Breweries, Wine, and Cheese

The Grapevine: Here Comes the Bride—and the Bills

Affordable Wines for Weddings

By Elspeth Brown

I got married ten years ago at The Basilica of St. Lawrence in downtown Asheville. Let me tell you, I should have listened to my husband, flown to the Keys, and eloped. Weddings are expensive! There is no fluctuation, like with the stock market. Weddings always cost the same: a lot. But, I wanted the pomp and circumstance, like most girls, because you (try to) only get married once.

I started off strong in the attempt to save money. I bought a lovely wedding dress from J. Crew that was simple yet elegant, the wedding cake was a gift from a friend, and it was Lent so we were not allowed to be extravagant with the flowers. It started going downhill when I purchased a stunning veil that was three times the price of the wedding dress, which I can’t even locate now. Then, a couple weeks before the wedding, we still had to buy beer and wine for our guests—but we were quickly running out of money.

Herein lies the problem that so many brides and grooms come crying to me about right before they are to be hitched. They need wine and beer for their 150 guests that won’t break the bank, especially because they spent their liquor stipend on the band. Plus, they want Champagne on a beer budget.

At Maggie B’s, I always offer price-friendly, smooth, everyday drinking whites and reds that are suitable for weddings. Wines can be found to fit any palate and most any reasonable budget. If you want a fun drink to serve without liquor, I would suggest a specialty wine cocktail, wine punch or even a light Sangria without the Brandy. Here are a few suggestions to step up your wedding provisions without having to cash in on your honeymoon.

New Age White wine is produced from Torrontes grapes from Mendoza, Argentina. It is light and refreshing with ripe pear and peach flavors and some effervescence on the finish. It has been one of my hottest selling wines this summer for making delicious cocktails. The New Age Mojito is my favorite and is extremely simple. Put a large handful of mint in the glass plus three wedges of lime, fill ice to the top of the glass and add New Age White. Then use a stirring stick or something similar to crush the mint and lime, stir and drink.

White wine punch is also easy and looks beautiful. Mix three bottles of Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc with one cup of simple syrup, a half cup of orange juice, and a half cup of either lemon or lime juice and lots of fruit—sliced peaches, strawberries, limes, blueberries or oranges. Then serve over ice.

Sangria can be really fun and festive. It can also be made with red and white wine, or bubbles. A big selling point for Sangria is that since you are mixing it before your guests arrive, you can use box wine or larger bottles to help save some money. Plus, the pitchers look stunning on a table.

My favorite part of our wedding was at the reception when for ten minutes my new husband and I sat down with a glass of wine and plate full of food and we ate and drank and enjoyed each other. Remember not to stress too much, grab a glass of wine that you paid for, and enjoy the person you are spending the rest of your life with.

Elspeth Brown is the owner of Maggie B’s Wine & Specialty Store, 10C South Main Street in Weaverville. For more information, visit or call 828.645.1111.

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