How to Build the Champagne Tower of Your Dreams

Have the Gatsby-esque photo op you've always wanted.
chapelle johnson the knot assistant editor
by
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot assistant editor
Chapelle Johnson
Assistant Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Jun 29, 2022

You may have noticed while scrolling through your social media feed that the champagne tower wedding trend is back and bigger than ever. Newlyweds have always loved to use champagne to toast to their new life together, but with this elegant structure, you can do it in style. This creative way of serving bubbles at your wedding does take a bit of planning, so read through our expert tips to learn exactly how to pull it off. Then, check out our favorite real wedding photos of mesmerizing champagne tower displays that will leave you inspired.

What to Consider Before Making a Wedding Champagne Tower

Want to add a fun wow factor to your wedding? Brian A.M. Green, event planner and owner of By BrianGreen in Atlanta, Georgia, says that having a champagne tower is a great way to achieve that. "Champagne towers are a classic that harkens back to an era of sheer glamour and opulence," Green says. According to Green, this wedding trend was all the rage for decades but lost its charm when coupe glasses were replaced by champagne flutes. Now, champagne towers have made a comeback and couples are ready to celebrate their nuptials in a grand way with the help of this Roaring '20s-inspired detail. So if you're planning on having champagne at your wedding (or wedding-related event), learn what steps you need to take to have a tower for your special day. Like Green says, "You're going to have champagne anyway, why not do it in a tower and create a moment that your guests will not forget?"

You'll need venue insurance.

Before you can start the planning process for your tower, you'll have to confirm that your venue allows them. If the setup is done incorrectly, your champagne tower has a higher risk of toppling over, which can result in broken glass, spillage and major injuries. Because of this, some wedding venues don't want to take the chance, so they don't allow champagne towers on the premises. Luckily, champagne towers are coming back into style, so venues are more willing to have them as long as you test the structure before the event, you only have a certain amount of glasses or tiers in your tower and, most importantly, you have liability insurance. Liability insurance is one of the two types of wedding insurance coverage that every to-be-wed should have. Not only does it cover alcohol-related accidents, but it protects you from being responsible for any other accidents or injuries that may occur during your ceremony or reception.

Always use a coupe glass.

We've seen a variety of cocktail glasses used, like martini and margarita glasses, but we suggest that you stick to the traditional coupe glass for your champagne tower. Coupes are the best for stacking because they are short glasses with a wide bowl and thick stem—making them less likely to fall over when stacked on top of one another.

You've probably seen lots of photos on social media of couples using real coupe glasses for their towers, but if you would like to take extra safety precautions for your tower, we suggest you use shatterproof glassware. By using shatterproof glassware, which is usually made of high-quality plastic or plastic substitutes, you'll ensure no one has to pick up glass shards at your event (and we promise no one will be able to tell the difference).

Determine how tall you want your tower to be.

Building your own champagne tower can be a fun activity for you and your partner, but it needs to be done properly. If you're thinking about having a big display, Green suggests the best option is to hire an experienced catering or beverage team to help and prevent injury. But if you want to know how to make a champagne tower yourself, follow these steps (please note, these instructions are only for coupe glasses):

Step one: You need a stable place to create your tower. "Make sure you have a solid base to build the tower on. The table cannot be wobbly or too narrow. Ensure you have lots of room all around what will be your lowest base," Green says.

Step two: Once you have a solid base, you'll have to do a little math based on the total number of glasses needed and how tall you want your tower to be, which should always have one glass for the top tier. Green offers a great example of how to set one up: "The tier below [the first tier] should have four (2x2=4) glasses. Then the third tier should have nine (3x3 = 9), 16 (4x4 =16) on the tier below that one and finally 25 glasses on the bottom tier."

Need more than five tiers? "If you want to keep going, you will need to add tiers that are one number bigger, multiplied by itself," Green adds. If you want six tiers, for example, you would do 6x6, which equals 36 glasses for the bottom tier.

Step three: Now that you know how tall your wedding champagne tower will be, you can start building. Green's final tip for how to build a champagne tower is to carefully place the glasses in a square as close together as possible, starting with the largest bottom tier. Then, keep layering and go up one tier at a time.

Think about how many champagne bottles you'll need.

The most important step to making the champagne tower of your dreams is getting the right amount of champagne. "You just need to determine how many glasses you have and multiply that by how many ounces each glass holds, and that will tell you how many ounces of champagne you'll need," Green explains. "Then you divide that by the quantity per champagne bottle." Also, Green advises that you should always get extra bottles to make up for any mishaps. (Remember, the more bottles you need directly impacts your wedding bar budget, especially if you're buying expensive champagne.)

Since we're already talking about champagne bottles, you should know that there are two ways to pour them. The first option is to start with empty glasses and pour the champagne into the top glass so that it overflows and spills all the way down the tower, filling the glasses below. "This requires lots of champagne and while a show stopper, it takes a very long time to fill the glasses this way and the excitement of the guests watching it happen fades quickly," says Green. Instead of that method, Green recommends building the tower with most of the glasses already full, which leaves the top glass empty for a ceremonial pour. The overflow from the top glass will gradually cascade down to the other glasses below, which decreases the chance of the tower falling from being too top-heavy, but still leaves you and your partner with some beautiful wedding pictures.

Figure out when to do your champagne tower moment.

No matter if you want to have a wedding champagne tower as a stylish decorative piece or as a substitute for a cake-cutting ceremony, we agree with Green's advice to hire a trusted catering or beverage team for the job. "We want your wedding experiences to be memorable in a good way, not because your guests were running for the hills as the tower came crashing down," Green says. Keep in mind that if you're assembling the tower yourself, you'll have to temporarily step away from the reception, which could be a vibe-killer in the moment.

Some couples have the tower display ready to go after the ceremony, so guests can immediately grab a drink and socialize. Other couples opt to do the champagne tower pour after the toasts, dinner or the cake-cutting ceremony. Your wedding planner or venue coordinator can help determine the best time to do the photo op based on your wedding day timeline.

Wedding Champagne Tower Photos to Inspire You

Now that you know everything about champagne towers, check out these real wedding photos of newlyweds who incorporated glamorous displays of bubbly into their special day.

Short Champagne Tower

This beautiful couple is doing a ceremonial pour for their champagne tower. This is the perfect pouring method for short champagne towers because it's easier and quicker to fill the bottom-tier glasses for smaller displays.

Champagne Coupe Tower in a Triangle Setup

Don't be afraid to ask your catering or beverage team to set up your champagne tower in different shapes, like these happy newlyweds who had theirs in a triangle shape for each tier.

Champagne Tower as a Wedding Centerpiece

Consider setting up your champagne tower like this upscale display. It can be a great focal point for when guests first enter the reception, especially if you use a sparkling rosé that catches the eye.

Joint Pour for Wedding Champagne Tower

Make sure to build your tower on a table with plenty of extra space around the lower base like this bride and groom did for their reception. Finish the setup with a tablecloth for decorative flair and to absorb spills.

Modern Champagne Tower

This couple added a clear tray underneath their champagne tower, which is a great idea to help contain overflowing champagne from getting on the table and making it sticky.

Classic Champagne Tower with Tinted Coupes

This sophisticated champagne tower is made of beautiful iridescent coupe glasses, which are a good option if you want to switch it up from clear glassware.

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