How much wine for 250 people or 50 people totally depends on whether your guests are wine drinkers or not.
Most wedding parties will have a mixture of those that do and those that don't.
Each group is different, but when you come to look at drinks packages you will find that most venues treat every group the same.
And this is a definite time when one size does not fit all!
Photo by Guillaume Paumier
Most drinks packages will have a half bottle of wine allocation per person, seems reasonable until you think that how much wine for 250 people will be 125 bottles of wine, that is a lot of wine! Work that out per table based on 10 people per table and you have 5 bottles per table, that is a lot. Some tables may drink that much, but experience tells me that most don't. I have worked at a lot of weddings where there is wine left over at the end of the meal. Don't forget you will have Champagne or sparkling on top of that allocation!
The most organised way of planning your wine with your venue is to ask for a white and a red on each table to start with. Then ask for a further 2 bottles of wine per table to be served if needed. The if needed part is important, venues like to sell wine and will happily put more out than is needed. This way some tables will have their allocation and more and there will be tables that will just have the original white and red. Make sure you are only charged for the wine you drink, this could be a good job for a groomsman, ask them to count the empty bottles and agree the amount to be charged with the venue.
Don't feel pushed to go with the package, venues will use a lot of wine throughout the wedding season but they may say that they will be getting this wine in especially for you. That doesn't mean you have to pay for wine you don't use, they will just have extra stock in their cellar for the next wedding.
If you are self catering for your wedding, ask your wine supplier if they will do sale or return, most will on large orders as long as the box is complete.