It might seem overwhelming at first — among the many tasks to complete before the big day — but wine is a crucial detail. Tradition dictates you sample the wedding menu and the cake in advance, so it’s important you imbibe a bit, as well.
Aside from preferences, it’s wise to consider several factors that might influence your selections.
First, estimate the number of guests. Perhaps difficult given that the invitations probably haven’t been mailed, yet significant because it has tremendous impact on the remainder of your decisions.
“When you have the number of people, it helps you find something that fits into your budget,” said Vivian Wood, Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club’s banquet manager. “It makes a difference from serving a $20 to $50 bottle of wine.”
She suggested attempting to estimate the number of wine drinkers and cocktail drinkers.
Once you have established what you anticipate your guests liking, another thing useful to know is the average age of most of your drinkers.
“Age is a factor,” said Terrance Collier, owner of Boulevard Wine & Spirits in Edmond. “The older crowd doesn’t drink as much as the younger crowd.”
Once basic parameters are established, the fun begins as you build choices around the budget. Because few have unlimited funds, ask yourself what would appeal to the masses in the case of a large wedding.
“I have some fantastic red Zinfandels for $50 per bottle and some for $15,” said Wood. “Wine is a huge chunk of [the cost] and can be almost as much as the food side.”
Look for wines that offer high-end quality for guests, while also representing a good value. In order to calculate the number of bottles, Collier recommended using 1.5 liter bottles, which typically provide eight to 10 glasses. Discounts are given often for wines bought by the case.
“You can figure one to two drinks per hour over a two- to three-hour event,” said Collier.
Consider the food
What’s cooking on the menu? Light dishes might lend themselves to lightbodied wines. Heavier and more savory meals may require a more intricate and full-bodied wine like a Merlot.
Questions you might ask yourself:
Will wine be served at the reception? At dinner? At the toast?
The season can also make a difference. A reception scheduled in the midst of summer or the dead of winter could alter the drink menu. More people consume white wine than red, especially in the summer.
“Pinot Gris and Chardonnay are more popular in the summer,” said Collier. “Reds are more prominent during the fall and winter. There is no rule of thumb. It kind of depends on the bride and groom.”
And really, the day is all about the happy couple, and no wedding is complete without the customary toast; just as important as the food and wine, this tradition needs thoughtful attention.
“I steer people away from brut Champagne [or sparkling wines],” said Wood. “They are so dry. “ Her new favorite is a group of Italian sparkling wines called Prosecco. Trendy, maybe, but she noted many are extremely budget friendly.
After all the details are squared away, there’s only one thing left to check off your list: Have fun!