Wedding invitations can be a blessing and a curse, when you receive the invitation your first thought is sound, a night out with sharp suits and free food, the second thought succeeding quickly after, I have absolutely no idea what to get the couple. Although it is tempting, weddings cannot be approached like your typical night out on the town especially with Aunt Mary eyeing you over the tables or with your best mates self-proclaimed good reputation to uphold. Even though it sounds like a good idea to taste every drink at the bar, the messy pictures eternalised on Facebook the next day always seems to say otherwise. No, when it comes to weddings its best to ignore the devil on your shoulder and remain coherent and actually get the deposit for your suit back for once.
Having said that, you have a wedding to celebrate after all so it would almost be rude to the couple who have so graciously invited you to celebrate their marriage to completely deprive yourself of a few drinks.
Just Arrived At The Venue
So the ceremony is over, you’ve laughed, you’ve cried, you’ve wondered how much longer can this possibly go on for and now it is time to head over to the venue to have fun, take an excessive amount of pictures, and best of all…have a drink. As you socialise at the venue you have your chance to exude some kind of sophistication and channel your inner aristocrat with a flute of champagne. Sporting this light drink ensures that you remain fresh conversing with relatives you forgot you were related to or finally meeting your mates new girlfriend that you were getting suspicious did not exist. This elegant drink is perfect for this first step into the evening ahead not only for its refreshing nature but for its traditional symbolism of celebration dating all the way back to the extravagant celebrations of royals in the 1700's. Well that is what your excuse can be anyway, but honestly it’s just a classy drink for the pictures isn’t it.
First Stint At The Bar
Now that you have got your social obligations for the day out of the way you can finally head swiftly into the festivities room to rest your weary feet at the bar and have a drink. Here is where you get to have your uncensored conversations with your favourite uncles away from the wife’s judgement or perhaps to get to know the other guests, and there is no better way to do that than over a cold pint of beer. Known to do wonders for a mans’ wits and often a little too effective at boosting a mans’ confidence you can always count on your favourite beer to set yourself at ease and encourage the exchange of jokes and stories.
Sat At Your Table
Thankfully the time has come to sit down at your table to order your meals. You have somehow managed to avoid being seated next to that one relative that can only seem to talk exclusively about their children for hours on end, and even better the menu looks fairly decent, so far so good. Unfortunately this can often be a metaphorical wasteland portion of the evening where you try your best to keep up conversation but all you can think about is food. This is a perfect moment to put that time to use and order an apéritif such as a gin-based cocktail, for example The Negroni Cocktail. This iconic gin cocktail serves to stimulate appetite as well as prepare the palate for the food you are about to enjoy. Not only does an apéritif such as gin enhance the flavour of your meals and make the painfully long wait worth it, but also the money you spent on your fresh haircut especially for the wedding. So you could say that buying this drink is a smart financial decision on top of everything else.
Finally, you have got your starter in front of you, be it a bowl of traditional farmhouse soup or a plate of smoked salmon you do not want your accompanying drink to be too heavy, a drink accompanying a starter should be as light as the dish itself so something like a light fruity white wine such as pinot grigio is ideal. White wine is slightly acidic which serves to refresh your palate and in a way awakens your mouth to the flavours of your food. Although we all know that starters are really just an obstacle before the main course your choice of drink can really enhance the taste of the dish to make it almost as enjoyable…almost.
Now for the main event and what you have been waiting for all day, the main course. Choosing your main dish can be a difficult task especially when you do not know what half the menu means but choosing the drink to go with it should not. If you are leaning towards a red meat-oriented dinner, for example a cut of steak, red wine has always been a popular choice and for good reason, as red wines can be quite dry they are a great balancing complement to rich, fatty meats.
Alternatively, if you opt for a seafood dish such as grilled salmon white wine is the way to go due to its aforementioned acidic nature, you can think of this drink as adding a few drops of lemon to your fish. And to think your mother says that you don’t know anything about cooking. Meanwhile sweeter drinks are best paired with spicy meals, whether it’s a vegetarian curry or spicy barbecue chicken, a sweet drink like rum and coke goes a long way to tame the flames in your mouth. This combination may sound unusual but it ensures that nobody has to know that you are struggling with the heat and subsequently that you avoid getting slagged for the rest of the night for not being able to take some spice. But even if spice doesn’t faze you it is simply a delicious combination. Although nothing can beat your local takeaway for a perfect dinner these drinks can offer a different experience that a takeaway never could.
