There are so many types of wine—white, red, rose, Champagne—how do you choose the best wine to serve at your wedding? Check out the Zola guide here.
Wine drinkers, rejoice! Whether it be Cote du Rhone at the rehearsal dinner or a champagne toast at the reception, there’s a perfect bottle of wine (or three) for your wedding day. While there is a lot of wisdom and guidance out there about fine wine, the most important thing is that the wine is part of the celebration, so don’t get too caught up in discussions of traditional pairings or rules. At the end of the day, the best wine to serve at your wedding is a wine that you and your guests will enjoy drinking
That said, there is a lot to consider when it comes to logistics. How much beer and wine should you buy for a wedding? Is there a suitable Champagne alternative(like prosecco)? You want to serve wine that will account for the different tastes of your guests, pair well with the menu, and fit the overall theme of the wedding. You also want to make sure you have enough for the evening.
So what factors should you consider when considering the best wine to serve at your wedding? And which should you go with, according to your tastes and budget? Read on to find out.
While selecting a wine out at dinner is as simple as asking yourself which sounds the best (or which wine pairs best with your dish), choosing your wines for your wedding is an entirely different arena. Put shortly, there’s a bit more to take into account—guests, food, and even theme, for example. Consider the following when making your own wedding wine choices.
Your wine selection should enhance your chosen wedding menu. We’ve all heard the wisdom that red wine goes with red meat, while white wine goes with chicken and fish. That’s not always true; there are many red wines and white wines that pair very well with all sorts of meals, so don’t feel bound by old-school convention. At the end of the day, you want to be drinking wine you enjoy.
At a minimum, you should have one red and one white wine. You want each of these to be wines that work in a variety of contexts. Think something like a sauvignon blanc or a pinot noir. These are more mild white and red wines that won’t overpower the flavors of the hors d'oeuvres or food you are serving.
If you plan to have a variety of wine options, then you can offer wines with more versatile and distinctive tastes, like merlot or chardonnay, during the appetizers or cocktail hour, as well. Then, during the wedding reception, you can do a cabernet sauvignon or a pinot gris to have a wide selection for any wine lover.
If you can swing it, try to choose your wines at the same time that you choose your menu. You could even taste how a glass of wine goes with different dishes. Otherwise, for the few months before placing your order, pay attention to different types of wines. Maybe buy a bottle of wine you don’t usually drink to see how it tastes. If you have a go-to favorite wine, then try drinking it with the type of entrée you’ll have at your wedding and see if you like the pair. There’s a lot of wine out there, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
If you want to go beyond a red and a white, then try to find wines that pair with your wedding theme. You can have wines from a specific location—like Australia, France, or Lebanon—to honor the heritage of one or both partners, or a wine-based drink like sangria to supplement your cocktail hour. You should also make sure there’s plenty of sparkling wine for toasts.
Also think about the kind of wedding you’re hosting, as well as the time of year. A summer wedding, for example, should have plenty of white wine. For brunch weddings, consider offering rosé, which is a longstanding popular choice for spring. For a winter wedding or an indoor wedding, lean more heavily on red wine. You want the wedding wine to fit the wedding atmosphere in general.
Nobody wants to run out of wine at their wedding. That said, you also don’t want to lug multiple unopened cases of wine home that night either.
About half a bottle per guest is generally a good rule of thumb. If you’re having a smaller wedding with fifty or so guests, you can tailor this more specifically to your knowledge of how many guests will drink heavily or lightly. The thought here is that guests will be drinking wine at the cocktail hour and then might have one or two glasses with their meal, which could mean three glasses per guest. That’s a lot of wine!
Some other factors to consider include the time of day of your wedding, the age of your guests, and how many hours your event will be. If most of your guests are under 40 (but over 21!), chances are they might drink more heavily. At evening weddings, perhaps unsurprisingly, guests often consume more wine than they do at morning weddings. Likewise, a wedding that lasts six hours requires more wine than a wedding that lasts four hours. So start with half a bottle per guest, then round up or down based on your knowledge of the event and the guests.
The proportions also matter. For indoor weddings, about 50 percent of your wine should be red, 40 percent white, and then the rest enough Champagne to cover a toast (divide your guests by about eight to decide how many bottles). At outdoor weddings, guests tend to opt for more white Windsor rosé as well, so that will change your proportions, too.
Now that you’ve got some expert-level wedding wine knowledge, let’s take a look at some wines. Below, we’ve gathered some of our favorite bottles at a variety of price points. We talk aroma, acidity, flavor, and more to aid in finding the right wines for your wedding celebration. And, if you’re in need of further assistance, don’t be afraid to ask for the opinion of your caterer, your retailer, or a sommelier.
This Australian syrah red wine is a low budget favorite, boasting notes of ripe blackberry and spice. It’s fruity to taste without being too sweet and has soft tannins (drying sensation) that’s satisfying on the tongue.
Crisp and refreshing, this white wine possesses floral aromas and a touch of tropical fruits. With white peach flavors and low acidity, it’s an ideal summer wedding wine.
Fans of lightly sweet, fruity, and sparkling wines should make a beeline for this bottle. Semi-sparkling and semi-sweet in flavor, it tastes of wild strawberry, blackberry, and red berry, perfect for spring and summer celebrating.
Juicy plum and blackberry notes linger with smoky roasted almonds and hazelnut in this red wine. With elegant tannins and clean acidity, it’s popular with weddings and casual wine-drinkers alike.
From the South Island of New Zealand comes this crisp and vibrant white, perfect for celebrating. With notes of lemon, white nectarine, key lime, grapefruit, gooseberry, and citrus, it pairs exceptionally well with refreshing dishes such as vibrant salads and sea food.
A certified crowd pleaser, this Italian sparkling wine hales from the hillside vineyards of Italy’s prosecco capital, Treviso. Bright and effervescent, it contains aromas of fresh citrus, white flowers, and honey. Lemon and green apple give it a fresh, clean taste.
Fans of fresh fruit with just a hint of candy will greatly enjoy this pale pink rosé. Many flock to its beautiful bottle and fresh finish, complete with notes of summer fruits, cassis, redcurrant, and grapefruit.
Medium bodied with soft and silky tannins and a mineral finish, this cabernet is worthy of any high-end celebration. With aromas of fresh blackcurrants and dark chocolate, its luxurious to taste. Pair with beef, lamb, or charcuterie for an exceptional flavor palette.
Mango, citrus, and pronounced wildflowers contribute to this bright and juicy chardonnay. It’s full bodied and possesses a bright acidity, making it mouth-wateringly good. A briny finish makes it an ideal match for oysters, fish, and other seafood.
If there’s any occasion to splash out on some bottles of bubbly, it’s your big day. Opt for this popular staple, which perfectly manages to be both strong and silky. With aromas of yellow and white fruits, vanilla, and brioche, it serves perfectly as an aperitif or alongside a meal.
Buying wine for your wedding can be a bit of a process. While wanting to serve the best wedding wine for your affair, you also want to make sure you purchase the right amount and stay on budget. Keep these guidelines, tips, and recommendations in mind as you navigate this are of your wedding menu and you and your guests are sure to enjoy.
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