Some venues will have an in-house bar service that they work with to serve up delicious cocktails for your guests. Others may not provide one or you may have the option to choose an outside service — like an on-site bar trailer! Here are questions to ask when interviewing bar services as well as a Wedding Bar Service Checklist and timeline.
Questions to Ask Your Bar Service Provider
- What deposit do you require?
- When is the final payment due?
- Can I get a contract in writing?
- Do you have liquor liability insurance?
- What bar packages do you offer?
- Do you charge by the drink or by the bottle?
- How is the beer served? I.e. can, bottle, keg.
- Is a champagne toast included? If not, can I add one?
- What is the bartender-to-guest ratio?
- Does the bar close at any time for breaks?
- Can I customize the menu? Do you create signature drinks?
- How do you go about cutting off guests?
- What is the tipping protocol?
- Do you accept cash and card?
- What will the bartenders wear?
- Can we bring in our own alcohol?
- Do you have any extra fees? I.e. sales tax, service fees, gratuities
- Do you provide wine pour service?
- Are you full service? I.e. include mixers, all alcohol, garnishes, glassware?
- What happens if the scheduled bartender has an emergency or is sick the day of the wedding?
- Can I host the bar for just the wedding party and/or designated guests?
Additional Questions to Ask an Outside Bar Service Vendor
- Are you available for my wedding date?
- How far in advance should I book with you?
- How many years of experience do you have?
- Can you share some reviews with me?
- What time will you be on-site?
- Do you have any travel fees?
- How many weddings do you service in a day?
- What is your cancellation policy?
WEDDING BAR SERVICE CHECKLIST + TIMELINE
- Meet with bar service providers (if the venue does not provide one) and make liquor, wine, and beer selections
- If you have a lot of out-of-town guests, give them the full local experience by serving local beer, wine, or liquor!
- Decide you want to have an open bar, cash bar, or combination of both
- A combination could include hosted drinks during happy hour and then a cash bar for the rest of the evening.
- Finalize Bar Menu
- As a rule of thumb, assume every guest will consume one drink per hour
- Decide on a signature cocktail
- Order bar signage
- Rent any additional glassware if desired
- Purchase alcohol for the bar if required
- Beer (Include an approachable light option as well as a hoppy beer like an IPA)
- Wine (Have a least one white and one red option, and consider adding in rosé and champagne!)
- Liquor (Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, Rum)
- Mixers (Juices, soda)
- Purchase ice and garnishes if required
- Confirm bar service arrival time to the venue
- Send the vendor a day-of schedule
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Be sure to check out our other planning checklists!