There are a number of ways that you can choose to provide alcohol to the guests of your wedding reception. You can provide a beer and wine only bar, a fully stocked bar, or you can do a DIY bar. A DIY bar can be a fun and quirky way to do it, but it can also be very pricy depending on how much your guests drink. While this is a viable and preferable option to some people, this is not what we'll be focusing on today. We'll be focusing on hiring a professional bartender service. Now, many venues provide a bar with servers, but not all do, and sometimes you're forced to think of other options--and the road will usually lead you to a professional bartender service. The following guide will tell you everything you need to know about hiring a professional bartender service in order to make your wedding as successful as possible!
Begin by doing a Google search and a phone book search for professional bartender services. You could also take recommendations from friends and family, but it is always important to do additional research into the service to make sure that they are reputable. A good indicator would be if they have reviews or testimonials online. Once you have found a bartender service that you feel comfortable with there are several questions and things that you'll need from them before being sure that you'd like to hire them for your wedding, or else you risk realizing halfway through your reception that all of your needs and expectations are not met, and there is nothing more stressful than that.
First and foremost, you need to know if their bartenders are state licensed. It seems like a no-brainer but you'd be surprised at some of the horror stories we've heard. It is important to get this out of the way immediately. It is also important to know how much experience they have and what kind of experience they have. Do they know all kinds of different cocktails? Test their knowledge to be sure; really think of some obscure ones. A good bartender doesn't need to know every type of cocktail imaginable, but they should be pretty knowledgeable about most of them.
In addition to testing them on their drink knowledge, ask the bartender service how they will set up the bar area. Chances are they will be handling nonstop demands for drinks, so they need to have a system in place for keeping the area clean, organized, and efficient, or else your wedding could immediately go from being a magical night to a practical fright. In addition to this, how will they handle people who drink too much, and cutting people off? This can be a very touchy subject, especially for your Uncle Bernie who can't stop touching the Scotch, so it is very important that they know how to handle the situation gracefully and without causing a scene. Also, how do the bartenders dress, and do you have any special requests for how they should dress? Most bartending services will acclimate to how you want the bartenders to dress.Finally, make sure you have the info for the deposits, fees, cancellations, overtime fees, tips, and the like all down. The last thing you need is getting a hefty bill for a bartending service that you weren't expecting while jet-skiing in Guam on your destination Honeymoon. Enjoy your big day!