How to Choose Wines for Your Wedding

Drink, Live, Weddings & Events, Wine

This post comes courtesy of Alexis Traverso, a member of the Williams-Sonoma Wine team. 


While most brides place dress shopping and trips to the florist at the top of their favorite wedding planning activities, I have found myself most excited about picking out my wedding wines. Call me a wine geek, but I can’t wait to share a special glass of wine with our family and friends.


However, for many brides and grooms selecting wines for their reception can be just as challenging as figuring out the guest list (ugh!). So from one bride to another, here are my tips for choosing your wedding wines.


What wine should we buy?


This is sort of like asking “what cake flavor should I choose?” It is a personal decision, and you should take into consideration the foods that you are serving and time of the year.


If you got engaged at a winery, or you share a deep love for South African Pinotages, by all means serve that wine! Most wineries will offer a discount if you purchase by the case, and if you cannot afford to offer a particular wine all evening, serve it during your cocktail hour.


For the dinner course, I recommend selecting a white and a red wine that will pair well with the main dishes, including the vegetarian alternative – you wouldn’t want to leave your herbivores without a wine to enjoy with their meal. And you can’t forget the bubbly! While Champagne is what naturally comes to mind, there are excellent sparkling wines from all over the world. As someone who wears their Italian heritage on their sleeve, we will certainly be pouring Prosecco at our wedding.


How much wine do we need?


The quantity of wine you need depends on who you are inviting and if you are serving other beverages.  One standard bottle contains roughly five glasses of wine, if poured at five ounces each. Of course, that estimate could vary depending on the glassware and who is pouring.


Because sparkling wine is served in a flute, you can expect to get eight glasses out of a bottle, if poured at three ounces each. The experts say that most guests will consume two glasses of sparkling wine – one for the cocktail hour and one for the embarrassing Best Man’s toast.


During the dinner service, guests typically consume two glasses of wine, and an additional glass per hour after the first three hours.  Keep in mind that if you are serving liquor or celebrating during the day, these numbers will very likely change.


How many glasses will we need?


If you are going to be serving sparkling, white and red wine, experts say you should provide a glass for each. Not only does this allow the unique nuances of the wine to shine, it also completes the table setting. However, three glasses per person can add up in costs. You can save a considerable amount of money if you choose a more universal glass. I recommend a Zinfandel/Riesling/Chianti glass, which is perfect for both wines — and you won’t have to worry about your caterer pouring a red wine in a white glass!


Visit Williams-Sonoma Wine to shop for your wedding wines or register for wine.


About the author: A 4th generation native of Sonoma County, California, Alexis began her wine industry career by dusting bottles in her family’s Italian food and wine retail store. She considers herself extremely fortunate to have grown up in the wine business and believes that wine is an integral part of life. When not swirling and sipping for Williams-Sonoma Wine, she can be found out and about in the Bay Area or on the ski runs of Lake Tahoe.

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