Homemade brews, wine add personal touch to receptionsWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Dave Kubacki, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
To keep wedding costs down and add a unique touch to proceedings, many local couples embark on do it yourself (DIY) projects, such as decorations, flowers — and now even home brews and wine.
With the advent of home-brewing kits such as Mr. Beer and home winemaking kits such as Vintner’s Reserve, making your own beer and wine has never been easier.
Jackie Swyers said the decision to have homemade wine at her wedding was both for uniqueness and cost-effectiveness.
“We first saw the idea to make our own wine online when we were pricing little gifts to place on the table for our guests,” Swyers said. “The price of making our own wine was similar to having a tiny candy bar with our name and wedding date on it. With the wine, we were able to put our own labels on with our names, wedding date and a little saying.”
For Joe Lindsey, brewing beer was something he had been doing for years. His wife, Megan, is the one who originally got him started with it. This made brewing beer for their wedding a natural progression.
“My wife had bought me the brewing starting kit a few years earlier,” Lindsey said. “Brewing was something we did together and we both liked drinking beer, so making it for our wedding just kind of made sense.”
According to the American Homebrewers Association, there are more than 1 million homebrewers in the United States.
Homebrewing, however, has not always been a legal option. Lindsey and others have benefited from an amendment signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, which created an exemption from taxation for beer brewed at home for personal and family use.
For Lauren Britt, making beer for her wedding fit well with the theme of the day.
“We brew our own beer throughout the year and wanted to give our guests something we really loved and was homemade,” Britt said. “Nothing is better than home-brew to convey a sense of craftsmanship and personalization to a wedding.”
Swyers said the winemaking process also offered additional social possibilities both short and long term.
“We actually had a wine-corking party with the wedding party,” Swyers said. “This was something to get everyone involved and create a memory. We also asked our family and closest friends to keep the bottle and help us celebrate our one-year anniversary by opening it that day and possibly getting together to do so.”
For Deidre Leaders, this personalized and unique twist also offered a nice cost savings.
“Planning a wedding can get really expensive,” Leaders said. “Making the wine ourselves was an area we could actually save some money while making something unique and, in some cases, equally as tasty. Some of the wedding costs just seemed to be for the birds.”
In Lindsey’s case, brewing beer also added some additional fun by providing some friendly competition between the bride and groom.
“I brewed a pale ale and my wife brewed a stout,” Lindsey said. “The guests seemed to have liked hers a bit better than mine even though I had more brewing experience than her. We had a little unspoken competition, but in the end, she won.”
Britt believes homebrewing and winemaking is becoming more popular because it’s a creative outlet.
“People are starting to use it as a method of personal expression,” Britt said. “Moving to the wedding scene is just a natural extension.”