Thinking of pouring your own? Think again.

8 reasons why you need to hire a bartender for your next event

We’ve all been at that event.

Someone thought poor Aunty Sue would be just fine to pour drinks for a 100-person family reunion. Now guests are waiting an hour for water. Or uncle Joe thinks he has what it takes to handle his niece’s 250-person wedding bar and no one can get a drink.

All of the sudden you’re out of vodka by 6:30pm, ice is a distant memory by 7, cousin Bob looks drunk (and he’s 17), and you’re down to the last 4 plastic cups. 

It’s a very common problem – clients want to cut costs and think the bar is the first (and easiest) place to do it. And while you may think you’ve got what it takes, slingin’ drinks for 100 thirsty, exuberant people is a pretty tough skill to master. Not to mention all sorts of issues that may arise – ranging from minor supply issues to major legal problems for the host.

Here are some reasons you might want to reconsider an amateur bartender and hire the pros:

1)      Laws! This is a big one. Everyone that is serving alcohol in Canada needs to have some sort of license to do so. In BC, the license is called a Serving it Right Certificate. This certificate protects the offending amateur barkeep if officials come and inspect the event. It also teaches bartenders how to manage serving amounts, how to watch out for intoxicated people, and the liabilities involved with service.

2)      Host liability: As the host, did you know you’re liable for what happens AFTER the party, too? If a guest drinks too much and gets in their car you can be taken to court for allowing it to happen. If somebody leaves your party intoxicated and gets hurt, you can be charged for irresponsible service. How do you know when someone’s had too much, keep track of who is driving, or ensure that people are calling cab companies? Hire the pros – they’ve been trained to know what to watch out for, what protocols to follow, and how to mitigate intoxicated guests.

3)      Serving minors: No matter where or what type of party you are having, you are NEVER allowed to serve a minor alcohol. While Uncle Joe may mean well, even giving little Bob one beer can get you in BIG trouble. Leave it to the pros – their business depends on adhering to the law.

4)      Supply and demand: You’d be surprised how many times people have to leave parties to get more alcohol, ice, cups, mix, or any other little tidbit. People tend to underestimate how much they need – whether its booze or ice – and end up with inconsistent service and relatives racing to the nearest gas station for ice. Save yourselves the stress and rely on a professional service that has the experience and know-how to properly estimate what you’ll need.

5)      Creativity: Hiring a bartender means that you might get some yummy cocktails out of the arrangement too. Bartenders have skill sets to work with the ingredients on-hand to make some creative drinks with a touch of flare.

6)      Entertainment: Bartenders are not only very efficient and speedy, they’re also trained entertainers. They’ll make dad jokes for the dads, compliment the moms, and know how to converse with all your guests. They are trained to elevate your guest experience, adding to the overall ambience of the party.

7)      Efficiency: Speed, efficiency, multi-tasking: the bartender holy grail. You may think it looks easy but trust us, it’s not. You need a pro to be able to serve 100 thirsty people all at once (think: as soon as the ceremony ends) and for 8 hours! Celebrating guests tend to be exuberant and keen – make sure you’ve got someone behind the bar that can handle the volume.

8)      Stress less: leaving it to the pros means you don’t have to worry about drinks, ice, cups, and liquor while you’re trying to enjoy the party. You can relax knowing that the bar is taken care of and your entire family and friend circle can enjoy themselves, instead of running around trying to figure out drink problems. One less thing to think about is one more chance to really be present at your event.

Regardless of the type of event you’re having, the bar tends (haha, get it? bar-tends?) to be an important but often overlooked, under-budgeted, and under-planned aspect of the celebration. If you don’t want to worry about the execution of the bar, or the potential for legal trouble, make sure you hire the professionals (if you’re local to Kelowna, check out or for starters). Need more planning tips? Check out our article on top planning tips.