Top Tips for Wedding Wine Planners

With three-quarters of weddings postponed in 2020 and a mixed picture last year, 2022 is set to be the biggest year for nuptials since 1982. Three (out of 20) Yapp colleagues, alone, are tying the knot in the next six months. We've been advising on and supplying wedding wines for decades and, although the picture has changed from the days when an allez-retour booze cruise to stock up was de rigeur, the principles haven't changed. With a host of other matters to consider for the big day, we're sharing our top tips to help those who are planning a special event – wedding, birthday or anniversary - this summer. Choosing the best cuvées to serve your guests should be fun and these are our trade secrets designed to help you avoid pitfalls.

Wedding wines - Champagne

Try before you buy
We have a scrumptious selection of wines, perfect for pleasing your guests, and can put together a bespoke package to try before you commit to purchase. Wine can be one of the biggest investments for the day – disappointment is not an option!

What's on the menu?
Select a wine that will compliment your wedding breakfast and the season. Steer away from fuller-bodied reds (unless it's a winter celebration) or weighty whites and find wines with freshness and balance. Rosé is an increasingly popular choice for summer weddings, so don't be afraid to consider it as an option. With any luck, you'll be spoilt with sunshine on the big day (ever the optimists!) so consider what you'd like to drink when the mercury is rocketing.

Set aside your own preferences
It's important to choose a wine that you will enjoy but remember to consider your audience. Just because you enjoy a big, blousy Chardonnay, beefy Malbec, or that wacky, orange Pet Nat you discovered in a Lyon bouchon, does not mean your guests will. We suggest keeping it light- to medium-bodied, crowd-pleasing and versatile.

Look for lower alcohol
Daytime drinking can be a rollercoaster ride at the most mundane of times, so consider a wine with a lower ABV (13% or below). There are a good number of options which don't skimp on flavour, but are less likely to lead to dangerous Dad-dancing.

Wedding wines - table setting

How much is enough?
Typically, we recommend allowing at least half a bottle of wine per person with a meal. Some folks will be thirsty, but others may be driving, looking after kids or just taking it easy. We offer sale or return in any case, subject to some sensible terms and conditions! If other drinks will be available on the day, then wine consumption tends to shrink. Splitting the quantities between white, red and rosé very much depends on the time of year. We'd usually look to around 2/3 white and rosé in sunnier months with 1/3 red. For spring and autumn weddings, it's usually around 1/2 white/rosé and the remainder red.

Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles
In terms of effervescence - whether champagne, crémant, prosecco, English sparkling – many folks like to start their celebrations with a touch of fizz. There's no hard and fast rules about what to serve with canapés, as long as it's refreshing and well-chilled. Again, allow around 1/2 bottle per person and make sure the catering team don't pre-pour too early. We'd rather wait a minute for a crisp, cool glass of fizz than be handed a warm, flat white.

Brides and grooms are increasingly choosing to tag the speeches onto the end of the 'champagne' reception – this means no extra allocation of fizz is needed, and for those nervous speechmakers, gets them over and done with so they can relax over their meal. It can occasionally free up a little space in the budget for the main wedding wines if you don't need additional cases for toasts. Lastly, no-one will see (or care about) the label, so makes sure you spend on the quality in the bottle, not pay for a fancy name.

Wedding wines

Keep it simple
Some couples are keen to move from better to cheaper wine as you go through the day, or offer multiple choices. Confusion is highly likely and you don't want to be chasing and checking with your catering team every 5 minutes. Stick to one wine of each colour. Don't forget, if you have a special bottle or two that you wish to drink, you could keep that for yourselves on the 'top table' or, better still, the rehearsal dinner or next day lunch.

You don't need to be overly fussed about glassware, indeed you may have little say in the matter, but endeavour to arrange decent stemware. It will make the wines taste even better and elevate the occasion. Don't overlook ice and chilling arrangements for whites, rosés and even reds for summer weddings. Warm rosé out of tumblers won't cut it with your guests, unless you're going for a kitsch theme. Of course, all these tips apply to any sort of large event - we are always delighted to discuss your requirements and can offer sale or return, volume discounts on larger purchases and bespoke local delivery etc.

For more information, please see our Weddings and Events page here.