One of my favorite wedding shows on television is “My Fair Wedding” with David Tutera. Even if David and I don’t always see eye-to-eye, he’s usually pretty spot-on when dealing with etiquette and refinement. He worked with one particular wedding – a western affair where the bride wore cowboy boots and utilized the services of a barn for the reception – where he argued something I could never get behind: that couples must eschew beer on their wedding night. As an avid consumer of my local microbrews, I was livid. Beer can have a place within a wedding – it just has to be handled correctly. Should you be slinging back Buds from the bottle for four straight hours? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make beer classy. Here are my thoughts:
The simple allure of the beer sampler has always caught my attention at high class breweries and some of my favorite pizza joints. A group of six or eight 6-ounce glasses of assorted brews is a delicacy that many restaurants implore – just ask! This is a classier way to imbibe without the threat of half-finished bottles cluttering your tables. And for beer snobs like myself, a sampler per table gives me the opportunity to show my friends and relatives a world outside of Miller Light.
By offering up a beer-and-wine-only hosted bar, you set yourself up to save some major green. Full bars are expensive, and a beer-specific bar doesn’t have to be bland and uninspired. Try experimenting with hosting local and seasonal brews – without the bottle, if you please. You can even toast the evening with personalized brews in custom beer toasting glasses. You aren’t shackled to champagne, but try to experiment with something new and full if you’re going for beer.
A fun addition to your classy beer-soaked wedding could a little something delicious for your guests to take home with them. If you plan on offering seasonal and/or local brews during your reception, offer bottled versions for later consumption. If you bottle your own beer, this would be a good time to spread the word. Good beers tend to be bottled in attractive receptacles, and it’s likely that the addition of a bottle at every place setting – or at a display as guests exit – will add to rather than detract from your décor. For younger guests, offer fancy bottled soda as a consolation prize.