Alcohol service can take up a large portion of your wedding budget, so you’ll want to make sure you take the right steps when it comes to serving drinks at your celebration! These tips will help you ensure your bar is adequately staffed and stocked, and that the alcohol will continue to flow without a hitch as the party goes on.
Consider All Costs When Creating Your Budget
There is more to the alcohol budget than just the actual alcohol and the labor of the bartenders. You’ll also need to factor in the tip and the cost of renting a physical bar (if your venue doesn’t have one) and glassware. If you are stocking your own bar, you may also need to pay a corkage fee, which may be charged per bottle or per person, depending on the venue or bartender’s rules. Keep these in mind when crafting your budget so that you don’t run into any surprises down the line.
Check the Rules with Your Venue and Caterer
If you have a specific bartending professional or service that you want to hire, you’ll first need to make sure your caterer and venue actually allow for it. Some caterers or venues require you to use their on-staff bartenders.
Considering a self-serve bar? Keep in mind that many venues don’t allow for self-serve alcohol stations, and require you to use properly licensed individuals to serve, even if the venue has a liquor license.
There also may be certain restrictions, such as not being able to serve hard liquor, or only being able to serve branded wine at a winery. Make sure you are aware of all the relevant alcohol rules before moving forward with hiring bartenders.
Look into Local Liquor Rules and Regulations
It is vital that you check in with your local liquor licensing official to make sure you are following all necessary rules and regulations. Many areas have regulations on who can serve alcohol (licensed individuals) and where it can be served (a venue with a proper liquor license). To make sure everything runs smoothly, ensure all of the rules in your location are being properly followed.
Hire the Right Amount of Bartenders
You don’t want your guests wasting their night waiting in line to get a beverage. Be sure to hire an adequate number of bartenders to keep the line moving and alcohol flowing. You should aim for two bartenders for every 100 guests. For larger weddings, if possible, you may also consider putting bars in different areas of the venue to avoid congesting one area in the space.
Decide Between a Full Bar Package or Hiring Individual Bartenders
Besides using the in-house bar services your venue provides or doing a self-serve station, there are two ways you can go about serving alcohol at your wedding. One way is purchasing a full-service bar package through a professional bartending company. This type of package will include the bartenders, serving tools, glassware, ice, mixers, and other necessary ingredients (generally, you’ll still provide the actual alcohol). The other option is hiring only a bartender (or bartenders) to show up and provide labor. Not surprisingly, a full-service package is more expensive, but it does take the pressure off of you to provide all the necessary tools and ingredients for the bar to run successfully. Decide which option fits into your budget and makes the most sense for your needs.
Stock the Right Supplies
If you are choosing to stock your own supplies and hire bartenders to focus on the actual bartending work, you’ll want to make sure you provide everything that is needed. Of course, there is the alcohol of your choice, and ice, mixers, and any ingredients necessary for cocktails. You’ll also need the appropriate glassware for what you will be serving, such as wine glasses, champagne flutes, pint glasses, shot glasses, and highball glasses. Also consider the drink-making tools, including shakers, corkscrews, and bottle openers. To top it off, you’ll also want napkins and a menu.
If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You will have the chance to meet with professional wedding vendors of all talents who can help bring your vision to life!