Choosing the Right Bartender for your Wedding: Tips & Tricks

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and every detail matters. From the venue to the flowers, every aspect of your big day should reflect your personality and style. When it comes to your wedding bar, choosing the right bar services and Bartenders is crucial. They play a pivotal role in ensuring your guests have an unforgettable experience, they help with the planning process to save money and make things stress-free, and can serve in a friendly, yet safe and responsible way. Here are some tips and tricks to help you find the perfect bartender who excels in experience, attention to detail, and the quality of service.

1. Prioritize Experience:

Experience is key when selecting a wedding Bartender. You want someone who not only knows their way around a bar but also understands the unique demands of a wedding – I cannot stress this enough. As someone who has worked 15-years in the bar and restaurant industry, and has served 9-years in the wedding bar industry, I can personally say, although there are many commonalities, it is like comparing apples to oranges. Look for bartenders with a proven track record of catering to weddings. Ask for references from past clients and even fellow vendors, ask how many weddings they’ve worked, and if they’ve ever worked at the venue you selected.  Check for online reviews or testimonials to ensure they have a history of delivering exceptional service.

2. Attention to Detail:

Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and it’s the little things that make it special. A great bartender pays attention to the finer details. They will ensure that each cocktail is mixed to perfection, that everything needed is ready to go on the day-of, they understand when the typical rush times are so they can be prepared and not require long waits, plan a menu with you that will improve service and suggest alternatives if it would slow down or complicate things. Discuss your vision with potential Bartenders and gauge their enthusiasm for creating a bar experience that aligns with your theme and style.

3. Quality of Service:

Quality of service should be a non-negotiable factor when selecting your wedding Bartender. They should not only serve drinks but also engage with your guests, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. A professional Bartender should be personable, friendly, and adept at handling any special requests or dietary restrictions that your guests may have – quickly. Speed is also an important factor. An experienced Bartender and Bar Service Company can keep a line to a minimum with prep-work, menu guidance, proper staffing, and doing it all quickly – because they do it regularly.

4. Personalized Cocktails:

The ability to craft personalized cocktails is a significant plus. Your Bartender should be willing and able to create signature drinks that reflect you and your partner’s taste and love story. This personalized touch can make your wedding bar truly unique. In addition to the Signature Cocktails being fun and creative, they can also help plan beverages that will not only taste great, but also keep costs down, offer variety without requiring a fully-stocked liquor and mixer selection (see our Old-Fashioned Paloma post for examples).

5. Flexibility:

Weddings rarely go completely according to plan, and a Bartender who can adapt to changing circumstances is invaluable. Look for a bar service who is flexible and can handle late changes or adjustments to details, changes in the drink menu, troubleshoot a problematic keg, or a sudden downpour if you’re having an outdoor wedding.

6. Professionalism:

The importance of professionalism cannot be overstated. Your Bartender should arrive on time, be well-groomed, and adhere to a dress code that aligns with your wedding’s theme. Assuming you’re wearing a suit, dress, or at least something more formal, along with all of your guests, I’d assume you’d expect your Bartender to look equally as presentable for such an important occasion. If you’re hosting a backyard BBQ in shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt, fine – but if you’re hosting a formal or semi-formal event, now may not be the time for your hired professional to wear a branded t-shirt and jeans. Their professionalism sets the tone for the entire bar service.

7. Licensed and Insured:

Ensure your chosen Bartender is licensed and insured. This not only guarantees the legality of your bar service but also offers peace of mind in case of any unexpected incidents and limits or removes liability from you and the host.

8. Stress-Free Planning:

Planning a wedding or large event can be stressful, intimidating, and overwhelming. Find a bar service that can help make it fun, stress-free, and easier than it would be going at it alone. Often times, I see people comment in Facebook groups “I just need someone to pour a few signature cocktails, pour wine, and open beer bottles” – and sometimes that is the case, but most of the time it isn’t. Who will be providing the ice buckets for the wine? How about the clean ice for cocktails with the separate ice bin? Will you provide all the bar tools, cups, bar tables, bar towels, napkins, straws, etc.? Who will set everything up and clean it all up afterwards? Who will go acquire all the permits, alcohol liability insurance, and licenses? That’s all just on the day-of the event too. Who is going to help create a menu with you? Give you cost-cutting tips, best buying practices, popular options that fit a variety of preferences, tell you how much alcohol and mixers you need, etc.?

If you want to take that all on yourself, maybe you do just need someone to “open a few bottles” or can go with the cheapest option, but if you want to relax or even focus on other things (with planning or daily life), then maybe it is worth hiring a professional and one with the experience and planning resources that you need.

Sidenote: our Client Portal will help you plan your menu, create a checklist on everything we take care of for you, calculate alcohol needs, make suggestions on best options for the season, Signature Cocktail ideas with recipes and shopping lists, and more. If you’re a client, please be sure to check it out.

9. Reliability:

Let’s face it, emergencies happen or people get sick – no matter how professional someone is, but what happens if you hire a company with only ONE Bartender (or very few) and they get sick, or a family member is rushed to the hospital? What happens if you hire a Bartender friend that you know from the local pub, and they stop calling, or they get called in last-minute to work and don’t want to jeopardize their main job? I can’t tell you the amount of weddings we have been hired to serve at because their Bartender ghosted the couple a few weeks beforehand, got a new job and can no longer work Saturdays, or even just decided to go do something fun instead and cancel. Probably 10-20 weddings out of 100 per year are couples stressing to find a last-minute fill-in because their hired Bartender called out, ghosted them, or there wasn’t enough staffing if they hired bar services through their Caterer.

In conclusion, choosing the right bar services for your wedding is a decision that should not be taken lightly by just hiring the cheapest fill-in or hiring a company that offers bartending as a secondary add-on that they don’t prioritize the bar and staff with someone inexperienced. They should bring experience, attention to detail, and a commitment to providing high-quality service to your big day. By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure your wedding bar is not just a place for drinks but a memorable part of your love story. Cheers to finding the perfect Bartender for your special day!

If you’re in Western Washington, we’d love to be considered for bar services. We are experienced in bartending and wedding bar services, have packages to fit many budgets, come full-prepared, include planning service, and can save you hundreds – if not thousands – on supplies and ingredients. Contact us for a quote today!

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