Planning a wedding involves a lot of preparation. There are countless things to take care of, including what wine to serve at your reception. To ensure your big day is a big hit, you need to guarantee two very important things: One, that you have enough wine and bubbly for all your guests and two, that people will actually enjoy drinking it. After all, there’s absolutely no point planning an exquisite meal only to be let down by a bad glass of wine.
Choosing the wine to serve at your wedding needn’t be a tough decision. We’ve put together some ideas that will help make your special day an event to remember.
No other factor will influence your wine decision quite as much as budget. The first thing you need to do is determine the total amount you can afford to spend and prepare a wishlist of varieties and vintages you’d like to serve. If you’re buying from a local cellar or bottle store, don’t be afraid to haggle and ask for a better deal (especially if you need to buy several cases) and always keep your eye out for sales. Another great idea is to jump online. You can find some great per-case bargains that might save you money.
Choose the wine for your wedding like you’d choose a bottle to accompany any meal. Think about balance, establish the textures and flavours of each dish and mirror these flavours with your wine selection. Pay particular attention to the alcohol content of the wines and the seasoning and spiciness of your meal choices. If you’re in doubt, have a trial of your menu and your wine choices before the big day.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Traditionally the most popular wines to serve at a wedding, Champagne and sparkling wine are perfect for pre-dinner drinks and toasts.
If you’re having your bubbly pre-dinner, you should aim to serve something dry (brut or extra dry on the label). Dry Champagne and sparkling wine tend to go well with a wide variety of savoury appetisers. For after dinner toasts, a demi-sec (which is medium dry and sweeter) is the best choice.
Price can be a big factor when choosing Champagne or sparkling wine. Our advice is to look towards New World regions (like Australia and New Zealand) for some fantastic examples at very reasonable prices.
How Much Wine is Enough?
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll get about 4 glasses from a bottle of still wine. A bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne will contain about 6 – 8 glasses, depending on the size of the flute. As a starting point, allow half a bottle of sparkling and half a bottle of still wine per person. Of course, this amount may vary, depending on the guests you’re inviting, but it’s always better to have too much wine than not enough.
Other Factors to Consider
Other factors that will influence the type of wine served at your wedding are the time of the year and the time of day of your reception. Refreshing and crisp whites are definitely more popular in summer, while winter receptions tend to favour heartier, full-bodied red wines. The time of day will also influence your wine choices. Guests are less likely to drink as much if your wedding and reception are held earlier in the day.
Chat to a Wine Expert
Not sure what wine to choose? Chat to an expert, either online or at your local wine shop and ask their advice. Make sure you have a copy of your menu handy so they can see the food you’ll be serving and get an overall feel for your event.
No special occasion is complete without wine, so spend a little time researching and planning the wines you want to serve at your wedding. Your guests will thank you for it!