How Much is Enough?

Joaquin and Amanda Carbonell, pictured here on their wedding day, are contributors to Southport Magazine and owners of Uncorked by the Sea Wine Shop and Gallery in Southport. Courtesy photo

Joaquin and Amanda Carbonell, pictured here on their wedding day, are contributors to Southport Magazine and owners of Uncorked by the Sea Wine Shop and Gallery in Southport. Courtesy photo

Planning a wedding is one of life’s great pleasures and great frustrations. The variables are endless but once all the pieces fall into place, the day lives on for a lifetime. Determining a budget is first in a list of critical decisions. One way to cut expenses without cutting corners is to choose a venue that allows you to provide your own beverages. You can also provide a better quality selection while spending a lot less.

When it comes to stocking the bar, another list of variables comes into play. Is it a daytime or evening event? Is it a casual barbecue or a sit-down affair? Are the guests primarily young (under 30) or is it a more mature gathering? Is it July or January? And of course, how many guests? Although there are no hard and fast rules, there are some time-proven guidelines that should help.

Event planners recommend that you plan for two drinks the first hour and then one drink per hour per guest thereafter. The mix of beverages depends on your guests and your answers to the previous questions. There are several helpful websites that can provide you more guidance. Check, or search for “beverage calculator” online.

Having just gone through this ourselves with our daughter, we have a new appreciation for the entire process. For Maggie and Jamie’s wedding, we selected one sparkling, two whites and two reds, all under $20. We eliminated the champagne toast except for a really good bottle chosen for the bride and groom. We figured that guests could toast with whatever they happened to be holding. Seemed to work just fine!

La Marca Prosecco
Veneto, Italy
For the bridesmaid’s luncheon, we served a really nice and reasonably priced Prosecco (Italian Champagne), La Marca. A favorite of the Wine Spectator reviewers, this sparkling wine is great on its own or perhaps in a Mimosa. And if you’re set on serving a sparkling wine at the wedding, it’s a very good and very affordable alternative to French Champagne.

Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough, New Zealand
Sauvignon Blanc is a great white wine to serve in addition to Chardonnay. For true Sauvignon Blanc fans, the distinctive citrus characteristics found in wines from Marlborough, New Zealand are just right. Crisp and refreshing, the Oyster Bay is a great choice for a hot summer afternoon. Plus it pairs wonderfully with seafood.

Foxglove Chardonnay
Varner Wines
Central Coast, California
Foxglove Chardonnay is a wine that consistently gets great reviews from the pros. It is made by Varner, known for their high-end Chardonnays. According to The Wine Advocate, the 2010 is no exception. They consider it one of the top values in California wine.

Meiomi Pinot Noir
Napa Valley, California
From the famed Wagner family, maker of Caymus, this is one of our longtime favorites for the money. It’s a wine that you can’t go wrong with as it pairs well with almost any food and is a very easy drinking wine, too. Meiomi means “coast” in the language of the native coastal dwelling Wappo and Yuki tribes, making it especially perfect for a wedding in our area.

Trim Cabernet Sauvignon
Sourced from some of the best vineyards on the North Coast of California, this is a lush, well-balanced, and fruit-forward Cab, blended with Cabernet Franc. It works well with grilled meats and will definitely suit Cabernet lovers.

Uncorked by the Sea offers a special discount plus free delivery in Brunswick County for wedding-related events. The shop hosts weekly wine tastings on alternate Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. through March benefiting a local Brunswick County non-profit organization.

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Southport Area's Culture & Events Magazine