The other night my sister informed me that I was excited about her wedding. Fortunately, we were chatting via Skype chat and the slightly sarcastic reply was taken seriously. See, despite my time spent at a bridal magazine, I’m not a wedding girl. The only thing that excites me about weddings is flowers, food and beer. At this stage she’s not having flowers, so I’m a little disappointed there. However, her fiancé is a chef, so the food’s going to be marvellous, and, if Dad and I have our way, the beer will be just as good.

Very early on, sis informed me ‘We won’t be having any of that fancy stuff that you and Dad like. We can’t afford it.’ When I duly reported this back to Dad, the silence last so long I thought he’d dropped the phone. It stretched on and on and then a small but firm voice simply said ‘No’. Since then, we’ve decided the beer shall be our concern and we’ve been debating the best way to organise it. Bottles or kegs? Local fare or bring in favourites? A variety of breweries, or just stick to one? Go with what guests will be comfortable with or wow them with something different? Then there’s the logistics of it all to be considered.

It’s all rather academic at the moment though, because the wedding’s not until February 2013. In the intervening time, Emerson’s will release six seasonal brews, a dozen new micro- and nano-breweries will start up, 8Wired will create several Trohpy-winning beers and who knows what sort of mischief the Epic boys will get up to. The brewing scene is evolving so fast in New Zealand, it is impossible to predict what it will be like in 18 months’ time.

The long wait though, does give Dad and myself a chance to gather information and learn more about beer at weddings.  We both have a bit of experience in weddings and a fair amount of experience organising small events with craft beer, but haven’t really combined the two. We’ve got a year to research, plan and learn from other people’s weddings. So what are people’s best tips for craft beer (or beverages in general) at weddings? Or large events? Suggested styles, serving formats and sourcing? What did you enjoy about other people’s weddings?

Don’t be shy and remember, your interesting stories and advice will be helping me through less enjoyable wedding-related activities. You see, I promised to take my sister wedding dress shopping up here in the big smoke – and I hate wedding dresses. But, I do know of three bridal stores within a three block radius of Galbraiths… so it won’t be too bad!

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