Champagne Fountains Make A Wedding Party Bubble!
Celebrating a Special Event? May your Good Times Flow like Champagne!
An elegant champagne fountain adds an unforgettable flare to the champagne toast for a wedding reception, a landmark anniversary celebration, or a special banquet.
The champagne waterfall has become a centerpiece of luxury cruise ship celebrations, that pyramid of champagne glasses sparkling with a cascade of bubbly, and no Oscar night party is complete without a magical lighted fountain of champagne as a stunning centerpiece to the buffet table.
But what do we really mean when we say we want a champagne fountain for our own parties - a waterfall or a fountain? And is it possible to do a champagne fountain without a team of able stewards to build that astonishing pyramid of glassware? Yes, indeed - whatever your budget, the glamor of a champagne fountain is within your reach!
Read on for tips on building a champagne waterfall (a fun video demonstration) and on filling a champagne fountain, the necessary party supplies, champagne punch recipes, interesting tidbits of information I've collected about champagne fountains, and more. Salut!
Photo: Preparing the Champagne Waterfall by Allan Grey.
Party Beverage Fountains
What's in your Beverage Fountain? - For a fancy party or reception, what's your favorite style of beverage service?
Origins of the Champagne Fountain
Who came up with the idea of making a waterfall or fountain of Champagne in the first place?
We do know from memoirs that champagne fountains were popular in both Europe and North American in the latter 19th century, and that the New York City mansion built in 1859 by the financier Leonard W. Jerome boasted a ballroom with both champagne fountains and fountains that circulated cologne to scent the air.
The glass most commonly used for building a champagne waterfall is not the tall elegant flute that's preferred by conoisseurs of the French wine, but the coupe glass designed in England about 1663, which has been in-and-out of fashion ever since, notably in the nightclub circles of post-prohibition USA, in the 1930s.
The post-WWII fascination with all things mechanical and the renewed prosperity enjoyed by the western world in the post-war years led to a bit of a passion for champagne waterfalls and circulating fountains filled with champagne rather than plain water - as a symbol of indulgence, celebration, and unashamed affluence - as late as the 1950s. One of Britain's first celebrity hairdressers, the flamboyant Raymond Bessone had a champagne fountain in his salon in the 1950s, and there is certainly an association with Hollywood of the period.
Today, with a nostalgic look back to a more innocent and affluent period and an enduring trend for retro design in the worlds of fashion and décor, as well as hospitality (red velvet cupcakes, anyone?), we shouldn't be surprised that the champagne waterfall and its tabletop cousin, the champagne fountain, are back in the celebration spotlight once again!
Stainless Steel Champagne Waterfall - Just add Champagne Glasses... and your Bubbly!
For those of us who don't have a team of expert waterfall wranglers on staff, Paderno of Italy comes to the rescue with a special-purpose item to ease the set up and service. Place the champagne glasses on the waterfall tiers, then make the traditional pour of champagne into the top glass, overflowing to fill the glasses of each lower tier in turn and create the famous waterfall effect around the lighted central column. A memorable beverage presentation!
How to Build a Champagne Waterfall - You need a very steady hand, and a good tall ladder!
Have you ever wondered how to build a tower of Champagne glasses to make a Champagne waterfall? Watch as the expert crew members of the luxury cruise ship Pacific Dawn create a glamorous waterfall in this cool time-lapse video. A Champagne waterfall is a gorgeous sight, and it's quite impressive to watch the pyramid of champagne glasses going up tier by tier, each vessel so meticulously placed!
If you plan to use your champagne fountain just as a decoration, rather than as an active spectacle to entertain your guests, Martha Stewart suggests building your tower of coupe Champagne glasses and filling it with Champagne (or, if you're on a budget, a convincing substitute for the real French bubbly) before your guests arrive, and set out trays of filled glasses at the base of the tower (or pass the trays) to serve your thirsty guests.
Champagne Fountain - Classy 5-Gallon Champagne Fountain
An alternative to the traditional champagne waterfall - and a practical for most banquets and buffets, since we can't always organize a reception to accommodate a waterfall presentation for the bubbly - is a champagne fountain.
Typically, a champagne fountain holds the beverage in a reservoir. When the power is turned on, the liquid cascades down into a bowl at the base and is pumped back up to the top to pour over again - an unending cascade of sparkling liquid for stunning visual effect. So much more festive than a simple punch bowl on your buffet table!
Festive Punch Recipes
- Anniversary Punch with champagne, bourbon, cranberry cocktail, lemon or lime juice, and lemon-lime soft drink - very southern!
- Champagne Punch with brandy and orange liqueur is sparkled by carbonated water.
- Champagne Spray Punch is tinted by the bright red color of cranberries, wonderful for a winter wedding or holiday banquet.
- Golden Wedding Punch is refreshingly citrus in taste, golden yellow in color, and (as written) a non-alcoholic punch recipe.
- Open House Punch features orange juice and lemonade concentrates and lemon-lime soda, with a wallop of blended whiskey.
Don't forget to lay in a supply of extra glasses or punch cups to augment those that are included with the fountain you choose - most of the party fountains on the market right now will come with only 8 cups. If your event is catered, the caterer can usually provide the extra glassware at a reasonable cost, or check the Yellow Pages for Party Supply Rental companies in your area.
Sticking to your party budget will be easier if you make your champagne fountain into a "sparkling wine fountain" and save the expensive bubbly for pouring by the glass from a chilled bottle, at least for the head table.
A sparkling wine or punch will often work better in a low-cost fountain, too, as highly carbonated champagne may create so many bubbles that it can prevent the lower-cost beverage fountains from working properly. They don't call it "bubbly" for nothing!