By Suzanne Boothby
Are you the person at the party drinking juice while everyone else is sipping cocktails and soda? Yes, that’s me too.
When it came to planning my wedding this year, I dreamed of having a juice bar. I’m not talking about pre-packaged, sugary juices. I’m talking freshly made juices from organic fruits and vegetables.
My husband and I wanted our family and friends to experience a little taste of our lifestyle at our wedding.
Living in the beautiful mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina, we spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains and shopping at our local farmers’ market. Our circle of friends includes yoga teachers, herbalists, massage therapists, artists, and more, which reflect our interests as well.
My husband works at a wellness center, which is also home to my favorite juice bar in town. They had never “catered” a wedding before, but my enthusiastic ask and willingness to work with them made it a great fit.
We rented a 70-acre working farm for our special day and kicked off our celebration with a happy hour on the porch of the event barn at 4 p.m. The party had many expected wedding reception elements—a band, passed appetizers, a bar with beer, wine and a specialty cocktail and about 100 of our nearest and dearest.
In the midst of all the merriment, we put a juice bar. My original vision was to have someone making fresh juice for everyone, but I quickly realized that would get both noisy and crowded. Instead, we worked with our local juice bar that made 60 fresh juices on the morning of our wedding.
We picked out three vibrant colors for our juices: green, red and orange. The juice bar already had great names for each of these juices, Mimosa, Cosmos and Green Heliconia, which are all named after local plants. The mimosa features fresh citrus juice; the heliconia is full of green vegetables and the cosmos has beets to give it a deep red color.
Thankfully, fresh juices store well in Mason jars, so I picked up enough jars at my local hardware store a few weeks before the wedding, along with some colorful straws. Once the juices were ready, we transported them in big coolers and made sure there was enough fridge space at the venue for them to rest until happy hour. The finishing touch was labeling each of the juices with their names and ingredients so that guests would know what they were drinking. Alas, the juice bar was born!
I had no idea if anyone would drink the juices, but they did. In fact, the juice bar was a hit! Our friends that already love juice enjoyed it and we had many guests who got a pleasant surprise from trying it for the first time.
My advice to anyone planning their wedding day (or any big event) is to slip in the elements that bring you joy. I’ve been juicing for years and I knew I wanted to drink juice at my party. Thankfully, our guests enjoyed it too!