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July is Wedding Season for Shaken Not Stirred

10 Jul
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Wedding ceremony on backyard deck

Shaken Not Stirred started the July Wedding season with two memorable weddings last weekend. On Friday I traveled to San Diego and did a fantastic backyard wedding at a private home in the University Heights neighborhood. On Saturday I returned to Los Angeles and bartended a wedding at the Reptacular Ranch in the hills above Sylmar. It was a very hot weekend temperature wise, so I had my challenges.

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Groom and groomsmen waiting to proceed..

I don’t do many events in San Diego, but I do a few a year when they are worthwhile, and the University Heights wedding was one of those. The house where the wedding was held sits on quiet street that overlooks Mission Valley and the 8 freeway. They had the backyard decorated very nicely and chairs set up on a deck for the ceremony. I setup my portable bar in a corner of the yard and the hosts were kind enough to provide me with an umbrella. It was pretty hot for San Diego, but there was an ocean breeze.

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Kicks Band perform at wedding

After the ceremony ended, the guests and wedding participants filed up to the bar and I served a variety of mixed drinks – the most popular being the Long Island Ice Tea. Long Island Ice Teas are a labor intensive drink when you are making them one at a time, so I always make big batches of them when people are drinking them. Old Town Catering provided the food and they did a very good job. Kicks Band provided live music, and they were very good. The hosts asked me to stay two extra hours and I was happy to do so.

Wedding Season in Southern California

  • April Until October
  • Hire a bartender
  • Book early
  • Consider a backyard wedding
  • Make it memorable

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    Wedding party at Reptacular Ranch

I had a quick turnaround time and to hustle back to LA to do the wedding at Reptacular Ranch. The ranch is in the hills above Sylmar and is quite isolated from everything. You have to drive a good ten minutes off any main road up a winding canyon road to reach the ranch. The temperature was well over 100 and I brought 200 lbs of ice to last the night – it only lasted an hour and a half. I had another bartender, Matt, with me, so I drove back down the hill and got another 140 lbs of ice, which ended up being just enough to finish the night out.

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Bouquet toss

There were 125 guests at the wedding, so Matt and I stayed pretty busy slinging drinks until 11 pm. I didn’t have a chance to get the caterer’s info, but the food was pretty good, and DJ did a great job. This week I am in Montana visiting family, but have another wedding scheduled in Eagle rock when I return, and a corporate event in Burbank. Follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram.

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Shots!

 

Event Bartender Covers a Wedding Party and an Anniversary Party

27 Mar
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Backyard wedding in Indian Wells

Last weekend, Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles event bartender service made drinks at a wedding reception in Indian Wells, and then bartended an anniversary party in Oak Park the next day. That’s a lot of driving in one weekend but totally worth it. I met a bunch of really nice people, and imagine this – no awful ones. It was a great weekend for parties, and bartenders.

On Saturday I drove to Indian Wells, and I must say this is one of the most beautiful times to go for a drive in California. Wildflowers of purple, yellow, and orange are sprouting up everywhere, and the hills are greener than I have seen them in years. Even the mountains and hillsides around banning, look more like Montana, than arid California. I know it won’t last long – a couple of dry months and everything will be brown again, so Californians should enjoy it while it lasts.

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Backyard wedding ceremony

Indian Wells is particularly beautiful right now and a perfect spot to host a backyard wedding. The hosts of the wedding party set up a very nice backyard wedding outside their condo in a gated community at Indian Wells. The hosts purchased a nice little bar at the thrift store and that is where I set up. I made Old Fashioneds and various simple mixed drinks for approximately 80 guests. Whole Lotta Love BBQ and Catering of La Quinta provided the food and they put out some excellent grub.

It was a very nice ceremony and a friend of the bride and groom was the officiant. I think backyard weddings are the way to go if you can find a good spot to put one on. This was the perfect spot and the weather was just right. The bride and groom were impressed that I was bussing tables when I wasn’t busy making drinks. I have a lot of restaurant experience and I was trained to keep tables clear. It is no big deal for me and I will do it if I am not busy making drinks. Sometimes I can’t leave the bar from start to finish, but I am happy to help out any way I can.

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Shots!

Hire an Event Bartender

  • Get help with your drink menu and shopping list
  • Impress Your guests
  • Enjoy your own party
  • Get professional quality cocktails
  • Ultimately save money

I drove back to LA the next day and made my way to Oak Park in Ventura County to bartend an anniversary party at a synagogue. This was a kosher event so we had to follow the rules of the synagogue. I have now done this a few times so I have some understanding of it. My son went with me to help and we served over 100 people for a quick three hour event.

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Anniversary party at Oak Park Synagogue

Elan Adivi, one of La’s top private chef’s provide the catering, and just by coincidence it was his engagement party. He is only 24, engaged to by married, and a successful business owner.  I’m sure  his parents are very proud. I had another bartender help him with a City of Hope fundraiser event Saturday night.

