The wedding reception bar. Perhaps one of the most important and undoubtedly one of, if not, the most highly visited places on your wedding day. But how many bartenders do you need to run it? What are the recommendations per guest? Here is what you need to know.
So, how many bartenders per guest? It is generally advised to have 1 bartender for every 75 guests. Although, if you are having a full bar, serving drinks beyond just beer and wine, it would be useful to have 1 bartender for every 50 guests.
There is nothing worse than a bar that moves at a snail’s pace.
Besides, a wedding is supposed to be about celebration – not standing in a queue.
The longer your guests have to wait around, the less time they can enjoy the party.
So it is generally best to err on the side of caution. Having an additional bartender is absolutely better than having one that is rushed off their feet!
Nevertheless, how many bartenders will be best for you will depend on the type of bar you are having and the range of drinks on offer.
Let us now take a closer look at some of the specifics to consider and how you can minimize the waiting time for your guests!
How Many Bartenders Do You Need?
Working out how many bartenders you will need is as much about considering the drinks that are being offers, the venue layout, and the advice of the venue.
Generally, many venues will advise on having 1 bartender for every 75-100 guests.
That being said, there is certainly the case of having 2-3 bartenders for a guest list of 100-125+.
There are plenty of reports of people who have attended weddings where the bar moves to slowly with 1 bartender for every 100 guests.
So, 1 bartender for every 75 guests should not be an absolute definitive rule to follow.
Perhaps the best thing you can do is discuss your options with your venue. They’ll be best to advise.
How Many Drinks Can A Bartender Serve In One Hour?
The average experienced bartender will be able to serve between 60-90 drinks per hour.
Although, it does of course depend on the types of drinks that are being served.
A simple beer and wine only bar will move much more quickly than a full bar with a range of different drinks on offer.
Besides, the more drinks that are available, the longer it typically takes for guests to make a decision on what they want; all adding to the time.
Then there is the matter of the bartender having to make up the drink.
Some cocktails for instance take quite the bit of preparation; whether that be finding all of the various ingredients or the shaking up itself.
Nonetheless, there is only so much a bartender can do.
And, even the simplest drinks, even those that are not alcoholic, will still require some time to prepare.
There will be guests drinking soda and non-alcoholic beverages for instance, and this will still take up some time too!
How To Minimize Bar Waiting Time For Guests
Minimizing the waiting time for guests will go a long way to promoting a fun, happy and positive experience for all of your guests.
Of course, there will be the natural ebb and flow – at some times of the evening the bar will be more busy than at other times.
This cannot always be avoided.
However, the following best practices and recommendations can help ensure the bar queue remains as short as it ever needs to be:
- Consider hiring bartending service professionals; who have experience in drink-making, and who can handle the pressure of demanding guests,
- Consider getting the catering crew to serve non-alcoholic drinks; like soda, lemonade, tea, and water. This will help keep the queues shorter.
- Consider drink trays; where drinks are created and put out for the guests to take. this works well for beer and wine receptions.
- Prepare for the initial wave; with pre-poured drinks away from the bar – this will prevent the sudden rush as people will be thirsty.
- Consider the drinks served; perhaps limiting the options available.
- Consider an optional bartender; if your budget allows for it, then getting an additional bartender can make all the difference.
- Make it a cashless bar; if your venue/bartenders can accommodate this and your guests are made aware of this well in advance.
Deciding on the number of bartenders you need for your wedding is an important one to make.
While 75 guests per bartender is considered the standard, there are other factors to take into consideration which can alter this recommendation somewhat.
The types of drinks you offer, the style and layout of the bar, your budget are all things to consider.
That being said, while it may cost you a little more to have an additional bartender, having a free-flowing bar where nobody has to wait for too long and can enjoy the reception, is in many ways priceless.
It is generally advised to have 1-2 bartenders for 100 guests. Two bartenders would be preferable if you can; especially if you are having a full bar.
It is generally advised to have 2-3 bartenders for 150 guests. Two bartenders may be enough, although 3 should ensure guests have to queue for a minimum amount of time.
Hey, I’m Allison – a bride-to-be and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I have accumulated since researching for my wedding over two years ago. I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding.