Choosing your Wedding Wines

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Bride and groom standing in front of Blenheim Palace lit up in purple
Bride and groom standing in front of Blenheim Palace lit up in purple
Front of Aynhoe Park on a sunny day
Front of Aynhoe Park on a sunny day
Front of Aynhoe Park on a sunny day

Grab a glass and have a quick read on how to choose those all important wedding wines!

When it comes to wedding planning, there’s always an evening that every couple favours over all other wedmin evenings, and that has to be the wine tasting! Grab those wine glasses, invite over a couple of trusted friends and enjoy getting through the selection of wine you would like to choose from! Before you get too tipsy though, remember there is still a job to do and decisions to make! Champagne or Prosecco? Do you serve a Rosé? Will this red wine go well with the main course? Whilst they’re probably not the biggest decisions your making throughout the planning process, they’re still relatively important ones, so I’ve recently caught up with Jack Scott from Jack’s World of Wine and founder of Jascots Wine Merchant to help with those all important wine questions.

What should couples consider when choosing their wine?

I think one can easily over-complicate the selection process but there are a handful of golden rules that should be obeyed….

1 It’s YOUR wedding so, irrespective of who is paying for the event, choose wines that you and your friends will enjoy.

2 Buy wines you can afford and don’t overpay and I have known people ask for contributions towards their wedding wines for wedding presents especially when couple have been living together for quite some time and have as many kettles and glasses and kitchen equipment as they couple possibly need!

And, Your order is likely to be a good one so negotiate with your merchant.

3 Once you have chosen your wedding menu, buy a selection of wines that you enjoy and think will go nicely with the food (maybe go on to a food matching website to see what matches your food really well and try and avoid wines that may clash with the food) and then recreate a dinner close to the wedding breakfast dishes, get some friends round, and have a fun evening tasting the wines with the food and select the best of the bunch!

4 I wouldn’t bother doing sale or return and use a straight sale as a bargaining chip and buy the wines and just enjoy the bottles that are not drunk on your big day over the next few weeks or months.

What’s the best way to work out how much wine and champagne they’ll need to order?

In my considerable experience, people very rarely drink as much as you think they will. Depending on how long you allocate to the photographer, your guests may drink one or two glasses of Champagne or Sparkling Wine at the pre-breakfast reception as long as you are not offering Pimms or cocktails (a bad idea) or an open bar. Then a glass of white wine per person with the starter and then a glass or maybe two of the red wine with the main course (if meat). Bare in mind that some guests will be driving and will drink nothing or very little especially if the wedding is out in the country and people are driving. If in a City where public transport and taxis are readily available, guests may drink rather more.

And then it’s nice to have a keg of real ale after dinner and some wines or even a Gin Bar.

How much should they look at spending on wines and champagnes?

I always felt that it was mad to spend a huge proportion of the drinks budget on Champagne and then end up drinking cheap wine with the wedding breakfast so would keep everything in proportion. If you have a big generous budget, by all means have fine Champagne for the reception and lovely white and red wines, but, if the budget is tight, don’t hesitate to go for a delicious Cremant or Prosecco or Cava and then spend a decent amount on the wines.

It’s common to have both red and white wine, should couples offer Rose as well?

30 years ago, you would have 120 bottles of white wine for 12 bottles of red wine. Nowadays, people, especially girls, drink much more red wine especially Pinot Noir than they used to and you should now have equal amounts of white to red wine unless you are having a fishy or vegetarian starter and fish main course in which case it will be more white than red.

Rose is a joy to drink and goes with so many dishes so is a good flexible wine to have but it does make it very difficult to work out the volumes of other wines that you will need.

Do I need to serve champagne or is there a more cost effective option?

My view is that a wedding is too special an occasions to serve Prosecco or Asti Spumante but Champagne and very good English Sparkling wines are expensive especially if you have 100+ people coming to your wedding. It’s fine for a second marriage when two successful business people are tying the knot but don’t hesitate to taste some Cremants de Bourgogne or New World white or pink Sparkling Wines which are excellent value for money and quite probably better than a cheap Champagne.

At the end of the day, buy wine within your budget, try and match the wine well with the food being served and go for universally popular wines which are more neutral than strongly flavoured and you are unlikely to go wrong!

I hope this helped answer any of your worries about selected your wedding wines. If you would like to know more about our full wedding planning services, then please get in touch with today.

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