Besides the dress and the cake, another essential element to a wedding is good drinks. Most weddings include an open bar for guests, which means there is a year round demand for freelance wedding bartenders and bartending companies. Contrary to popular belief, there is no need for an aspiring bartender to attend a bartending school or program.
Obtain a state identification card or driver's license. This is required to receive certification to serve alcohol.
Complete a state-approved alcohol server's course. You can find courses by contacting your state's alcoholic beverage commission or visiting the commission's official website. The course will review your state's legal limit for intoxication, the dangers of drinking in excess, how to recognize when someone is intoxicated and your responsibilities as an alcohol server. The two- to six-hour course will cost $20 to $45. You will typically receive your alcohol seller's permit immediately after taking the course, provided you score at least 70 percent on the course exam.
Study mixology books and drink recipes with the goal of being able to mix drinks from memory and know the best type of glass to serve them in. It is also a good idea to learn how to make different drink garnishes, since wedding drinks are often decorative.
Become familiar with different types of wines and champagnes, including their costs and appropriate food pairings. Knowing this will help you recommend wines and champagnes to your wedding clients.
Decide whether you'd like to work as a freelance bartender or for an established company in your area. If you want to work for a bartending company, you will need to apply for a job with the company and offer proof that you are certified to serve alcohol. To freelance, you will need to market yourself to wedding clients by handing out business cards, buying ads in local wedding directories and on locally-based wedding websites, renting booths at local wedding fairs and expositions, and starting an informational blog or website to let clients know about your services, policies, contact information and rates.
Connect with other local wedding vendors—this is a good way to network and gain clients. Wedding bakeries, wedding planners, event rental companies and wedding florists can recommend you to their clients, and you can do the same for them.
Tips & Warnings
- You do not need to attend a bartending school to become a wedding bartender. Such programs will not automatically certify you to serve alcohol in your state, and what they teach you can learn through research.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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