Common questions about wedding wine

Wine and weddings go hand in hand, and whether you’re a wine lover yourself or not, there’s likely to be quite a lot of wine flowing at your wedding reception. If you’re not sure what to order or how much you’ll need, here’s a quick guide to wedding wine.

wedding wine

How much wedding wine to order

It is always better to buy too much wine than to run out mid-way through your wedding breakfast. If you plan to over order on the wine just in case, ensure your supplier will take back any unopened bottles. The actual amount of wine to order should be balanced with the length of your reception.

For example: If you are planning an hour long drinks reception before dinner, ensure you have at least two glasses of whatever you are serving for each guest at this time. You’ll need two glasses of champagne per guest for the toasts and you should buy at least one bottle for every two guests for the dinner itself. The majority of guests will be prepared to buy their own drinks at the evening reception, but if you have wine left from the meal you can make this available.

Champagne for the wedding toasts

Champagne is simply sparkling white wine from a specific region of France, so it is completely fine to serve another sparkling white wine, especially if you can find a good one with local origins. While it is traditional to have champagne for the wedding toasts, it can be quite expensive and a cheaper continental European alternative to champagne is the Italian prosecco.

Balancing red and white wine

Generally speaking men seem to prefer red and women seem to prefer white and rose, so make note of the proportions of your guest list and order based on that information. If you have an equal split of men and women, presume that 40-50% will drink red, 40-50% will drink white, and 10-20% will opt for rose. It is always a great idea to have all three available. If you’re having a mid-summer wedding there will be more white and rose drunk, while red will be more popular at a winter wedding.

wedding champagne

What to serve at the drinks reception

It’s traditional to serve sparkling wine, such as champagne, at your drinks reception, before guests move onto white, rose, or red wine. But don’t feel that you have to have wine at the initial reception at all; the first drink you serve at your reception must be special or meaningful to you, or should be suited to your wedding theme. You could opt for mulled wine for a winter wedding, Pimms for a summer wedding, or sangria for a Spanish style wedding. A signature cocktail created specifically for the occasion is also a fashionable choice. You might want to have beer available for men that aren’t keen on cocktails.

Wines to serve with dinner

Many couples choose to serve just a general white such as Sauvignon Blanc which pairs well with almost everything, together with a light red like a merlot if you are serving fish and poultry, or a full bodied red such as a Shiraz if you are opting for red meat. Alternatively you can check with your wedding caterer to recommend specific wines that work with the dishes they are planning to serve. Pairing wines with your wedding breakfast menu will really improve the meal and bring out the flavours of the food but this option can work out quite costly if you are serving a number of courses or a selection of different menus.

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