Friday, April 17, 2015

Antigua and Barbuda Wedding #2 - Barbuda (Pink Beach) Wedding

Antigua and Barbuda are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with over three hundred of them how could they not, but in Barbuda the most notable beaches are the pink sand beaches. Not only strange and unusual, the pink sand beaches are beautiful and a great place to get married. The pink sand offers a great theme for any beach wedding and the beautiful water is a great backdrop for any ceremony. 


Flowers:
Any pink bouquet would work wonderfully with this wedding. Just because the sand is a certain shade of pink, doesn't mean that everything has to match it, and when finding flowers it will not be easy to match the colour perfectly and still have the bouquet look wedding appropriate. A nice option, so that the flowers don't over power everything, would be to stick to pastel colours.


The Dress:
Weddings on the beach are always done because of the beautiful scenery and because of the weather. When it is hot outside a bride doesn't usually want to be in a big, long, heavy dress. She usually wants to be in something more comfortable, shorter and something she can move easily in. In this case a stunning A-line Sweetheart Cocktail length ''Little White Dress'' would be a great pick. It is a wonderful dress, not too fancy, but not plain either and it would go spectacularly well with the beach theme. 


The Shoes:
The best option for beach weddings is always sandals or flip-flops. With an open shoe, the bride doesn't have to worry about getting sand stuck in her shoe and carrying around half the beach all night. Also in the warm weather, sandals would be much more comfortable and a lot easier to kick off. A very cute idea and great option would be the "Just Married" flip-flop set. It comes in men's and women's sizes and imprints Just Married into the sand as the couple walks. 


Make up, hair, nails and accessories:
It is always best to keep make up simple, but for beach weddings (hot, outdoor weddings) it is really key. Make up can always cause problems when it comes in contact with water (sweat, tears) and it will mess up the bride's make up sticking to just a lipstick or lip gloss would be ideal. For this wedding, I chose a short and strapless dress, because of this, having the bride's hair down would look best with a short veil or no veil at all. A beautiful addition to the bride's look would be the Amoro 18kt Pink and White Gold Necklace. There are two hearts, one pink gold and one white, and they are twisted together to become one. 


The Groom:
A beach wedding is more of a laid back type of wedding and it is common to see the groom (and his men) not wearing suits but more of just a shirt and pants type thing, formal but not too much. Great options for this would be the Cavala Custom Italian Linen Shirt and the Ventura Custom Linen Capri Pants. Both look great and are available in different colours. 


The Invitations:
Any out of town/state/country guests would really appreciated a Save the Date card, especially if the couple really wants certain people there, it gives the guests time to make arrangements like flight plans, house sitters, booking days of work, etc so that they can make it to the wedding. After the Save the Date cards, a formal invitation should be sent to all the guests (even the ones that already got the Save the Date card). A great option for invitations would be the Modern Swirly Rose. (It has the double sided invitation and reply card in the set).




Photographer and Videographer:
A great photographer that comes very highly recommended is Vanessa Hall. She take beautiful pictures and stages perfect scenes and moments with what she has to work with. She also has a beautiful portfolio and a lot of information available at her website. As for a videographer that can be tricky to find in a country that isn't home to the bride or groom or any guest. As stated before asking a friend or family member to do that favour may be best. 

Ceremony:
In a place as beautiful as Barbuda, that is known for its beaches, the best place to have a ceremony is on the beach! More than 74% of the population in Antigua and Barbuda are Christian so it would not be hard to find a church or a priest to perform a ceremony, any other religions may be harder to find someone to perform the ceremony and the couple should look into it ahead of time. Of course, any friend or family member that has been ordained can do it also. Beautiful rings for this wedding would be the Pink Gold Wedding Band, and the Pink Gold Wedding Band set with Diamonds. (And if the wedding party includes a ring bearer and flower girl this pillow and basket would match wonderfully). 


(REF #: b4087200 and b4086400)

Reception:
With the theme of the wedding being the beach, what greater place to have the reception than on the beach (consulting a wedding planner may be needed for this part). Having a wedding on the beach makes it easier to incorporate some traditions that the bride and groom shares, like throwing the bouquet and garter, cutting the cake and stuff like that. Also having a small table set up would be perfect to accommodate a guest book, money box and a basket of small guest favours should anyone just walking along want to join (this may happen in any wedding but especially when having a ceremony on a public beach). (Depending on how many people are at the wedding, place cards may or may not be needed.) 


