Cava or Champagne at Your Wedding Reception

cava toastHow do you choose what to serve at your wedding?  It can be a difficult decision for some couples depending on their circumstances.  Some couples could be completely tee total and prefer no alcohol at all while others might wish to have a choice for their guests.  

It is however customary to have an alcoholic drink such as Champagne or Cava while toasting the bride and groom and this article is intended to give you some ideas about what you might like to serve on your special day!

The only differences between Champagne and Cava relate to the regions where they are produced from and that they also use different grapes during production.  Apart from the obvious cost difference, there are a few good reasons why you should choose Champagne over Cava and vice versa and they can include:

Champagne Wedding Toast


  • To many people Champagne tastes a lot nicer than any cheaper version.
  • Your guests will definitely be impressed.


  • If you are having a large wedding, it could cost a lot of money to serve all of your guests, particularly if you do not restrict them to one glass each.

Cava Wedding Toast


  • Can be just as good in taste (as well as value) as having Champagne.
  • Choosing this option will most definitely save you both a considerable amount of money from your budget which could be used elsewhere.
  • Finding a nice one from your local supermarket could mean that you will be able to purchase a couple of bottles every couple of weeks in the lead up to your day rather than spend a bulk amount of money in one go.
  • Hangover sufferers might not experience such bad effects with what is considered a lower alcohol content drink.
  • You can mix the variety of Cava's and perhaps include a Rose.


  • Some couples may feel slightly embarrassed at serving a cheaper option; particularly if there are a few family members that will delight in pointing out that "they had Champagne at their wedding".

What is Champagne?

Champagne comes from one place only and that is within France in a region above Paris.  It consists of a mixture of wines produced from the regional vineyards and the wines are blended together along with sugar and yeast.

Anything produced from outside this region is forbidden to use the name Champagne, even though it may use exactly the same ingredients and processes.

What is Cava?

Cava is a Spanish word meaning cave. "Cavas" are the underground chambers where the wine is matured for several years. Cava is kept underground because the temperature is stable.

Cava and Champagne are made in an identical fashion, the grapes are different, Cava uses a local grape called the Xerel.lo, but the double fermentation process is the same, as is the soil type where the grapes are grown, both being alkaline and chalky.

Spanish Cava has become so successful that there are now moves to limit the use of its name as with the name "Champagne".

Cava actually comes from one region the Penedes in Catalonia, Spain, located near Barcelona and the majority of Cava comes from just one town: Sant Sarduni de Noia.

Types of Cava and Champagne

There are of course many varieties which include:


  • Blanc de noirs.
  • Chardonnay.
  • Dom Pérignon.
  • Moet.
  • Pinot Meunier.
  • Pinot Noir.
  • Piper Heidsieck.
  • Rosé Champagne.


  • Asti.
  • Cap Classique.
  • Espumate.
  • Sekt.
  • Sparkling Shiraz.

Which Food Goes with Cava and Champagne

What food goes well with the options that you choose?  Pairing your choice of drink and your foods together can be a very personal choice but you can find information and guidelines all over the internet, local wine shops and sometimes even on the bottles you purchase.  The following list shows what foods can be linked to Champagne and Cava.  Why not check it out to see if your favourite food item is listed and perhaps that will help you in your choice:

  • Cheese.
  • Chicken.
  • Chocolate.
  • Fruits.
  • Seafood.


  • Check if your bottles are best served chilled and if they are, ensure that you inform your venue beforehand so that they have time to chill it before it is served.
  • If you can, purchase magnums of Champagne rather than individual smaller bottles.
  • In the lead up to your wedding, whether you decide on Champagne or Cava, ensure you look round for the best options on value. Try your local corner shops and supermarkets for some great deals.
  • Why not ask your venue to serve the drinks directly from the bottle to each individual guest rather than leave trays of drinks lying around.

A lot of people find that Champagne tastes acidy or is too dry for their palate.  A Cava can taste sweeter and perhaps fruitier but it is all about personal preference.

As to what is correct, it is all down to taste; a good Cava will be much much better than a bad Champagne! ;)  Traditionally the Spanish serve it chilled but not freeezing cold, so take it out of the fridge 10 mins before you drink it.

Remember, you will not be able to please every palate at your wedding so choose what you and your partner think goes best with the meals you have chosen!