There are different options when it comes to hiring a bartender for your wedding day. We’re breaking things down in today’s post including the process and things to consider before making your decision.

What you need to know before hiring a bartender for your wedding day by Alexa Kay Events. See more wedding planning advice at!

Basic Information

Once you’ve decided on your venue, you’ll have a better understanding of what you’re looking for with a bartender. Your venue may require you to use their in-house bartending services, in which case makes this process a bit easier. If it’s up to you to find a bartender however, here’s some information to think about:

Do you want to hire a full bartending service company OR hire only bartenders?

How much staffing will you need?

How much alcohol will need to be provided?

What you need to know before hiring a bartender for your wedding day by Alexa Kay Events. See more wedding planning advice at!


Once you’ve decided on what type of service is needed, the next step is to have a consultation with the company you’re thinking of going with. Like all vendors, don’t be afraid to look into a few different options to get a feel of what would be best for you. It’s important to ask questions — and if you’re unsure about what exactly to ask, don’t worry! We’ve made it easier for you and compiled a list of questions that are great to ask if you’re unsure about anything.

After choosing which company you’d like to work with you’ll then sign the contract and submit your deposit. Throughout the whole process you’ll be in constant communication with your bartending company — especially to hone in on the details such as staff, hours, package or BYOB, number of bars, and any speciality drink requests.


The process for hiring a bartender is pretty quick compared to booking more wedding vendors. It may take about a day or two depending on how decisive you are, but we suggest booking at least 6 months out so you’re not scrambling at the last minute if the choices you want are no longer available.

Tips + Tricks

Keep in mind, most venues these days will not allow shots to be served.

The placement of your bar is key. Consider placing your bar away from the entrance of your venue. We also do not recommend placing the bar and the buffet or food stations next to each other. This helps avoid any potential “bottleneck” situations.

We like to have an additional bar set up when the guest count passes about 175 guests. This makes things run more smoothly and guests won’t have to wait in any long lines (especially during cocktail hour).

Make it pretty! Just as you spend time planning out details for other aspects of your big day, don’t forget to add a little touch of sparkle to the bar too! Your bar will be a focal point at your wedding and all of your guests will be hanging out here at some point throughout the event.

What you need to know before hiring a bartender for your wedding day by Alexa Kay Events. See more wedding planning advice at!

Questions + Things to Consider

Are they insured?

Do they provide ice? I feel that ice is the most over looked item when dealing with bar service. 

Are you considering a pre-cocktail hour (or half hour) before your ceremony? 

If you’re planning on having a passed champagne toast, is this included in the price? Will they have enough staff?

Do you want passed wine service at dinner? 

What non-alcoholic options will your bartender provide? Water decanters or bottles, sodas, tea, coffee?

What glassware or plastic-ware is included? What does it look like?

Will they help you with suggestions on quantities and types of alcohol to order?

Will they prepare your alcohol order for you? Or is this something that you will be responsible for?

Do they provide clean up throughout the event, like removing empty and discarded glassware? 

Do they provide trash removal at end of the night? 

Does your bartending service company require an additional gratuity to their staff? If so, how much per staff member? Or will they allow or require a tip jar? 

Who will deliver your alcohol order to the venue? 

What happens with the leftover alcohol at the end of the night?  

Cash bar – yes or no? 

Do we have to serve champagne? (Spoiler: absolutely not!)

What if we don’t drink? Do we have to serve alcohol at our wedding? 

We hope this sparked some ideas or questions to help you confidently hire a bartender or bartending service. If you are ever in need of some wedding planning advice, be sure to get in touch and don’t forget to follow along on Instagram!

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