So you’re planning your big event and you would like to offer your guests a variety of cocktails and drinks – but you don’t have the budget for a full bar. Never fear, if you stock your bar using our Basic Bar Checklist you can offer them a great range of cocktails without blowing all your moola!

Water-Wise Flowers

Gone are the days when roses, lilies and other water-guzzling flowers were the taste of summer weddings. Wedding planners and smart brides are opting for water-wise plants and indigenous flowers to not only conserve our natural resources but save a penny or two too. With water restrictions tightening, the price of flowers that require lots of watering is set to skyrocket.

Proteas, lavender, zinnias and strelitzia are a few wonderful choices and you can pair them with succulents for a gorgeous on-trend look.

Our Favourite Wedding Trends for 2018

Bright Colour Palettes

The best wedding stylists know that sticking with two hues (or two hues and an accent colour) is the best way to ensure that your wedding design looks gorgeous. Remember that less is more.

Our advice is to use one strong statement colour and dot it around your venue e.g. tablecloths, centrepieces, seating cards. Make sure that other elements are in a softer hue or in cream or white to allow your statement colour to really pop.

Take a look at our Top 5 Colour Combinations for Your 2018 Wedding.


Live Music

Add a truly special touch to your ceremony or reception by hiring a live musician or band. There are a host of talented musicians looking for opportunities to perform and they need not break the bank. Contact the music department at your local high school or university if your budget is tight and if you have a little more to spend, companies like …. And …. Can hook you up with some amazing local musical talent.

Be sure to either attend a live gig or have them audition before you make any commitment. You want to make sure that you’ve picked the right band or musician for your big day!

Make it Personal

When choosing a wedding theme, consider using the place you met or a city you visited together as inspiration. Your guests are there to celebrate your love so create an experience that’s all about you. Is there a moment or place or hobby you share that is particularly special to you both? Using something that is special to you as inspiration will make a lot of your wedding planning decisions a lot easier.

Eco-Friendly or Socially Conscious Wedding Favours

Wedding favours are a really great way to share a cause or organisation that you are passionate about with your guests. Perhaps you’re into organic and sustainable produce. Why not give your guests a gift of seeds or organic herbs in a recyclable jar?

Organisations like KidzPositive or Township bags can make custom wedding favours for your big day and proceeds go back to the craftsmen. Whatever you decide to do, choose to purchase from social entrepreneurs or small businesses that offer sustainable products – and be sure to share this information with your guests!

Our Favourite Wedding Trends for 2018


Alcoholic Ice LolliesIngredients

3 cups Watermelon, cubed
114 grams freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
140 grams White Rum
113 grams Simple Syrup
12 large Spearmint leaves, rough chopped


Blend all ingredients on high until fully incorporated. Pour into popsicle moulds; cover and insert wooden sticks. Tip: applying a layer of foil over the top of the mould or lid of the mould allows placement of wooden sticks and they will not float out of the mould.

Freeze for several hours or overnight. Run hot water for a few seconds on the outside of the mould to release pops!






Alcoholic Ice LolliesIngredients

700ml tonic
45ml gin
¼ lime, juiced
A few slices of cucumber

Mix together the tonic, gin and lime juice then pour into your moulds over the cucumber slices. Easy!






Alcoholic Ice LolliesIngredients

3 tbsp fine sugar
125ml espresso
2 tbsp vodka
4 tbsp water


Dissolve the sugar in the water over the heat and bring to the boil. Take from the heat and pour into a cocktail shaker. Add the cooled down espresso and vodka and shake well. Once it’s a decent temperature pour into moulds and impatiently wait.

Planning the perfect party? Here are 7 bar ideas that will add a unique and trendy twist to your soiree.

  1. Serve an Apertivo

The serving of low-alcohol drinks with light snacks is an Italian tradition designed to stimulate the appetite. The two most popular and classic choices are the Negroni, Pimms No 5 or Italy’s most popular aperitif Aperol (available in South Africa) which is made from bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona. A truly continental start to your event.

