While the dress, flowers, venue and reception are paramount to tying the knot in style, arguably the celebratory tipples are just as important.
Ideally, they should sparkle as much as the bride, and flow as easily as the best man’s speech.
So nothing’s left to chance on the big day, here are some insider tips on the best bubbly and wines to toast the happy couple…
“Sparkling wine is still the first choice for reception drinks. If you’re holding your wedding in a marquee at home and sourcing your own wines, then splash out on champagne.
“Or, closer to home, try some of the fantastic English sparkling wines that are now available,” suggests tastings manager Lydia Harrison, DipWSET at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
“Made from the same grape varieties – chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier and in the same traditional method – they will taste very similar and work perfectly as an aperitif with some nibbles or canapés.
“But if you’re choosing from a banqueting wine list or [are] on a budget, you’re probably looking for prosecco as a starting point. If you do, Prosecco DOCG guarantees a top quality version of this popular fizz.
“If you’re lucky, there may also be a cava option. Although from Spain, this sparkler is made in exactly the same way as champagne and often with the same grapes – but at a much more affordable price.”
“Apparently, coral is this summer’s key wedding colour,” says Harrison. “Tap into this trend and serve a delicious chilled rosé. With their flavours of summer berries, rosés have always been a seasonal favourite and there are a multitude of styles available.
“The southern Rhone in France produces some brilliant rosés, dry in style with more flavour than other areas, and extremely versatile.”
They feature “rich strawberry and red cherry fruits with a bit more body,” says Harrison, who adds: “Look out for Tavel and Lirac wine regions on the label.”
“Crisp chilled whites are a summer essential, with citrus and green fruit flavours to refresh the palate on those hopefully hot and sunny days,” says Harrison, making them perfect for summer weddings.
“Pinot grigio lovers should try Picpoul de Pinet, a region in southern France that makes deliciously light, citrus-filled wines that are effortlessly enjoyable. These clean whites are great as an aperitif or to accompany simple fish dishes.
“Delicate flavours such as prawns or cod fillet with a lemon dressing will complement the zesty acidity of the Picpoul.
“If nothing but sauvignon blanc will do, then head to Chile where they excel at crisp, dry, super-refreshing styles, with lovely grass and green apple notes at an affordable price.”
“Lighter red wines are best for summer, with softer tannins and refreshing acidity. Well known examples are Beaujolais or Valpolicella; serve them slightly chilled to accentuate their fruitiness.
“For a less well known light red, seek out a South African pinotage which has the same great acidity and red fruit flavour palate.
“If it’s a fuller bodied red you’re after, then you can’t go wrong with a malbec from Argentina, or an aged Australian Barossa shiraz with their concentrated fruit and oaky flavours.”
“Magnums are twice the size of traditional bottles, doubling the fun and halving the odds of glasses running dry during dinner and toasts,” says George Clements, founder of The Magnum Company (themagnumcompany.com).
“For the wedding reception, Marie Demets has aways been a good price and, being a largely pinot noir based champagne, very drinkable on a summer day.
“Lately Langlois-Chateau Crêmant or an English cider have proved attractive alternatives.
“We also have a wedding calculator to help people work out rough quantities for their wedding, or any event,” adds Clements.
- Press Association