Your Complete Guide to Staffing a Wedding

Need wedding service staff? Here are some of the most important shift types to fill.

Love is in the air and the wedding industry is gearing up for its peak season. Weddings pick up in the late spring as the weather begins to get warmer across the country, with things starting to settle down as the temperatures cool off in early fall.

Couples are increasingly seeking out unique venues, meaning that there might be limited or no event staff onsite. As they prepare for their wedding day, are you prepared with the event staff you need to ensure things go off without a hitch?

Wedding Service Staff Positions to Consider

There are a lot of moving parts within a wedding and with so many competing priorities, it’s easy to forget a detail or two. But don’t let your event staff be one of them!

Let’s break down a list of key hourly workers you’ll want to have in place on the big day to keep things running smoothly.

Line Cook / Prep Cook

From passed hors d’oeuvres to charcuterie boards to dessert platters and more, it’s no secret that guests come to weddings prepared to feast.

To ensure things go smoothly and everyone gets fed in a timely manner, you need more than just a chef. Prep and line cooks are an integral piece of a seamless operation.

A prep cook prepares all of the ingredients needed for the dishes. They handle the tedious prep work so that when it’s time to get cooking, the rest of the team has everything they need.

Line cooks handle various aspects of the menu in their own respective station. For example, if the reception menu includes salmon with asparagus and mashed potatoes, one line cook is cooking up the salmon while another is grilling the asparagus as another whips up the mashed potatoes.

Providing wedding reception meals is no small undertaking and having these additional staff members in place can make a world of difference when it comes to service.


As guests trickle into the cocktail hour or wedding reception, the bar will be the first stop for many of them.

No one wants to wait around for more than a few minutes to get their drinks – especially when they’re surrounded by food, music, and family or friends that they haven’t seen in years. Whether the couple has chosen an open or cash bar, bartending services play a key role in the wedding guest experience. A general rule of thumb in the industry is one bartender for every 35 guests.

When staffing bartenders for the big day, remember to consider the type of package the couple selected. Is it beer and wine only, or have they elected to offer liquor as well?

The age requirement for bartenders and the type of alcohol they can serve may vary by state. For example, in South Carolina an 18 year old can serve beer and wine but must be 21 to serve liquor. Make sure you’re aware of your bartenders’ serving capabilities and certifications.


A barback is equally as important as your bartender. They’re a bartenders right hand, ensuring that the alcohol, glasses, and garnishes are fully stocked at all times.

Without a barback, the bartender is left to handle everything themselves, making the wait times for guests longer and the experience less than ideal.

Wait Staff

One of the biggest post-wedding talking points is typically the food and the overall dining experience. Service plays a big role in the night. Guests want to get their food as quickly as possible before hitting the dance floor to dance the night away.

You'll want to consider the size of the event when looking for wait staff for a wedding. Too few servers can lead to long service times and hungry, anxious guests.

When hiring wait staff for a wedding, a general rule of thumb within the industry is one server for every 10 to 15 guests if it’s a plated meal or one server for every 25 guests if it’s a buffet-style meal.


There’s a big focus on the food and the service during a reception, but what happens to all of those dirty dishes once tables are cleared?

Don’t underestimate the importance of your dishwashers – and having enough of them!

Once again, you’ll want to take into consideration the number of guests at the wedding. Dishwashers aren’t just cleaning dinner plates, they’re also tackling dishes from the cocktail hour, bar, and dessert tables.

Needless to say, it’s not a job for one person if you want things to get done efficiently and get all of your staff out on time at the end of the night.

Set Up / Break Down Crew

It’s not uncommon for couples to have everything on site – from the ceremony to the reception to the after-party. It makes things easy for the couple and their guests but for venues, it means that some rooms are getting turned over more than once.

A well-equipped setup and break down crew will ensure that guests can transition smoothly from room to room as the evening progresses.

Event set up and break down is more labor intensive, requiring some heavy lifting of tables, chairs, decor, wedding arches, and more. You’ll want to ensure you have a crew that can handle lifting at least 50 pounds or more.

Make to sure also take into account the size of the wedding. If there are several hundred guests, you’ll need more than just a few helping hands to shuffle around tables and chairs.

Streamline Wedding Staffing Hires with shiftNOW

Whether you’re a wedding planner, a caterer, or you oversee event venue operations, event staffing is a critical component to making sure things run smoothly on the big day.

You can find shift workers for your next event through shiftNOW.

Whether you need to find event servers for a 200-person wedding, or an event crew to set up for an intimate gathering, shiftNOW is your place to find high-quality, pre-vetted shift workers.

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