Food:
In Antigua and Barbuda, the national dish is fungie and pepper pot. Fungie is a dish similar to that of Italian Polenta, made mostly with cornmeal. Other local dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, saltfish, fish in a tomato and onion sauce, and lobster. Fruits when in season are every where and at there best so making use of the local varieties would be a very smart and good idea for a wedding dinner. Some other dishes that may be served for dinner could include pork, chicken, lamb or turkey usually with some sort of rice, macaroni pie, and or salads (Antigua and Barbuda Cuisine).  Naturally, the choices would differ depending on who is making the food and what time of year the wedding takes place in. 

The Cake:
For a wedding on the beach, a cake that isn't too heavy, or rich, or sweet is the key. Highlight the nice weather and give it light so that everyone is in the party mood. A great cake for this wedding would be a Vanilla Cake With Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting. It is easy to make and it is delicious. Covered in strawberry fondant and it could look like the picture below (flowers optional).


A perfect wedding topper for this beach wedding would be the Lounging on the Beach Figurine.It is beautiful and it had the couple in a wonderful pose and would look absolutely wonderful on the top of any cake. Coupled with the Simple Silver Serving Set, and the Silver Toasting Flutes and the whole set up will be fabulous.   


Guest Favours:
A beautiful and creative guest favour for this wedding would be jars of sand. Mixing regular sand with the pink sand of Barbuda would symbolize the bride and groom coming together and it would be a beautiful gift for the guests in an engraved glass jar. 


Centerpieces:
Sticking with the sand theme, a beautiful tall vase with the mixed sand in the bottle surrounding a tall single candle would be perfect for the centerpieces for the tables. Also it could work as a table number but simply tying string around the vase and attaching the numbers to them. (Adding seashell are always optional.)


Thank You Cards:
Thank You cards don't always have to match the invitations. In this case any beach themed or pink Thank You card would work well. Some couples choose to send a picture from their wedding with a personalized note or a post card showing where they honeymooned. Anything is fine, its the juster that people care about. 


Things To Do:
Antigua and Barbuda are known for their beaches so naturally most things to do are water and beach related but there are some amazing options and sights to see and be apart of. Take a short boat ride to private Prickly Pear Island from St. John's for a half day of fun in the sun - snorkeling, strolling or just lying under a beach umbrella. Enjoy complimentary rum punch and other refreshments from the open bar, as well as tasty snacks and a home-cooked Caribbean lunch, while you take in the tranquil surroundings. Take a helicopter tour, it offers a variety of truly amazing panoramic delights, priceless memories and photographic opportunities for both around the island tour and the Montserrat Volcano tour. Visit Nelson's Dockyard, set aside as 30sq km of national park, the historical dockyard dates from 1745, and is Antigua's most popular attraction. Abandoned in 1899, it languished until the 1950s when its resurrection and restoration began.Today the handsome buildings have been converted into inns, shops, a market, restaurants an art center and a nautical museum. A number of tours visit Nelson's Dockyard, like the Round Island Tour, and the Antigua Shore Excursion (Things to do in Antigua and Barbuda). 



Take a city sightseeing tour shore excursion in Antigua. The tour visits a local vegetable market and spends time in the capital city of St. John's, where tourists can shop until they drop for souvenirs at Heritage Quay, home to designer and locally made wares all duty-free. Visit Betty's Hope, it is one of Antigua's first sugar plantations, built by Christopher Codrington in 1674, it was named in honour od his daughter Betty. Ruins of two stone windmills and a distillery remain on the site, along with a small visitors center. One windmill has been restored, and the caretaker offers informative tours peppered with historical insights. Or why not take the Island Safari 4x4 Discovery Tour. It visits some of the most beautiful landmarks in Antigua including Devil's Bridge and Betty's Hope Sugar Plantation.Spend a night at Shirley Heights Lookout. Celebrate the most dramatic sunset in Antigua with a night of music and relaxation. Enjoy a night under the moonlight while dancing to the sounds of steel band music and taking in the beautiful views from atop the lookout. Shirley Heights, named after the former governor Sir Thomas Shirley, overlooks the English Harbor and Galleon Beach and is the best spot to get a bird's-eye view of the island. Go snorkeling, many cruises are available for snorkeling like the Cades Reef Snorkel Cruise that highlights the Cades Reef, or the Snorkeling Island Adventure that includes kayaking and sightseeing in the Caribbean Sea, or snorkel in the protected bay on Bird Island (Things to do in Antigua and Barbuda) .


The next country alphabetically would be Argentina, in South America!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Signature Drink

Some couples choose to make a signature drink for their big day, something that represents them in a glass or something that represents their wedding. These are especially good for weddings where the bride and groom have to pay for the bar themselves or supply the alcohol or in places where all drinks aren't readily available. Either way, here are some great drink options (alcoholic and non) that could be incorporated into any wedding.


