cocktailsGone are the days when wedding guests were happy with a cover band, a vol-au-vant, and, if it was a particularly sophisticated affair, a glass of champagne for toasts. Contemporary wedding planning is as much a statement about a couple as it is a celebration of their union, and modern guests expect something exceptional. Are your wedding ideas up to scratch?

Music

Lacklustre music is the death of any party. You can have Nuno Mendes in the kitchen and Dale DeGroff behind the bar, but if you have a weak DJ playing tired tunes your guests will be making their excuses and leaving before you can say “gangnam style”. Thrill them with something new. Have you been to a club and loved the DJ? Get them to turn your wedding reception into a night that will have everyone grooving with abandon until the sun comes up. That quirky indie band whose tune you can’t get out of your head, or your favourite chart topping artist? If they get you dancing they will have the same effect on your guests, so book them.

Food and Drink

Food stations allow guests personalise their dining experience. Avoid overdone sweetie tables or tiers of cupcakes. Fill platters with unusual artisan cheeses and handmade crackers instead of dessert, welcome your guests with oysters on crushed ice accompanied by range of dressings in place of traditional canapes, and revive hard-core partiers with fresh sushi made to order in front of them by a sushi chef with flair.

Don’t merely serve cocktails. Invite mixologists who can instruct your guests on how to make their own favourite drinks. Attendees will remember you and your wedding every time they shake the perfect martini, blend a Bellini, or muddle a mojito.

Venue

Simply walking into a room is boring. Have your guests enter a fantasy world created just for them, just for the night. Start with your choice of venue and build a magical setting for the most exciting scene of your life. Look to fashion shows, stage performances, and films for inspiration.

Don’t be constrained by where you think a wedding “should” be held. Let your imagination run wild or, if you aren’t creatively minded, enlist the help of professional wedding planners who can find the ideal venue whether it’s a cavern in Cornwall, or a hidden tube station in London. If the venue is not normally open to the public, even better.

The way to make your wedding truly memorable is to give your guests and experience they cannot access anywhere else. It is not only the music, the decor, and the food, but the way you infuse each with a unique element which isn’t merely “wedding” or “party”, but which is completely, and utterly “you”. The key to a great experience is appropriate interaction. Aim to have your guests leave your wedding with a skill, taste, or knowledge of a secret venue they didn’t have before.

Always go for quality over quantity. It is far better to host an exclusive, luxury reception for fewer people than a generic one for many.

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