O’Donovan’s have been helping the people of Cork to choose great wines for their weddings for over forty years, so we’re well positioned to offer sound advice in planning for your big day.


    The most important thing to consider is how much you can afford to spend. Remember to include corkage charges in your calculations. Knowing how much you can spend per bottle is the first step.


    There are so many considerations when planning for your wedding; it can all be a little overwhelming. With so many types, varietals and styles to choose from, and so many tastes to accommodate, it can be hard to choose a true crowd pleaser.The great thing about weddings is that they bring together people of all ages and tastes. When it comes to the menu and the wine that can also be one of the worries; our advice – keep it simple! If you’re going to have more than 100 guests at your wedding, it’s usually advisable to choose one white and one red that will suit most palates. During the summer people tend to opt for white more often so bear this in mind when deciding ratios. If you are having a more intimate wedding, you may wish to offer wines more specific to the menu being served, as it would be quite feasible to gauge amounts needed.

    White: A good white option is Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc, these are excellent value wines with freshness and vibrancy and are good crowd pleasers which will suit fish and white meat. Red: It’s best to keep red uncomplicated, especially if you’re still finalising the menu. A fruity red like Merlot or a Merlot Cabernet blend from Bordeaux, a Crianza from Spain or any cool climate red will suit. Champagne: Given the high cost of champagne in Ireland, a sparkling wine reception will more than suffice. It is better to serve your guests a good quality sparkling wine (like Cava or Prosecco), than a cheap champagne!


    Work on six glasses per bottle and generally allow for three glasses per person for dinner. An even split of 50/50 red and white is best. For champagne and sparkling wine, allow for eight glasses per bottle. One glass per person for the toast should suffice and then it’s up to you whether you would like to offer guests a drink at reception on arrival, this generally works out at two glasses per person.


    The corkage charge is usually the highest component of your wine costs. They vary wildly and most hotels will be willing to negotiate the price they charge. The corkage charge is used as an attempt by hotels to make their House Wine a more attractive option but usually it’s still better value to buy the wines yourself and put up with corkage charges. For a similar price you will usually get a far superior wine to serve your guests.


    How you intend to serve the wine will have a direct effect on how much you will use and consequently on your budget. One option is to have a glass with the starter and another one (or more) with the main course. A less complicated method is simply to have a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white wine placed on each table. This method also has the added advantage of giving you a fairly accurate idea of how much wine you’ll need. Don’t forget to add a couple more for the top table and maybe an extra case in reserve for those who are enjoying the wines! At O’Donovans we offer bulk discounts and always have very competitive specials running, which can offer even greater savings. Ideally, two to three months before the big day, drop into your nearest O’Donovans Off-Licence and talk to the Manager who will be able to offer suggestions and advise you of special promotions.

    In the weeks leading up to the wedding, sample a few wines you have on your shortlist and let others try them to gauge other opinions. It’s difficult to keep everyone satisfied, so try to find a happy medium by selecting an uncomplicated, easy drinking style of wine that will impress your guests and add to your special day!