Mobile bars are becoming more popular at weddings, especially in the Pacific Northwest, and today, we’re thrilled to introduce you to a new local vendor! The Swig Rig is a stylish vintage rig that serves up delicious drinks and cocktails personalized to your style and budget! It’ll also look great in all your wedding photos! We spoke with the owners, husband-and-wife team Shirey Bukowski and John Carman, for the scoop on this fantastic mobile bar service.
Where are you originally from, and how long have you been in Portland?
I grew up on the Oregon Coast and then moved to the California Bay Area after college where I met John, who is a Bay Area native. We moved up to Eugene, Oregon in 2015, and then made our way up to the Portland area in June 2018.
What is your favorite thing about Portland?
The food! We love having access to so much diverse and delicious food. We also love living close to the city yet being so close to so many wonderful outdoor activities.
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
The Columbia River Gorge is our favorite place to be as of late. We’re just discovering all it has to offer and we’re blown away by the beauty of it every time we go.
How long have you been a professional wedding mobile bar service? What led you to this path?
I’ve worked in event planning and fundraising for over 15 years. With our move to Portland came the opportunity to explore a new career path. The opportunity to purchase The Swig Rig came our way in early 2019 and it felt like a perfect match for my experience in events and customer service as well as our love of happy gatherings and delicious craft cocktails!
How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional bar service for their wedding day?
The bar is a very important part of any wedding (some would argue the MOST important!). Whatever you choose to serve, it’s likely the spot your guests will most frequent throughout the evening. We pride ourselves on providing excellent service throughout the planning process and on your big day. A great bar/beverage service also allows the couple to showcase their personality and put a fun twist on things, making the event memorable for their guests.
What is the best part of your job?
I really love working with the clients from start to finish to plan their bar service. As a former event planner, I know how overwhelming the planning process can be and I really enjoy helping to calm the nerves of the couple. I try to take as much off their plate as possible and ensure they have a flawless bar service for their big day. I also love meeting so many fun guests at each wedding. Everyone loves talking about the trailer so we get to have a lot of fun conversations and meet a lot of great people!
What do you find most challenging about your line of work or weddings in general?
Making sure we have enough ice! I’m always worried there won’t be enough so I inevitably buy too much. I guess it’s always better to have too much than not enough!
Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
My husband and I work together behind the scenes and I work the events along with a few bartenders we have on staff. My husband likes to work an event or two as well – he’s a pro at pouring beers.
What do you attribute to your success? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
My background in event planning and in private school admissions has given me a keen understanding of helping people through a process. I understand the overwhelm of planning an important event and really strive to make it as easy as possible for our clients. And, of course, our trailer, Ritzy, is adorable and wedding guests fall in love with her.
At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
Clients are usually contacting us once they’ve selected their wedding date and secured their venue. For the summer months, it’s typically 8-12 months out.
Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
There’s so much great stuff happening in the mobile bar service world and the craft cocktail world that it’s easy to get a ton of inspiration online, especially on Instagram. We also get really inspired by working with local vendors, like Portland Syrups, to create super delicious cocktails and mocktails.
What is your best advice for wedding clients?
Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you need to. I have a lot of clients that feel bad for asking too many questions, but that’s what I’m here for!
Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?
We know the planning process can be overwhelming, and so can all of the costs associated with planning your big day! We encourage you to call us to discuss the details of your wedding along with your budget as we often find we can come up with a personalized package that will work for most budgets!
Featured image used in this post by Victoria Carlson Photography.
This Vendor Shout-Out was curated by Dana Barbar, a trusted local wedding professional and writer.