Creating A Wedding Ceremony Cocktail

I’ve found plenty of information about great cocktails to serve your guests, but what about having a “wedding ceremony cocktail” as part of your actual ceremony? Finding original wedding ceremony features can be tricky, but this is fun, unusual and meaningful. I wasn’t taught to create a wedding ceremony cocktail in “Celebrant School” – but I’ve read about it since qualifying, and I love it! Being partial to a cocktail myself helps – you can rely on me to create any ceremony involving alcohol with – well, zest! So, let’s take a moment to have a think about cocktails, and I’ll try to put off creating one for myself until the weekend!

A Metaphor for Life

The cocktail is used as a metaphor for life – bitter and sweet, rough spots and moments of smooth bliss. Think about a cocktail’s typical ingredients – bitter and sweet alcohol and herbs, rough skinned fruits, burning spirits and cold silk-smooth ice.

Elsewhere, I’ve written about hand-fasting, sand-pouring and candle-lighting. These may symbolise aspects of your love, or be in memory of friends, or to show your families coming together.  A cocktail can fulfil these roles, too. Having your own wedding cocktail is great fun and can be as meaningful as you want it to be. Let’s take a look at two examples of weddings where we’ve rocked the cocktails.

Wedding Cocktail #1 The Old Cuban

The first was in September last year. Phil and Haf were married in Caerhyn, Carmarthenshire. When we met, we had a good chat about whether they’d like any symbolism within their ceremony, they did, but weren’t sure what to do. Within their love story, they mentioned a key member of their group who’d very sadly died at a young age. After spending time in Cuba, he’d introduced the tribe of friends to rum – and the seed of an idea was sown!

Mint, lime and rum are combined to make a wedding ceremony cocktail

This is a fancy version – but I can see the rum ok!

Haf and Phil decided to create an “Old Cuban” cocktail as part of their ceremony. I didn’t go into details of why the rum based cocktail was being served, everyone understood. Instead, I introduced what we were doing. Then I explained that the sugar syrup and lime juice already in the shaker represented the bitter and sweet aspects of friendships and family relationships. Here’s how the script progressed;

A Glimpse at the Script…

Phil please roughen up these mint leaves, and add a dash of angostura bitters, whilst Haf adds some ice. So we’ve got roughness of the leaves and smoothness of the ice, and the sweetness of mint overcoming the bite of the bitters

Now, Phil, here’s some rum. I’d like you to add the rum to represent the importance of the memories you share with your family and friends. Please secure the lid and each take a turn to shake the contents reflecting your past and future coming together…………………….

Phil please pour into the glasses as Haf opens the Prosecco. Haf, top up the bittersweet mixture with the bubbles as above all your marriage promises to be rich with fun and the joy of life.

Please, toast each other with this cocktail mixed anew on your wedding day to represent the new spice in your lives!

Bitters and prosecco ready to be added to the wedding ceremony cocktail

I took this snap of the bubbly and bitters before the ceremony

Believe me, there was a lot of fun to be had simply in the making of this cocktail, never mind the drinking of it!

Wedding Cocktail #2 The Negroni


Negroni wedding ceremony Cocktail

A classic negroni cocktail – fit for any wedding!


The second wedding ceremony cocktail was earlier this year at Saffy and James’ wedding. These two, like Phil and Haf are real party animals and loved pretty much every symbolic idea I gave them! However, they settled on an elaborate hand-fasting, a cocktail and jumping the broomstick. We did things a bit differently for these two lovebirds. Saffy mentioned that her favourite cocktail is Negroni, so we had the cocktail prepared ready to pour into glasses at the end of the ceremony.

More “Real Script!”

This is a snippet from their actual script;

Within this glass is the smoothness of ice and the rough surface of orange peel. In the cocktail shaker, there is sweet vermouth and Campari – the sweet and the sour which life throws in everybody’s path. Of course, to overcome the rough spots and the occasional bitter taste you will need strength, and for that we have gin!

So, this drink represents the strength you have together to overcome the rough and the bitter moments, and the joy you will find in the smooth, sweetness of life. Please pour into each other’s glasses and drink a toast to each other.

Saffy and James toyed with the idea of a “loving cup”, but instead chose a beautiful goblet each. Whilst they drank, I read the words from Kahlil Gibran; These start with ‘Love one another, but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup……”

Bride and groom share a romantic look as they drink their wedding ceremony cocktail

A romantic moment as Saffy and James listen to the words of Kahlil Gibran


Fun in your Wedding Ceremony

This was a lovely moment for Saffy and James, but not too serious, especially when they realised how strong their cocktail was! A cocktail ceremony, let’s face it, really isn’t ever going to be very serious. Unlike for instance, lighting candles could be if you wanted it to be. Cocktails add great fun to the ceremony and are ideal for anyone who want to really celebrate the joy of life and marriage.

Hints and Tips!

At this point I was going to give some ideas of what wedding ceremony cocktail to create – but the list is endless! So I’d say;

Keep it simple
  • Keep it simple – We got away with Haf and Phil’s Old Cuban because I’d made the sugar syrup and added the mint leaves before – you don’t want to be cutting up fruit in your frock! A simple champagne cocktail can work – how about “bubbles for excitement, fruit which has been nurtured carefully”? Perhaps a shot of something special to add the extra strength you’ll gain from your marriage…
wedding ceremony cocktail

This is a simple toast with port – reflecting both bride and groom’s army careers.

  • Have it made before the ceremony like Saffy and James did – it worked just fine and made life simpler. You just need a celebrant who knows what they’re doing to convey the message!
Make it for YOU
  • Make something you like – no point having amazingly fancy symbolism and metaphor if you’re pulling a face for the photos!
  • Try and find ingredients that mean something to you – even if that “something” is simply that you remember drinking the cocktail in the early days of your relationship. Or, this will be your “special” cocktail for anniversaries and special days in the future!
  • Use a local brew! We’ve some great craft distilleries in the UK so make a feature of them. My local is Da Mhile, whose sea-weed gin would lend itself to some of my couples’ stories, and is delicious!
Get your tribe involved
  • If you have older children, how about letting them make the cocktail?
  • If you have young children, a non-alcoholic cocktail made by everyone could be great fun! This would be symbolic of everyone working together, adding their own strengths and individuality to the family. Think sand-pouring with juice and fruit instead of sand!
Non-alcoholic drinks with fruit

The children could have loads of fun creating a special fruity family cocktail (but please use paper straws!)

  • And finally:

Use your wedding Celebrant!

A good celebrant will understand your vibe, and create your ceremony around who you are, what you’re about.

Just one point, in Wales and England, I know that alcohol is discouraged if not banned during a ceremony, so I assume you’ll need a celebrant for this one – Just sayin’!

If you’d like to have a chat with me about this, or anything ceremony – related, drop me a line or give me a call, I’m always happy to talk x

Two glasses with liquor and candles

Finally – combining candles AND cocktails – now there’s a thought!