When planning your wedding, one decision to be made will be the wine and spirits to serve. Unless you have a coordinator handling the details, you may need to determine how much of everything to buy for your wedding guests. Here are some tips when you are making your wine list for the reception:
1. Menu –
Chicken, Beef, Fish...Wine pairings can make or break the meal. Make sure to offer a variety, but also go heavier on the wine that best pairs with the food served at the reception. A simple tip to remember: Pair chicken or fish with white wines and beef or pork with reds. Don’t be afraid to ask your caterer for their suggested pairings.
2. Season –
It is important to take into consideration the season when choosing your wine selection. Spring and Summer weddings tend to pour more white wine, while Fall and Winter weddings pour more red. Again, always have a variety of red and white, as some guests prefer one versus the other no matter what time of year it is. It is important to also offer other choices served cold when having a wedding outdoors during the hotter months. This is always a good time to add beer or cold signature cocktail.
3. Time of day –
Like the seasons, the time of day your wedding takes place will reflect how your guests will take their libations. Daytime receptions tend to have lighter white wines, while evenings have more of a variety with red and white.
Now that you have narrowed down what you are going to serve, you need to determine how much you will need for the wedding reception. Plan for each guest to have one glass of wine per hour. This can work itself out, as several guests may have more than 1 glass an hour, and several may not drink wine at all. The basic formula to use to determine how many bottles you will need is:
One (750 ml) bottle of wine – five glasses. This can vary depending on your bartender, but for ease of math just plan five glasses per bottle. So, if you have 100 guests for four hours, then plan on 400 glasses of wine.
400 glasses / five glasses per bottle – eighty bottles of wine. Again, this can be varied based on if you have other cocktails involved such as beer, spirits and champagne. But, if only serving wine, then it is a good guideline.
The main thing to consider when choosing your wine is your budget. You do not need to spend your entire budget on the drinks. No one will walk away from your wedding thinking “Gosh, they served cheap wine!” So, start experimenting months before with reds and whites in the lower dollar ranges and see what you like. These less pricey wines are under-rated. You can find some amazing vino to please all palettes for much less than the top shelf fancy brands. Cheers!