 Grab a quart jar..... Fill it with water.... Toss in 4 Chai Tea Tea bags, stick it in the fridge overnight or several hours to "brew".  Add one can of Sweetened Condensed Milk mixed with One can of Evaporated Milk = Sweet Cream. Fill one glass (or in my case... jar) with ice... fill 3/4 of the way with your Chai Tea concentrate. Top with sweet cream.


Ingredients -

5 - 8  Family size Tea Bags. (or 12 regular Tea Bags) 

      1 Quart  (4 Cups) - Boiling Water

3 Quarts (12 cups) - Cool Water

1 1/2 - 2 (one & a half) - Cups Sugar. 

1/4 teaspoon - Baking Soda 



Directions - 

1.  Sprinkle baking soda into a pitcher 

      Add Tea bags to the pitcher/baking soda,  

      Pour Boiling water over tea bags, 

      Cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes.

             2.  Remove and toss out Tea Bags,

     Add Sugar and Stir until completely dissolved. 

     Add Cool Water.

     Refrigerate until cold and ready to drink.

          3.  Serve over ice, 






Aproximate Ingredients:

46 oz. pineapple juice
40 oz coco lopez
1 pint half and half
ice
frozen strawberries in syrup
2 tablespoons water
clear cups
straws

It’s really easy but my measurements aren’t exact. It’s one part pineapple juice to one part coco lopez (cream of cocnut, it’s in a can.) Usually it takes about three cans of coco lopez to one big can of pineapple juice. Then you add half and half until it turns white. So I’d say about 1 pint of half and half. In a separate bowl puree strawberries, sugar and water. Or you can puree frozen strawberries in syrup with a little water that seems to work a little better. You want it to be somewhat thick, almost like a syrup texture. Pour strawberries in the cup about an half an inch to an inch high. Put ice in your blender and pour the coconut mix in unitl it’s at an even height with the ice. Blend, then pour in the cup with strawberry mix. The strawberries should come up the sides of the cup. If it doesn’t, either thin out your strawberries a little bit, or before pouring the coconut take the cup and swish the strawberries around so they stick on the sides of the cup.


INGREDIENTS:

3 cups of almond milk
2-3 frozen bananas, chopped
1 tablespoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (using 3-4 squares of 70% cocoa chocolate its better, I just didn't have any on hand)
1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs (optional)
1/4 cup flax seed meal (optional, sometimes I add it and sometimes I don't)
2-3  tablespoons organic peanut butter.


DIRECTIONS:

In a blender add the chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, peanut butter and 1 cup almond milk. Blend for about 30 seconds. Add other remaining ingredients and blend until liquefied.



Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce can frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 6-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
  • 4 cups cold water * 1 liter club soda, chilled
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh strawberries (optional)
  • Short (6-inch) wooden skewers
  • Assorted fruits such as halved orange slices, halved lime slices, orange sections, raspberries, strawberries, sliced kiwifruit, and mint sprigs

Directions

In a large pitcher combine pineapple juice concentrate, limeade, and water. Chill for at least 30 minutes. To serve, transfer fruit juice mixture to pitchers; add club soda, ice cubes, and fresh strawberries.
Serve with Fruit Swizzle Sticks, if desired.
Makes 14 (6-ounce) servings.
Fruit Swizzle Sticks: On short (6-inch) wooden skewers, thread assorted fruits and mint sprigs. Make-Ahead Tip: Up to 24 hours ahead, prepare the juice mixture and chill well. Proceed as directed.


 Pink Grapefruit Margaritas
1 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)

1 cup triple sec orange liqueur
3 cups ice
1 cup silver tequila
1 lime cut in wedges, optional Kosher salt.
If you prefer to rim the glasses take a lime wedge and rim, then dip in salt, if you do not like a salted rim sprinkle a touch of salt in each glass, the salt really brings out the flavor.

Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, triple sec and ice in a blender. Pour into a large pitcher (or just keep it in the blender) and pour in the tequila, stir. (I personally just added it all to the blender- I like slushy, that is totally up to you)

Makes 4 drinks.

* Just as a note: it is important to use Ruby Red grapefruit juice, it is much sweeter than regular and it has the lovely pink color.














INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup , plus more for rim Mint-Infused Simple Syrup
  • 3 chocolate cookies, finely crushed, such as Nabisco Famous Wafers
  • 10 raspberries
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry juice
  • Ice cubes

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    Fill a shallow dish with enough simple syrup to just cover the bottom. Place crushed cookies into another shallow dish. Invert a martini glass into simple syrup and then immediately into crushed cookies to coat the rim of the glass.
  2. STEP 2

    Place raspberries in a cocktail shaker; crush with a muddler. Add simple syrup and muddle again. Add vodka and cranberry juice; fill shaker with ice. Shake well until chilled. Strain into prepared martini glass. Serve immediately.






Frozen White Peach Sangria
Serves 2 

Ingredients
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups frozen peaches
2 cups ice cubes
1/2 cup Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice 
2 tablespoons honey or light agave syrup

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth and slushy. Serve immediately.



  • 4 cl (1.18 oz) vodka
  • 2 cl (0.59 oz) cream
  • 2 cl (0.59 oz) cream of coconut
  • 2 cl (0.59 oz) blue curaçao
  • 10 cl (2.96 oz) pineapple juice
Pour pineapple juice, vodka, cream and cream of coconut with ice into a blender, blend it and strain into a hurricane glass with ice cubes. float the blue curacao on top and serve.




Ingredients:

  • 1 oz  vodka
  • 1 oz  elderflower liqueur
  • 4 oz  soda water
  • 4 dashes  grapefruit bitters
  • lemon peel for garnish
  • rainbow ice cubes

Preparation:

  • Make rainbow ice by adding food coloring drops to an ice cube tray, filling with water and freezing.
  • Cut lemon / lime peels into stars.
  • Add all ingredients to a glass filled with ice in rainbow order ( two cubes per color, making it a double complete rainbow ).

1 cup white wine
2-3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp apple juice or another sweet juice (pear works nicely)
1-2 Tbsp ginger ale (or other fizzy soda - apple or orange soda works well too)
rainbow colored fruits (I used: strawberry, tangerine, pineapple, green grapes, blackberries and blueberries)
optional: 1 Tbsp brandy



To Make: Add the fruit in rainbow order to a tall glass. Then pour in the wine and fruit juice. Top it off with the ginger ale. Add the brandy over top as well if using.

Nuclear Rainbow
1 ounce Midori Melon liqueur
1 ounce Bacardi 151 rum
1 ounce DeKuyper Blue Curaçao liqueur
Splash sweet and sour
Splash grenadine
It helps to have two shakers for this. Shake Midori and sweet and sour over ice in the first, and Bacardi 151 and Blue Curaçao over ice in the second. Pour Midori mixture into a cocktail glass. Sink a small amount of grenadine to the bottom. Carefully layer the Bacardi and Curaçao mixture on top. Stick a straw in the red bottom layer and drink the entire thing in one try. Now you are become death, destroyer of worlds.





Makes 2 drinks
For the Watermelon Rum:
2 cups chopped watermelon
4 oz rum….or more
4 fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon agave or more to taste
1 quarter of lime
Combine all in a sealed container, mashing well and refrigerate overnight or 2-3 days. 
 For two Mojitos:
12 fresh mint leaves
2 quarters of lime
2 oz club soda
 For each Mojito:  In a tall glass crush 6 mint leaves with a lime quarter to release their oils.  Fill glass with ice halfway up.  Shake the watermelon rum mix and Pour in 2 oz of strained watermelon rum into the glass.  Top with 1 oz of club soda.  Garnish and serve!



Ingredients:
45 ml vodka
30 ml blue curacao liqueur
15 ml fresh lemon juice
soda water
Build over ice in a large goblet. Garnish with blue maraschino cherry.

This version of the Blue Lagoon Cocktail has refreshing sour-sweet and tart taste with light citrus palate. You may use some simple syrup for best sweet and sour balance in this drink.



Blue Valium

The recipe:
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce blue curacao
Equal parts sweet 'n sour mix + Sprite
Garnish with a cherry

Liquid Marijuana

The recipe:
1/2 ounce Malibu rum
1/2 ounce light rum
1/2 ounce blue curacao
1/2 ounce apple pucker (or melon liqueur)
Equal parts sweet 'n sour mix + pineapple juice
Garnish with a cherry

Peached Whale

The recipe:
1/2 ounce Malibu rum
1/2 ounce Bacardi rum
1/2 ounce peach schnapps
1/2 ounce amaretto
Fill passionfruit juice
Garnish with a cherry (or three!)

