Staying on wedding budget can be a real challenge, especially when it comes to catering and, in particular, alcoholic beverages. To help keep costs in check for your winter wedding, Paul Yanon of Colangelo & Partners Public Relations in New York shares some winter wedding beverage tips to reinforce the notion that great weddings don’t always have to come at a high price; you just have to be a little more savvy.
BYOB is your BFF
Search out hotels, restaurants and other reception sites that don’t require you to buy from their list. Most will charge a corkage fee to BYOB, but that cost will pale in comparison to catering a room of thirsty revelers off the menu.
Time of Day Matters
Are you having a day or evening wedding? People drink a little less at an afternoon wedding than at an evening affair so plan accordingly.
Wine doesn’t have to be boring if on a budget.
To get the greatest bang for your buck, look for wines from European countries currently struggling with the economic crisis. Countries such as Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece are producing incredible wines that can be bought for a fraction of the price of the same quality wines made here in the United States (especially California).
Winter weddings coincide with seasonal sales discounts.
Bargain hunters can find great discounts at wine stores during the season, especially with sparkling wines. Look at warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club for greatly discounted offerings. The selection is actually not that bad and they multiple locations.
Take advantage of whites rolling over to new vintages.
With vintages about to change for many white wines during this time of year, distributors will be looking to move previous vintage stock from their warehouses with favorable discounts.
Participate in wine tastings at local wine stores whenever possible.
Tastings held at wine stores are often free, and they will give you an idea of what wines are currently out there on the store shelves.
Weather can dictate people’s drinking habits.
When planning a winter wedding remember that the cold will have an impact of the kind of wine your guests drink. In most instances, cold weather will see an up tick in red wine consumption over chilled whites so factor this into your budget.
Instruct your waiters on pouring for guests.
The standard 750-ml wine bottle holds 25 ounces; count on five servings of wine, at 5 ounces each, from one bottle. For sparkling wines served in flutes, allow for 4 ounces per serving (plus foam), which equals six servings per bottle.
A glass half full
Tell your waiters to start pouring half pours towards the end of the evening to ensure that your guests make it home safe (and so you have less wastage at the end of the evening).
A “no returns” policy is a deal breaker.
Negotiate with your wine store before buying so they can take back any unopened wine. Note that bottles with damaged/wet labels may not get taken back depending on the store policy.
Great value options to look for at your local store:
- Sparkling – Champagne is wonderful but inexpensive sparkling wines like Prosecco (Italy) and Cava (Spain) will help stretch your budget when looking for something for your toast.
- White Wines – Vinho Verde (Portugal) is the perfect budget alternative for those who prefer lighter-bodied wines such Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Crisp and fruity, usually with a little spritziness, the wine is a real crowd pleaser at a great price. For those who like Chardonnay, look for the great value Grecante (Italy) to change things up without sacrificing flavor.
- Red Wines – Chianti (Italy) is one of the world’s great wine pairings regardless of what you are eating and can be often bought at discount during seasonal sales. Other value reds to look for are the highly undervalued (and under priced) wines of the Alentejo (Portugal).