Having my finger at the pulse of weddings and events for the past 6 years, I have experienced bartending service from the inside and out on hundreds upon hundreds of weddings and events. Being an event manager, I have jumped in to sling drinks to alleviate the line at the bar. I have spent hours upon hours setting up bars and seeing what works and what doesn't work. I have even been staffed as a bartending on countless events to help out where needed. This is what my years of experience has come down to. The key element here boils down to 3 major things:
Ascetics with Functionality
Without all three, you get mediocre to ok service overall. Nothing outstanding, nothing exceptional, defiantly nothing to write home about. You want guests to mingle and have a good time socializing, not waiting in line to grab a beer or cocktail. There are a few things you can do to help 'move the line'. Let's take a look at all three more closely...
Fast Service. Offer an uncomplicated bar menu. Narrow down your beer selection to 3...maybe 4. If you're having wine, offer red and white wine, but only one brand of each. I personally feel that offering a blush wine, accommodates to many drinkers since it a mix of red and white wine. Limit the amount of liquor selections by only offering the 4 main ones: vodka, gin, whiskey, and rum. One brand of each. Here are a few tips you can ask your bartending service provider do: butler signature drinks (or what you think would be the most popular drink) at the very beginning of cocktail hour, choose signature cocktails that can be pre-made in batches, simply hire more bartenders or a barback. A rule of thumb is 1 bartender for every 75 guests.
Friendly Service. The saying goes 'We can train skill, but we cannot train personality'. This is very true in the hospitality industry. The only suggestion I have for friendly service is to hire a reputable bartending service. Often times, help make the bartenders happy by making their job easier by having an uncomplicated bar and a functional bar.
Ascetics with Functionality. This often frustrates me because it's an easy fix. You can have a sexy looking bar maximized with functionality. Functionality 'moves the line'. We are in the process of having an ascetically pleasing, highly functional bar styling & set up package available for rent. It will come as a blank canvas (to personalize with your florist's flowers, candles, etc.), bar mats, speed wells, icing buckets, deep coolers, and more!
If you have any questions regarding your bar service at your wedding, need to know how much alcohol, ice, or mixers to buy consult with your Perfect Day Coordinator. We can even logistically design a functional bar for you and pass it along to your bartending service vendor. That's what we're here for.