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How to Host a Not-So-Traditional Wine & Cheese Engagement Party

Images and content from Ten Thousand Villages

As a fair trade pioneer, Ten Thousand Villages believes market-based solutions can end the cycle of poverty. They are not your typical business. They are a non-profit social enterprise that partners with independent small-scale artisan groups, co-ops and workshops to bring their wares to our market.

Today our dear friends at Ten Thousand Villages are sharing a unique engagement party featuring some of their wonderful products! Enjoy!

Ten Thousand Villages on The Good Beginning

Traditionally, engagement parties were hosted by the father-of-the-bride to officially announce the betrothal of his daughter. Times have changed, however, and so have engagement parties. Emily Post’s rules of etiquette are no longer a given. Instead, a couple may carefully choose and curate traditions to set the tone of a wedding, to tell the story of their courtship, and to invite their family and friends to meet and take part in the months of planning and celebration ahead.

Planning your own engagement party may be the first opportunity you have to eschew some traditions while keeping the ones you love. And because it’s a more laid-back affair than the actual wedding, you are less likely to scandalize your in-laws by doing so. An easy way to do this is to turn a classic party tradition, like a wine and cheese tasting, on its head. Add craft beers and charcuterie to the mix and allow your guests to vote for their favorites with the promise that the winning pairing will be added to the wedding day menu. The elegant theme gets a fun new twist that will not only give your guests a chance to be directly involved in wedding planning, but will make the mixing and mingling of your different friend and family groups seem effortless.

Here’s how to plan a not-so-traditional wine and cheese engagement party that your friends and family will love.

  1. Choose wisely. Keeping in mind your wedding budget, so you can afford to make good on your promise to serve the winners, choose a wide assortment of wines and craft beers that you and your fiancé enjoy. Variety is key. The more interesting combinations you can serve, the better. It will keep the flow of taste-testing moving throughout the evening, as well as encourage a livelier competition. Consider the flavor of each choice, and match them with a cheese or meat that will enhance the unique flavor of the wine or beer. For example, a Sauvignon Blanc pairs perfectly with fresh goat cheese and pine nuts, while Pinot Noir and brie make a good match. Beers are better off served with charcuterie. The hoppy flavor of an IPA is well suited for spicy sausage, and a refreshing wheat beer and a mild prosciutto pair well.

Ten Thousand Villages on The Good Beginning

Ten Thousand Villages on The Good Beginning

  1. Set the scene. Since you’ve spent the time hand-picking your flavor combinations, it’s important to place each bottle of wine or beer next to its partner. Each option should be clearly labeled to keep the voting accurate. A slate serving board that can be written on with chalk or place cards that display the names of the cheeses and charcuterie are a must. If your choices were sourced locally, or have a personal story behind them, make a note of that in their description! Sharing why you chose each option is part of the fun, and will help your guests get to know you better as a couple. And don’t forget to serve some rustic breads, mustards, olives, and dipping oils as well to cleanse palates and fill stomachs.  

Ten Thousand Villages on The Good Beginning

Ten Thousand Villages on The Good Beginning

Let the voting begin! Have some ballot cards ready to go before the party starts. Direct your guests to the cards and pens when they arrive, so they are equipped to cast their votes the minute they start tasting. The directions are simple and easily customizable: vote for your favorite wine and beer from the choices served. The votes will be tallied at the end of the night, and the winners will be featured on the wedding day menu. Whether you choose to serve the top three or just the one that receives the highest number of votes is up to you. After all, it’s your party!

Ten Thousand Villages on The Good Beginning

Ten Thousand Villages on The Good Beginning

Ten Thousand Villages on The Good Beginning

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