Weddings are wonderful, joyous occasions that bring people together. A chance to throw a great party and be the center of attention with all your closest friends and family and make memories that will last a lifetime. Choosing the drinks to serve at a big event can seem a daunting task. From what styles of wine to choose or how many bottles to buy. We've been lucky enough to help many couples choose their wedding wines over the years. If you're looking for help choosing the perfect wines for your wedding, we've put together a few tips to guide you to the ideal solution for your big day.
Know what your venue can offer.
If your venue offers its own bar service, find out if they can provide the drinks you're looking for. If you're looking to bring your own drinks, check what the venue will charge for this. Corkage prices of £15 per bottle are not uncommon in some places, so it can make a big difference to your budget.
Keep it simple.
The easiest approach is to keep it simple. Break it down into what moments in your day you want to celebrate with a drink. Welcome fizz, reception drinks, raising a toast etc.
When deciding on the wines, choose versatile styles that can be paired with a number of dishes and enjoyed on their own. Crisp, dry whites like Sauvignon Blanc and juicy, fruity reds like Pinot Noir. Avoid oaky whites and heavily tannic reds.
Here are some great value, versatile wines that we'd recommend:
Light and welcoming nose of autumn fruits. Smooth & spicy flavours throughout with generous soft red fruit flavours & a lovely, elegant finish.
This easy-going Sicilian red has ample ripe, plummy fruit aromas with hints of spice and liquorice. The palate is supple and juicy, with delicately herbal, savoury notes. Uncomplicated, honest fruit and gentle on the finish. It's a good all-rounder.
Fresh and zesty with grassy, mineral notes, with hints of richness. This is a restrained Sauvignon Blanc with a palate that has lots of minerality and citrus with just a touch of green pepper and grass.
This has bright and juicy white peach and honeydew melon aromas that continue onto the refreshing palate with a tang of grapefruit. Really nicely balanced and very drinkable.
If you're looking to serve sparkling wine on arrival, it doesn't need to be champagne. Prosecco is of course a good value option, and our Durello offers all the same light, delicate flavour at an even better price. Other sparkling wines from France that are made using the same method as Champagne such as Cremant are becoming increasingly popular. Our Domaine Landreau Cremant de Loire made using Chenin Blanc grapes was among our most popular wines last year. Cava can aIso be a good value alternative.
It is a good idea to consider those who are not drinking and have an alternative like an alcohol-free sparkling wine and fruit juice.
Matching food and wine
If you are matching the wine to a menu and want to be more specific with your pairing, follow these simple tips:
Match the weight of the wine to the intensity of the food. Delicate dishes require wines that won't overwhelm them. Big, hearty and flavoursome dishes need a wine that can stand up to them.
You don't always need to match red wine with meat and white wine with seafood.
Think about how the dish is cooked, not just the main ingredient. A creamy chicken sauce needs different pairing to a Thai chicken curry for instance.
Sweeter dishes need a wine with a greater (or at least similar) level of sweetness.
If in doubt, we can offer bespoke advice to match your menu.
How much do I need?
For the welcome fizz you can expect to get 5 glasses from each bottle. So, divide the number of guests by 5 to work out the number of bottles you'll need.
e.g., If you have 80 guests to consider, you'll need at least 16 bottles to give everyone a glass.
80 ÷ 5 = 16
When calculating the number of bottles you need for the reception you have a few things to consider. An average guest is likely to have around 2 drinks in the first hour of the event then slow down to around 1 per hour. If you know your guests are likely to drink more or less, adjust accordingly.
e.g., if you have 80 guests and your event lasts 3 hours, you're looking at around 4 drinks per person.
Multiply the number of drinks by number of guests and divide by 5 to work out the number of bottles you'll need.
e.g., 80 x 4 ÷ 5 = 64
The time of year will impact your guests' tastes in wine, so you might want to consider having more white than red in summer and vice versa in winter. Again, knowing your group's tastes helps but if in doubt, an even split of red and white is a fine way to go.
If you want to treat yourselves, you could select some special wines just for the top table.
If your venue permits it, having a cocktail station with a signature serve chosen by the happy couple is a great addition.
Try before you commit.
If you're trying to finalise your choices, tasting is the way to go. We can arrange a tasting for you in one of our shops to give you a chance to try before you buy. Alternatively, pick up a couple of bottles and have a little tasting event with some trusted friends who will give you an honest answer on what they prefer.
If you'd like to speak to us about your wedding requirements, you can contact us at email@example.com or pop into any of our shops.