Choosing the right alcohol and how much of it is no easy task! Do you supply 1 bottle of wine for every table, 2 or maybe even 3? Open bar, corkage fee? Confused? We asked Mikael Hannequin, who’s in charge of Beverage Development at Searcys Club | The Gherkin for some top tips.
What alcohol works best at a wedding?
Bubbles add a sense of celebration to any occasion, and weddings are the perfect excuse to indulge! Whilst Champagne is still the most popular choice, there are also lots of great English sparkling wines on the market at the minute – Wiston and Nyetimber are ideal if you desire something very romantic, and are produced in Sussex, so you’d be treating your guests to a quality-driven local product.
What wines should couples enjoy at their wedding?
Choices are almost unlimited but i would go for some quirky lines like a Fiano or Falanghina from Campania in Italy for the white option. These are light, crisp and floral – hugely pleasing without breaking the bank. For the red, fruit-driven and full-bodied is always a winner so a nice Tempranillo from Priorat in Spain would be a crowd-pleaser.
How many bottles of wine would you recommend per table?
It always look smarter to have the wines poured by the waiting staff rather than sitting on the tables for the guests to help themselves. If your tables sit eight to twelve guests and you’re are serving a 4-course dinner, I would recommend two whites and three reds. If you’re having a cheese course, more red is recommended.
Would you recommend an open bar?
An open bar can be very difficult to manage. One way of getting round this would be to select three to four cocktails and have your event team pre-batch the cocktails in order to ease the production of them. Have two feminine ones like Chelsea Rose (Gin based) or Sicilian Sour (Amaretto based) and two more masculine ones like Greenland Shark (vodka based) and Queens Park Swizzle (Rum based) to suit all palettes.
Any other tips you might have regarding beverages at a wedding?
Make sure you clearly communicate the offering available at your wedding to the event team so you do not have the waiters checking requests from your guests with you. A full open bar could see you rack up a huge bill, so set a limit and ask for the manager to come and see you once this is reached in order to manage the expectations of both yourself and your guests. And most importantly, just relax and enjoy your day – a professional and experienced event team will have everything in hand!
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