You can only hope that after dinner with the underwhelming meal portions you seem to always get at weddings you feel full and ready for dessert. There is no better excuse than a celebration of a marriage to succumb to your sugar cravings and indulge in the sweetest dessert on the menu, be it a slice of chocolate cake or apple crumble make sure to keep your drink sweeter than the dessert. Pairing a drink with a lower sugar content than the dessert has a watered-down effect on the drink and renders it quite tasteless, opting for a glass of Port or Moscato ensures that your drink does not pale in comparison to your rich dessert. You can deal with the repercussions at the gym later.
The Band's On
With your stomach full and the proverbial well of conversation run dry at your table, the sound of the band is all you need to head to the dancefloor. This is the part of the night where spirits are highest, most guests have not gone home yet and the band is playing the classic crowd-pleasers, herding everyone onto the dancefloor where hilarious memories of relatives’ unorthodox dancing are born. As dancing with the band usually involves getting roped into that awkward shuffle dance with your elderly relatives or getting knocked by a rogue arm, your drink needs to be easy to drink and hydrates as you sweat on the unairconditioned dancefloor. Although beer is a popular drink on the dancefloor it is notoriously sticky and spilling it on yourself or on somebody else is virtually unavoidable, with this in mind you should consider a more hydrating drink that is not too sweet such as Green Isaac’s Special. This is a gin-based cocktail that is mixed coconut water and infused with green tea as opposed to a juice or soda making it a hydrating and refreshing drink, you could even almost get away with calling it healthy. Even if you are not one to be inclined to dancing this vibrant cocktail will rejuvenate you after your calorie-laden dessert and leaves you feeling spritely for the night ahead.
As the night goes on more and more guests head home leaving only the party animals behind and the kids who have fallen asleep on the chairs. The night comes to a crescendo here with the arrival of the DJ, this is your chance to request your favourite songs, to purge the Abba and Ed Sheeran from your brain and dance to music you actually enjoy. At this point you have been dancing for a while, you could even convince yourself that you have burned off your dessert and judging by the sweat stain on your shirt, you need a drink to cool down. This is where a classic Gin and Tonic can help, consisting primarily of tonic water and ice it will get you back to a normal temperature and returned to the dancefloor a new man, leave the reputation of being the sweaty dancer to your uncles. The benefits do not stop there, as well as its cooling properties, A Gin and Tonic is one of the least calorific alcoholic drinks thus ensuring that you don’t feel heavy as you dance the night away. Unfortunately, there is no drink that helps with your dancing.
The final few hours of the night after the DJ has packed up and left are arguably the best, endorphins are running high after a day of nostalgic reminiscing and reacquainting yourself with friends you have not seen in a while, and you can actually hear one another talking without shouting. After hours of blessing the guests with your dancing you can kick back and have a drink, you have definitely earned it. The last drink of the night is the Grande Finale if you will and should always be your own personal favourite drink, two o'clock in the morning is not the time to be trying new drinks. Whether you end up at the bar with the lads or around a table with the remaining survivors your drink should be the one that makes you want to laugh, relax, and maybe take a trip down memory lane with the newlyweds, or it is the drink that sets you at ease as you get to know your new-found friends better. It is times like these with a glass of wine or cool beer in hand, surrounded by friends and family at three o'clock in the morning that memories are made of.
The nostalgic night of events like weddings always come to a bittersweet end, on one hand, you are exhausted, far from your warm bed and you can already feel the pain of getting up for work in the morning but on the other hand, you have had a great day that has formed memories you will never forget and maybe kindled some new friendships. Best of all you didn’t have to cook dinner for yourself. As you head home wishing you were in bed you can find a silver lining in the fact that because you refrained from trying to drink the bar dry as you would on a typical night out with the lads, you will not have to endure the dreaded hangover that comes with it. Heading home, the only worry on your mind is whether the couple liked the gift voucher you got them.