Tootie Fruity

The recipe:
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce triple sec
Equal parts grenadine (or cranberry juice!), orange juice, and pineapple juice
Garnish with a cherry

Cape Cod

The recipe:
1.5 ounces vodka
Fill cranberry juice
Garnish with a lime


Ingredients:

6 oz. Raspberry Jello
4 oz. Red Hots
1 Cup Boiling Water
2 Cups Chilled Carbonated Beverage (like Fresca)
20 oz. Crushed Pineapple, drained well
Pop Rocks or colored sugar crystals

Pour 1 cup hot water Red Hots and Jello into a small pan.  Heat to boiling over medium high heat and continue to stir until completely dissolved.  Cool to room temperature.  (You can speed this up by placing pan in a sink of ice water.)  Mix in carbonated beverage.  Place pan in fridge until Jello is slightly thickened and then stir in pineapple.
Garnish serving dishes by dipping rim, ever so slightly (or it will run down the side) into light corn syrup.  Then dip into pop rocks or colored sugar crystals.
Carefully pour Jello into serving dishes. 


Ingredients:
3 cups water, divided
1/3 cup sugar
2 mangos, peeled and pureed
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions:
In a small microwave safe bowl combine 1 cup of water and sugar. Heat on high for 1 minute, or until sugar has all sugar has dissolved. Let cool.
In a large pitcher combine sugar mixture, remaining water, lemon juice and mango puree. Stir until well mixed. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh mint sprigs, if desired.


What you'll need:


  • Club Soda
  • Half & Half
  • Torani Syrups
  • Ice



To make one Italian Cream Soda, you'll need:



  • 1/2 cup Club Soda
  • 3 TBSP Torani Syrup {our favorite combo was Raspberry Vanilla- 2 TBSP Raspberry to 1 TBSP Vanilla}
  • 1 TBSP Half & Half
  • 3 ice cubes
  • whipped cream and a cherry for the top!

Add ice cubes to glasses. Measure out about 1/2 cup Club Soda  and pour into each glass. {If you have larger glasses, you can double all of the ingredients.} Measure out 3 TBSP Torani syrup. You can find this type of syrup in the coffee section at just about any grocery store. I found vanilla everywhere but had a hard time finding any fruity flavors. I finally found Raspberry at Walmart. The bottles cost about $3.50 each and will make about 12-14 of the drinks at least. 

Our favorite combo was a mix of vanilla and raspberry as detailed above. Yum. 

Add the syrup to the soda. Just before serving add the 1 TBSP of Half & Half to the soda/ syrup mixture. This is the fun part- as the cream seeps down it makes a really cool design on the glass. Try and not shake the glasses around too much so that the design is preserved- serve with whipped cream and a cherry on top, as well as something to stir with prior to drinking. It's fun to admire the cool swirls of the syrup and cream, but encourage everyone to give it a little stir before drinking so that all the flavors meld. 


Spiced Punch

DRINK INGREDIENTS:
150ml (3 parts) Malibu 
200ml (4 parts) Pineapple Juice 
200ml (4 parts) Boiling Water 
50ml (1 part) Fresh Lime Juice 
25ml (½ part) Sugar Syrup 
Dash Angostura Bitters 
Sliced lemons and oranges 
1 x Malibu Tea/Spice Bag ( this contains 1 clove, 1 green cardamom, 1 allspice berry, ½ part star anise, 1cm cinnamon, 4g green tea)

HOW TO MIX THE DRINK:
Add the spice mix to the boiling water in a pan. Heat for 5 mins and then add the rest of the ingredients. Heat further until hot but not boiling and then serve in insulated punch glasses and dust with nutmeg.



Ingredients
• 1 mango, peeled, pitted, flesh thinly sliced lengthwise
• 1 cup raspberries
• 3 tablespoons raspberry liqueur
• 1 bottle (750 ml) rose wine
• 4 cups (32 ounces) chilled lemon-lime soda
• Ice

Directions
1. In a pitcher or large bowl, combine mango, raspberries, raspberry liqueur, and rose wine. Stir to combine and refrigerate 1 hour (or up to overnight). To serve, add lemon-lime soda and ice.


Ruby Sangria

1 (750-milliliter) bottle red wine, chilled

1/2 cup brandy

1/2 cup orange liqueur

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1 orange)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups orange wedges (from 1 large orange)

2 cups red apple wedges (from 1 large apple)

2 cups green apple wedges (from 1 large apple)

2 cups seedless green grapes

        Combine the wine, brandy, orange liqueur, orange juice, and sugar in a large 4-quart 

container or punch bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add all of the fruit and stir 

to combine. Refrigerate until chilled and the flavors have melded, about 2 to 3 hours.

When the sangria is ready, add the sparkling water and gently stir to combine. Fill cocktail or wineglasses with ice, pour in the sangria.