Food and drink pairings can make or break a wedding reception. They have the power to enhance flavors, create an atmosphere, and leave a lasting impression on your guests. Whether you're planning an extravagant affair or an intimate gathering, choosing the right food and drink pairings can help create a memorable experience for everyone.

However, in light of the ongoing pandemic, many couples have been exploring alternative options for their weddings. Online marriages have become a popular trend, with platforms like 

Courtly offers a virtual wedding experience for couples who want to celebrate their love without putting their health at risk. Even with virtual weddings, food, and drink pairings remain an essential aspect of the event, as they help set the tone and create a cohesive experience for the couple and their guests.

Choosing the Right Beverages for Weddings

​​Choosing the right beverages for weddings is an important aspect of planning, as it can greatly enhance the overall guest experience. 

Here are some tips for selecting the right beverages to complement the menu and suit the occasion:

  • Consider the menu: When choosing beverages, consider the flavors and ingredients on the menu. Lighter dishes pair well with white wine, while heavier dishes pair well with red wine. Cocktails that complement the flavors on the menu can also be a great addition.
  • Think about the time of day and season: For daytime weddings, light and refreshing beverages such as mimosas or sangria can be great choices, while darker and richer beverages such as red wine or whiskey are ideal for evening weddings. In terms of season, refreshing cocktails or iced teas are great for summer weddings, while warm and comforting beverages like mulled wine or hot cocoa are perfect for winter weddings.
  • Consider the preferences of the guests: It's important to offer a variety of beverage options to accommodate the different tastes and preferences of guests. Along with alcoholic beverages, it's also important to offer non-alcoholic options such as mocktails, juices, and soda.

Here are some examples of popular drink pairings:

  • Red wine with beef: Rich, full-bodied red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah complement the flavors of beef, creating a perfect pairing.
  • White wine with fish or chicken: Lighter white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio pair well with fish or chicken dishes, enhancing the delicate flavors.
  • Champagne with appetizers: Champagne or sparkling wine pairs well with appetizers such as cheese plates or fresh fruits, creating a refreshing and elegant pairing.

Selecting the right beverages for weddings is an important aspect of planning, as it can greatly enhance the dining experience for guests. By considering the menu, time of day, season, and preferences of guests, you can create perfect beverage pairings that complement the occasion and suit everyone's tastes.

Creating a Wedding Menu to Match the Beverages

Creating a wedding menu that complements the chosen beverages is essential to enhance the dining experience for guests. The right combination of food and drink can bring out the flavors in each and elevate the overall enjoyment of the meal. 

Here are some tips for selecting dishes that pair well with various beverages:

  • Consider the weight of the dishes: Lighter dishes such as salads, seafood, or poultry pair well with white wine, while richer and heavier dishes like beef, lamb, or game meat, pair well with red wine. This is because the weight of the dish should match the weight of the wine to avoid overpowering the flavor of either.
  • Think about flavors: When pairing food and drink, consider the flavors in both. For example, acidic wines such as Sauvignon Blanc pair well with acidic foods like tomato-based dishes, while sweet wines like Riesling pair well with spicy dishes.
  • Match regional cuisine: Consider pairing regional cuisine with wines or drinks from the same region. For example, Italian dishes pair well with Chianti, while French cuisine pairs well with champagne.

Here are some examples of food and drink pairings:

  • Champagne and oysters: The briny flavor of oysters is complemented by the effervescence of Champagne, making it a classic pairing.
  • Pinot Noir and duck or lamb: The earthy flavors of Pinot Noir complement the rich flavors of duck or lamb, creating a perfect match.
  • Sauvignon Blanc and seafood: The light and crisp flavor of Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with seafood, particularly with dishes like ceviche or grilled fish.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Steak: The bold flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon complement the rich flavor of a steak, creating a satisfying pairing.

Selecting dishes that complement the chosen drinks is essential in creating a memorable dining experience for guests. By considering the weight of the dishes, flavors, and regional cuisine, you can create perfect food and drink pairings that enhance the overall enjoyment of the meal.

Alternatives for Non-Alcoholic Beverages For Weddings

Offering non-alcoholic beverage options at weddings is becoming increasingly important as more people are choosing to abstain from alcohol or limit their consumption. It's essential to ensure that all guests feel included and have options that suit their preferences and needs. Moreover, offering non-alcoholic beverages ensures the safety of guests who may need to drive or operate machinery later.

When selecting non-alcoholic beverages, it's essential to consider the menu and offer options that complement the food. For example, citrus-infused sparkling water or iced tea with fruity or floral flavors pair well with light salads or fruit platters. Additionally, it's important to offer a variety of options, such as flavored water, mocktails, and herbal teas, to cater to different tastes and preferences.

Here are some popular non-alcoholic drink pairings to consider for your wedding:

  • Sparkling Water with Citrus or Herbs - Add fresh citrus slices, such as lemon, lime, or grapefruit, or herb sprigs, such as mint or rosemary, to sparkling water for a refreshing and flavorful drink.
  • Iced Tea with Fruit or Floral Flavors - Infuse iced tea with fruits like peach, raspberry, or strawberry, or floral flavors such as lavender or rose, for a sweet and fragrant drink.
  • Mocktails - Offer a selection of alcohol-free cocktails that are just as tasty and visually appealing as their alcoholic counterparts. Popular mocktail options include a Virgin Mojito, Shirley Temple, or a Mango Lassi.
  • Flavored Water - Infused water with sliced fruits like cucumber, watermelon, or citrus, or herbs like mint or basil, for a refreshing and healthy drink option.
  • Kombucha - Kombucha is a fermented tea that is fizzy, slightly sour and comes in a variety of flavors. It's a great non-alcoholic option that offers a unique taste and is also beneficial for gut health.

