You may be asking yourself why you would need to hire a bartender for your wedding. Don’t venues or caterers provide bar staff? Not all of them do, leaving you the task of buying your own alcohol and hiring bar staff. But there are advantages to hiring your own bartender.

It goes beyond having someone just opening bottles and pouring drinks. “We actually focus on providing the guests an intimate experience,” said Lauren Dick of Bourbon and Lace Events . A professional bartending service will also help you decide what to serve your guests to make them happy without overwhelming them with choices. They also know about the details that will help you stay within budget while still getting what you want.

Here are some more things you should know.

Find out what your venue allows and requires - Some venues give you the option of buying and serving your own alcohol even when they can provide the service. Ask. Sometimes hiring a bartender and buying the alcohol for your wedding can save you money. Also find out what they require from the bartenders you use. Many will require a TABC-certified professional who is insured.

Think about what you want - Do you want to have one or more bars? What type of menu do you want? What kind of experience do you want your guests to have? Have an idea of what you’d like so you can communicate it to the companies you meet with. They’ll likely have ideas or suggestions but it never hurts to have a starting point.

Don’t be intimidated by a full bar - “People don’t realize how inexpensive it can be to do a full bar,” says Dick. The reality is that you don’t need five types of vodka at your wedding.  By choosing the right brands and quantities, you could add a basic full bar to your wine and beer options without spending too much more. And a professional service will recommend the right quantities for your specific event, as well as brands that deliver taste and quality at a lower price point.

Add personality with a signature drink - Signature drinks were very popular a few years ago and are starting to come back, said Dick. For most couples, they’re a way to add liquor to their beer and wine bar without spending too much. But they also allow couples to bring their personality into the wedding. Make sure to choose something unique. “[The signature drink] should be a reflection of your personality and your story,” said Dick.

Ask about tipping  - Find out how the service you book handles tipping. Many services will ask in their contract if you’ll allow a tip jar at the bar but some couples don’t want their guests to feel like they have to tip so they opt to have the gratuity included in the contract. Others do both a tip jar and a gratuity.

Do your research - As with every vendor you’ll use for your wedding, make sure you learn all you can about the company you’re thinking of using. Find out what is included in your package, get references, and ask about insurance and licensing. Do they set up and take down? Do they remove the trash? The more you know the better off you’ll be once your big day arrives.