The Sparkly Stuff

When asked on what occasions she drank champagne, the late Madame Bollinger famously replied, “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty.”

I used this quote on the menu for my 18th birthday cocktail party. Good times.

I do like a glass of champagne. Correction. I do like a glass of something sparkly. I don’t really care if it’s champagne. Or prosecco. Or cava. Or sparkling wine. If it’s a drink made from grapes that has bubbles in it then I’m a happy girl.

Our venue will provide wine for our meal, and other drinks can be bought from the cash bar, but we will have to supply the sparkly. With an £8 corkage fee per bottle, we couldn’t get champagne—it would just have been too expensive. So instead we decided to stick to the cheaper stuff!

At Jack’s annual family get together, I have seen them drink all sorts. This year, I don’t even think the beers were in the fridge—this gives me great reassurance that no one will be complaining that their arrival and toast drinks don’t come from the northeast region of France. And I know my friends and family well enough to know that they’ll just be happy with a free drink to compliment their canapés!

With this decided, we went to a local wine merchant to look at their stock. We get all our wine for work from this place, so I have a good relationship with them. Jack and I have been to wine tastings there, and some of their stuff is goooooooood! I like mostly all wine, but some of theirs did go down much nicer than what I usually drink…

They recommended a couple of proseccos and a sparkling rose. We decided not to sample the rose at that point, but bought a bottle each of the other two to take home and try ourselves.

A few weeks later my mum was in her local Tesco supermarket when she saw a deal had been put on—buy six bottles and get 25% off. And wouldn’t you know it? The sparkling rose that had been recommended to us was not only a part of this deal, but it was also on 50% off. Combine both those discounts with the 10% staff discount that my brother holds, et voila…£3.60 a bottle.

Of course this was all very well, but we had to taste it first to make sure it was acceptable to serve. My mum also found a standard sparkly in the same deal, also with 50% off, so she called me, gave me the names of the wines, and instructed me to head to the nearest Tesco to buy a bottle each and try them over the weekend—and try them we did!

This was put up on Jack’s Instagram. It made me giggle.


Testing sparkly for the wedding #hardlife

The first bottle was a success. Lovely, lovely drink. It went down very well that evening. The next night we invited a couple of friends over and sampled our other bottle… and it, too, was lovely. One friend rarely drank sparkling wine, but she finished off two whole glasses. I am going to take that to mean it was good.

So with that, I called my mum and she headed down to Tesco to buy 18 bottles each of Codorniu Vintage Rose Cava and Freixenet Brut Extra NV Cava. Putting our entire sparkling wine cost to less than £450!

We have decided to serve the rose with the canapés as our arrival drink, and the normal cava with our toast. Those two drinks, along with two glasses of wine during the meal, will give our guests almost an entire bottle of wine each! Which I think is pretty good, really! I can drink a fair bit of wine, and even I’m pleasantly drunk after that much!

I never thought I’d end up buying my wedding plonk from the supermarket, but hey—a deal’s a deal!

Did anyone else go down the no-champagne route? Did anyone make a big deal about it??


Mrs. Jackrabbit

Brighton, UK
Wedding Date:
September 2013
A Kid-Friendly Wedding
My First DIY Adventure: Puzzle Piece Fail Whale

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  1. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2069 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:10 am

    Ohh that’s a good deal! We bought all of our alcohol at Costco here in Houston, which is like a massive wholesale store. We got really great deals on all of our liquor – so glad our venue was BYOB!

  2. Member
    Red Poppy 22 posts, Newbee @ 10:45 am

    Those sounds like great choices, and great deals! I love cava, and when I went to Barcelona I visited the Freixenet winery and their sparkling wines are really good (bought a bottle of brut rose to bring back to NY)!

  3. Member
    shortbread 290 posts, Helper bee @ 10:54 am

    We are still trying to decide if it’s more cost efective to buy our own sparkling wine and pay the corkage fee or have the venue provide it. I should send my FMIL to Tesco to see what she can find for us. Since we don’t have them in the states it’s really hard for me to figure out what things cost in Scotland. You got an excellent deal on yours!

  4. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:12 am

    Yummmmm! I’m still really jealous that we can’t buy wine/spirits in grocery stores here (PA, not the US in general). Other people find great deals, and we have plenty of time that we could get some good ones – we just can’t because of strict liquor control laws! :(

    That said, I love the sparkly too, and I’m way too excited about taste-testing different ones! :)

  5. bracelet Member
    bracelet 278 posts, Helper bee @ 11:28 am

    I have no idea what sparkly stuff we chose for our wedding. I just know that we had some and that I and the guests enjoyed it. I don’t think anyone will be giving it a close look or second thought.

  6. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 11:31 am

    This sounds so yum! The only thing better than sparkling wine is when you get a good deal on it :)

  7. msjackrabbit Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:00 pm

    @Red Poppy: you said ‘winery’ and so i stopped reading and just started daydreaming instead hahaha ;)

    @Shortbread: we thought the same about the wine, which was £10 a bottle from them, or £6 corkage. As we wouldn’t be able to get a decent bottle of wine for much less than £4, we went with theirs. It’s a good way to make the decision :)

    @Blonde17Jess: you can’t buy wine from supermarkets?!?! oh my word, I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t imagine not being able to pick up a bottle when I’m buying food. I thought the 21 age was strict, let alone that! *cough* move to England *cough* ;)

    @Mrs. Bracelet: here’s hoping so!