Bar Ideas

  1. Rose

Gone are the days when rose was considered the naff tipple of the great unstylish. Blush pink wines and bubblies are now gracing the bars of the ‘It’ crowd – thanks in no small part to influential millennials and Instagrammers. Speaking of the ‘It’ crowd, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Chateau Miraval Rose sold out in 5 hours – all 6 000 bottles of it. Wonder who will get the wine estate?

  1. Non-alcoholic options

The rise of craft beverages has led to a huge increase in products that cater for the non-alcohol consuming market and event organisers can now provide their guests with some really delicious options. They include The Duchess (a sugar-free, alcohol-free gin and tonic), Becks alcohol-free beers or JC le Roux’s Le Domaine and Le Fleurette non-alcoholic bubbly – which still has the yummy yeasty flavour of champagne that is completely absent from the carbonated grape juice that is normally passed off as alcohol-free bubbly.)

  1. Well-executed classics

Chaotic times have driven people to seek out simpler things – which is why there is a resurgence in the popularity of classics like the gin gimlet, Manhattans and light summery Bellinis. Create them using original recipes with as few frills as possible.

  1. Boozy Ice Lollies

The fun and flavour is endless.  Choices range from a simple gin and tonic lolly to grapefruit, basil and vodka or a peach bellini. Visit our blog here for our 3 Favourite Boozy Ice Lolly recipes.

Bar Ideas

  1. Chalk Boards

Add a touch of tongue-in-cheek humour to your bar décor set up with funny signs. They’re also a handy way to communicate what’s available if you have limited your bar stock to certain beverages like soft drinks, beers, ciders and wine.

  1. Lounge Pockets

If you’re aiming to ensure your guests are relaxed and at ease, set up a few lounge pockets around the bar area. Let’s be honest, no one really likes standing around when they can chill on a comfy couch and have a catch up with friends.

Check out our lounge furniture here.

XL Events Lounge Pockets

It’s early June and already nights are becoming a little cooler. It’s a time of year when keeping your guests warm becomes a top priority. Nothing spoils a day or night out than cold toes and noses!

Here are some tips to bring warmth to your events this winter:

1. Serve soup as a starter

Warm your guests from the inside out by starting with a nice hot soup. Make sure it is served piping hot and chose something hearty and perhaps even a little exotic like an Asian ramen noodle soup or a French Bouillabaisse.

How to Keep your event guests warm this winter


2. Serve brandy or port as a welcome drink

This is a legitimate scientific fact: alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate, particularly the capillaries just under the surface of your skin. When you have a drink, the volume of blood brought to the skin’s surface increases, making you feel warm. Remember hot chocolate for the non-drinkers.


3. Have blankets or pashminas available

Have baskets of blankets dotted around your event venue or place one on each guest’s chair. Have pashminas embroidered with your logo or initials (for your wedding) and give them away to your female guests as mementos.

How to Keep your event guests warm this winter

We tied these blankets with a ribbon to present them beautifully. Browse our selection of blankets available for rental here.

4. Hire infrared heaters

I always recommend infrared (IR) heaters to my clients. IR heaters provide instant heat as soon as you turn them on so you don’t have to warm up the space beforehand. Most importantly, you can direct the heat – infrared heat is invisible light with lots of energy so when the “light” hits an object, heat is created. IR heaters are also far more economical than gas heaters.

How to Keep your event guests warm this winter

Infrared Heaters are the perfect choice for tented events as they pose no fire risk. Rent infrared heaters here.

5. Host your event under a tent

One of the most beautiful events I’ve ever worked on was held under a starry night sky in a clear tent. You get the best of both worlds – a beautiful view and toasty warmth. Even Bedouin tents with open sides can make an enormous difference as they trap heat.

How to keep your event guests warm this winter

There are a multitude of options for tented events including a clear or opaque roof.

6. Have a hot drink station available throughout the event

Having a hot drink station serving tea, coffee, hot chocolate and perhaps even gluhwein is a terrific way to ensure that your guests can warm up as often as they feel they need to. Don’t make them wait until the end of the night!