We know that picking out your wedding wine can be a daunting task, most especially when managing a guest list with a conflicting blend of seasoned drinkers, unassuming lightweights, and others who just showed up for the free booze. The key, though, is simple—choose a good-quality, crowd-pleasing wine that fits your budget. While anything in addition will make for a better selection, what matters the most is your guests are happy to be there, a glass in hand, to celebrate your special day. Should you wish to go the extra mile without necessarily spending extra cash, we’ve listed down 10 expert-approved hacks for selecting and serving your wedding wine. Keep reading to learn how!
Like all other details of the wedding, your choice of wine is a reflection of you, as a couple, and what you both like. While wine can be used as a tool to elevate your guests’ dining experience or provide liquid courage needed to socialize, think of it more as an extension of your love story and something to share with your guests. Do you both enjoy blind Bordeaux tastings? Did you spend an especially memorable holiday together in Napa? Do you have a go-to Pinot that always finds its way into your shopping cart? Whatever the story, let your bottle do the talking.
Generally, red wine complements beef and other red meat, while white wine complements fish and other seafood. Chicken can go well with a light red or white when depending on its sauce or how its cooked. Don’t be afraid to consult your caterer or chef for some guidance on the pairings, that’s part of what you pay for! There is also no need to put too much pressure on the pairings. At the end of the day, it’s more important to go with what you prefer.
Start with a budget and stick to it. If the budget allows for two types of white wine and two types of red wine, then great! If it does not, don’t fret because guests are often happy to be given the choice between a white or a red. If you’re planning for a wider selection, do balance the dry and sweet grape varieties. This would be highly appreciated by guests with a more discerning palette and have partial preferences to either.
Champagne demands a higher price tag compared to sparkling wines that were made with similar grapes and processes because the grapes were not grown in Champagne, a specific wine region France. For the same flavor profile and amount of bubbles, we recommend opting for any of the following sparkling wines—Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, or Cremant from another province in France.
It’s been said that red wine was meant to be enjoyed at room temperature, but do note that this saying was coined in Europe. Given our tropical climate, red wine is best served slightly chilled at 16-18 ℃. A clean, wet table napkin may be wrapped around the bottle after the first pour to maintain its temperature. Sparkling wine and white wine are best served at cooler temperatures of 6-12 ℃. These can be stored in an ice bucket in between pours.
While expensive stemware specifically made for each type of wine in your selection might not be necessary, be sure to provide clean and cool glasses for your guests. A red wine glass is typically wider as compared to a white wine glass. Champagne and sparkling wine are often served in a flute, but would also do well served in a white wine glass. If you’re planning an outdoor affair, be sure your glassware does not sit out in the sun all day! All the effort chilling and preparing ice buckets can be lost instantly if the glasses are warm.
While this may be a common occurrence at informal family gatherings, controlling the amount of wine poured is an easy way to limit waste and keep control of the alcohol. Pouring too much also leaves the wine warm and often unfinished. Opt for more frequent pours as requested rather than fuller glasses. Pouring just the right amount of wine also allows your guests to swirl their glasses and release more of the aromas of the wine.
Venues earn through either markups or corkage fees, it’s up to you to figure out which one would cost you less. Once you have an idea of what you want, canvas different retailers and shop for bulk pricing, deals, and discounts. Compare how much you would spend if you bought everything from your venue versus if you paid a corkage fee for the bottles. It’s crucial to know where to shop. If you ask your wine snob friends for any leads, they probably would have some to share and happily extend their discount!
With a variety of guests, it’s completely understandable to serve a special array of bottles for the couple and their immediate family members, while all other tables are served more approachable, easy-to-drink ones. If you dream of toasting with a vintage Dom Pérignon, don’t let the pressure of having to serve all your guests stop you! It is your special day and nobody will disagree that you deserve the best!
If there’s one problem you do not want to happen at your wedding, it’s running out of wine. Almost any other blunder is forgivable! You can refer to our guide on how much alcohol to buy here, but to remember to provision for a buffer. Check with your venue or alcohol supplier if the leftover bottles may be sold back to them at the end of the event since a number of suppliers do offer this arrangement. If not, you can always store them for future anniversaries!