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How to Choose Budget-friendly Wines for Your Wedding

Selecting wines for the wedding is a task that calls for prudence, especially if budget is a constraint. While cheap wines can be distasteful, there are several inexpensive options that provide good value for money.
Wedessence Staff
Last Updated: May 5, 2018
Royal Wine for a Royal Wedding
Chapel Down, UK's largest producer of English wine supplied Brut Rosé for Prince William and Kate Middleton's Royal Wedding in 2011.
While some go to the extent of personalizing their own wine bottle labels, not everybody has the privilege of spending so much cash on their wedding day. With so many expenses to be covered during the wedding, the last thing you want is for the wine to burn a hole in your pocket. Then again, you don't want to serve bad wine, and ruin the mood at this auspicious occasion.

So, how does one go about it? Well, there are several budget-friendly wines that you can serve at your nuptials. Moreover, by keeping a few money-saving pointers in mind, you can reduce your expenses and have a wonderful wedding reception, without breaking your bank. Let's take a look at how to choose wedding wines on a budget.
Choosing Wedding Wines on a Budget
Affordable Sparkling Wines
Wedding wine
While Champagne is the bottle we all dream about uncorking on our big day, it may not be feasible. The steep prices of French Champagne will simply tip the budget. So, instead of heading to France, how about heading to Italy or Spain. The sparkling wines from these countries may not be Champagne, but they sure are remarkable effervescent wines. Italy's Prosecco or Spain's Cava are great alternatives to Champagne. If you're still keen on something French, then how about a French Crémant. You could also opt for rosé sparkling wines, which are wonderful for toasts and as aperitifs. They also spearhead the festive mood by adding a touch of romance and elegance.
Combination of Red and White
Wedding wine greyscale
You have your sparkler, but what about the table wine? Choosing 'The Wine' for your wedding can be mind-boggling, especially when there are umpteen choices out there. Then again, you need the wine to complement the dinner, and not overpower or get overshadowed. So, to make things simpler, opt for a white and a red; however, don't keep too many options. Just one red and one white will suffice. This will not only help balance out the pairings and satiate different palates, but will also help curtail the costs. Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs are versatile wines that make safe choices, not only for the palate, but also for the wallet. While you won't get good ones for under USD 10, there are some pretty impressive ones for under USD 20.
Taste and Decide
Don't let the price tag on wine bottles help you decide which is the better wine. While on a budget, it's important to save as much as you can. So, go ahead and taste as many affordable wines as possible. There are many inexpensive wines (under USD 20), that taste great, but often go unnoticed. It's your job to spot these treasured wines and serve them at your wedding. However, for this you will need to start wine tasting well in advance. Open a different bottle at every meal, or gather a group of friends and taste a couple of bottles. This will not only help you narrow down your search, but will also help you understand people's preference.
Purchase Your Own Wine
While purchasing your own wine will help bag maximum discounts, it's important to check with your caterer regarding the wine policy. Some venues and caterers do not allow you to bring your own wine. Moreover, it may not be permissible by law as well. So, if you're allowed to get your own wine, don't let go of the opportunity. However, even if you get your own wine, you will have to take into consideration the 'corkage fee', which is charged by the bottle. Be sure to double check these rates, because at times, they can be very steep.
Opt for Inexpensive Options
Don't hesitate to go local. Wine from a local vineyard is a great choice if you think it tastes good. You could also browse online for some exceptionally good deals. Spotting a good bargain needs time, effort, and diligence. Purchasing in bulk helps cut down overall costs. Most wine stores offer a discount by the case. Moreover, be on the lookout for seasonal discounts. If you manage to get a USD 25 Pinot Noir for USD 20, there's nothing like it. Then again, if you don't have the option of bringing your own wine, then, hone your negotiating skills and bag a good bargain with the caterers.
Don't Get Stuck with Extras
Being able to decide upon the right amount of wine for your wedding can be tricky. While you don't want to run out of wine at your reception, you don't want to get stuck with tons of extra cases after the wedding. So, it's important to make the right estimate. For this, you will need to take various factors into consideration, such as the time of the day, season, etc. Hot summer days will call for more white wine. The kind of guests you're inviting will also play a key role. Are they more of wine drinkers, or do they stick to beers and cocktails? The duration of your wedding will also matter. Then again, if you're having an open bar, the amount of wine required will be lesser. So, consider these factors before estimating the numbers.
While choosing a wine for your wedding, keep general likes and dislikes in mind. The best way to ensure it will be liked, is by having a bunch of your near and dear ones help you with the wine-tasting process. It's important to select wines that will not pose to be a financial challenge, while at the same time satisfy your guests. Remember, as long as the wine is not extraordinarily great or outlandish, nobody will remember the wine. So, focus on something that's good on the palate. Have fun!