Wedding Bartender Rates: How Much and How to Negotiate?


If you're choosing to have a bar at your wedding reception, there are numerous reasons that you should hire a bartender to take care of all the details. It can get a bit pricey, but well worth it in the long run. This article will give you some excellent tips on negotiating good wedding bartender rates so you can sit back, relax and enjoy your wedding.

Negotiating Good Wedding Bartender Rates: Do I Need a Bartender?

When looking into the actual cost, you should take a look at some of the reasons for hiring a bartender for your wedding. While some venues provide a bartender, if you are providing your own catering you will need a bartender as well. Take a look here at a few things a bartender can do for you:

Enjoy Your Guests

It's your day! You want to be able to relax and enjoy your guests while others do the work for you. If at all possible, don't try to cut corners by mixing and serving drinks to your guests.


Monitor Alcohol Intake

Bartenders are trained to monitor how much each guest is taking in and cut them off when they've had too much. If uncle Rob tends to overdo it at parties, you will have the confidence that someone is watching him.


Predict How Much You Need

Bartenders have an eye for numbers when it comes to planning. They can help you get just the right amount so you're not stuck with 17 bottles of scotch whiskey you don't need.


They Know Drink Recipes

Not sure how to make a Mai Thai or Long Island Iced Tea, they do and are well trained in all the latest and fun drink recipes.


Great With People

Some of the best entertainment is around the bar. Bartenders can serve up drinks, while telling a good joke. They will help you work your crowd when you are busy entertaining others or dancing.

How Much Do Bartenders Cost?

Wedding bartender rates on average make about $25 to $35 an hour for private parties. Accoring to the Bridal Association of America, the total cost for Bartending services plus drinks is $2,800 for a wedding around 4 to 5 hours. There are a few different ways that bartending services charge:

Per Guest – If you have an "open bar" with a selection of mixed beverages, wine, and beer the cost is around $15 to $100 per guest. This depends on the types of mixed drinks you choose.

Beer and Wine Only – You can save money by hosting a beer and wine only bar. This cost is around $11 to $30 per person.

Dinner Wine – With this selection, you won't need a bartender. You will need people to uncork bottles and some venues charge a "corking fee" of around  $2 per person.

Beer Bar – You can host a beer bar with a nice selection of specialty and domestic beer. This is often a fun choice for your guests to try out different beers. You can also choose seasonal or local beers to serve. Bartending for this type of bar is around $2 to $5 per person.

Do not forget the tips and if the bartender does more than serving alcohol, such as serving drinks and foods, you need to pay extra. 

Negotiating The Actual Rate

Now you will just need to make a few decisions. One way to pay a little less is to negotiate an hourly rate based on the types of drinks you are serving and allow the bartender to place a tip jar on the counter.

You can also choose to only do one or two mixed drinks. The less the bartender has to do, the less you have to pay. Decide with your bartender on mixed drinks that don't have too many ingredients. You'll save on mixers that way too!