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How Much Do Bartenders Charge for Weddings?

bartender preparing cocktail at a wedding

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Bartenders are almost necessary at wedding ceremonies, and bartenders could charge anywhere from $35 to $50 per hour. The cost of hiring a wedding bartender is one of the many critical elements to consider while planning a wedding.

Whether you’re thinking about a full-service bar or a primary cocktail station, knowing what drives up costs will help you plan your budget wisely and guarantee a party that everyone will remember.

To give you a good idea of how much a wedding barman costs or the costs of hiring a bartender for an upcoming wedding ceremony, we’ll examine the numerous factors that go into their entire cost in this post. Read on to discover how much bartenders charge for weddings.

How Much Do Wedding Bartenders Cost?

If you need more clarification about the average cost of a wedding bartender, first, note that the prices of hiring wedding bartenders aren’t fixed. Prices tend to vary based on several factors. Let’s look at each of these factors to give you a clear picture of what to expect:

1. Wedding Venue

The venue for your wedding will significantly determine how much your bartender(s) will charge you. If you plan to have your wedding in some large metropolitan area, you should be prepared to pay high service fees, primarily due to increased demand and high cost of living.

In line with the above, certain venues or locations have exclusive contracts with specific bartending service companies, which will undoubtedly limit your options and potentially increase your bartending costs.

2. The Overall Duration of Service

Apart from the venue and location, the total cost of how much your bartender(s) will charge you will also depend on how long you need them. Most bartending services have minimum hourly charges, usually between three and five hours. You should budget extra for overtime if your event lasts into the wee hours of the morning.

You should budget between $40 and $55 per hour for a quality bartending service for one bartender. Please remember that this is the base price and that the final quote you receive will depend on several additional factors.

3. The Type of Service Bar

Besides the above, the type of service bar that you want for your wedding will undoubtedly influence the bartending costs. Below are the 3 standard options:

  • An Open Bar

In an open bar, guests enjoy unlimited drinks, one of the most popular choices for couples today. However, you may have to pay more in an open bar situation, with most open bars charging per person. In most cases, the average prices range from $20 to $50 per guest.

The final cost of how a bartender for an open bar will charge you will also depend on several other factors like the type of drinks served (well drinks vs. top-shelf) and whether you prefer specialty cocktails, to mention a few.

  • A Limited Bar

Limited bars offer a range of pre-determined alcoholic beverages, such as wine, beer, and a few signature cocktails. By providing a more carefully chosen assortment of drinks, this option helps you keep costs under control. A limited bar may cost $10 to $25 per person, depending on the package selected and the variety of drinks available.

  • A Cash Bar

Besides a Cash Bar and an Open Bar, there’s also a Cash Bar option that you may choose for your wedding. Cash Bars are ideal options, especially when guests are responsible for catering for the costs of their drinks.

With a Cash Bar option, you significantly reduce your bartending costs as you only cater to bartender’s service fees, as opposed to the cost of alcohol. Cash bars are ideal, especially in situations where you’re operating on a tight budget.

4. The Total Number of Guests

The wedding guest count of guests attending your event influences the cost of hiring a wedding bartender. Increased demand for drinks due to a larger visitor count means higher prices. Providing a precise approximation of the number of guests is imperative when requesting quotations from bartending services.

It is generally recommended to have one barman for every 75 people. In this manner, they can keep the bar from being crowded while serving beverages on time. But again, depending on your venue, the type of service bar, and several other factors, the total number of guests you invite will determine how much your bartender(s) will charge you.

5. Overtime Costs

It would be best to note that you have a set number of hours reserved for your barman. Most bartending services will charge you 1.5–2.5 times the standard amount for overtime if you stay after that time. In this situation, it is better to overestimate than underestimate. If you feel that your wedding may last a few more hours than planned, you should be prepared to pay your bartender(s) slightly more.

6. Bartender Expertise and Experience

The bartender’s training and experience may also impact the price they’ll charge you. Skilled workers who can craft complex cocktails and offer first-rate customer service are frequently more expensive. However, it would be best if you noted that their abilities can significantly improve your guests’ and your own experience.

7. Other Additional Services

Some bartender business entities charge extra for extra services, which raises the total cost. These could involve the provision of non-alcoholic beverages or even the leasing of barware and glassware. To receive an exact quotation, you must speak with the bartender service about your demands.

Are tips added to the bartender’s bill?

Usually left to the couple’s choice, a tip is not included in the initial quote. It is usual to tip the bartender with a 15-20% gratuity for exceptional service.

5 Tips To Save On Bartender Costs for a Private Wedding Ceremony

If you wish to save some bartending costs, especially for a private wedding ceremony, you may want to consider doing the following:

  • Allow a tip jar – If one is not allowed, bartenders will charge you more.
  • Schedule the end of your party – This way, you won’t have to pay or get charged 1.5–2.5 times for overtime.
  • Do you need more employees? Hire barbacks – Barbacks will help serve wine, beer, and sodas.
  • Serve beer and wine or a batch of cocktails – Doing this will reduce the number of bartenders required.
  • Purchase your alcohol – Instead of having your bartending service provide it, it will be far less expensive if you get your alcohol.


On average, a wedding bartender will charge you $35-$50 per hour, which could differ depending on other issues. Planning and budgeting for a wedding effectively requires understanding the variables that affect the cost of hiring a bartender.

You may make an informed decision that fits your demands and budget by considering factors like the location, length of service, style of bar service, number of visitors, bartender skills, and other services. To ensure you select a trustworthy and respectable wedding bartender, seek quotations from several bartending services, evaluate their offers, and read reviews.

I am Megan Nova, a wedding planner and Author based in New York City. My vast exposure in the wedding planning trade and my passion for storytelling has inspired me to share expert advice and creativity on this blog.

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