Wedding Bartending Budgets


Budgeting The Amount Of Alcohol To Order For Your Wedding

Today on The Bride Link, we're discussing wedding bartending! Keep these tips in mind when planning a bar for your wedding. Wedding bartenders like Vital Event Services are an excellent choice for couples looking to serve drinks during their event. An experienced bartender at wedding will help keep your guests safe and serve alcoholic beverages in accordance with all the rules set by the state and your venue.  In Tennessee, every bartender must hold a valid Servers Permit to serve drinks during an event. Also, the bartender is the only person allowed to serve alcoholic beverages. Self-serving drinks, drinking before the bar opens, or operating a bar without a permitted server is prohibited and could result in your bar or wedding ending early. All venues that allow bar service requires couples to hire a licensed bartender, and some even require additional insurance coverage!

First things first, you want to set your budget when considering a bartender at wedding.  Include money for alcohol, ice, mixers, bartender, and of course a tip!  Understand how your venue works with alcohol before you book it. Some allow outside alcohol to be brought in, and others have you pay for their in-house alcohol, which can be more expensive. Be sure you ask before booking your wedding bartender and paying a deposit for your event.

Decide if you are going to have just beer, wine, and champagne or a full bar with liquor and mixed drinks as well.  We recommend doing only signature drinks instead of a full bar for numerous reasons. The biggest factor, you will have to purchase fewer ingredients using if you skip the full bar. This helps in keeping costs down and quicker serving times for both your guests and servers. 

Determine if high-end brands are in your budget.  For example, it is more expensive for Grey Goose Vodka than a lower-end brand. Also more for craft beers vs. domestic beer options like Budweiser or Miller Lite.  If you are marrying a beer snob, start having a conversation about your bar list early! Getting their input will help determine which route you should go.

Keep in mind for every 75-100 guests, you should have a minimum of 1 bartender. Any more than that and a single bartender can become overwhelmed resulting in slow serving times, something guests never like! Employing a second bartender to help everything run smoothly is always the better choice! Be sure and dedicate enough resources in your budget if serving alcohol is important to your reception.

When hiring a bartender, you need to know if they will provide their own glassware or if you will have to. If they do not, talk to an event rental company about how many glasses to order based on your guest count. Depending on what you're serving could impact what you need. For example, if you're serving both wine and spirits, not every guest will use both types of glasses. However, guests will also absolutely set down their glass without thinking and will expect a fresh one when returning for a second drink. All these factors will determine what kind and how much glassware will be required to cover your guest count. You can also just opt for disposable cups and save a little money there!

It is very important that you are familiar with your state’s ABC laws. There are usually specific laws governing Last Call, how you are allowed to serve guests, any required permits for both servers and the venues, and in some cases, security restrictions. The venue you've booked will expect you to also comply with both local laws and specific venue rules, so be sure you ask what they are beforehand. Not obeying these rules could cause your bar to be shut down during your wedding as well as forfeiting any deposits you've laid down.

Lastly, encourage your guests to consume responsibly, safely, and have a designated driver for the ride home!

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