you're expecting fewer than 50 people, you'll be fine with just one main bar. If more than 50 guests are attending, then you'll want to have the main bar plus one or two additional bars at opposite corners of the room for wine, beer, and soft drinks. Setting up just one main bar is more efficient than having two, because one of which generally becomes overrun with guests and the other one devoid of them.

 

Have enough bartenders on hand.

Figure on one bartender for every 75 guests. Also keep in mind that fewer bar staff is needed if they're only pouring wine, beer, and soft drinks rather than the more-time-consuming mixed drinks. So if you're trying to come up with ways to save serious money on the wedding, consider this.

 

Tell the bar staff of your loved ones' favorites.

If your grandfather only drinks Johnnie Walker Black or your favorite aunt loves the Argentinian wine Malbec, consider having a small number of these items behind the bar and fill the bartenders in.

 

Tip the bartenders.

Before offering money to anyone, check your catering contract. Is a gratuity for the bar staff included? If so, you don't have to give them an additional tip unless they were superstars and you feel they warrant a bonus. If a tip isn't already included, use this as your guide: Tip 15 to 20 percent of the before-tax bar bill, with the level of service they provided influencing what you give them.