How Many Bartenders Do We Need?

Updated 11/19/16

Photo by Julian Ribinik Photography

What’s every wedding guest’s (and bride’s!) worst nightmare? A line at the bar! The best way to make sure no one’s left waiting for a drink is, of course, to hire more bartenders. But how many? And where should you put them? We turned to the pros to answer your bartending questions.

Let’s start with the correct guest-to-bartender ratio. “For every 100 guests, I recommend at least one bar staffed by two bartenders to keep pesky lines down,” says Mindy Weiss, celebrity wedding planner and and Wedding Paper Divas Style Partner. So for a wedding with 150 guests, two bars and a minimum of three bartenders total is a good place to start, while 200 guests would require at least two bars with two bartenders at each.

“Pick the optimal placement for your bars based on your floor plan,” says Weiss. “Stick at least one bar away from the entrance so you don’t overcrowd the front of your venue, and be sure to position them away from the path to the kitchen.” A bar tucked on the far side of your venue is a great way to encourage guests all the way into the space once the doors open, while placing at least one close to the dance floor will let guests refuel without missing their favorite song.

“To mitigate the crowds at the bar even further, have waiters greet guests with trays of wine, champagne, and sparkling water,” Weiss suggests. This way they can grab a drink and head to their seats instead of making a pit-stop at the bar on their way. During the reception, consider having table-service for wine so you don’t have guests getting up for a refill during toasts, and have a few glasses pre-poured and set out on the bar so a guests who wants a glass of chardonnay doesn’t have to wait behind someone ordering a fancy cocktail.

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