Love That Wedding! (10)

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Category: love that bar!

  1. 'GETTING TO KNOW YOU!' | NJAC - bespoke mobile cocktail bar hire for weddings and events!

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    '10 minutes with...' | NJAC

    07919 096457 | | Wiltshire

    Time for a cocktail? I think so! Today we're catching up with Josh Pugh, owner of  "Loved & Recommended" NJAC. We LOVE team NJAC here at LTW! and have had the pleasure of working with them on a number of occasions.  Having sampled *quite* a few of their cocktails at many of our events (yep, love our job!), we can certainly vouch for their professionalism, dedication and downright delicious drinks! Josh... over to you!

    1. Who are the faces behind the business? Tell us a little about NJAC. Where is, and who can we find in, the office

    Josh is the face of the business, but NJAC is a family business run from our office within our family home in Salisbury.  My wife Soffia does a lot of the admin and planning and even the kids get involved in loading up and cleaning the bars and packing away.

    2. What’s in a name? Why ‘NJAC’?

    It stands for 'Not Just Any Cocktail' - the idea is that an NJAC cocktail is the real deal and not just a packet mix cocktail or something heavily thinned down with mixers - we use only the best ingredients, fresh juices and recipes we have mastered over time!

    3. What’s been your biggest achievement to date?

    Our biggest achievement is probably being the first person to win the SWBOYA Young Entrepreneur Award... two years running! We were also quite proud to be interviewed by BBC Radio and to have made cocktails for some well-known celebrities we won’t name…

    4. Spill the beans… how did you get into mixing cocktails and how long have you been running NJAC? What do you love most about your job?

    NJAC has been running for over 3 years now and I gained my cocktail education just before setting up the business. It was very much with NJAC in mind when I was learning my trade, however I have always had a flair for cocktails and catering. I love the creative side of my job; I love to experiment with flavours and discover new pairings and new cocktails.

    5. When it comes to wedding food and drink, there’s so much choice… what makes you unique and why should couples come to NJAC for their wedding bar?

    We only got married ourselves last September and feel like we have this new found understanding of how important every detail is! We pride ourselves in what we do and also love doing it, giving you a flawless, stress-free bar so there is one less thing to stress over!

    6. Briefly, talk us through a typical wedding consultation?

    We really want to make the bar service as personal as all the other aspects of the day, so we like to get to know our Brides and Grooms and understand their theme from their prospective. So we like to meet with the couple and create a bespoke menu together with them, we normally look at flavours and options and have some tasters to get the right mix - we often even design a drink to go with the colour scheme or something that is personal to the couple!

    7. Who or what inspires you? Do you ever come up with your own unique ‘NJAC’cocktails?

    I am inspired by striving to be unique. Therefore creating our own cocktails is absolutely essential. For example I recently created a Lemon Meringue Pie cocktail which was absolutely delicious and is proving to be a massive hit on our menu at the moment.

    8. Let’s talk trends… what kind of weddings are your couples planning? What are they looking for in bar hire?

    At the moment there is a lot of country style weddings, Prosecco is high fashion, especially for the reception and we are seeing a lot of Prosecco Bellini’s and Apperol Fizz for reception drinks - cocktails over all are in fashion, Champagne is a thing of the past!

    9. When you’re not busy working weddings, how else do cocktails feature in your business?

    Weddings are only a part of what we do, we do a lot of garden parties, birthdays, corporate events or anything really. We host a lot of fun masterclasses which are brilliant for team building or hen parties - even non-alcoholic events! We also offer fantastic packages for the corporate sector and the MOD.  Anywhere you could have a drink, we’re there!

    10. If you weren’t a mixologist, what else would you be doing now/what job would you love to do?

    I would be a football coach! I recently worked at Bemerton St John Primary School as a football coach, alongside NJAC and we won the league with the boys' and girls' team and the cup with the girls! However, NJAC is far too busy to keep that going!

    11. Come on then… what’s your favourite cocktail(s)?

    It’s an impossible question to answer! It’s like having to say which one is your favourite child!! Saying that, a properly made Mojito never goes a miss!

    12. What exciting things can we look forward to in the future?

    We always get asked about the future of NJAC and where do we see NJAC in a few years? And the answer is always... the sky is the limit!  We started with a small one man bar in the back of a Clio - we now have 3 bars and are looking at investing in a couple of others. We now have 2 awards, a van, accept card payments and are serving at events we thought we’d never go to - we want to look back at that in 10 years' time and think that’s nothing!

    Thanks so much Josh - right, we're off for a Cosmo! To find out more about NJAC's Wedding Bar Hire & Cocktail Package, click here

    Pssstttt : if you're considering a DIY bar, that's great, but we recommend you read this first!

  2. The Marriage Makers : Saddlers Bar

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    saddlers bar (directory) (3)

    Meet the Marriage Makers | Saddlers Bar
    proudly part of 'The Recommended Collection'


    Tell us a little about you and your lovely business!

    Saddlers Bar is a beautifully converted Horse Box Bar. Lined with copper, decked with oak and filled to the brim with delicious drinks. We serve a wide range to suit all tastes but can also specialise if you simply prefer a gin/prosecco/cocktail/pimms bar for your big day. A unique feature of our Horse Box is our on-board draft system serving icy cold lager, cider and ales. Essentially if it's drink-related, we have it covered!

