Behind The Bar, Happy Hour, Traditional

Top 5 reasons why not to put your friend or family in charge of your bar at you wedding:

It is completely understandable to want to save money where you can when planning a major event especially your wedding. The average cost of a wedding continues to skyrocket year after year however, there are certain aspects of your wedding worth every penny spent. Your wedding bar services are definitely at the top of this list. Here are the top 5 reasons not to have a family member or friend man your bar at your big event:

1. Some venues won’t allow it: This one is pretty indisputable…More and more establishments are tightening up their rules on service of alcohol. Especially in California, most venues will require you fire a professional bartending company with minimum insurance requirements and proof of completion of Responsible Beverage Service training (RBS certification). If you are holding your reception at a venue, make sure you read your rental agreement carefully and discuss the service of alcohol with your facility coordinator.

2. Nothing beats professional service: Your friend or family member is no doubt a lovely person, but they are also at your wedding to party it up themselves. In hiring a bartending company to provide bar services at your wedding you can expect professional service of drinks hopefully in a timely manner. It’s important to note that not all bartending services are alike and may or may not be the most professional operation themselves. On your big day you should be confident your bartending staff will be arriving on time, dressed in uniform, providing consistent friendly service, NEVER drinking on the job, and always making sure you, the client, are being taken care of and enjoying your special day!

3. Quality control: Even in your loved one behind the bar is a “bartender” or worked in a bar when they were in college 20 years ago, they may not be prepared to take on the task of serving 200 of your thirsty family and friends in the rush of cocktail hour. Event bartending is a completely different animal and can get a little tricky. The quality of drinks, and the variety of your menu (number and types of cocktails you can serve) would be at the mercy of what your family member remembers how to make. Margarita mix and tequila over ice does not come close to a hand- crafted, shaken, freshly squeezed margarita on the rocks. Your bartender should be able to not only help your plan your menu but also provide direction in shopping for supplies and obviously have the knowledge and technique needed to make a variety of amazing cocktails.

4. Drama: Let’s face it… every family has a little bit of drama…. There are always those 2 relatives that haven’t talked to each other since your 3rd birthday party, and those two aunties who keep trying to prove to each other who has the more successful children… it happens…. But that should not impact your bar services at your wedding in anyway. The last thing you need is for your family bartender to have beef with some other guests and skip their order, ignore them, put 3 extra shots in Uncle Jimmy’s drink because he’s always been the coolest or whatever. Having a staff bartender puts everyone on level playing ground and keeps the family business out from the bar area.

5. Safety first: This is absolutely the most important point, which is why I put it last ….. A professional, trained, and experienced bartender has completed RBS training (responsible beverage service) which means they are knowledgeable or local liquor laws and trained not to serve underage or overly intoxicated individuals. Many people do not recognize the great liability that is involved with serving alcoholic drinks. A family or friend bartender most likely will not be enforcing any type of restriction on people over indulging even though they may be

intoxicated and therefore potentially becoming a safety concern. Unfortunately overly intoxicated people are likely to become belligerent or aggressive. Fights could break out, and all it takes is one incident to detract from the overall event. A professional, trained bartender’s main role is to provide great beverage service but also to make sure everyone is enjoying the party in a safe manner and not posing any threat to others or the overall event. Additionally, hiring an insured bartender who possesses liquor liability insurance transfers that liability from you as the client and the venue and on to the bartending company offering you protection and peace of mind.

In the short run, when laying out the overall budget for a wedding it may seem like a quick money saver to skip the professional bartender; however the risks involved: including quality of service or drinks, guest satisfaction and over all experience, and potential legal liability may far exceed what you would be saving up front. At the end of the day it is your event and completely your prerogative the route you take (assuming your venue lets you choose) and I truly hope your event is everything you hope it to be!

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