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Should you DIY your wedding bar?

In the effort to save on wedding expenses, couples cut corners on a lot of things. Depending on how hard your crowd can party, alcohol can be one of the most expensive items in your wedding budget. While we always recommend hiring professional wedding and event vendors for as many services as you can afford, you can DIY your wedding bar. There are some things to keep in mind, as all those little things can start to add up, and you’ll find you’ve spent more on your DIY wedding bar than you would if you’d just hired professionals.

Photo courtesy of The Iron Horse Grill

So let’s talk about DIY-ing versus hiring a pro. You’ll need to get someone to tend the bar. In most places, that person must be of legal age, and you’ll want them to be super responsible and have some working knowledge of basic bar drinks. You don’t want your underage cousin pouring drinks or worse, drinking on the job. Even if your bar is only beer and wine, you’ll need to stick to the rules of your venue. Some have restrictions on who’s allowed to serve alcohol on site. Others require that the venue or caterer provide the alcohol, as opposed to purchasing it off site. Some venues may require extra liquor liability insurance if you provide everything yourself. 

Photo by Josh Williams Photo

Maybe you want to hire a real bartender but you think you can save money by buying the alcohol yourself. That’s certainly true, but a professional bar service will handle the details, like the bar’s inventory and shopping list. They know how much to order to supply your guests for the duration of your event. Plus, you won’t have to trouble yourself with glassware, ice, mixers, or garnishes — just sit back, relax, and enjoy your professionally-poured cocktail. Plus, so many bar services now offer a variety of bar rentals – from rustic to glam and even converted vintage trailers. You’ll definitely save by bundling all their services into one package.

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Pro bartending is more than meticulous drink mixing:  like other wedding pros, bartenders are artists. Signature drinks are almost a requirement for personalized weddings. Professional bartenders know how to garnish drinks just-so, and they’re able to craft cocktails based on individual guest’s preferences.

If you’ve thought through your options and are sure you can DIY your wedding bar, there are some really great apps and websites that can help you. How many bartenders do you need? How many types of spirits will I need for the entire reception and how many should I order? How much will it cost? We love this site we recently found called thedrinkcaluclator.com by Craven + Co. This super easy tool lets you enter some basic information about your event, and it plans your bar and does all the math for you!

Photo by Aislinn Kate Weddings

Whether you decide to hire a professional bar service or DIY your wedding bar, make sure whatever choice is the right fit for your budget and event. Cheers!

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