Location is everything. Is your wedding inside or outside? A good practice is to have your bar in the same environment as your caterer. Just like catered dishes, your bar is subject to the elements as well. Your ice can melt, mixers may spoil, or garnishes may become appetizing to many insects. Also consider the weather. Your bartender is not the only one braving the sun, rain and wildlife. Your guests will have to brave it also, in order to have a drink.
(Outdoor Two Tier Draped Bar)
There is a lot happening behind the bar, and that requires space. Your bartender will be serving your guests, while navigating through coolers, mixers, supplies, boxes of alcohol, garnishes, tools, etc. There is a great deal to account for and allowing plenty of space is key to a smooth and safe work environment.
(Indoor Two Tier Extended Draped Bar)
Is your cocktail hour served from the same location as your reception? Although it is popular to have separate locations for these events, it is highly recommended to have both in the same location. If you choose to have separate bar setups, be sure to let your guests know that the bar will be closed for a bit. The bartender will need time to put away the cocktail bar and transition all of the alcohol and supplies to the next location, where they may need to setup or build the next bar.
(Simple Cocktail Table Bar)
If you are planning on a large turnout, a larger bar setup may be required, with multiple bartenders to keep your guests comfortable. Again, space will be key, as an increased guest count requires more bar space, supplies and coolers. Communication and planning will be very important, in order to keep service smooth and consistent.
(Center Stage Bar / Multiple Bartenders)
If you are hosting a smaller event, with a simple drink menu and limited options, a smaller bar may suite your needs. Though space is still important, less would be needed for a smaller alcohol selection and less needed supplies.