What could be more fun than selecting wine for a wedding? Whether you have the opportunity to pick the spirits of choice for the Champagne toast at an intimate rehearsal dinner, hundreds of guests at your reception, or the special bottle of Merlot you and your honey will celebrate with on your wedding night, it’s good to know before you go.

If you remember nothing else when shopping for wine, remember this: keep it simple to satisfy most people’s tastes – unless of course your guests are longtime subscribers to Wine Spectator.

Wine experts agree it’s a good idea for the bride and groom to stick with an easy drinking, medium-bodied red or white wine to serve at the reception -- stay away from heavy-bodied wines.  A common misconception is that couples need to spend a lot of money on wine for their celebration – not true!

Unless it’s a wine-savvy crowd, stick with less expensive bottles that are also great wines. There are quite a few fantastic choices in the under $10 range.

Tips to make your celebration sparkle!

1. Know your guests: Who’s on your list? Are they wine drinkers, or will they be just as happy with a couple of kegs and a Champagne toast? These are important points to consider when deciding on a wine budget.

2. But buy what you like: Stick with what people know and love – and that means you. Keep in mind that medium-bodied wines are always best, whether you’re drinking white or red wine.

3. Have a wine tasting! Can you say “case discount?” Invite your wedding party, close friends and family over for a tasting. Choosing wine should be fun, and this is a great way to do it. If they’re comfortable with what they’re tasting, chances are your guests will be, too. Decide how much you want to spend, and then choose several bottles, red and white, in that price range. Hide the labels in brown bags, and then have everyone rate the wines. Not only will you end up with great choices, it’ll be a lot of fun.

4. Consider the time of year: The time of year and the season will depend how much you’ll need of red or white. People tend to choose about 50 percent red, 50 percent white in the fall and spring.  In the summer, you’ll need to go heavier on the white wine, and in winter – heavier on the red wine, because that’s what people tend to drink more of then.

5. Don’t run out! Of course, when it comes to wedding wine for your special celebration, it’s always better to have too much than too little. The average wine bottle will yield four to six glasses and experts say to allow about a half-bottle per person. That might sound like a lot, but it’s tough to predict whether people will choose white or red – so better safe than sorry. Besides, you can always save the extra for your first housewarming party after the honeymoon!

Wine Picks to Make Most Everyone Happy:

The following reds, whites and sparklers are top wedding/celebration picks in the $10 or under price range:

Miranda Shiraz (Australia): Popular for its taste and price
Protocolo (Spain): A versatile red that’s great for weddings


Domaine Petit Chateau Chardonnay (France): A big favorite in the white category

&E Urbane (South Africa): A Sauvignon Blanc that’s perfect for summer soirees

L. Palais (France): A top seller for weddings
Francois Montand (France): Another great buy
Cristallino (Spain): A Spanish cava (sparkling wine) that tastes like a celebration.

Once you’ve made your picks, be sure to set an extra bottle aside to open on your first anniversary – or ask your wine guy to recommend a great bottle just for the two of you to share in a quiet celebration together.

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