This coming weekend I will be doing a wedding rehearsal party at Dana Point in southern Orange County on Friday night, and then a birthday party in Laguna Niguel the next day. That will finish off the month of March and bring us into April, which is a big month for weddings.

December Backyard Wedding Party in Northridge

20 Dec
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Bride and her companion

 

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering service for a backyard wedding party in Northridge. This was my only December wedding this year. It is of course, risky to have a backyard party in December in Los Angeles, because there is always a chance of rain, but luckily that didn’t happen this time. On the same day, there was a terrible freak accident at an outdoor wedding in Whittier – the mother of the bride was killed when a tree fell over and a toddler was severely injured. You just don’t know what is going to happen when you wake up in the morning.

The Northridge wedding party went off very well. I served Palomas, margaritas, and a few other simple drinks. Cafe N’ Stuff Catering provided the food, and they had some very good beef and mushroom chicken. The DJ was a family friend and he spun some really good old school and latin favorites. The only problem I saw all night was that one of the patio heaters didn’t work. There is always one of those that cause problems.

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Backyard wedding party in Northridge

Backyard Wedding Party Advantages

  • Save lot’s of money
  • Avoid insurance, security and related costs
  • Create an interesting space
  • More intimate setting
  • Hire your own vendors

It was kind of nice to bartend a wedding right in the middle of Christmas party season. I did many holiday parties this season, and will be bartending at a company holiday party in La Canada tomorrow. Then I have a New Year’s Eve party in downtown Los Angeles, and a New Year’s day party in Manhattan Beach scheduled.

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Shots!

Next month is looking kind of light for the bar catering business, and it usually is. I will probably bartend a few birthday parties and a corporate event or two. It has been awhile since I have been out to Palm Springs, so I will probably try to get some parties out there. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

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More shots!

Agoura Hills Recreation Center Wedding

3 Oct
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Back view of the Agoura Hills Recreation Center

On Friday night Shaken Not Stirred visited the Agoura Hills Recreation Center to provide bartending service for a wedding reception. The newlyweds were married a week or two prior in a small ceremony, but they wanted to throw a party for their family and friends. The recreation center at Agoura Hills is a very new venue and is great for these types of events.

This wedding party had about 100 guests and I handled the crowd by myself. This is about the limit for one bartender. I once did a wedding of 160 people and that was the absolute limit. The guests just don’t get very good service when there is only one bartender and that many people. On Friday I think I handled 100 people pretty well, but it was intense at times, because there is no break and the people just keep coming in waves.

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Dining room at the Agoura Hills Rec Center

I served some easy cocktails that the bride and groom had decided on. I served completely out of vodka by the end of the night and served a lot of red and white wine. It is now the season that wine becomes more popular as the temps start to cool down. The weather was perfect on Friday for this party.

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Shots!

Agoura Recreation Center Event Space

  • Large seating capacity
  • Ample free parking
  • Large dance floor
  • Friendly staff and security
  • Nice hilltop views

The Agoura Hills Recreation Center is a great venue and I hope to return there again. I had a quick turnaround after the wedding party because I had to get up the next morning and drive to Indian Wells to bartend a daytime two day pool party.  Next weekend I have nothing scheduled, but will surely be going somewhere. The fun is in not knowing exactly where in Southern California I will end up.

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Shots 2!

Redondo Beach Wedding at Sunset

22 Sep
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ID Please!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of providing bartending service on the Esplanade in Redondo Beach for a wedding that took place right at Sunset. Redondo Beach has to be the most beautiful area in Los Angeles County, and I miss living down there, so it was a treat for me just to go there. This was a weekday wedding, which was I don’t do very often, but keep them coming is all I can say.

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Sail boat sailing by

The wedding took place on the sun deck of the apartment complex where the groom lives. All of the other tenants in the apartment building were invited, and the groom explained to me that they all hang out. That is the way it is in the South Bay. The bride and groom met at the Bull Pen, which I thought was funny. The Bull Pen is a South Redondo bar that is notorious for being a cougar meat market. I went in there one time and a 70 year old man purposely bumped into me because he thought i was after his action. Apparently, real love does blossom at the Bull Pen and this wedding was proof positive of that.

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You may now kiss the bride

Redondo Beach Bars

  • The Bull Pen
  • Pat’s II
  • Hennessy’s
  • O’Hearn’s
  • Naja’s Place
  • The Thirsty Club

Cocktail hour started at 5pm and I served a lot of wine and standard mixed drinks like gin and tonics and rum and Cokes. One of the guests brought a few magnums of a very nice Cabernet. The wine was a 2005 and needed time to breath to come alive. The guests enjoyed it and drank several bottles. Made By Meg provided the catering and they had some excellent lamb chops and other goodies for the guests.