Offering non-alcoholic beverage options at weddings is essential to ensure that all guests feel included and catered to. When selecting non-alcoholic drinks, it's important to consider the menu, offer variety, and provide options that complement the food. By doing so, you'll create a memorable and enjoyable experience for all guests, regardless of their drink preferences.

Wedding Dessert Pairings

Selecting desserts that complement the chosen beverages and menu items is just as important as choosing the right drinks for weddings. 

Here are some tips for choosing desserts that pair well with various drinks:

  • Consider the flavors in the menu: Like choosing the right beverages, it's important to consider the flavors in the menu when selecting desserts. Light and refreshing desserts such as sorbets or fruit-based desserts pair well with white wine or Champagne, while rich and decadent desserts such as chocolate cake pair well with dessert wines or coffee.
  • Look for complementary flavors: Pairing desserts with drinks that have complementary flavors can enhance the dining experience. For example, chocolate desserts pair well with coffee, as the bitterness in the coffee complements the sweetness of the chocolate.
  • Consider the alcohol content: When pairing desserts with alcoholic beverages, it's important to consider the alcohol content. Lighter desserts pair well with low alcohol content beverages such as Champagne or white wine, while richer desserts pair well with stronger, more flavorful drinks such as Port or Sherry.

Here are some examples of dessert and drink pairings:

  • Port with chocolate cake: The richness and depth of flavor in Port wine complement the richness and sweetness of the chocolate cake, creating a decadent pairing.
  • Moscato d'Asti with fruit tarts: Moscato d'Asti's light and fruity notes pair perfectly with the fresh, bright flavors of fruit tarts.
  • Coffee with tiramisu: The bitterness and acidity of coffee cuts through the richness of tiramisu, creating a well-balanced and satisfying pairing.

Selecting the right desserts to pair with drinks is an important aspect of wedding planning that can greatly enhance the dining experience for guests. By considering the flavors on the menu, looking for complementary flavors, and considering the alcohol content, you can create a perfect dessert and drink pairings that complement the occasion and suit everyone's tastes.


The importance of food and drink pairings cannot be overstated when it comes to creating a successful wedding experience. By selecting the right beverages and dishes that complement each other, couples can enhance the overall dining experience for their guests and make their wedding day even more memorable.

You should try experimenting with different food and drink pairings, and not be afraid to try new combinations. Whether it's exploring new cocktail recipes or pairing different wines with their favorite dishes, there are endless possibilities for creating delicious and memorable combinations.

Ultimately, the key is to have fun and to create a menu that reflects the couple's personalities and preferences. By putting thought and care into the food and drink choices, couples can ensure that their wedding day is truly a celebration to remember.


How do I choose the right caterer for my wedding?

Choosing the right caterer for your wedding can be a daunting task, but there are a few things to consider when making your decision. Start by asking friends and family for recommendations, and then research potential caterers online. Look for reviews and photos of their past work to get an idea of their style and quality. 

Should I offer a signature cocktail at my wedding reception?

Offering a signature cocktail at your wedding reception can be a fun and unique touch that adds to the overall experience. It can also be a way to showcase your personality or theme. Consider working with your caterer or bartender to create a custom cocktail that reflects your taste and preferences.

How many appetizers should I offer during cocktail hour?

The number of appetizers you should offer during cocktail hour will depend on the size of your guest list and the length of the cocktail hour. As a general rule, plan on offering 3-5 different appetizers, with a variety of meat, vegetarian, and seafood options.

Can I customize my wedding menu to accommodate dietary restrictions?

Yes, most caterers can accommodate dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan. When working with your caterer, be sure to provide a list of any dietary restrictions that you are aware of, and ask if they can provide options that meet those needs.

How many different courses should I serve at my wedding reception?

The number of courses you serve at your wedding reception is up to you, but it typically ranges from 3-5 courses. This can include appetizers, a salad course, a main course, and a dessert course.

What types of wines pair well with different types of foods?

Pairing wine with food can be a complex art, but some basic guidelines can help. In general, white wines pair well with lighter dishes such as seafood and chicken, while red wines pair well with richer dishes such as beef or lamb. When in doubt, ask your caterer or sommelier for recommendations.

Should I consider incorporating any cultural dishes into my menu?

Incorporating cultural dishes into your menu can be a great way to showcase your heritage or family traditions. Work with your caterer to come up with dishes that are meaningful to you and your partner.

How can I accommodate guests with dietary restrictions or food allergies?

When planning your menu, be sure to ask your guests about any dietary restrictions or food allergies that they may have. Work with your caterer to provide alternative options that meet those needs.

How can I offer a variety of drink options for guests, including non-alcoholic beverages?

Offering a variety of drink options is important to ensure that all of your guests feel included and comfortable. Consider offering a selection of wine, beer, and cocktails, as well as non-alcoholic options such as soda, juice, and sparkling water.

Can I customize the menu to fit within my budget?

Yes, most caterers can work with you to create a menu that fits within your budget. Be upfront about your budget from the beginning, and work with your caterer to come up with creative solutions that meet your needs.

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