Post # 1
I will be having about 300-350 guests and will be buying all of the liquor (Beer, Wine, Vodka – to be mixed with juice). Would it be too tacky to have a Liquor table and coolers to help themselves? I’m afraid that I can’t afford to hire a bartender… any thoughts?
Post # 3
I think that a bartender would save you money, otherwise people tend to drink a little, leave their drink and then just grab a new one. Bottles will also end up at personal tables, and likely run out a lot sooner than if you had someone pouring 🙂
Post # 4
I would be afraid that the liquor would go quicker without a bartender!
Could you hire some college kid to pour drinks cheaper than a “real” bartender?
Post # 5
My main concern would be the access to alcohol and minors. If that’s covered, then I’d just worry about keeping an eye on people’s drinking. Not that adults shouldn’t be responsible for themselves, but bartenders are trained in knowing how/when to cut people off. I think this also depends on your wedding reception location, they may be required to have someone controlling the alcohol.
I don’t think it’s out of place for a home reception or bbq, etc. It may seem a bit strange at a formal venue or something with a sit-down meal.
Post # 6
@pinkplease: I was considering doing the same thing, but we’re having a much smaller wedding than you are. i have found legit bartenders for like $150 for the night, so it’s not crazy rough on the budget, and like the other poster said, it might end up saving you money on wasted alcohol. As a guest, I would love to have the freedom of just grabbing a cooler, haha, but it could end up getting expensive (…and messy.)
Post # 7
i dont know about tacky but thats def brave of you!
seriously, my concern is about people drinking too much and driving, at least with a bartender there is a responsibility to stop serving once someone is drunk and what about underaged drinkers?
Post # 8
@eloping: Those are great points. My venue requires a legit bartender (or at least someone with serving training) to ensure that no one is overserved/allowed to drive home drunk.
Post # 9
I agree with what others said about minors and going through too much too soon, but also with 300+ guests I would think you would need a bartender or two to keep things organized and moving smoothly. With that many people things can get crazy fast when everyone is just doing threir own things.
Post # 10
Yeah, my concern would be that entire bottles of hard liquor would be opened and taken to the tables, rathern than just being opened one at a time and left at the drink station for all to share. It could be cheaper at the end of the day if someone responsible is doling out the drinks, especially if you’re hoping to return unopened bottles to the store.
Post # 11
You would be setting yourself up for legal issues by having a self-serve bar. There is nothing to prevent folks from overindulging or minors from having access to the alcohol, which is illegal. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to deal with either of those situations, and they are not pleasant when you do get tangled up in them, especially since you as the hosts are fully liable and responsible for anything that happens because of it. Hire a bartender to make things run smoothly.
Also, many areas will not allow self-serve alcohol anyway due to local laws, etc, so it’s a non-issue in most cases.
Post # 12
Hire a Bartender, put a GIG on Craigslist and see what people offer you. I am a bartender of Catered events, if you were to pay me say $100 for the night and I was able to have a Tip jar I would be ok with that. If you don’t hire a bartender you are going to have a bunch of SLOPPY drunk people. I know regulation pours and I still overpour and people complain. To make it easy on the bartender you hire, I would also make a menu of the items the bartender has to mix with. That way people aren’t asking for Martinis if you don’t have the vermouth. I promise you will find someone who is up for the gig, just get some references! Also it wouldn’ hurt to do some researching, head to a local bar or restaurant sit and have some drinks, then ask the bartender. This has happened to me several times. If you are uncomfortable with letting them have a tip jar as some people think its TACKY, then ask your BMs and Groomsmen as they are usually the DRINKERS if they can pitch in for a tip for the Bartender! I hope this helps!!
Post # 13
Oh and Rule of thumb in the catering biz is 1 bartender per 100 guests.
Post # 14
Hire a bartender. There are too many what ifs to letting people serve themselves and there is a legal risk. I know this varies from state to state but at our wedding we would be responsible if anyone were to drive drunk and get into an accident. Hiring a bar tender took that responsibility off of us personally (we also hired transportation) becasue the bartender was legally responsivle for custting people off. We didn’t even do mixed drinks but were happy to not worry about any over drinking and provide our guests the ease of someone serving their drinks. Also, think about ice. The bartender we hires was through our caterer and he came with barrels of ice for keeping the beer cool, on our own we would have needed to transport a lot of ice and we only had 85 people. I guess you would need 2 bar tenders if you want to save $$. Check through the caterer and venue, they may be able to recommend someone.
Post # 15
It definitely depends on your venue. The reason why many venues require bartenders is not to just charge brides up, but to ensure that someone is liable in case of injury, accident, etc. Many bartenders are bonded with insurance.
I wouldn’t even consider this a “tacky” issue, but a serious safety and legal issue.
Post # 16
It should cost $100 to hire a bartender for the night, but I wouldnt mind self serving. As long as the alcohol was free.