How Many Bartenders Do I Need at My Wedding Reception

Butler-Passed Wine and Champagne at a Cocktail Reception. Howerton+Wooten Events.

Have you ever been to a wedding and the line to the bar moves at a snail’s pace?  If that has happened to you, it typically meant that there were not enough bartenders working at the wedding reception.

So, how do you know if your caterer hired enough bartenders for your wedding reception?  The rule of thumb is that there should be 1 bartender for every 75 wedding guests for a beer and wine reception.  If you have a full bar and/or a formal wedding, we recommend 1 bartender for every 50 wedding guests.

Here are five great tips for minimizing the line at your wedding reception bar —

  • Offer pre-ceremony beverages or champagne.  Your guests won’t be as thirsty when they arrive at your cocktail reception.
  • Place your cocktail reception indoors.  If your cocktail reception is located outside, your guests are more likely to be thirsty and ready for a cocktail.
  • Have the signature drinks and the white wine butler-passed at the entrance.  It’s a nice touch and it will alleviate the number of wedding guests who will have to get in line for a drink.
  • Place a large sign listing the white and red wines available, along with the specialty drinks (with their primary ingredients).  It will help the wedding guests determine their drink requests before they get to the front of the line.
  • The heaviest “bar time” is during the cocktail hour.  Consider asking the caterer to allow one of the banquet staff members to act as an additional bartender (or bar back) during your cocktail reception.
  • Move the actual bar(s) to the far corners of the room.  It will help prevent a bottleneck at the entrance.
  • Avoid having a tip jar at the bar.  In my opinion, a tip jar is almost as bad as a cash bar.  If you don’t have a tip jar, ensure that a tip for the bartender is included in the fee.

For more bar tips, check out our guidebook for planning your wedding cuisine.

You can find other guidebooks like this on the Enlightened Creative literature page.  I am sure you will find it very helpful!

Love and Soul Always, Kawania



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