Bar Service Basics: Other Bar Topics to Consider

Wedding Planning Tips


Daytime weddings, Sunday weddings, Weekday weddings – Generally, people will probably drink a little less at these weddings, so round down your numbers. Get one case less than the calculations say to.


Self-Serve Bars – If your bar is self-serve, be prepared for people to pour large servings. Ditto if your bartender isn’t a pro. Wine glasses can run anywhere from eight to thirteen ounces on average (the estimate of four glasses per bottle in the infographic equals about six ounces per serving). Drinking out of Mason jars? They’re huge and will definitely encourage larger servings.


Time and Location – Think about where you’ll be, when, and what the weather will be like when you are figuring out how much to get of each kind of alcohol. Think about what you would like to drink, and remember to consider your audience. During the summer, people will drink more white wine and bubbly, but in cold weather, more red. Getting married in wine country? People will probably want to drink more wine than beer or cocktails.

photographs by lawrence braun; Meadowlark Stills

Signature Cocktails – If you are doing a signature cocktail, subtract one hour from your calculations. During cocktail hour, assume everyone’s drink will be the signature one, and make sure there’s enough for everyone to have it. Then, proceed with the numbers above. This works with either type of bar. If you’re offering only a signature cocktail (in addition to wine and beer) during your cocktail hour, consider having two signature drinks: one made with brown liquor and one with clear. People can be very particular about these things.


Liability Insurance – If you’re providing your own alcohol, you’re likely not going to be covered by your caterer’s liquor liability policy. No one likes to think or talk about the potential for alcohol-related incidents, especially not at a wedding. However, if you’re serving people drinks and something awful happens, sadly, you could be on the line. If someone crashes a car, falls off a balcony, or damages the property, or if that underage third cousin sneaks some drinks and gets sick, etc., the hosts could be held liable. It’s terrible to think about it, but even worse to get sued. If the couple or parents are homeowners, they can usually put a rider on their homeowner’s policy for the event. Otherwise, there are tons of insurance companies that specialize in event insurance. (And an APW note: plenty of people… cough… on staff… have served booze at their wedding without insurance. But we’re not saying it’s the best practice.)


Dram Laws and Weird State Liquor Laws – State liquor laws are archaic, and sometimes very strange. Dram Laws also vary by state and determine who can be held liable in case of an accident. Because we can’t possibly predict what problems you can run into in each state, here is a website where you can check your state’s Dram Laws and make sure you have the necessary information.