Worried about your wedding wine? Buying wine for a wedding can feel like a tough job, particularly when you’re on a budget. Planning your wedding is a lot of work, and it’s an expensive business, too.
The good news is that buying wedding wine doesn’t need to be a nightmare. With a little bit of guidance and some idea of what you want, it’s really nothing to worry about. We’ve got together a simple guide to buy the best wedding wine without spending a fortune.
How much wine do you need for a wedding?
The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly how much wine you need. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you like, and there are a whole lot of wedding wine calculators out there.
The simplest rule of thumb is to take the number of (adult) guests and divide it by two. The assumption is that, on average, each guest will drink half a bottle. Your grandmother may be teetotal and Uncle Ed might drink three bottles’ worth, but don’t worry – it’ll average out.
Once you’ve done this simple calculation, you’ll have a good idea of the total quantity of wedding wine you’ll need. You’ve still got choices to make, but this is a good starting point.
Sparkling wine or Champagne is always a classy touch for a toast. Don’t lump this in with your calculations above, though. To work out how much Champagne you need for a toast, take the number of guests and divide by 8. This should allow everybody enough for a respectable and toast-worthy amount!
How to choose your wedding wine
You’ve got a total figure in mind, but how does that equate into actual bottles on the table? First, you’ll need to decide on a breakdown between red, white and other styles of wine. If you want to keep it really simple, go for a 50/50 split between red and white and be done with it.
If you’re having a summer wedding in a particularly hot country, you may want to favour white wines or even add some rosé to the equation. If it’s the height of winter, offering slightly more red wine might be the best approach.
Add in the amount of sparkling wine you need, and you’ve got a wedding wine shopping list ready to go!
How to buy your wedding wine
There is more choice today than ever when it comes to buying wine for your wedding. One of the most tempting is to buy your wedding wine directly from your wedding venue.
Many wedding-friendly hotels and restaurants will be all too happy to handle the wine selection for you, but be warned: This can be expensive, and you won’t always be getting a great deal. Venues can use weddings as an opportunity to shift excessive stock, or to sell you wines at an inflated margin. Take this option if you like, but be aware that there’s a better way: Do it yourself!
Find out the venue’s corkage policy. Assuming it’s favourable, your best bet is to source your own wedding wine from a shop or online.
Buying wedding wine on a budget
Picking the best wine for a wedding can often come down to your budget. With a clear budget in mind, you can shop smart. If your budget is €10 per bottle, you probably shouldn’t be looking for quality, aged Bordeaux wine. In that price range, it’s virtually impossible to find such a thing. You can, however, find great Spanish wine from lesser-known regions within that price range. The following cheat sheet will give you an idea of the best styles of wine to look for if you’ve got a tight wine budget!
Spanish wine has some fantastic up-and-coming regions. Here, you’ll get serious quality without paying the hefty price tag that comes with some of the more famous regions. Look at Jumilla, Navarra and Penedès. Beyond Spain, countries like Chile and Argentina can be viable alternatives to France and Italy.
You’ll want a dry white wine that’s young, fresh and fruity. Oaked white wines are not to everybody’s tastes, so now is probably not the time for them. Spain is your friend here once more. Rías Baixas and Rueda offer a great balance between quality and price.