Wedding Wine Guide: How To Pick Wine For A Wedding

Wedding season is fast-approaching, making NOW the time to plan engagement parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and the wedding events. Wine can be a fundamental component in each of these events, but is often one of the final considerations made. Our Wedding Wine Guide will help you select the right wines for each event surrounding your wedding.

Wine For Your Engagement Party:

The engagement party is traditionally the first event to celebrate your wedding. Whether it’s a cocktail party, backyard barbecue, or formal dinner – wine will likely be present and play a supporting role in the days events. It’s important to select an array of wines that will please many of your guests. Here are a few wines that would make a great selection for any engagement party:

  • Oregon Pinot Noir
  • Pinot Gris
  • Chardonnay
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sparkling wine, for a toast. To save money and still have a great wine, stick with a Prosecco or Cava. You can get a great deal on these sparklers – without sacrificing flavor.

Bridal Shower:

Often held during brunch, the Bridal Shower is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the bride with light, refreshing wines. Given that the Shower is often held so early in the day, it’s advised to choose lighter wines. The sample selection below would pair well with light lunch or brunch foods.

  • Prosecco – perfect for Bellinis, Mimosas, or by itself
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Rosè
  • Pinot Noir

Rehearsal Dinner:

The Rehearsal Dinner is the last event before the big day, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. The intimate nature of the event often lends itself well to stories, memories, and speeches from loved ones and friends. We’ve listed a general pairing for the evening, but if your menu is very specific (Italian, BBQ, a clam bake, etc.) then you should take a peek at this article, where we break down pairings by food type.

Don’t Forget Wedding Morning:

Whether you want to sip a Mimosa with your bridesmaids as you get your hair and makeup done, or want a last second sip of Champagne to dull your nerves before walking down the aisle, don’t forget to have at least a few bottles on hand for the morning of the wedding. It’s best to stick to sparkling or white wine – that way your teeth and dress stay white!

Easy No-Fuss Varietals For Any Wedding Pairing:

  • White Wines For Your Wedding:

    • Chardonnay: pairs well with creamy chicken dishes, risottos, or grilled fish
    • Sauvignon Blanc: versatile white that pairs well fish, cheese, and vegetarian dishes
  • Red Wines For Your Wedding:

    • Pinot Noir: the most versatile of the bunch, Pinot Noir pairs well with a wide range of foods including, charcuterie, light creamy dishes, salmon, pasta dishes, roast chicken, game birds, and vegetable risotto
    • Cabernet Sauvignon: great with meatier selections, like lamb, braised pork, or beef
    • Merlot: great for steak, pork, roast chicken, or veal
  • Sparkling Wines For Your Wedding (choose one):

    • Champagne: think of it as the sparkling “old faithful” – your guest will recognize it
    • Prosecco: perfect for dessert and the toast
    • Cava: this Spanish sparkling wine is a great way to mix up your toast
    • Sparkling Rosè: the fun color will help get guests in the party spirit

Quick Tips For Customizing Your Wine Selection:

  • Avoid Extremes: Even if you love your Chardonnay extra-buttery or a highly-acidic Chablis, stick to less extreme selections for your guests. This will allow the more timid wine drinker to still find something they like, while the experienced aficionado will appreciate the quality of your selections.
  • Bigger Is Better: When it comes to serving wine at a big event, large format bottles are your friend. Serving your guests from Magnum bottles has many benefits; they provide instant fun to the atmosphere, and many wine professionals believe that wines age better in large format bottles. You’ll also have less waste at the end of the night.
  • How Much Wine Do We Need: Selecting the right amount of wine for a party can be difficult – you never want to run out, but you also don’t want significant excess. If you’re purchasing the wines for your event, our How To Buy Wine For A Party post will help ensure you have just the right amount.
  • Seasons: Keep the season in mind when selecting your wines. If your wedding is being held outdoors in a warmer climate, you might like to serve your guests lighter refreshing wines, like Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir. However, if your wedding will be a winter wonderland, heavier-bodied wines won’t feel as out of place, allowing you to select wines like Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a full-bodied Chardonnay. 
  • Rosè In Winter?! Why Not?: There is a common misconception that Rosè should be consumed in summer and summer alone. Rosè is a perfect choice for a wedding, due to its ability to pair well with many dishes, yet also stand on its own at cocktail hour, or as the dance floor heats up. For a more winter-friendly option, stick with a Rosè made with a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre or Pinot Noir. These grapes provide a fuller flavor with more weight than the lighter Provence Rosè of summer, making it winter friendly.
  • Family Pride: If you’d like to honor either family’s heritage, wine is a great way to do so. Many countries around the world are known for a particular varietal. If you’re planning for this and the varietal you choose is bold or esoteric, it would be a good idea to do this in addition to the other varietals you’ve already selected.
  • Toasts: We’ve all been to weddings where there is sparkling wine waiting on every table for the toasts. Many couples are opting out of this tradition. If you do choose to stick with it, don’t feel forced to select Champagne. There are many cost-effective alternatives that still provide exceptional flavor for your guests. An Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava will leave your guests and your wallet with a smile.
  • Save Money Without Sacrifice: Almost every couple is budget conscious when it comes to the big day. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good wine to save a few dollars. WTSO offers fine wines at up to 70% off of retail price, and is happy to help couples select wine for their big day. To truly save more money, stay away from the liquor store and reach out to the WTSO Customer Happiness Team for help selecting a custom wine list for your big day.

We hope this guide helps you select the perfect wines for each of your wedding events. Don’t forget – our WTSO Customer Happiness Team is here to help. Just email [email protected] and our team will help you select the perfect wine for any event. No matter what wine you select, remember to enjoy the day!

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