I appear to have hit that magical age where everyone I know is getting hitched. All at once, it seems. After finding the appropriate venue, the next thing on the very large to-do list is obviously the booze. My expertise therefore, is in high demand.
There aren’t any hard and fast rules but here are my top tips for getting great wines for your wedding that people will like but won’t cost you a bomb.
Tip one: Keep it simple. It would be really lovely to have a carefully chosen different wine for each course of your wedding meal that perfectly compliments the food. In reality, unless you have a never-ending budget and a very discerning crowd this just isn’t necessary. Stick to just one white and one red, don’t overcomplicate things by having a large choice of wines because then people start to get picky. Especially when it’s free booze, people won’t be fussy.
Tip two: The classics are fine. I’ve probably said it before but a £5 Italian Pinot Grigio wont be the most complex style of wine. But to be honest, when you’re drinking all day and night, a light, crisp and fairly uncomplicated wine is just what you need. The same goes for the red; a complex, full-bodied and tannic Bordeaux might go perfectly with your steak on a Saturday night but could you drink it for hours on it’s own? Didn’t think so. As with the white, a cheap bottle of Merlot isn’t going to be particularly complex but it’s going to be medium-weight, fruity and therefore perfect for drinking into the wee hours.
Tip three: Prosecco isn’t the only Champagne alternative. I’m not saying you’re a terrible person for choosing Prosecco for your wedding, it’s okay, really. But don’t be afraid to buck the trend. Here’s the part where I tell you to get Cava; it’s drier than Prosecco and has more fruit flavours associated with Champagne. Plus, it’s much better value. You could even get a vintage Cava for the same price as Prosecco and I bet many people would think they were drinking the fancy French stuff. There are other regions in France that produce sparkling wine that can be pretty similar to Champagne, these are called Crémant and start from around £8 a bottle. Some friends of mine who are getting married tried a bottle of Crémant de Loire from Majestic last week and they were so impressed with it that they chose it over Prosecco for their reception and toast. Praise indeed.
Tip four: Buy more than you think. Weddings are a wonderful and romantic day where two people are declaring their undying love for each other in front of friends and family. It’s also an excuse for a big piss-up. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have enough booze. When buying your alcohol look out for places where you can do sale or return. If this isn’t possible, is it really the worst thing to have leftover wine? If you’ve got 10 cases of wine in your house after the wedding it just means that whenever you’re going to a friends for dinner or a party you’re sorted. Calculating how many bottles to buy is dependant on you and your guests and other factors so I can’t give you a standard figure. Just remember the last wedding you went to and think, if you can remember, how much you drank. In my case, I had about 3/4 glasses of fizz during canapés, numerous glasses of wine at dinner and then countless beers and much more wine until 1am. I’m pretty sure I’m not in the minority with those quantities, it’s a wedding after all!
Tip five: Booze-cruise. If you’ve got the time and inclination, book a ferry or Eurotunnel to our neighbours in Calais and pick up some bargains. I’ve been twice already this year and my jaw still drops when I see how low the prices are. And the wine is really decent!
Good wedding whites: Southern French blends, Pinot Grigio, Picpoul de Pinet, Soave, Verdicchio, Chenin Blanc and French Sauvignon Blanc.
Good wedding reds: Southern French blends, Merlot, New World Pinot Noir, Garnacha, Rioja, Montepulciano and Côtes du Rhône.
This guide is fairly basic but it should give you an idea or two. My final words of wisdom are to make sure you actually like the wine, you’ll most likely be footing the bill so don’t buy wine that you think is gross. Also, don’t stress too much over your choice of wine, if it’s alcoholic and palatable I’m certain your guests wont complain.