Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Interactive Sweet and Cocktail Stations, Tea Stands among Trends at Weddings

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Interactive Sweet and Cocktail Stations, Tea Stands among Trends at Weddings

Article excerpt

DIY sweet tables tempt guests at weddings

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TORONTO - Many brides and grooms wanting to personalize their wedding reception are opting for interactive beverage and sweet stations where guests can customize their drinks and food.

Stations can also be used to highlight a theme, and having a chef, bartender or sommelier on hand to interact and explain the origins of a dish, drink or wine makes guests feel special, says Chef Paul Brans, creative lead for O&B artisan.

"They want a little bit of entertainment, a little bit of theatre ... I do think these stands help the bride and groom give the tone of their wedding," he added. "It tells much more of a story. I think these sort of things are really fun."

Often, people want to tell their story through flavours, he noted. Perhaps the couple met on vacation in Greece and return there every year, so thyme and lemon are favourite flavours. Or they're crazy about caramel and make it a weekend indulgence. Chefs can play with such ideas to devise food and drink specific to the couple.

"Couples like that because it personalizes it. A lot of people nowadays are so busy. There's such a pressure to make things personalized and do things yourself, but people just don't have the time to do it."

Gone are the days of a signature cocktail concocted to match a wedding's colour scheme. In fact, it is in the area of drinks where some of the biggest changes have occurred, says the Toronto-based Brans.

Couples still want to offer guests a great cocktail, but it may be in the form of a gin bar with different bitters and vermouths. Or a drink might be topped up with homemade soda that has been infused with something like fresh peaches macerated with vanilla and honey. Ices are flavoured so that drinks are not watered down as the ice melts.

Tea stands, hot and cold, are also trendy. They run the gamut from tea lattes to non-caffeinated tisanes and flavoured teas. And a cuppa or iced tea can be a way to provide a drink that is non-alcoholic if the event is continuing for many more hours. Or tea can be worked into cocktails.

Couples who say their vows in the afternoon may offer high tea between the service and the reception. "Instead of their guests dispersing and coming back in a couple of hours it's a nice way of bridging that afternoon," Brans says, adding it can be as simple as a sandwich and piece of cake or a cookie.

Topping up drinks with homemade tonic waters and sodas "makes it a little bit more kid friendly and fun at a wedding so that it's not just a bunch of cranberry juice."

Interactive food stations are being incorporated into the cocktail hour, where the chef will invite guests to watch what is being prepared. For example, many people don't know how to shuck oysters, so a bar featuring the shellfish offers theatre for guests. …

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