How To Select the Best Wine for Your Wedding: A Guide

How To Select the Best Wine for Your Wedding: A Guide

Most couples put a lot of thought into the appetizers, main course, and dessert they’ll serve at their wedding. In the early days of planning, you may think about alcohol, like deciding whether you’ll do an open or cash bar. But you should start thinking about wine as you consider the food since the two have flavors that should pair. You’ll also want to make a champagne toast to kick off the reception, which means selecting the perfect wine. In this bridal guide, we’ll get into our top tips on how to select the best wine for your wedding. 

Consider Flavor Options

Consider Flavor Options

Before evaluating different wine types, you should narrow your search. Do you prefer sweet flavors or dry ones? Likewise, do you want bubbly wine like champagne or a still wine—non-bubbly—such as sweet vermouth? By deciding on these characteristics of the wine, it’s easier to narrow your search.

Deciding on a Sparkling Wine

While champagne or another sparkling wine is the traditional choice, serving it is not a rule for couples. Champagne is expensive because of the long aging process—it ranges between 15 months and 10 years—as well as demand. Since many couples serve this bubbly wine and it only comes from Champagne, France, the price increases with desire.

If you want to serve a sparkling wine but champagne will break your budget, consider alternatives such as crémant or prosecco. Sparkling wines come in white, rosé, and red, with different flavors and sweetness levels.

How To Select the Best Wine for Your Wedding: A Guide

Sweet vs. Dry

Another tip on how to select the best wine for your wedding is to understand when to serve sweet versus dry wines. Typically, white wines are sweeter than red, and the latter is usually a bit on the bitter side. It’s common for couples to have a white and red wine option for guests due to the difference in flavors offered by both options. This allows friends and family to enjoy a wine that satisfies their taste preferences.

Some sweet wines include:

  • Port
  • Moscato
  • Mead
  • Tokaji

Keep in mind that sweet wines aren’t ideal for dinner; they are dessert wines. These go best with fruits, cheeses, and, of course, chocolate and other sweets. Rather than serve a sweet wine with dinner, consider offering it at cocktail hour or during the cake cutting.

Some dry wines include:

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Zinfandel
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir

Generally, dry wines pair wonderfully with savory flavors. However, the exact taste of a wine and which food it goes best with depends on the type. Pinot Grigio goes wonderfully with fish, while Pinot Noir is best with earthier flavors.

Food & Wine Pairings

Knowing how to pair wine with your wedding menu ensures that the drink and food flavors complement one another. Guests can sip on their glass of wine while enjoying the delicious dinner you’ve selected. Properly pairing wine with food also helps elevate the dining experience because the right wine can enhance specific flavors of the food.

How To Select the Best Wine for Your Wedding: A Guide

Go Wine Tasting

If you’re not a wine connoisseur, knowing which alcohol to serve at your wedding can feel complicated, and every couple wants their big day to be perfect. Do a few wine tastings with your partner at a local winery to ease the decision-making process.

During the tasting, talk to your winemaker about the flavors and your taste, bubbly, and sweetness preferences. Most wines have a fruity or nutty taste, and both flavors can vary depending on the ingredients used to create the wine. For instance, some wines have a slight almond taste, while others may have a strawberry flavor.

Try a Variety of Wines

During your wine tasting, you and your partner should have several different types; don’t get two of the same glass. If one of you loves a specific wine, allow the other to try it so you can add it to your list of considerations for the wedding.

Likewise, aim to taste a range of flavors to decide on wines for multiple aspects of the wedding. During cocktail hour and the toast, you may want a sparkling wine. For the reception, most serve a still wine and allow guests to decide between white or red. The reception wine is typically on the drier side since sweet wines are best when the cake comes out.

Everyday Bride Tip

If you and your partner go wine tasting, get out of “wedding planning mode” and make a date out of the experience. While you are tasting wines for the wedding, focus more on the fun of sampling alcohol rather than the many details of your big day.

How To Select the Best Wine for Your Wedding: A Guide

Make Your Own

While this isn’t possible for every couple, some love crafting their own wine. If you marry at a vineyard or buy your wine from one, this may be the perfect option. Similar to wine tasting, this is a fun activity to do with your partner and is usually a day trip.

Once you decide on the flavors you like most, the winemaker will create the drink and bottle for you to pick up at a specified date. This allows you to serve something truly unique at your wedding and takes the idea of signature drinks one step further!

Evaluate the Price

As with every aspect of your wedding, you need to consider your overall budget as well as the portion you’ll dedicate toward wine. Noting this before you begin tasting wines will help prevent you from overspending. Some wines, such as champagne, are expensive, and you may not want to spend most of your wedding budget on alcohol.

Talk With Vendors

When you book your venue and hire your food vendor, evaluate their price for wine. One thing to consider when selecting a venue is alcohol availability and options. Some venues require you to use in-house alcohol, while others allow you to bring in your own wine.

Make sure you discuss catering requirements before selecting a venue to prevent possible mishaps. Typically, vendors have several packages to meet a range of price points, which can help you save money.

Shop in Bulk

If you can bring in outside wine, consider shopping at wholesalers so you can buy in bulk. This ensures you have plenty of wine for the wedding, and wholesale wine typically comes at a lower price than purchasing each bottle individually.

Know the Amount Needed

One of the most important tips is to purchase enough wine for the big day. Most wedding planners advise having half of a bottle per guest of drinking age. This is because wedding guests usually drink around two glasses with their dinner, and the standard bottle can fill five glasses. Moreover, aim to have more white wine than red since it’s usually the preferred of the two.

It’s Your Day

How To Select the Best Wine for Your Wedding: A Guide

Ultimately, this is your wedding day, and you decide which type of wine you’d prefer to serve. Of course, you should take your guests into consideration since they’ve all come to support you. Note that serving extra-dry or super-sweet wine can leave you with a lot of leftover alcohol since people may be less likely to drink it.

Take time to try various wines with your partner so you can pick out options that’ll wow your wedding guests. Additionally, think about the food you’ll serve alongside the wine to ensure the beverage enhances the flavors to please the palate. Happy sipping!

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Everyday Bride

Freelance Writer
June 21, 2023

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