(Closed) How many bars at the reception?

posted 4 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
528 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2016 - Long Island, NY

We are having around 130-140, and we plan on having the main bar (huge), and 2 satellite bars (smaller) around the reception. But, my social circle and family members (on both sides) are big drinkers, and we know we will need the bars. 🙂

Post # 3
1308 posts
Bumble bee

Usually the caterer would answer this, no?  OUr venue has regulations over x amount of guests you need another bartender.

Is this not the case with you?

Post # 5
441 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

We’re having one bar, but passed drinks (cava and juice) during the reception for 150. When guests enter they will be offered a glass of cava/juice, and there will be servers walking around replenishing glasses of both throughout the reception. Those who want something else need to get it at the bar (which will be staffed by two bartenders).

I think for 150+ guests one bar may be too small. It certainly is too small if there’s only one bartender and it’s a completely open bar. Things to consider:

1) how many bartenders are staffed at each bar
2) how much your guests tend to drink

3) if you are having an open bar or just wine/beer (cocktails take longer to prepare than a glass of wine)

4) if passed drinks are an option

You should also be able to ask your caterer/venue for a recommendation. They should be used to answering these kinds of questions.

Post # 6
831 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

We had around the same number on NYE. We had on very large bar, but there were 4 bartenders working. It was totally enough,  never a line to get a drink.

Post # 7
4036 posts
Honey bee

Wedding with 225 guests – 2 large bars. The venue gave us 1 bartender for each 50 guests. I wanted to argue they needed to give us one more, due to that 25 overage, but instead, I just paid for 2 more bartenders.

Wedding with 98 guests planned (4 of them were no shows) – 1 medium bar and 2 bartenders. Not a large drinking crowd. My mother and I had 1 soda each and my husband didn’t have anything. 6 guests underage. Grooms parents and their church friends don’t drink alcohol, either.

Post # 8
4231 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom

We will be only having one bar at our wedding (40 people). The largest wedding I have ever been to was 150, and they only had one bar as well, but with two bartenders. 

Regardless of whether or not you NEED a second bar, if you can afford it, DO IT! It’s cool touches like that people will remember 🙂

Post # 9
1338 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

One bartender per 50 guests is ideal if it’s a full bar.  Each bartender needs 4′ of bar front & back.  If you are doing beer & wine only each bartender can service 75 guests.  It is also helpful to have pre-poured tray passed drinks during the main rush at the start of cocktail hour.  This will help thin the crowd at the bar.  


Post # 10
5789 posts
Bee Keeper

2 bars with 2 bartenders at each wedding. One had 85 guests and the other had 120. Full open bars at each.

Post # 11
13 posts

We are having aboout 150 people and are just having 1 bar! We were just at a wedding with about 250 people and they just had 1 bar and there was never an insane line. They did have a bottle of wine and liquor on each table though. 

Post # 12
1733 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

giggs5019:  one bar is enough 

if the second bar will be free I say have another one. Otherwise keep with the only one bar people can wait a little for a drink. 

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by  Chaedra.
Post # 13
7438 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

giggs5019:  I think this depends on how big the bar is and how many bar tenders there will be per bar.

We had two hundred guests and only one bar, however, this bar was huge. You could really fit 20 people around it and we probably had five bar tenders.

On the other hand I have been to weddings where there are two hundred people and they have three small bars (only three people could fit around them) with one to two bar tenders each. In those cases multiple bars were definitely needed.

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