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Nail your wedding drinks reception – don’t let your guests waste away

So we’ve all been there. You’re invited to your friend’s/cousin’s/colleague’s nuptials. You’ve gotten up at 6am to primp and preen and drive the lengthy distance to the church or venue, maybe grabbing a coffee and petrol station snack en route. The ceremony is tear-jerkingly beautiful, the photographer is on point with his angles and group shots, the music lilts through to outside where you all send the bride and groom off to some secret location for intimate photos.
It’s 3pm. The hours have whiled away and YOU ARE STARVING…..
Be mindful that your guests have traveled from far and wide to be with you on your big day. While you are off having those gorgeous shots taken, remember that your guests are probably not on the same adrenaline kick you are and will only be delighted to tuck into a hang sambo and have a glass of vino while they wait for the reception.
Here’s how to ensure that the drinks reception before the Big Reception caters to all and showcases what to expect later on;
Tea and Coffee
So important: everyone will be gagging for a cuppa Joe once on site. Why not make it a bit different and style it up with some Vintage china cups, patterned plates and quirky teapots – your Nan will love it! (Eh, Cough cough Vintage china hire available from the The Dish Dolly)

Booze
A champagne reception is always a good idea, but there are lots of other things to opt for!
Why not liaise with your venue and see if they can mix a cocktail or punch like Pimm’s as a nice refresher? Kilner drinks dispensers look cool and people can serve themselves. These are available from Heatons on sale at the moment for only €15.60!

For the beer lovers, why not agree with the venue to provide a certain type of craft beer from your local town to be available on site for your reception? If you’re from Drogheda, try Jack Cody’sIPA. If you’re from Dingle, a pint of Tom Crean’s lager might go down a treat. Obviously this won’t be available in all venues but you won’t know til you ask!

For the lovers of all things sparkling (diamonds included!) try a “Prosecco Pimping Bar”! Stock up a small bar area with chilled prosecco and let people load in all sorts of accompaniments. Have peach puree on hand to make Bellinis, oranges for Aperol sprtizes, some Kir for a Kir Royale. The possibilities are endless!

Food
Remember, your guests have probably been up as early of you to get on the road to that beautiful, picturesque church you’ve chosen that just happens to be a 4 hour drive from everywhere. They probably didn’t have much time for a rasher sandwich and it is a long while til a 7pm dinner. Bits of salmon on a cracker ain’t gonna cut it!
Why not try something like mini salad bowls with grilled chicken – satisfying but light enough to not overfill your guests. You could have a fresh fruit station, similar to what most hotels do for brekkie service so not too much extra hassle.

Mini burgers and A Grade quality sausages are acceptable even for the classiest of weddings. Nothing goes better with a pint then a garlic and leek sausage in a tiny bun!
I think a great option is to skip the starter at your main meal and have plenty of pre-dinner snacks instead. Charcuterie boards full of cheeses, meats and other mini morsels of goodness are such crowd pleasers! Serve with bowls of olives, warm crusty bread and dips. You’re guests will be delighted to have something substantial to hoof down with a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio!

Entertainment
Music on arrival is always a lovely addition! It relaxes people, gives a focal point for those who may not know anyone else and creates atmosphere even on the dreariest of days (There! I’ve said it… There is a massive chance of rain on your wedding day when it is in Ireland!) There are so many singers and classical musicians across the island but maybe go off beat for this.
Why not hire a DJ to create an Ibiza chilled vibe so everyone can gather their thoughts before the major partying begins?
Or maybe there’s a local fiddle player that can play some not so in your face Irish tunes for an hour.
Just think about what music you really love and what kind of atmosphere you want to create.
Even if you get delayed staring into your other halves eyes, once you have the right food and some tasty drinks organised for all the party goers, they won’t miss you too much…
And then let the madness commence!
Áine

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