    - who are you/who's in the team? 
    Saddlers is a family affair. Lela looks after the customers and arranges our bookings. Al brings the muscle power and big smiles no matter what’s going on and Maddie, our daughter is great when we need an extra pair of hands behind the bar.   We work so well as a family because we know eachother’s strong points and weaknesses so we can really plough our efforts in to the things we are all good at. 

    - where are you based and where do you cover?
    Saddlers HQ is in the leafy outskirts of the beautiful city of Salisbury. We cover the whole of the South.

    - how long have you been trading?
    We launched in May 2018 with a very busy first year.  To date we have completed over 20 events.

    - what do you specialise in and offer?
    Aside from delivering a stylish luxury bar service with everything you would expect to find in a bar, we also offer drinks packages to suit all occasions; arrival/reception drinks, table wine, and bespoke themed cocktails designed and named especially for our clients.

    - any awards we should know about?
    AWARDS - YES! We were very fortunate to be nominated for the ‘Best British Newcomer’ in the British Wedding Awards. This category is voted for by the general public and so we were ecstatic when, in February this year, we were crowned winners. It is so nice to be recognised for our efforts and to have such a prestigious award in our first year. We’ve also been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2019 Muddy Stilettos Award for ‘Best Bar in Wiltshire’ – how exciting is that! Voting closes in 6 days, so if you’d like to vote for us, we would be super grateful - here’s the link >>

    What is your favourite thing about working in the wedding industry?

    Our speciality is weddings! We have been privileged to be part of so many weddings in quite a short period of time. There is something very special about being able to contribute to such an intimate and special event, which makes our job so rewarding.  The bar is an integral element to any good party and so we really enjoy making sure that every little detail is taken care of; from our polished paintwork and shiny hubcaps, through to the quality of the strawberries in our pimms. We get even more excited if we can get a little bit creative and encompass the theme of your wedding in to the décor of the bar for the day.

    Are you spotting any trends for 2019/2020?

    Our predictions are around the "less is more" theory. We are seeing more and more small and intimate DIY weddings as couples want to personalise with meaningful touches that reflect their relationship, interests, and sense of style. Our old friend ‘tradition’ is often being offered the day off and little miss ‘creativity’ is working overtime to create less with more.

    From a Bar perspective this is definitely the year of the cocktail but, with a growing focus on quality and provenance of ingredients. There are so many good spirits on the market now, but there are also some pretty awful ones too. We take the guess work out and ensure top notch tipples by road-testing all of our products (tough job we know!).

    Couples are also loving having a personalised cocktail designed for them and named after them, or their dog, or even a special place.  

    What is not in, is over-the-top, in-your-face, bigger-is-better weddings. ‘keeping up with trends’ and filling the day with fussy trinkets and ‘wedding-alia’ is out, out, out.

    What do you offer that others can’t? What makes you special?

    What attracts customers to our beautiful bar is our stunning good looks of course (the bar that is – not us)! We have spared no expense in creating a stunning addition to your big day with the highest grade materials of copper and oak, beautiful ambient lighting, and hi-tech equipment... the list goes on.

    What makes us different is that we invest a huge amount of time in sourcing great products from small batch producers and crafting excellent drinks from our finds. We meet the producers and each product has to earn a place on the shelf by demonstrating excellent craftsmanship, provenance and taste. This means that along with your all-time favourite drinks, in our bar you will always discover a new favourite to share with your friends. We believe this should be the benchmark standard for all bars and that everyone should be able to enjoy a little bit of luxury on their special day so, we keep our prices low. Simple.

    What five words would you use to describe your business?

    Stylish, Sophisticated and Seriously-Good Drinks (is that 6 words?!?)

    What top tips would you like to share with our lovely couples planning their big day?

    A common misconception is that it will be simple to buy your own alcohol and run a “DIY Bar”. The truth is, it can be achieved but it is certainly not simple. How much stock is needed? How do you chill your drinks? Glasswear? Who is responsible for the bar once everyone is tipsy? Who will clear up? What about allergies? And then there is the all-important ICE!!!! Who calls last orders? The outcome is often very messy.

    It can cost as little as £250 to hire a beautiful bar with licenced staff and all of the accompaniments needed, to serve deliciously chilled drinks to your guests, and we take care of the clear up operation too. After all of the effort that you will have invested in to planning your dream day, don’t leave this key element to chance.

    Above all, our general wedding planning advice would be to keep things simple. Work out a budget and keep a close eye on it. Pick your top 5 must-haves and build on them. Venue, dress/suits, bar, caterer, music.  If you are at the very early stages of planning, a good starting point for inspiration is pinterest.  Create a board for each of your top 5’s, but limit yourself to 10 images per board (one in, one out). This will help to narrow down what you want to achieve without swamping yourself with too many ideas.  

    Anything else you would like to tell us?

    We would absolutely love for you to follow us on instagram and facebook, and if you're looking for a beautiful bar for your big day, please do bear us in mind. "Cheers!"


    Saddlers Bar


    LTW! Badge - MARRIAGE MAKERS (500)