Over the years I have been asked hundreds of times by friends, family, event organisers and wedding planners 'what is the best way to decide on the perfect cocktails at a wedding?'.
With Spring on its way and plenty of weddings being booked in I thought I would let you understand my thought process when working out a menu for a wedding. This is not to say that every bar company does the same thing, or that this is the correct way, but it is my way.
Step 1 - Get to know the bride (and groom)
The first thing I like to do when approached to serve cocktails at a wedding is to meet the bride and groom for a coffee, somewhere nice and relaxed. To begin with I like to discuss their hobbies, what their jobs are - try to get a sense of the couple's personalities. This will help you to ascertain what style of drinks they like and what you should be aiming to create for them on their special day. Try not to forget the groom, many drink designers get lost in making the bride as happy as possible but you don't want a bar full of pink gin cocktails only!
Step 2 - Find out as much as possible about the wedding
You need to know as much as you can regarding the wedding day itself. What is the colour theme? Is the wedding being held in Summer or Spring? How many people are expected to attend? Will there be children there? These are all things to consider as they will influence what style and flavours of drink will be created.
Step 3 - Thoughtful creativity
When designing a menu for a wedding you could well be the centre point of the most important day in this couple's life so you need to make sure you do a great job. Once I have all the information I need, and have met with the couple I start to think about flavours and colours. Do I want drinks which stand out from the colour theme or blend in and match it? Do I want powerful whisky drinks or delicate, light sparkling concoctions? I then make up several flavour profiles and take pictures and notes of each one along the way.
Step 4 - The Serve
Once I know which drinks I would like to present to the couple I then work sleeplessly on creating the perfect serve. A key part of this is deciding on the type of service wear - short glass, tall glass, jam jar, canapé spoon, toothpaste tube ... the ideas are endless!
Step 5 - The Tasting
I always like to meet again with the bride, groom and their wedding planner (if they have one) to demonstrate the drinks and get some feedback. Sometimes the drinks can look and taste great but not quite fit perfectly into the couple's ideas. Maybe its something as simple as making a drink a little sweeter. Sometimes you need to completely scrap the drink completely. Take all criticism on board and perfect your recipes to the couple's personal needs.
Step 6 - The Wedding
The biggest frustration on a wedding day is time - make sure that you have plenty of time to set up the bar and prep really well! In my experience of weddings, guests love something a little different and will always head for a cocktail over a beer! Make sure you have everything as ready as possible. The most important part of a bar service at any event is to keep smiling and enjoy yourself!
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