Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
Gary was raised in Asheville, North Carolina and has lived all of the US. Shay was born and raised in Lewiston, Idaho and kept it close only moving to parts of Oregon and Northern California. We moved to Gladstone in January 2018. Shay previously lived in the Portland/Mt. Hood area from 2007 to 2012.
What is your favorite thing about Portland?
Location, location, location. We love that you can be downtown Portland, city living and in 20 minutes you’re out in the country, an hour and a half you’re at the coast or on Mt. Hood. Or even jumping on a plane to go wherever. We love the endless options that surround Portland itself.
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
Powell’s Books wins for Gary; he is a cocktail bookworm and they do not disappoint. How easy it is to get outside and walk with our pitbull, Pakeeta; she loves going to Mt. Tabor. And how close Portland is to the mountains and the ocean.
How long have you been working as a professional wedding mobile margarita truck?
Snowbirds has been in business since July 2016. We originally built the truck to service high-volume events (concerts, festivals); that’s why we able to pump out drinks fast and delicious every time. We booked our first wedding — 300 people — and fell in love. We had a BLAST being part of such huge day and decided we need to focus more on weddings. So this will be our first year going full wedding mode.
What people/training/experiences/opportunities led you to this career path?
Gary’s childhood best friend’s parents worked at The Biltmore Estate in Asheville. He grew up watching the way they took care of people and the pride they had for their hospitality jobs. His first job was in a restaurant. Shay has never worked anything but customer service/hospitality industry, and from the start, she’s had a talent for knowing how to make people happy. With Gary bartending (for the last 14 years), we knew we wanted to do something for ourselves but also for the people. Thus, the Margarita Truck happened very naturally.
How would you describe the importance of your role and why do you feel a couple should hire a professional wedding mobile margarita truck for their wedding day?
It’s your big day; you want it to be described as “best wedding ever!” and having a margarita truck at yours puts you at the top of the list. Hiring a professional to serve the alcohol at a wedding is a great idea for numerous reasons. You want people to have a great time.
What is the best part of your job?
Margaritas! Being able to work with each other as husband and wife making someone else’s wedding dreams happen. We truly enjoy being part of why people are having such a good time.
Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
We work really well together, and when building the truck, we designed it so it would just be the two of us. Cue Music (“Just the two of us, we can make it if we try, just the two of us”)!
What do you attribute to your success as a wedding mobile margarita truck? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
There is definitely all sorts of mobile bartending happening these days, but as far as a margarita truck, you don’t see very many of them driving around. We stand out because we stand in! We take pride in the fact that we actually serve out of our truck and what in we serve from it. Gary worked really hard at perfecting the perfect margarita and piña colada recipes.
At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
It’s always a smart idea to secure any vendors for your wedding early to ensure you get who you want for your wedding. We suggest securing your venue first; that way, you know if there are any restrictions on what kind of alcohol service you’re allowed.
Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
We draw our inspiration from the craft cocktail movement. Using fresh juices and real ingredients is kind of the cornerstone of our business. We’re excited about the going-green trend. We use biodegradable cups, bamboo spoons, napkins made from recycled materials. Our truck even runs on natural gas.
What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?
Make sure they have the staff and ability to serve the number of guests in a fast, efficient way without compromising the quality of the drink.
What is your best advice for wedding clients?
Don’t stress out! This is YOUR big day, so make sure you’re getting what you want — not what the vendor wants, not what your soon-to-be mother-in-law wants, not what your maid of honor wants, but what YOU want.
Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?
All we know is hospitality and customer service. We live for it. Working with us is ridiculously easy. We love being the source behind a good time. Want something besides a margarita or piña colada? We can add a signature cocktail to the menu, as well as serve your beer and wine! Like we said: ridiculously easy to work with.
The featured image and all other photos in this post are courtesy of Snowbirds Margarita Truck