How much do wedding bartenders cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much do wedding bartenders cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much do wedding bartenders cost?

$240 – $400average cost per bartender (8 hours)
$480 – $1,200average total cost (100 – 150 guests)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$240 – $400 average cost per bartender (8 hours)

$480 – $1,200 average total cost (100 – 150 guests)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tamatha Hazen
Written by
Tamatha Hazen
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

Wedding bartender cost

A wedding bartender costs $30 to $50 per hour or $240 to $400 per bartender for the whole event. Hiring two to three wedding bartenders costs $480 to $1,200 for an average wedding with 100 to 150 guests. Wedding bartender prices depend on experience, alcohol offered, and add-ons.

Wedding bartender cost
Guests Average total cost* Number of bartenders for a full bar Number of bartenders for beer and wine
25 $240 – $400 1 1
50 $240 – $400 1 1
100 $480 – $800 2 2
150 $480 – $1,200 3 2
200 $720 – $1,600 4 3
250 $720 – $2,000 5 3
300 $960 – $2,400 6 4

*For 8 hours of labor, including setup and breakdown time.

  • Hire one bartender for every 50 guests for full liquor service.

  • Hire one bartender for every 75 guests for beer and wine receptions.

  • Plan for 7 to 8 total labor hours: 1 cocktail hour, a 4-hour reception, and 2 to 3 hours for bar setup and breakdown.

  • An open bar for a wedding costs $1,500 to $8,000, including alcohol, ingredients, and bartender services.

Average cost of a bartender at a wedding

The following table shows the average cost per bartender for a wedding. A wedding with 100 to 150 guests requires 2 to 3 bartenders to avoid long lines at the bar.

Average cost per bartender at a wedding - chart
Average cost per bartender at a wedding - chart
Average cost of a bartender at a wedding
National average cost $320
Minimum cost $100
Maximum cost $600
Average cost range $240 to $400

*Cost data is from research and project costs reported by Fash members.

Wedding bartender cost per hour

A licensed wedding bartender costs $30 to $50 per hour for pouring beer and wine, depending on their experience, the number of guests, and tip jar access. An experienced mixologist or entertaining flair bartender costs $50 to $300 per hour.

Wedding bartender cost per hour
Type Hourly rate
Standard bartender (beer and wine) $30 – $50
Mixologist or flair bartender (craft cocktails or entertainment) $50 – $300

Several factors impact the total cost, including:

  • Setup and breakdown hours – Add 2 to 3 hours for setup and breakdown, with full bar service taking longer than beer and wine only.

  • Barbacks – Assistants to the bartender cost $20 to $30 per hour and help the bartender with ice, water, glassware, and restocking bottles and kegs.

  • Full liquor bar vs. beer and wine only – A full liquor or signature cocktail bar requires more bartenders to serve efficiently. Pouring beer and wine is faster, cheaper, and requires fewer bartenders.

  • Craft ingredients – Some vendors charge additional fees for craft ingredients, including specialty garnishes for signature cocktails.

  • Well/call vs. premium liquors – Well and call liquors are the cheapest bottles used for shots or mixers. Premium or top-shelf distilled spirits cost more.

  • Glassware – Add an extra $2 to $5 per person for glassware in place of plastic cups.

  • Corking fee – For BYO weddings, the bartender may charge a $2 to $12 corking fee for each bottle of wine and a $1 to $5 service fee for each six-pack of beer.

  • Holidays and weekends – Expect a 30% to 50% surcharge for weddings on holidays such as Christmas and New Year's Eve. Private-hire bartenders often reduce rates for mid-week weddings when they are less busy.

  • Overtime fees – Most contracts include a set number of working hours. If your bar service extends beyond the set time, expect to pay 1.5 to 2.5 times the regular rate for overtime hours.

  • Tip jar – Some bartenders charge higher hourly rates to compensate for the income lost when tip jars are not allowed.

  • Insurance – A host liquor liability insurance policy costs $60 to $200 and protects you if guests damage property or injure themselves or others after drinking at the wedding.

  • Travel fees – Some bartenders charge additional travel fees for venues 30+ miles away.

  • Private bartender rental equipment costs $150 to $400 for bar stations, linens, and bar supplies.

Wedding bartender pouring wine for guests
Wedding bartender pouring wine for guests

Wedding bartender tipping and gratuity charges

Wedding bartender gratuity is often included with the catering or bar service contract. Tip 10% to 20% of the bar bill—split between all bartenders—if the contract does not include a gratuity. At an open bar wedding, a tip jar is considered tacky.

How many wedding bartenders per guest?

A general rule is one bartender for every 75 guests for beer and wine service or one bartender for every 50 guests for a full liquor bar. Check with your vendor about barback servers to assist with glasses, garnishes, and restocking.

Wedding bartending FAQs

Do you feed the bartender at a wedding?

Most catering companies feed their servers and bar staff during the event. Some wedding packages include "vendor meals" featuring a sandwich with sides rather than expensive guest meals. For a private-hire bartender, extending a meal is polite and helps them better serve the guests.

Do I need a bartender for my wedding?

Hire a bartender for your wedding to ensure a pleasant experience for you and your guests. The bartender manages the bar setup and breakdown, serves drinks, and monitors underaged guests and over-drinkers, letting you relax and enjoy the wedding.

How much does a bartender make at a wedding?

A bartender typically makes $30 to $50 per hour, plus 10% to 20% in tips. Most wedding receptions include one cocktail hour and 4 hours for dining and dancing. Additional setup and cleanup time extend the bar service to 7 to 8 hours.

Finding and hiring wedding bartenders

Before hiring a wedding bartender, be sure to:

  • Ask for referrals from friends, your wedding planner, the venue manager, or other recent brides.

  • Search online for a professional bartender with wedding or catered event experience.

  • Look for a bartender with ServSafe Alcohol certification.

  • Read their reviews on Fash and Google.

  • Select a minimum of two bartenders and make tasting appointments with each.

  • Go with the most skilled professional that works within your budget.

  • Review all contract terms before signing and ensure you are completely satisfied before making the final payment.

Questions to ask your catering company

  • Is a full liquor bar included in your price estimate? If so, does it include well drinks or top-shelf liquors?

  • Can I supply my own alcohol? If so, will it reduce your quoted price?

  • What bar setup and equipment do you include in your quote?

  • Does your quote include glassware?

  • How much time will you need for setup and cleanup?

  • How much should I add for gratuities if I do not want a tip jar at the bar?

  • Do you carry liquor liability insurance coverage? Do I need to purchase a separate host policy?

Questions to ask your bartender

  • Are you licensed to serve alcohol at my venue?

  • Are you ServSafe Alcohol certified?

  • What is your hourly rate?

  • What experience do you have with wedding receptions?

  • Can you make elaborate mixed drinks?

  • Will you be wearing a uniform?

  • Will you check the IDs of underaged guests?