After you get engaged, people will want to celebrate in the months leading up to your wedding. You may go to brunch with your closest friends and toast mimosas over muffins and eggs benedict. Your relatives might pour you a glass of wine or pop open a bottle of beer to cheer you on.
While it’s easy to enjoy the celebrations, it leaves many brides wondering what they should serve for their wedding toast. Champagne is a standard drink menu item, but there are so many to choose from. It isn’t a standard drink to stock in your home compared to wine, which makes it harder to know what your guests will want.
Check out this bride-to-be’s guide to selecting champagne for the wedding. You’ll learn all about how to consider different kinds of champagnes and what options you have to choose from. When it’s time to walk down the aisle, you’ll feel confident that you chose the right bubbly bottles for your big day.
1. Consult Your Senses
Like any other drink or food for your wedding, you’ll need to have a taste test of any champagne you consider. Don’t walk into the tasting without a few expectations. Keep in mind that you’re there to narrow down your list, not just to enjoy a glass or two of champagne.
Before you sip your first sample, what does it look like? It may have a particular color or bubbliness that catches your eye. Do you enjoy what you smell when you bring the glass to your lips? You should appreciate the taste of the drink as well as the after-taste, so make plenty of notes to reflect on once you leave.
2. Look Outside of France
When you buy a bottle of champagne, you’re purchasing a product from Champagne, which is a northeastern region of France. Only a product from Champagne can be marketed as champagne, leading to higher prices.
If you’re working with a tight wedding budget, you can look outside of France for comparable bubbly drinks. Sparkling wines made anywhere else in the world are usually more cost-efficient and they look almost the same. Many brides now opt for sparkling wine for that reason, especially if they want all of their guests to make toasts with something bubbly.
3. Chill the Champagne First
Before you pop open your bottle of wedding champagne, make sure you chill it first. Chilling ensures you’ll get the best taste and quality from your drink, but only if you do it correctly.
Get lots of ice and check the temperature so every bottle settles at 42 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit before the bartender begins serving guests. Overchilling affects the taste and may ruin the experience, so get a reliable thermometer so the bartender can oversee the unopened bottles of champagne.
4. Do the Math
If you’ve enjoyed wine or beer for a while, you generally know how many serving sizes are in each bottle. Champagne is served differently, which leads brides to wonder how much they should buy.
As you taste-test potential champagne bottles, calculate your final order by doing a little math. Typically, one bottle of champagne has six servings. Talk with your bartender before your wedding so they know how much you expect each guest to drink. You want everyone to get a glass during your reception.
5. Pair With Your Meal
After you finalize your reception menu, you can use it as a guide to decide which kinds of champagne you’ll buy.
Brut champagnes that have fruity hints pair well with seafood, whereas you’ll want to wait for dessert before pouring dry champagne. It all depends on what you want to eat at your wedding, which should always come first before you decide on your drink menu.
6. Find a Recent Bottle
You may find aged champagne and think that it goes through the same process as wine. But that isn’t always true. Vintage champagne can sometimes lose its flavor and bubbles. They’re also more expensive than younger bottles of champagne, so consider all your options and make sure to taste-test both vintage and modern champagne to get a well-rounded opinion on what you enjoy.
Take Your Time
Some brides may feel tempted to head to the grocery store and load up on whatever champagne happens to be on sale. It’s better to take your time and learn about how to select champagne for your wedding so you get the best bottle. Taste-test different kinds, consider your reception menu and calculate what you’ll need so everyone enjoys a delicious glass during your wedding toasts.