Are you thinking about having a champagne tower for your wedding?
I mean, what better way to celebrate your new life together than with an epic tower of the most celebratory beverage in the world?
Regardless of what you think of the drink itself, champagne towers are a luxurious & elegant way to kick off your wedding celebrations, create a memorable focal point for your guests, and give yourselves a few extra spectacular photo opportunities too. Plus, who doesn’t love champagne?
So, if you’re looking for the most spectacular way to serve up your fizz – and have a blast while you’re at it – I’m here as your favorite wedding photographer from Melbourne with my top tips to help you incorporate your champagne tower into your reception.
Use these tips to make the most of your champagne tower, regardless of whether you want to replace your cake completely with a magnificent tower of bubbly, or if you want to make it a feature that’s available throughout your reception.
How do you build your wedding champagne tower?
Great, so you’ve already decided that you want to jump on this luxurious wedding trend and have a champagne tower at your wedding – I like your thinking, by the way.
But how do you even get started?
Well, the good news is that actually building a champagne tower is a lot easier than it looks. The even better news is that you can have your wedding planner or caterer do it for you if you don’t want to worry about it on your big day (although building it is kinda fun, IF you have the time & patience for it).
Still, understanding how they – or you – will build your tower will help you plan everything else in advance.
Essentially, the tower is built by placing empty glasses in a square. And then building a smaller square on top of your first one, and then stacking another even smaller one, and another – until the next thing you know: you suddenly have your tower.
It’s best to work in a decreasing tier system, building your tower from the bottom up. So – for example – if you have a a square of 6×6 (36) glasses as your bottom layer, then your next one will be a 5×5 square with 25 glasses, then a 4×4 square (with 16 glasses), and so on until you get to the top.
When placing the glasses on the table, make sure that the edges of each glass touch each other, leaving a little diamond-like space between each glass. These diamond spaces will be your guide to help you place the next layer of glasses on top of these for an even formation.
Now, about the very top of your champagne tower…
My number one advice for my couples is to avoid finishing with a single glass on the top if possible. For one, having a single glass on the very top looks kind of weird. But more importantly, it can also destabilize the entire tower. So, it’s much safer (and more elegant) to have a 2×2 square (with four glasses) at the top of the tower.
Obviously, how many levels you’ll end up having depends on the size of your champagne tower, but traditional towers usually have six to eight layers. With that being said, anything from four or five tiers will lead to a stunning & elegant champagne tower, especially if the table and the surrounding decorations add to the “wow-factor” of your tower.
Finally, to work out how many bottles of champagne you need, there are usually six glasses per bottle, but to account for overflow, calculate the total using five glasses per bottle.
Essentially, all you need is a sturdy table, glasses and bottles of fizz. It’s wise to have at least a handful of ‘spare’ glasses just in case.
then all you need to do is slowly start pouring. It’s sometimes a good idea to pour a bit of champagne in every glass pre the official champagne tower pour – it just means that the glasses fill up/overflow quicker.
How high should the champagne tower at your wedding be?
Next, you’ll have to decide your tower size, which will mostly be determined by the total number of glasses you’ll use for building the tower.
Now, before you shrug it off, I’d like to warn you that this is slightly more complicated than having one glass for each guest. Although the size of your wedding should definitely be taken into account (I mean, can you imagine Aunt Sally without a glass of bubbles?).
Still, you can always choose to have some of your guests catered with glasses of champagne served from trays.
So instead of making the size of your wedding the deciding factor, consider the maximum height that you can comfortably – and safely – access on your wedding day instead.
Because while having a huge tower on top of a magnificent table looks amazing, just imagine how uncomfortable it would be to struggle to reach the top glass for your champagne tower pour. Or even worse, imagine the nightmare of having a tower so unstable that you’ll have to worry about it actually toppling when you want to start serving champagne from it.
So, take the height of your champagne glasses and the height of your table into account, and use them to calculate how many tiers you can confidently deal with (with the top square consisting of 2×2=4 glasses).
And remember: you don’t need hundreds of glasses to build a spectacular champagne tower. In fact, the smaller your champagne tower, the easier it will be to deal with. And it’s always better to have a smaller tower that you can confidently handle than having a bigger tower that might come toppling down on you…
What type of glassware do you need?
Once you’ve worked out how many glasses you need, you need to work out the type of champagne glass you’ll choose for your champagne tower.
Although traditional champagne flutes (tall glasses with narrow openings) might be the first glasses that come to your mind, champagne coupes are the best choice for your impressive champagne tower.
Coupe glasses are shorter round glasses with wide openings, and thus a greater surface area. This feature makes it easier to build a more stable tower with them.
Now, if you’re sourcing your own glasses, choose glasses that are exactly the same shape & size. This will ensure that your tower is stable, elegant, and will stand properly. The last thing you want is a tower that comes falling down on you as you start pouring chilled champagne into the glasses at the top.
And if you don’t want to buy the glasses, your caterer or venue might be able to help you out. I’ve also seen couples who’ve made clear acrylic glasses work too, although those might be considered to be a slightly less elegant solution.
How to get the best photos of your champagne tower wedding?
Just having a champagne tower is a great way to get some truly epic wedding photos of the two of you.
Still, you’ll want to make sure the location and surrounding decorations of your tower complement the style you’re aiming for with your wedding photos. Floral decorations (or the natural surroundings of an outside tower) offer a romantic backdrop, but you can style it however you like to make it timeless, classy and glamorous for you.
Now, if you’re looking to make the most of one of the highlights of your intimate wedding, I have a few additional tips for you as a wedding photographer.
First, take a minute or two to capture a few anticipation shots. Photos of all the champagne bottles lined up and ready to be poured. Pictures of the two of you who can’t wait to get the party started in the most elegant way ever. Photographs of your guests as they get the first glance of your beautifully built tower.
Obviously, the most important shot is the pour shot. That epic moment as you fill the glasses with a bottle of bubbles. With champagne pouring into the top glass, and flowing down in a golden fountain, one bottle of bubbly at a time.
Either before or after pouring the champagne, I always love to get a few champagne spray shots too, if the couple is up for it. It’s just a fun & lighthearted way to leave you and your guests with a little smile on your faces, and get some completely unstaged photographs of in the process.
Afterwards, all that’s left to do is to drink champagne. And I’ll be there to capture your ‘first sip of champagne’ as a married couple, too.
And there you have it, my top tips as a wedding photographer to make sure you not only have the perfect champagne tower on your wedding day, but that you actually make the most of it too. If you’re still on a lookout for a wedding photographer to capture all your favourite moments on your beautiful day, we need to talk. Get in touch to discover how I can help you bring your vision to life.