So the venue is booked and you’ve started to embark on the finer details of food menu and wine choice. While it is often easy to pick a bottle of wine which you think you will enjoy with your meal in a restaurant or at home, selecting a bottle that will please around a hundred people; Aunts, Uncles, long lost friends etc., sometimes seems like an impossible task. However, when planning a wedding, this is a task you will likely have to face. So to make the process of planning your big day a little easier, we have put together a guide to help you pick the right wine, work out how many bottles you will need and offer some helpful advice to make your wedding run smoothly!
What should we buy and our options?
The type of wine you can buy depends on your venue and budget. If you’ve planned your big day in a marque or barn and you’re in control of who/where you buy your wine from, you could use an independent retailer such as House of Townend, who have a Cellar Door shop and knowledgeable staff on hand to help/taste through any suggestions. If your wedding is at a hotel, restaurant or events venue you’ll have a dedicated wedding coordinator who will be on hand to talk everything through with you and offer advice. One offer of advice would be to keep in mind the fact that your special day is about the two of you, your budget and not the out and out pleasure of your guests with an unlimited supply of wine! Perhaps consider a package with maybe an arrival drink, a glass with the starter, a glass with the main course and a toast drink, which would keep things simple and on budget. Or why not even have that really nice wine you wanted to treat yourselves and immediate family too on your top table only! - remember the day is about you!!
How much wine should we buy?
Before you set your heart on a Classic Bordeaux or famous Burgundy, you will need to work out how many bottles you are likely to need. A tried and tested method of working out this magic number of bottles is to divide the number of guests by 2.15. For example, if you had 70 guests coming, then you should aim to buy around 33 bottles of wine. You will now be able to work this figure into your budget plans accordingly. For example, a £500 budget would get you 25 £20 bottles of wine. Alternatively, if you would like your guests to have more wine, rather than rely on a bar at your venue, you can simply allocate three-quarters of a bottle of wine per drinking guest (i.e. don’t include any children in your guest count!). If you are including a Champagne toast in your reception then dividing your guest list by eight should reveal how many bottles of bubbly you require.
What type of wine should you choose for a wedding?
Most couples will choose to purchase a mixture of red, white, rose and sparkling wines for their wedding so that guests are able to enjoy their preferred sip. However, it is unlikely that you will be buying the same number of each of these different wine types. The split of these bottle types will largely be dependent on when and where you are getting married. For example, weddings held in the winter or autumn months will probably have a higher percentage of red wine, as this is more likely to be wanted in the colder seasons than the fresher, citrusy sip offered by many white wines. Conversely, guests at summer weddings or weddings hosted outdoors, are more likely to want to drink a refreshing rosé, white or glass of bubbly than a warming glass of red.
When selecting specific types of wine for the table, you should take the planned meal into consideration. For example, if the wedding breakfast includes a red meat dish, then a full-bodied red wine would be selected. However, if you are serving chicken or fish, then the red wine option on the table would be lighter-bodied, and more bottles of white or rosé wine should be placed on each table. Don’t stress too much about finding the perfect match of food and wine though, as it is more important to select a wine simply because you and your partner enjoy it!
When choosing wine, you may also want to consider the ease of opening and pouring. Having to have each bottle uncorked adds time to an already busy day, and can add additional fees from your venue. Selecting bottles that have a screw cap can be an easy way of cutting time and costs, and can allow your guests to open their own bottles as they require them.
Independent retailers such as House of Townend have vast amounts of experience when it comes to helping people choose their wedding wine. Most will also offer free delivery to the venue and help out if you have any last minute hiccups.
House of Townend supply direct to the trade too, with many of the best wedding venues up and down the country supplied by us. So not only will you have excellent advice from your wedding co-ordinator you’ll also have comfort in the knowledge that your wines are from an experienced wine merchant.
Make use of sale or return policies
A common mistake is to panic and over-order. Luckily, many wine merchants such as House of Townend offer a sale or return policy, meaning that you can return anything that has not been drunk and get a refund.
But far better to get your quantities accurate and take the odd leftover case or two back to your house, rather than dragging a van load of alcohol back to where you bought it from.
You can then enjoy any leftovers whilst on your honeymoon and beyond!!!
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