Images of bubbly golden champagne dispersing radiance through overpriced crystal flutes are what I imagine when I think of a celebration. Wrong!!! Or at least, that is what I used to think. Champagne is a delicious libation, but it is such an overrated effervescent beverage that lacks the depth and complexity of beer. Beer is so refreshing too!
Wedding season is approaching fast. I did not have a beer themed wedding but I had lots of beer. Does that count? From our engagement party to wedding, and then to both of our receptions, we had beer present in a supporting role. The journey started shortly after I proposed; our friends hopped on the Cycle Saloon and toured around Fremont and Ballard in Seattle, WA hitting up breweries left and right. Below are some pictures from the memorable day.
Beer has evolved and so should society's perspective. Beer could be such a fun theme for a wedding. Here are just a few wedding sayings that use the beer theme.
See, it can be fun.
Wedding photos by John Sinclair, owner of Wed In Washington
“Back in the day, if you had ‘From Beer To Eternity’ tattooed
on your bicep, it was a pretty good indicator that your taste
might not be the best. The same can’t be said in 2017”
~ Gavin Glenn-Del Toro (Asher & Olive)
Brides and grooms are scrambling to lock down their menus, decorations, etc. Beer. It's the question and answer. If it's your answer, I have some insight and advice from the experts; Gavin Glenn-Del Toro (owner of Asher & Olive) and Krista Simons (owner of Privé Events). Side note: these two entered my life during the most important time in my life, the days leading up to marrying my wife. I love them! The great thing about these two is that they have agreeing and differing opinions. This allowed my wife and I to understand their perspective and make an informed decision. Plus, they respected our choice and made our dreams come true.
Based on your experience, what are the top three most popular beers?
Gavin: In the Pacific Northwest, IPA is King. The hoppy bitterness lends itself to fresh seafood and anything off a grill. Hefeweizen is always a heavy hitter, especially when your guests are from far away. Island Hoppin’ Kolsch is our go-to when we crank the heat on some of our spicier dishes.
Krista: This is hard for me to comment on as we do not supply alcohol so it really is left up to the client and hard for me to track.
A Beerded Gentleman's Decision: We love PNW IPAs, but not all of our guests do. We got a summer ale, kolsch and a pale ale to keep it light and refreshing for the summer season.
What are the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to beer at wedding?
Gavin: Do slow your roll. Pace yourself and know your limits. Everyone drinks too much at weddings, but DON’T be “That Guy”
Krista: Try to offer something on the lighter side as well as something seasonal. Keep an eye on the alcohol percentage since it will be an open bar and your guests may not realize if they are drinking something with higher percentage than normal. You probably will want them to stay in good form.
Try to keep a limited selection and steer clear of variety packs. A smaller selection allows your lines to keep moving as there is less to chose from. Also, the more variety you offer the more beer you will need to purchase as the likelihood of running low on a specific selection is greater unless you supply enough. With a wide variety it is difficult to predict what will be the group hit for the evening; and if you run out of the main thing people are drinking, your guests will have to change their choice part way through the event which is not ideal.
How much beer should I get for my guests?
Gavin: Lots. Suss out who your Beer Drinkers are and make sure they’re covered. Everyone else might just have one, two or three. Get more than you know you’ll need. If find yourself with lots of leftovers-your next shin dig is already covered. Running out of drinks by 9:00pm is not acceptable.
Krista: I recommend a drink calculator. We always use the BevMo drink calculator as there are many variables that affect how much you should buy. Depending on what beverages you are offering, how many guests you anticipate, how heavy of drinkers your guests are and how many hours your event will last, the quantity recommendations can vary greatly! The calculator helps you take some of these items into consideration and offers a great guide for purchasing.
ABG Decision: I had a half barrel keg of Fremont Brewing Summer Ale (it followed us to our wedding after party too) for the rehearsal and two pony kegs from Island Hoppin' Brewery; K-Pod Kolsch & Phosphorescent Pale Ale at the wedding.
Kegs? Cans? Or bottles?
Gavin: A keg or two of your favorite and then bottles of a few specialty brews on the side for experimenting. Then again, nobody ever scoffed at a wheelbarrow full of Rainer cans either.
Krista: I always recommend cans or bottles. Kegs sound great but they can be problematic. Because they are usually delivered close to the wedding time they may arrive shaken up or not chilled. This can cause the keg to be very foamy which results in possible in ability to serve the keg. If you do go with a keg, we strongly suggest renting a Co2 Jockey Box which allows for ease of service with pull taps vs a traditional tap system that can be difficult for large group service. Also, with bottles + cans you are able to keep them for future celebrations. With kegs, if the beer is not consumed you often have to return it, wasting what could have been saved.
ABG Decision: We took both of their advice. We got a keg, but we had it delivered so early it had time to settle and chill before serving. Plus, we had a friend that owned a jockey box to easily serve the beers. It's good to have friends in the restaurant business.
Should a couple offer drink tickets or a no-host bar?
Gavin: No. They’re giving up their entire weekend. Drinks are on you, pal.
Krista: I do not recommend drink tickets. This is hard to track and organize. You want your guests to feel taken care of. When possible we encourage a hosted but but it greatly depends on your budget. There are ways to help save a little if you would like to brainstorm with your venue. You can look at just hosting Beer + Wine and having a cash bar for cocktails or you can look at just hosting through dinner then turning to a cash bar once dancing begins. It really comes down to creativity, your budget and your personal preference.
ABG Decision: Our guests drove and flew in from far distances. Not only that, we had them take a ferry to Orcas Island. We are thankful for their presence and welcomed them to an all-you-can-drink bar. Or at least, until our stock was empty. However, we knew they could not get to the bottle. We had 36 guests and had enough for 100.
When should the beer begin to be served?
Gavin: When guests arrive. People are naturally nervous when they walk into your wedding venue. Break the ice and get people mingling straight away and it will set the tone for the rest of your events.
Krista: This is also a matter of preference. Some people chose to open the bar about a half hour prior to the ceremony so that guests may grab a beverage before finding their seat. Some people chose to hold off on opening the bar until after the ceremony to kick off cocktail hour.
ABG Decision: At the rehearsal dinner, they were greeted with beer and other libations. As for the wedding ceremony, seconds after we said, “I do”, the bar was open.
Have you planned or catered beer themed weddings?
Gavin: Yes. We had a beer themed wedding last season (2016) and it was off the chart. We brought in all these 90’s favorites like St. Pauli Girl and Asahi and Kilt Lifter and filled up the back of an old Ford with ice. We built custom centerpieces with citrus branches and hops and had a vintage TAVERN sign lit up in a tree. The happy couple toasted with home brew and the groomsmen were manning DIY taps with façades made from reclaimed pallets. These days you can cheers your new love any way you see fit. Get creative and ask for advice when you need it. No matter who your local brewer is- they LOVE to talk about beer, I guarantee it.
Krista: Unfortunately, I have not worked a beer-themed wedding yet but I have assisted with some great brewery tours around Ballard for birthdays and other celebrations.
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