I often write about choosing rituals, readings and themes that resonate for couples in real ways. I recently officiated for a couple who loved craft beer and had bonded over beer tasting events. So naturally they wanted a beer theme for their wedding.
You may wonder if this is something best left for the reception, but we found a wonderful way to incorporate the beer into the ceremony itself.
Wine sharing is a popular unity ritual for weddings, so I thought, why not do the same with beer? And the couple enthusiastically agreed. In fact, they had just the perfect beer in mind. It was a 2013 Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing – which was significant because it was the first beer they shared together when they became ‘official’ students of beer. It represented a turning point for them. I was sure to say that it is rare and awesome beer, really, really good… just like the two of them!
So here’s how it worked: They poured the beer and shared it together, illustrating how they will share all of life’s flavor. I know it sounds a little crazy, but think about it: beer has a long and ancient tradition. It is made all over the world and actually promotes good health – if used in moderation, of course!
There is clear evidence that beer goes back over 6,000 years. Plato is credited with saying: “He was a wise man who invented beer.” Monasteries across Europe have brewed beer for centuries.
Ben Franklin said that “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” And Thomas Jefferson said it “softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health.”
Because this wedding consisted of just a very small group guests – 6 couples who were very close with the bride and groom – they wanted to pass the glass of beer around to everyone – to sip and share in the joy of the day and be a part of the ritual. So that’s what we did! They even had a sign that read: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something brewed.
There are many ways to express your love of beer at a reception, of course. Besides serving excellent beers, consider naming your tables for your favorites, giving beer for favors, making your invitation look like a beer label, using hops for boutonnieres, creating a beer garden look for cocktail hour or the reception, create beer bottle centerpieces – so many possibilities!
Craft beer is very popular today, and for good reason. As Americans are developing a taste for wonderful beers, brew pubs are popping up. I have wedding coming up soon up at Barley Creek Brewery here in the Poconos, and we also have The Gem and Keystone Pub, which would also be a great location for a wedding, serving ShawneeCraft Beer made next door.
What exactly is craft beer? Well, it must come from a small production facility, meaning 6 million barrels of beer or less annually (approximately 3% of U.S. annual sales). The brewery should be independently owned. And the flavor should be derived from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.
People used to use the term microbrewery, but the term craft beer replaced that, probably because large producers co-opted microbrew, with beers like Sam Adams. I’m not saying Sam Adams isn’t good, but it is mass produced.
So if you love craft beer, imported beer, exotic beer, and just great beer, you can surely find many ways to include your passion for beer in your wedding.
Thank you Garth Woods for the fabulous photos!