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Good morning, Vietnam!

The ceremony began right as the sun went down, and the sunset on the water was stunning as it always is. I used to watch those beautiful sunsets every day when I lived in Hermosa Beach. I will be returning to the South Bay next month to do a party in Hermosa Beach. On Saturday I return to Orange County to bartend a birthday party for some of my best clients at their home in Villa Park. Next weekend I will be bartending a Friday wedding in Agoura Hills, and then am driving out to Indian Wells to bartend a two day executive retreat.

Acton Wedding at the Robert Ranch

12 Sep
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Back of Robert Ranch House

On Saturday Shaken Not Stirred returned to the Acton area to provide bartending services at a new wedding venue called the Robert Ranch. It is set high on a hillside west of the 14 freeway, and as I was driving up there I wondered if my competition had booked a fake job and sent me on wild Goose chase. My GPS kept turning me onto a very rough dirt road and then it would say I was going the wrong way. This is why you can never trust GPS and should always write the directions down when going to a remote location. I finally found the place and it is very nice.

The wedding had 100 guests and I was bartending by myself. The bride and I decided that the guests would pour their own keg beer and I would make the cocktails. The hosts provided mason jars to all of the guests that had their names on them. This is such a better way to do it, rather than using hundreds of plastic cups.

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Bride and Groom great their guests

Robert Ranch Weddings

  • Great Views of the valley
  • Scenic photo ops
  • Beautifully decorated house
  • Large staging area
  • Gazebo for caterers and bar

I tapped the kegs and tried to pour the foam off of them. This why I usually advise against kegs. They are problematic in several different ways, unless you have a C02 regulator and tap. The pump taps are often a pain in the ass and they pour very foamy or slow. The guests managed to drain both kegs by the end of the night, even though they were pouring badly.

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Crown Valley at Sunset

I served completely out of tequila, vodka, and whisky and the wedding coordinator had to run and get some more. The catered dinner was barbecue, and I didn’t get the caterer’s card, but it was very good. Later, and I have never seen this done – they brought in a taco cart and served a second meal – Elisa’s Catering Service provided that. Serving the second meal was a great idea, especially when people are drinking heavily. 

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Shots!

Next weekend on Sunday I will be bartending a post Labor Day Party on Sunday for a repeat client in Sherman Oaks. Saturday night is still available. I like booking last minute weddings. The wedding at Robert Ranch I only booked a week in advance. They work out just as well as weddings that were booked a year in advance. If you haven’t done so already, please like us on Facebook.

Rancho Yeguado Trujillo Wedding

6 Sep
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Stone wedding arch at Rancho Yeguado Trujillo

On Saturday Shaken Not Stirred traveled to the outer limits of Southern California to provide bartending service at Rancho Yeguado Trullio wedding. To get there, you drive north on the 5 Freeway over the grapevine, then you take a left turn on Highway 166. You drive through a lot of farm land, through beautiful Maricopa, and then over some barren hills to the town of New Cuyama, population 161. In California, this is about as the close to the middle of nowhere you can get. Just when you think you are lost, you see this fantastic structure off the road next to many horse stables.

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Fountain behind stadium

You turn onto a cobble stone road and drive past many horse stables and beautiful horses, a stone stadium and fantastic fountain. I was unprepared for this – and was thinking – what is this, Pablo Escobar’s California home? It is the Rancho Yeguado Trujillo. It has a quite a history, which you can read about here. The information about it online as a wedding venue is a little hard to come by, but it is a fantastic place. I have been to many spectacular wedding venues around California, but the Rancho Yeguado Trujillo wins the prize for grandeur.  The stone platform where the bride and groom sit looks like it was built for a Roman emperor.

Rancho Yeguado Trujillo Wedding Venue

  • Secluded, scenic location
  • Beautiful stone structures
  • Adjacent chapel
  • Ample parking and room for vendors
  • Band shell

 

The wedding had 300 guests in attendance, mostly coming from Bakersfield, which is the closest population center. My son came with me and we set up my two portable bars side by side. The caterer, Victor’s Mexican Grill of Bakersfield set up adjacent to us on the stone walkways that surround the property. We didn’t get hit all at once like we usually do when wedding ceremonies end, but we did get and served hundreds if not thousands of drinks during the night. We kept running out of ice and somebody would go fetch more – I don’t know where they were going for it, because there aren’t exactly many stores around there.

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Mariachis serenade guests

It was a busy wedding and I think everyone had a good time. We went through a case of tequilla, and nearly a case of Buchanon’s. They had Mariachis and another Mexican band providing the entertainment. After the wedding, my son and I loaded up and stayed at a motel in nearby Maricopa. On Sunday, I had to get up and drive to Acton to bartend another party.

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Shots!