Jesse Goldstein, the Food Sheriff, has lots of great advice concerning all things champagne and sparkling wine! Here’s his take on wedding toasts:
When it comes to any wedding reception, there’s often a beautiful blend of old and new. Traditions remain strong, while every bride seeks ways to make their big day memorable and unique. While there’s nothing wrong with following the trends, but nobody wants to look back years from now when they’re showing photos of the big day to their children as they answer that infamous question What were you thinking?! Enter that one true element that will never grow old and never expire – the toast. But what can you do to put your personal touch on this time-honored practice? We’ve got a few suggestions.
Although tradition would tell you that the toast to a bride and groom is offered after the meal and before the cake, many couples are opting to host the toast earlier in the reception. As your party goes on, you’ll find it more difficult to coordinate your guests to accomplish the formalities of such traditions. Instead, think of beginning your reception with a signature beverage that becomes a welcoming kick-off toast as the happy couple arrives with fanfare and flair.
The keys to making your opening toast successful are simple. Make it easy, make it accessible and make it quick. Greet your guests at the reception with festive flutes of celebratory champagne and let them toast to your future as the party begins. Chances are, the first thing your guests will do when they arrive is grab a beverage, so you know they’ll be ready for the toast without having to track down a server with trays of glasses. Besides, if you have the toast before crazy Uncle Al tosses back one too many cocktails, you’re sure to save a few embarrassing family stories.
But there’s more to bubbly than meets the eye. From Italian Prosecco to Spanish Cava, California sparkling wine to champagne cocktails, there’s no shortage of ways to add personality to your toast, while still remaining budget conscious as well. While signature beverages have been the rage at weddings for many years now, it could also be argued that there’s no beverage more ‘signature’ than a glass of chilled champagne. Here’s a few of our favorite suggestions that make your toast rise to the top.
Go classic. Start with a great French Champagne like Montaudon and find beautiful crystal glasses for the bride and groom. Custom tags for the glasses add another element of elegance.
Pay it forward. One Hope California sparkling wine donates 50% of profits to end childhood hunger. Other varieties help provide clean drinking water to those in need. It’s a beautiful thing to know that as you’re toasting to your life together as a couple, you will also be doing something good for the world.
Make them blush. Rosé champagnes and sparkling wines add a little extra touch to the toast. They also pair perfectly with most any food. When in doubt, offer your guests the option of both rosé and traditional, such as these Anna de Codorniu varieties from Spain.
Spritz the sparkling. A classic Italian favorite, adding a little seltzer and splash of Aperol to a glass of Lamberti Prosecco not only makes it deliciously vibrant, but can be a clever way of stretching your budget, since one third of each glass is comprised of seltzer.
Give life lemons. A glass of sparkling wine gets a zip of zest with a little lemoncello liqueur. Here we’ve added it to a succulent glass of French sparking wine, Petit Royal. Not all French sparking wines are technically champagne and you can find fantastic varieties that help you squeeze a little more room in your budget.
A bubbly bouquet. Keep it French by adding a little St. Germain elderflower liqueur a glass of Henriot Champagne. While this bubbly is phenomenal all on its own, a twist of orange zest and the sweetness of elderflower further enhances the floral aromatics as guests raise a glass.
Rosemary for remembrance. Rosemary has a very old reputation for improving memory and has been used as a symbol for remembrance at weddings for generations. A simple garnish of a juicy blackberry with a sprig of rosemary takes a this classic-looking glass Juvé y Camps Spanish Cava to a whole new level, while bringing out the fruity notes of flavor.
Some sage advice. The aromatics of a sprig of fresh sage and the flavors of a ripe juicy strawberry will tickle the senses as your guests toast to your future together.
Add some spice. A splash of Canton ginger liqueur and garnish of candied ginger add some spice to this glass of Argyle Vintage Brut from Oregon with notes of lemon peel and strawberry.
Add a little old school. A classic Champagne Cocktail dresses up a glass of bubbly with a squeeze of lemon, a sugar cube and few dashes of aromatic bitters. When paired with a beautiful bottle like this Enza Prosecco, you’ve automatically added a sense of flair and elegance to your toast.
Pomegranate punch. Glistening jewels of fresh pomegranate seeds and a dash of juice will make your guests blush with delight.
Early riser. For an early wedding, think of offering a classic Mimosa of champagne and orange juice as the perfect midday toast.
Sweeten things up. Fruit syrups, such as this zesty black currant syrup, can add layers of elegance and personality to any glass of bubbly.
Full of fun. One final recommendation is to take any bottle of sparking wine and experiment on your own as a couple, mixing it with anything from sodas to juices, such as this blood orange spritzer. You’ll find no shortage of great combinations waiting for your personal toast.