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What's Up Weddings

Cheers To Garden/Gatsby Parties (And Appropriate Drink Tips)

May 31, 2012 09:06PM ● By Anonymous
And now that derby season is in full swing and there's a trailer out for Great Gatsby, the movie... (I'll hold that thought while you watch:)


(Good, right? But back to my thought)... It only seems fitting that we start to really think about (if the proverbial "we" hasn't already) garden/Gatsby/derby-themed weddings.

Sure, these three things are not exactly the same and they can be distinguished by various, specific detail (Gatsby's parties were always at night while Derby parties can peak as early as noon, and the big hats and sundresses are for the derbs, while pearls, feathers, and gloves more appropriate for 20s-inspired Gatsby themes).

But they do share many common elements, among which is this: fabulous cocktail menus.

To throw a really great garden party, derby party, or Gatsby-inspired event--specifically wedding--a well-planned cocktail menu is a must. Our Events Editor and Weddings Editor have both provided great examples of perfectly-suited cocktail recipes for related events here and here so feel free to browse, but I'm going to extract a few thoughts based on my own garden/Gatsby-themed wedding planning as well.

One. Pop the bubbly. Aside from the Champagne provided for toasting, it seems like for a while there, Champagne, Prosecco and other sparkling wines were, and may still be, somewhat of a second thought. An obligatory offering. But for these particular themes bubbly is a must.

Two. Consider classics. Cold, iced drinks in mason jars or any other glasses are perfect for a derby/garden party, but Gatsby's guests were martini fans. Granted, they were cocktail fans. Check it: there are 19 shots that include drinks in the two-and-a-half-minute long movie trailer. (I know, I know, movies < and not always = books, but I'm offering a visual here.) But check out the 33-second mark. There are nine martini glasses and only two people. Depending on which end of the theme's spectrum you want your wedding to come out on, you'll have to include martinis (with olives, apparently) on your drink menu.

Three. Mind your presentation. I think we could probably all agree that one of the first--if not the first--drink that comes to mind for such an occasion is the Mint Julep. A reliable go-to--so much so that there are recipes for one on each of the two pages I referred to earlier. Now allow me to momentarily digress to say that mason jars are a huge trend right now, and, well, they're adorable--I plan to serve beer in them at my own wedding. However, the two do not mix. Lemonade, sangria, mojitos, John Daly's, even these delicious nuggets of strawberry-infused-beer, all drink well and look great in mason jars. Mint Juleps do not. I know, I know. They both have that sweet southern charm and they're both reminiscent of all things Derby, but Mint Juleps go in Mint Julep cups. They are silver or pewter and typically have a handle by which to hold them (so the cup stays perfectly frosty and your summer-clammy hands don't interfere with the drink temperature.) If you put a Mint Julep in a mason jar, the drink police will not come out and ruin your party. Most of your guests probably won't even notice (after all, it'll be your wedding day and they'll be too busy being stunned by your glowing beauty), but if you want to stick to a theme, it's a helpful tip.

Especially during a time when limited bar menus are so popular--whether you're offering beer and wine, beer and wine plus "bride" and "grooms" drinks, or something like this "Something Borrowed, Something Blue..." option--it's important, and fun, to select the perfect liquid accompaniments for your affair.