/Choosing Wedding & Party Wines

Choosing Wedding & Party Wines

Your wedding day is one of the most eagerly anticipated and magical moments of your life, so it is understandable to want everything to be perfect. The volume of tasks can feel overwhelming with fine-detail planning needed in everything from bridal gowns to flower arranging. Although we can’t help you with tailoring or Azaleas, we love helping newly engaged couples to pick the perfect wines for their wedding reception, so we have compiled this handy guide to choosing that perfect wine to serve on your Big Day. And remember, these guidelines work equally well for every event from garden parties to special birthdays.


The cost of a wedding can spiral out of control very quickly, so your first task should be to sit down and decide on the breakdown of your entire budget. When you have allocated your wine spend you can choose whether you want the venue to supply the wine or if you want to supply your own. Most venues will charge you a corkage fee on wines you supply that may make their house wines seem more attractive: but with a little research you will get better quality wine at a cheaper cost if you supply the bottles yourself.  And don’t be afraid to bargain on the corkage fee if you think it is excessive.

How Much Wine?

When you have decided on your guest list and total wine budget you can now work out how much per person you want to spend on wine. You should budget for half a bottle (3 glasses) of still wine per person for dinner. If you are planning on serving sparkling wine as a welcome drink or toast you should allow for 2 glasses per person, meaning you should budget one bottle of fizz for every three guests.

For a wedding of 80 guests you should budget 40 bottles of still wine and 27 bottles of sparkling wine. I suggest you round your bottles up to the nearest case as you don’t want to run out of wine half way through the meal. O’Briens offer Sale or Return on 25% of your wine spend to take that fear out of over-ordering. When you know how many bottles you will need you can easily calculate your corkage fee and the remainder is the budget to spend on the wine itself. No need to budget for delivery costs as we offer free delivery on any order over €60.

Choosing Wedding & Party Wines

What Wine to Choose?

Now that the practical budgeting is out of the way you can move on to choosing what wines to serve. An even split between red and white wines is a good place to start but always keep in mind the unique factors of your wedding. For a summer wedding with an outdoor reception you may want to slightly favour white or rosé wines, whereas a winter wedding with a rich heavy meal in the evening may call for more red wine to be served.

Whatever your personal taste I recommend you keep things simple for your wedding wine to suit as many guests as possible. Pick easy-drinking, fruity crowd-pleasing wines with moderate alcohol levels. Recognisable grape varieties are safe bets, as are classic regions. But there can be great value to be found in lesser-known regions and grapes if you are on a tighter budget. This is where the O’Briens friendly and knowledgeable staff will happily help you choose that perfect bottle. Buy a bottle to take with you to see if it matches your chosen menu. If you come back to place your wedding order O’Briens will refund the price of this bottle.

WHITE: An unoaked fresh white wine with vibrant fruit and refreshing acidity will suit most palates and match varied wedding food options.

RED: A young vibrant, fresh red wine with little or no oak, smooth tannins and lower alcohol will suit most guests.

ROSÉ: Rosé wines continue to see a surge in popularity and are a great choice for a summer wedding. Choose a dry, fruity fresh Provence style rosé to impress your guests. And to make our rosé selection more appealing we have Buy One Get One Half Price on a selection of summer rosé.

SPARKLING: If you want Champagne there is some great value from grower-Champagne houses if your budget doesn’t stretch to the Grandes Marques. Alternatively, Crémant is a quality French sparkling wine made outside the Champagne region but in the same laborious method. Other budget-friendly options include Cava and Prosecco.

Choosing Wedding & Party Wines

How Much to Spend?

You already decided your budget so make sure you stick to it! But spending even €1-2 more per bottle can make a huge difference to the quality of the wine you serve. You don’t want your wine to be remembered for all the wrong reasons. There is excellent value to be found in the €9-€12 bracket that is sure to impress your guests and save you money on a venue’s house wine. Keep an eye out for your favourite O’Briens wines when they are on promotion and try purchase your wines during one of our loyalty card promotions to maximise your saving.

To get some inspiration we are seeing an increasing number of engaged couples attending our wine events in the new O’Briens Wine School in Donnybrook. Sign up to our Loyalty card in-store to be the first to get notifications on these events. Alternatively, drop in to your local O’Briens Wine where our friendly and knowledgeable staff will happily help you choose the perfect wine for your Big Day.

For further information please contact Lorcan at [email protected]

Please note: All prices correct at time of publication. For the most up to date prices please contact your local store or online www.obrienswine.ie