The first rule of thumb is that the wine you select should pair well with both your menu and the general style of your wedding. There are some old guidelines that most people follow, such as serve a white wine with chicken or fish and a red wine with beef or pasta. These tried-and-true ideas may not be novel, but they are always safe, and most couples will decide to stick with them for their receptions.
There are some options beyond serving wine by the glass that you may not know about. If you are having a wedding on a warm summer day, why not offer your guests refreshing wine smoothies? These tasty drinks are made by blending wine with fruit and ice, and make for a unique signature drink that your guests will love. They also have less alcohol in each drink than a signature cocktail made with hard liquor, which can be good if people are really knocking them back on a hot day.
Another fun thing that you can do with wine is make sangria. This is a classic drink that is popular in Spain and Portugal, but it is also great for any summer wedding. Sangria is usually made by combining red wine with fresh fruit like oranges, peaches, and berries, combined with orange juice and sometimes a carbonated soda. The great thing about sangria is that it is nearly impossible to mess up, so it is an easy punch to make yourself. It is a fun idea for everything from a casual backyard wedding with the bride in a simple bridal gown and jewelry to the most elegant afternoon affair at a yacht club. White wine sangria, made with sauvignon blanc is a light and refreshing alternative to the red wine version.
When it comes to choosing the wine to serve with dinner, you will have plenty of great options. The most elegant wines are often thought to come from France, but other delicious wines can also be found from Italy, Australia, and California. For a formal seated dinner, you might splurge a bit on a fabulous French wine like Sancerre (white) or a nice Burgundy (red). These are appropriate choices for an elegant reception in a ballroom, the type where the bride is wearing an elaborate silk gown with ornate bridal jewelry.
Of course, you do not have to spend a fortune to get excellent wine that is very drinkable. Shiraz from Australia is a red wine that can be affordable and also very approachable. For an affordable white wine, you cannot go wrong with Pinot Grigio from Italy. It is widely available for less than $10 a bottle, and is a light and easy crowd pleaser. Chardonnay from the Napa Valley is another good option for an affordable white wine. You can also consider regional fruit wines, such as apple or blueberry wine from New York State. This is especially nice if you can get your wine from a local vineyard.
Choosing wine does not have to be daunting. There are many wonderful and affordable varieties available to brides and grooms. A great way to educate yourself is with a wine tasting course. You and your fiance can relax and enjoy some tasty wines while also planning your wedding; a wine tasting would be a terrific idea for a pre-wedding date night.