Wondering which champagnes and wines to serve at your wedding? Don't know how much of each you'll need? Here are the basics that you'll need to know to get the perfect mix at your big day.
You may already have a Champagne or wine that you love - something that the two of you drank on a favorite date, or a Champagne that your parents drank at their wedding. If you don't, there are many helpful sites to Champagne and wine on the net, including wine.about.com. Your caterer will most likely have recommendations for you and will help you figure out how much wine you'll need for the amount of people you're having. At most parties, approximately 30-50% will drink white wine (mostly Chardonnay), 30-50% will drink red wine (mostly cabernet), and about 10 to 20% will drink white zinfandel. You'll want to consider your crowd: more women usually mean more white wine drinkers, more men mean more red wine. I work with a lot of theater crowds which are heavy beer and red wine drinkers.
You'll also want to consider what entree you are serving. Sauvignon Blanc goes with a wide variety of seafood entrees, as well as poultry and cheeses, and is the best option for pasta with a cream sauce. Chardonnay is a widely popular white that works well with chicken, pork and many seafood dishes.
For red wines, Merlot and Cabernet are the most popular options and both suit a menu that includes beef or pastas with red sauces. Another crowd pleaser is Beaujolais, a light fruity red. If you're having a late November wedding or early December wedding, why not serve a Beaujolais Nouveau. This highly-anticipated wine is the first wine of the new season and should be drunk immediately. It's great for weddings as it carries a sentiment of new beginnings and celebration.
And of course, you'll want to have a Champagne or sparkling wine for toasting! (many of you may not know that sparkling wine is the same thing as champagne, except that its not from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France). This will be the most expensive part of your wine budget, thus only serve it for the toasting. You should plan for 2 glasses of Champagne per guest, unless your wedding will be very long, or you know that there will be many formal toasts.