Tips on Selecting Wines for a Wedding

Celebration. People holding glasses of champagne making a toastI mentioned in yesterday’s blog that there’s little that will be “normal” when my fiancée and I walk down the aisle tomorrow.

And that begins with the aisle itself, which will be located in the lounge of a bowling center. We have friends who have actually exchanged vows out on the lanes, in front of the pins, at bowling centers, but we opted for a more “traditional” bowling center wedding.

The reason that we wanted the wedding ceremony to take place in a comparatively small room with table seating for 160, rather than in the cavernous area out by the lanes, is that we’re having a band perform. The acoustics will be far better in that more intimate space.

Since Michelle and I have both been married before, we’re thinking of this as a concert and a dinner at which a wedding ceremony takes place. You’ll understand what I mean if you check out the band’s website: http://incendioband.com.

I’ve seen Incendio play enough times that my daughter has labeled me a stalker, and Michelle has seen them on two occasions. I knew I was going to marry her when I played the Incendio tune called “Barcelona” for her and she immediately loved it. In fact, when we were planning our “honeymoon before the wedding” last fall, we selected Barcelona as one of our destinations because of that tune.

Of course, no concert/dinner/wedding is complete without wine. As you might imagine, when we were splitting up the wedding planning duties, I drew the wine straw.

I’ve been the “wine guy” for birthday parties, anniversary parties, Thanksgiving dinners and countless other events that were much smaller in scope than a 160-person wedding party. At more intimate gatherings, knowing something about the people who would be in attendance helped in making some of the selections. But 160 people?

With a group of that size, you’re going to have some people who prefer red wine, some who prefer white, some who prefer dry, some who prefer sweet and some who don’t drink wine at all. We also needed to take into consideration that after dinner and dessert, there would be some time for toasts, and that bottles of Prosecco — the Italian version of sparkling wine, since the meal will feature Italian fare — would be uncorked and poured.

As I thought about it, I began to realize that this 160-person party was pretty similar to Thanksgiving dinner, only bigger. On Turkey (or Ham) Day, all of the flavors and textures of all the dishes being served call for a variety of wines to be opened. Likewise, with so many palates to try to please on our concert/dinner/wedding day, the best answer was to serve a variety of wines.

Here’s what I ended up doing:

  1. I ordered two cases (24 bottles) of a white blend that has just a hint of sweetness.
  1. I ordered two cases of a dry rosé wine that exhibits fruit sweetness.
  1. I pulled 24 bottles of red wine — each a different bottling — from my personal collection.

So, at the concert/dinner/wedding, each table will have one bottle of white, one bottle of rosé and one bottle of red, which should be plenty for 10 people. We’ll have several bottles of red in reserve in case any of the wines are corked or if there’s a problem when pulling a cork from a bottle. And we’ll use any leftover wines for prizes at our post-concert/dinner/wedding fun bowling event.

Yes, there is going to be bowling because, after all, the event is taking place at a bowling center.

We’re also doing something a little bit different with the glassware. As bowlers, Michelle and I have been to lots of banquets over the years. While most of the bowlers followed the long-established cliché and drank beer, there were a few of us who preferred wine. But wine glasses are easily tipped, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a wine glass tipped over when someone bumped a banquet table.

So, we are following the Italian dinner theme in another way: We’ll be drinking wine out of tumblers instead of stemware, which should cut way down on spills.

San Antonio Winery, the “urban winery” in downtown Los Angeles, sells tumblers decorated with its Stella Rosa brand logo and artwork for just $1. So, we bought 160 of them, and each wedding guest will take their tumbler home as a token of our appreciation.

One final aspect of our wedding that makes it unusual is that we decided to name an official charity in lieu of having a gift registry. As I mentioned, we’ve both been married before, so it’s not like we need a third toaster. And I have a working Keurig machine and another one in mothballs, so I’ve got the home-brewed coffee situation under control.

Because Michelle’s dad — and my former bowling teammate, as you’ll recall from yesterday’s blog — served in and was wounded in Vietnam, we have selected a charity that benefits hospitalized veterans. It’s a charity that was started by bowlers, and has served as bowling’s official charity ever since. It’s called the BVL Fund, and you can learn more about it here.

Tomorrow, Michelle and I will walk down a most unusual aisle at a most unusual venue, enjoying time and wine with friends while listening to a great band and raising funds for a most worthy cause.

It may not be traditional, but it sure is going to be fun.

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One comment on “Tips on Selecting Wines for a Wedding
  1. […] On October 24, I married the woman of my dreams in perhaps the most “non-traditional” manner one could imagine. It’s the second marriage for each of us and we both have grown “children,” so instead of taking the flowing-white-dress-and-tuxedo approach, we decided to have a party. You can read my detailed blog on that very fun, wine-filled day here. […]

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