Guide to Buying Wedding Wine for Your Reception

Ahhh, the wedding reception. Is it me, or does it sometimes seem like planning the reception is even more tedious than the actual wedding?! It’s a timeless tradition that’s all about having a good time- food, drinks, and dancing. The dinner is a feature all on its own that your guests will be talking about for days after the wedding. Getting the perfect aperitif or drink to compliment it takes a little research and consideration. There are champagne and signature cocktails, but, the most common and popular choice to compliment your dinner remains wedding wine.

But, what kind should you choose? And, how much do you even need? Take a deep breath and relax! Let’s go over a little information that will go a long way in making the right decision on your wedding wine.

How Much Do I Need?

When buying wine for your wedding, a little math is involved to ensure you have enough for everyone.  Luckily, there is a simple equation that will help in determining this all-important number. Take your number of guests and divide it by 2.15. This answer equates to how many bottles of wine you will need to buy or order. Most answers will involve a decimal so, rule of thumb, just round it up. Having more wine is better than running out. Trust me! Plus, it allows guests to have an extra glass or for you to take back for the honeymoon and home.

For instance, if you are inviting 100 guests to your wedding, you will divide 100 by 2.15. The answer, 46.5, is then rounded up to 47. 47 bottles will be just enough, with some to spare, for your guests.

wedding wine pairings

How Much Should I Expect to Pay?

As a general guide, bulk wedding wine of decent quality will typically run you between $15 and $20 a bottle. So, let’s do the math: If you need 47 bottles, multiply 47 by 20. This is roughly about $940 total which, if you ask me, is a pretty reasonable deal considering flower budgets alone usually run $1000 or more! 

What Kind of Wine Should I Serve?

The wine type you will be serving depends on a few things. For instance, what is your venue, what time of the day, and what foods will be served? Now before you ask, yes, you can serve more than one type of wine. At an indoor or evening wedding, you may prefer to serve red wine. Since it’s more full-bodied, it goes well with flavorful, red meats. If you are creating a mixed wine menu, consider buying your wine at a ratio of 50% red, 20% sparkling, and 30% white wine. This will cover an impressive spectrum of wine while allowing for wine taste preferences.

Red Wine Recommendations: Pinot Noir, Syrah, Malbec

Outdoor wedding or day wedding? As you know, an outdoor wedding can be warm for guests. This means chilled wines are going to be more popular for your event. Majority of these wines will be white, so if you’re only serving one type, I recommend sticking with that. White wine goes exceptionally well if you’re serving chicken, fish, or any other variety of seafood at your reception. 

White Wine Recommendations: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio

If you’ve decided to serve more than one type of wine, consider serving 40% white wine and 20% sparkling, red, and rose. Rose wines are lighter and popular during the summer so it’s a great option to have on hand for guests who request it.


wedding wine

Other Tips:

  • Choose 5 wines for wine tasting with your friends and vote for your favorites.
  • Rose is a year-round favorite that pairs well with exotic cuisines including Mexican, Indian, Sushi and Thai.
  • Learn more about food pairing here and here.
  • Even red wine should be refrigerated at least an hour before serving. Chilled wine can be warmed up but warm wine is already a fail.
  • Champagne has eight pours per bottle. So, for a champagne toast for 150 guests that’s not being offered at the bar, 20 bottles will do just fine.
  • Make sure your wedding wine is not overpoured. Pouring the proper amount of wine will not only keep you from running out too quickly but also keep your guests wine from getting warm. 

While you are probably already losing your mind with wedding planning, be sure to make the wine selection high on the priority list. Along with everything else, it means you will be investing in the memory and experience of your wedding. Remember, every detail will forever be apart of your love story.

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