Are you planning your wedding or attending one soon? Perhaps you simply love all things bridal, including wine and cake. If so, you have come to the right place! We’ll explore everything wedding related – from planning to delicious food and wine pairings.

If you’re newly engaged, you may feel overwhelmed about where to start the planning. The best place to begin is by enjoying your engagement, whether that means throwing a party or simply spending quality time with your fiancé. Let the idea of marriage sink in and celebrate with a glass of bubbly (or two, or three or even four)! Now after its finally sunk in, lets start the planning process.

Wedding planning may sound daunting, but here are some helpful tips to get you started. First, consider the season and year for your wedding. You shouldn’t choose a firm date right away, as venue availability may affect your decision. Second, think about your rough guest count, whether it’s under 50, 50-100, 100-150, 150-200, or more. Next, consider the type of venue you want, is it rustic barn, traditional ballroom, a beautiful winery – ambiance and food are key. You should go out to see these venues in person, feel the vibe as this is what your guests will feel.  Consider if your ceremony will be onsite or offsite, and factor in the distance between the ceremony and reception for your guests. You should also think of accommodations for your guests, are there taxi/uber service in the area, does the venue allow guests to park overnight.

Once you’ve chosen your venue, much of the planning will fall into place. Your venue will have a maximum capacity, which will determine your guest list. The venue will also have certain inclusions and exclusions, so create a list of what’s included and what you need to source on your own. Ask your venue for a preferred vendors list to give you a starting point.

When looking at your special day, lay out the series of events.

Set up – Find out what your venue includes (tables, chairs, setup, etc.), what your caterer includes (linens, table setting), think of what you need to bring in. Think about filling the table, charger plates, name cards, floral, candles, centerpieces, etc.  Floor plan, ask your venue for a sample floor plan, this will give you something to work off.

Ceremony – Officiant, location, arbour, chairs, signing table, ceremony music, floral, bouquet and boutonniere are important factors.

Cocktail Hour – Consider the location and time. Also think about if you would like to offer your guests an open bar or cash bar. A light canape or stationed antipasto is a good idea to hold your guests over until dinner is served.

Food for thought: will you have a receiving line, gift table, money box, seating chart, and/or a champagne wall?

Dinner – The dinner service should take about 2 hours, allow time for entrances, speeches, first dances. Will you opt for plated or buffet service?

Bar – A lot of venues allow a signature drink option, this is a fun way to incorporate your favourites with a fun twist. Pay attention to what is included in the packaging and what is not allowed. For example, you will find that no tequila and a no shot policy is very common.

Reception – If tables are required to be removed from your floor plan to make space for the dance, it’s a good idea to place a heads up note on these tables as to not shock your guests. Be aware of when your décor must be removed, it is typically the night of the event.

Late night stations are super fun and important, after a long day and night of drinking and celebrating – we always get hungry… Popular late-night stations consist of poutine, sliders, pizza, cupcakes, sweets station. Incorporate your favourite drunk food, make it customized to you and your partner!

For a unique touch, consider having a cupcake stand instead of a traditional wedding cake, or even a cupcake bar for a late-night snack. Enhance the experience for your guests by pairing cupcakes with wine. A general rule of thumb, if you pair your dessert with a wine as sweet or sweeter than your dessert you will not go wrong – think a chocolate cake with Gamay Noir, or a slice of fruit pie with Vidal Blanc. To take your cupcake pairing up a notch, match spiced cakes with barrel aged reds; light chiffon cakes with wines that have tropical notes, such as Riesling; an oaked Chardonnay with a vanilla buttercream to bring out the richness of the cream.

It might seem like a lot but try to enjoy the planning, maybe you will learn something new along the way, make it fun. Most importantly, don’t let the small things stress or upset you. Enjoy your special day filled with love and be present as memories that you will cherish for a lifetime are waiting to be made.  

DID YOU KNOW: Pair a strong red wine with your main course, whether it’s a good cut of meat or roasted portobello mushroom. Try a Cabernet Baco with seared steak/portobello steak or roasted root vegetables. If your main course includes fish or poultry, pair it with a dry, light, easy drinking wine such as Pinot Grigio. A Pinot Grigio is likely to pair with your starter as well.