Choosing Your Wedding Wine:
By Esther Dawson

10 February 2017

When planning your big day, it can often be difficult to know where to start with your celebratory wines.

How much do you need? White or red, or both? What if I don't know the first thing about wines? In this article, Dhall & Nash shed some light on the in and outs of wedding wine, and share some of their expert tips.


How much wine will I need for my wedding?

This all depends on the size of your guest list, and the number of wines you want to serve. A good ‘rule of thumb’ is to allow 2-4 glasses of wine, per person attending. A standard bottle of wine will give 5 generous glass pours.

Working with an example of 100 guests, we could use the following equation:
100 guests having a minimum of 2 glasses and a maximum of 4
Minimum level: 100 x 2 = 200 glasses - requiring 40 bottles
Maximum level: 100 x 4 = 400 glasses - requiring 80 bottles

Once you know how many bottles you will require, you can then work out a budget for how much you will spend on wine for your wedding.

Image supplied by Dahll & Nash

How many wine options should I serve?

Most weddings will have a sparkling wine option (Champagne, Prosecco, etc.), one red option and one white. The most popular wines for weddings are usually ‘lighter’ in style, and match well with food. Some examples of great wedding wines are:

○ Prosecco – light, fruity Italian fizz. Great for a welcome drink, toasts and with canapés.
○ Pinot Gris – juicy, crisp, lightweight white wine. A good match for seafood, chicken and canapés.
○ Malbec – rich, fruity red wine. Not too heavy, a good match for red meats, vegetables and cheese.

wedding image
Image sourced from Pexels 

What to serve and when?

Depending on the venue, you may or may not serve wine before the ceremony. Generally, a restaurant, vineyard or garden setting might serve a welcome drink, whereas in a church wedding scenario, wine is normally only served at the reception.

Whether you are serving it before the ceremony, or at the reception, sparkling wine always makes a fantastic welcome drink. You may also want to serve sparkling wine for any toasts. For a sit-down meal, your white and red options should be served alongside the meal.

Champagne Etiquette

If the bridal table are going to be drinking Champagne at the reception, chances are that your guests will be drinking sparkling wine (Prosecco, Methòd or similar). Luckily, there are some very high-quality sparklers out there that will still make your guests feel special (and enable them to toast you in style), without the Champagne price tag. Prosecco in particular offers a lot of bang-for-buck.

wedding wine
Image supplied by Dahll and Nash

Below are two real wedding scenarios to give you an idea of how to apply these wedding wine tips to your own upcoming wedding! Booking a consultancy session with a wine dealer such as Dhall & Nash is a great first step.

Scenario 1:

○ High summer, relaxed daytime garden wedding ceremony and reception, 60 guests in total, 50 adults including the bridal party, canapé menu.
○ Prosecco served as a welcome drink, and as a toast during speeches at the reception. One rosé and one white option, both light in style. Colours are soft and pretty.
○ As this is a daytime event, drinks should be lighter in alcohol and refreshing. Working on an average of 2 glasses of Prosecco and 1 glass of wine per guest, the following numbers would be needed:

  • 20 bottles of Prosecco
  • 10 bottles of wine – suggest 5 Provençe style Rosé and 5 Pinot Gris


wedding wine
Image supplied by Dahll and Nash

Scenario 2:

○ Autumn church ceremony, followed by a large reception in the restaurant of a golf club. Seated 2 course dinner accompanied by one white and one red option, followed by a Champagne toast. 100 guests. Colours are autumnal, rich reds and golds.
○ Cooler weather calls for richer wines, and these work perfectly with the colour scheme. Most guests will have 2-3 glasses of wine with their meal, and a glass of Champagne to toast the bride and groom. The bridal party (10 people) will only be drinking Champagne, and will have an average of 3 glasses each.
○ Averaging out to 2 glasses of wine, and 1 glass of Champagne per guest and 3 glasses of champagne for each of the bridal party, the following would be needed:

  • 26 bottles of Champagne – suggest a rich style such as Billecart-Salmon Premiere Cru Sous Bois
  • 40 bottles of Wine – suggest 20 Argentinian Malbec, 20 Hawkes Bay Chardonnay


wedding reception
Image sourced from Pexels