  8. mspalmtree Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:05 pm

    Like @Blonde17Jess said, I’m so jealous of the stellar deals other ladies can find on alcohol. You can’t buy anything at a supermarket in PA and it’s so frustrating.

    Regardless, I’m super excited for you. I think you’re being so awesome by putting so much thought & effort into choosing the right one!

  9. Member
    Merelymere 474 posts, Helper bee @ 12:23 pm

    Awesome! It’s so great when we wedding-planning masses get a deal on ANYTHING! Especially something fun!
    My husband is a wine/beer buyer for a chain here, so we were VERY lucky to be able to get a great deal on our wine and beer for our reception.
    And I ♥ prosecco…so very much.

  10. Member
    Pink Penguin 144 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:30 pm

    I think we may have found the same deal up here in Lancaster!
    We’re serving the exact same sparkling rose for the drinks reception and then a Tesco own cava with the toasts. I don’t know what I’d do without the supermarkets – I buy EVERYTHING there!

  11. Member
    Irish_in_Oxford 104 posts, Blushing bee @ 2:09 pm

    We did the exact same and bought all the cava for our wedding from Sainsburys! It was on a really good offer and once we’d included the discount for bulk buys and 15% off for our first online shop, I think we got 40 bottles of the posh stuff for under £250! Six months later we are still enjoying the leftovers!

  12. msjackrabbit Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:17 pm

    @Irish_in_Oxford: 40 bottles for under £250?! Oh MAN I should have spoken to you first!!!

  13. hyena Member
    hyena 2537 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:33 pm

    We bought all our wedding wine at the grocery store too! And of course we bought way too much of it, and it took us months afterwards to finish the bottles — we even had to give a lot of it away!
    Love sparkling drinks. :)

  14. Member
    Irish_in_Oxford 104 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:17 pm

    @Irish_in_Oxford: @Irish_in_Oxford:sorry, that was before corkage though…so no cheaper than yours in the end! I think we paid 10 euro corkage per bottle, which is about the same as your fee, and we prob got through 30 bottles.

  15. Member
    babbot 586 posts, Busy bee @ 7:05 pm

    Wow you all are very lucky that you can bring your own booze. We are going to be charged an arm and a leg for our kegs -and the wine/champagne, we just couldnt do at $6-8 per glass. So, no toasts….that’s ok though, there are other perks that make up for it. I did think about sneaking in a champagne buffet (stole the idea from 4 weddings on tlc) and throw it in the trunk, but that would be not so- classy-lol.

  16. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:32 pm

    And that it’s a great deal. As long it is good, who cares where it came from?

  17. Member
    gotsol 46 posts, Newbee @ 11:06 pm

    I think we may have found the same deal up here in Lancaster!

  18. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 12:31 pm

    Aaaah YES, the bubbly !!

    My favourite drink… I can see exactly WHY it has the well established reputation that it does.

    The PERFECT drink… Morning, Noon or Night !!

    In Canada (I’m in Ontario)… all our Alchohol Products are Government Controlled in regards to pricing, distribution, laws etc.

    Which means altho I can choose venues, and any particular “bubbly” I might want to serve… for the most part the pricing is fairly static.

    You have to purchase from the Venue, who can set their own mark-up / margins… and they inturn have to buy thru the Government Liquor Agencies (ie in Ontario it is the LCBO = Liquor Control Board of Ontario).

    The nice thing about the LCBO is they are the largest buyer of Wines & Spirits in the world… so lots of great stuff to choose from.

    The bad thing, is you are locked into whatever the listed price base is (no competition)… and ontop fo that the Venue / Bar whatever sets their mark-up / margin.

    For our Back Home Reception, we chose a Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut that retails for $ 13 at the LCBO… after the Venue’s mark-up / margin our price came in at $ 26 per 750 Bottle… but that wasn’t the end of it… we were then subjected to the 13% Sales Tax (Provincial & Federal Combined) as well as tipping out a minimum of 15% when we got the final invoice. Our final bill came to aprox $ 800 for 2 cases of Sparkling which worked out to aprox $ 8.00 per person (100 Guests)… or aprox $ 6.66 per glass. Which by Canadian standards is a bargain !!

    Of course there was the drawback to our Antiquted Liquor Laws, in that any unconsumed / unopened product, we still had to pay for… and it became the property of the Venue… so a true loss in that it couldn’t be returned to the LCBO for credit by us, nor could we bring it home with us. :-(

    Needless to say… once we cracked the Bubbly for the B&G Toast, we left the option of our Guests drinking Sparkling for the rest of the evening on the table… many were happy to comply as the choice was a good one… and for many it breat the heck out having to dish out for the Cash Bar (for Beer & Hardstuff).

  19. msmongoose Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 10:36 am

    What an amazing deal, good for you!! I LOVE all types of sparkling wines (like you) and I feel like bubbly just adds a touch of class to any event :)

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