A few weeks ago, I took the joyful plunge into a government-recognized marital relationship with the love of my life, Ashley, and we did it in style with a coffee themed wedding. (and many thanks to all of you who came or participated or sent us well wishes!)
With my being the founder of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and a former member of the coffee industry, and with her being the founder of Life’s a Grind, a manager at Starbucks, and a member of the family that founded Bolivia’s Best Coffee, coffee obviously plays a huge role in our lives and we wanted to celebrate our love of coffee during our wedding celebration.
So, the whole wedding was coffee-themed. We had old vintage coffee tins and brewing devices, jute bags, and coffee beans as decorations and, as a very special wedding favor for our guests, we tapped Passion House Coffee Roasters to create a custom wedding blend.
Since then, more than a few people have contacted me with questions about how we did things, so I wanted to share some tips and pointers so that you can also plan your own coffee themed wedding.
Jute Bags and Burlap Sacks
Coffee starts off in big jute bags and burlap sacks, so for your coffee themed wedding planning, we’re going to start there, too.
Thanks to websites like Pinterest and Etsy, DIY is the new thing; and, in these tough economic times when nobody has money (particularly not most coffee professionals), DIY has become increasingly popular for wedding planning.
To incorporate coffee into your wedding, jute bags and burlap sacks are indispensable materials to work with. You can use them to send invitations in, you can do what Ashley and I did and use them as table cloths, you could frame them and hang them up around the venue, you could even stuff them with newspaper and lean them against the wall as an accent decoration, you can cut them up and use the scraps for boutonnières or corsages – this is an extremely versatile material that is cheap and, when used creatively, can be really, really pretty.
The wedding blog Emmaline Bride even posted an article of 50 ways to use burlap in your wedding. Take a look at her incredibly creative ideas and get inspired!
Love Is Brewing
Other fun items to decorate with are brewing devices. Honestly, there are a lot of things you can do with brewers (both manual and automatic) outside of your coffee themed wedding – say, for instance, around the house or office.
At our wedding, the aisle that the bridal party walked down was lined with old wooden crates, topped with jute bag cloths and antique brewers and hand grinders. Inside each device – beautiful dried flowers.
Percolators, Moka pots, French presses, antique grinders, automatic coffee pots, oversized mugs, etc., etc., etc. are unbelievably cheap and easy to find at flea markets, consignment shops, and thrift stores; heck, you could people practically giving them away on Craigslist or eBay! Don’t let “cheap” fool you, though – these sorts of things make really simple but beautiful accents and decorations in your coffee themed wedding.
Beans – Not Just for Grinding!
In the same way that old, unused, stale coffee beans make a great fertilizer for gardening, they can also be incorporated any number of ways into your coffee themed wedding. Ashley and I used the beans from dozens of pounds of stale coffee and her Starbucks mark-outs to fill flower vases, candle holders, and table centerpieces. This is an incredibly simple but beautiful way to incorporate your love of coffee. Even better, when the beans start absorbing the heat from the candles, they release their aroma, filling your venue with the sweet, sweet smell of coffee.
You could also have your guests toss beans instead of rice at the end of the ceremony, use the beans as card holders (perhaps for table assignment cards), give them to the flower girl to line the aisle with – the possibilities are seemingly endless.
The one thing, however, that you wouldn’t want to use old, stale coffee beans for is your wedding favor
Wait, I Have to Give People Gifts at My Own Wedding?
Well – no; you don’t have to. But it is tradition and all to do so, so why not make the most of it? This could be the perfect opportunity to show your guests the wonders of really great specialty coffee! No wedding would be complete without making a statement of some sort, right?
Again, the possibilities here are vast – there are so, so, so many ways to incorporate coffee as gifts for your guests: gift cards to your favorite cafe/roaster, mugs, brewing devices, stirring spoons with custom engravings, etc, etc. If you’re feeling really ambitious – as Ashley and I did – you could contact your favorite local roaster to create a custom blend specifically for your wedding. For our wedding, we tapped our friends at Passion House Coffee Roasters who created Union Blend – a blend of their Brasil Santa Lucia, Brasil Rainha Microlot, and El Salvador Las Nubes #11 - and everybody loved it. In fact, I saw some of our guests walking out with multiple bags.
Furthermore, doing a custom blend allows you the opportunity to pretend you’re a roaster or cafe owner in that you can choose your packaging (jute bags, paper bags with ties, plastic, tin foil, etc.), design your packaging, design labels – it’s like running your own coffee company!
If you’re feeling even more ambitious, you can attempt to get your favorite cafe to serve your custom blend on the day of your wedding.
Wedding Bell Brews
Of course, if you’re going to give guests coffee as favors for your coffee themed wedding, you’ll want your guests to be able to drink it during dinner service, right?
If you’re a devoted reader of the Table, odds are you probably also know somebody that works in the coffee industry – ask that person if they’d be keen to be a barista at your coffee themed wedding. If you don’t know any baristas, contact a cafe or roaster and inquire if they also have a catering service. Odds are they do; and if they don’t, they’ll at least be able to point you in the right direction.
Similar to having an open liquor bar, during your dinner service, they’ll set up an entire brew bar, decked out with brewing apparati, maybe even an espresso machine, grinders for your guests to use for their favors, and condiments for the guests that want them.
Not only is this a great service to provide for your guests, it’s also a great way to introduce them to the world of manual single cup brewing, and it’s another opportunity to support your local coffee business.
Coffee All Over the Menu
Why should coffee be limited to the food portion of your wedding’s dinner menu? Coffee can be used all over the menu as a garnish for food, an essential part in desserts, and even as an ingredient in cocktails!
Search some reputable cooking websites for recipes for coffee-crusted steak, sauces, tiramisu, brownies, ice cream, cupcakes, gelée, martinis, and margaritas. This may even be an opportunity to use some of those sugary syrups and sauces you’ve been refraining from stirring into your latte.
A wedding is an incredibly joyful celebration and it should reflect you. If coffee means as much as to you as it does to me, you should celebrate with it. These are just a few ideas to inspire you. If you have any other ideas, let us know and leave a comment below!
Oh, and if you’re reading this because you recently got engaged and are entering planning mode, allow me to be the first to say “Congratulations and good luck!”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately I haven’t received the pictures from my coffee themed wedding yet, but as soon as I do I’ll post some of them here so you can see some of the ideas presented in this article in practice.
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