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How to Choose Wedding Glassware

Dec 26, 2023

From matching crystal to unique combinations, get glass conscious with these expert tips.

Photo by Oliver Fly Photography

A vision of the specific glassware you’d choose for tablescape may not have been the first element that popped into your mind when you began planning your wedding, but your drinkware can play a surprisingly big role in the overall effect of your reception aesthetic. Think of glassware, whether on your tablescape or at the bar, like your favorite diamond studs: A subtle finishing touch that adds a little extra shine and glamour to your outfit.

“Including glassware with your tablescape elevates the look and feel of not only the table, but of the event as a whole,” says Heather Balliet of Amorology. “Not only does it make things beautiful, but it also makes your guests feel well taken care of on the day.”

Meet the Expert

Heather Balliet is the founder and lead wedding planner of Amorology, a luxury, full-service event coordination and styling company based in California. She and her team have over 17 years of experience bringing beautiful, detail-rich events to life.

Here, Balliet answers a few common questions to help you choose the perfect flutes, coupes, and other specialty glassware for your big day.

Though glassware has as much practical use as any other part of your place setting—guests will get thirsty, after all—it’s typically not the first element you’ll choose. “Once you have your linen choices and floral colors, plates, and flatware chosen, glassware comes next,” says Balliet. You’ll also need to have an idea of your drink menu and whether you’re serving wine tableside, offering a Champagne toast, or mixing signature cocktails.

A basic starting point for the glassware in your table setting is a water glass, wine glass, and Champagne glass. “Depending on which types of wine you choose, red versus white, you will want to provide the correct size glass,” says Balliet. You’ll also get to choose a style for your newlywed toast: either a Champagne coupe, which is lower and wider, or the taller, thinner flute. “You have the option of choosing a flute or coupe depending on your style preference, and if the tabletop feels like it might need height dimension added,” says Balliet. “If so, we say go for a flute!”

Photo by Michelle Beller

Whether you choose identical glassware or a varied look depends on your personal style and your wedding aesthetic. “We ideally aim for at least two glasses to match when we're going for a more elevated clean look, but there are events that play to an eclectic feel where three differing glasses can work together,” says Balliet. “When pairing three different glasses together, we find that keeping two in the same design vein keeps things feeling cohesive yet elevated. Keeping two glasses with the same color tone—maybe the same-colored rim—or shape helps, while selecting a third glass that can be a different color or texture.”

Consider the overall formality of your event: At an evening hotel reception, a set of gold-rimmed crystal makes sense; at a summer camp-inspired al fresco meal, thrifted mid-century glasses provide a unique and personal accent. “If you are going for a formal, black-tie affair, your glassware should match that,” says Balliet. “Stay with glasses that have clean lines, and are more neutral in color and classic in shape. If you are having an outdoor garden wedding, fun colored and textured glassware that feels dainty and romantic is the perfect fit. We always love bringing in colors that are an accent to the color palette or that complement the florals.”

Photo by Beatrice Howell

The bar service (or caterer) you hire should have the correct glasses for drinks your guests might order, including martinis, highballs, old fashioneds, and snifters, but if you want to create a cohesive aesthetic that carries through from cocktails to dessert, you can order barware that coordinates with your table settings. “If you have the option of going all in on glassware, couples will want to choose drinking glasses for the table along with cocktail hour glasses and barware throughout the night,” says Balliet. “Selecting curated glasses for each drink really shows your guests that you have given thought and intentionality when planning your special day.”

If you opt not to stock the entire bar, consider ordering specialty glassware just for your signature drinks.

If you weren’t considering renting hundreds of specialty glasses when you made your wedding budget, serve up a big impression with a smaller—but still intentional—investment. “Scale back!” recommends Balliet. “Rather than doing all three specialty glasses at the table, choose one standout glass, like a fun Champagne coupe or wine glass, to bring the impact.” Another option: Consider drinkware made from high-end acrylic or other unique materials. “For a more budget-friendly option, there are some beautifully made acrylic glasses that look like they are glass, which can be used for both tabletop and fun glassware at the bar, too,” says Balliet.