My husband is a romantic. On our first date, we went to a local winery for a tasting and then continued talking over a couple more glasses of wine. At the end of the tasting, he bought a bottle of the wine we liked the most. At one point I asked him if he planned to open the bottle this week and he replied that he did not, but he did not offer any other information either. I got the feeling he was going to save the bottle for something special. a few months later, we were talking about the bottle, and he admitted that he intended to save the bottle for a special occasion we celebrated. About four months after our first date, we returned to the same winery for a picnic dinner, and he proposed. When all was said and done, after we called our parents and took some pictures, we remembered to take the bottle we had shared that night with us. I had a few plans in mind for how to use bottles from the winery to decorate at our wedding!
I’ve made a hobby out of preserving beautiful wine bottles. You can see the ways that I’ve used wine bottles to decorate my home in this post. Given that the location of our first date and where we got engaged was at a local winery, I immediately knew I’d be incorporating a few bottles from that winery in our decorations. The winery was going to be too small to host the size reception we planned to have and since our wedding was going to be in the middle of July in Virginia, we didn’t even consider an outdoor reception. Considering that between our church ceremony and the reception, in true Virginia form, the sky turned black, opened up, and rain bucketed down for about 15 minutes, I think our guests appreciated that decision!
My mom and I planned to save some money by doing all of the flower arrangements on our own, so I started looking for a way to incorporate more personal touches into our decorations. I called the winery where we met, briefly explained my goals for the decorations, and they were happy to save me three cases of empty bottles. I’m sure most wineries would be happy to help like that – usually the bottles are just recycled once they’re empty.
My first project was to create some candles in bottles that I chose to have burning near the bar, the guestbook, and the cake. I made them unscented since many people in my family have strong allergic reactions to scented candles and I didn’t want the candles to be overpowering.
The next way I used candles was a collaborative effort with my mom. We decided to insert these super clever lights that she found on Amazon into the bottles to light them up, and then attach the table numbers to the top of the fake cork that turned the lights on and off. My mom twisted wire around the cork, folded it upright, and then made a few more coils for the table number to slide into. With a small glue dot to make sure the numbers didn’t slip, they were the perfect height to be placed next to the low flower arrangement at each table.
Finally, I also placed the special bottle from our first date at our sweetheart table, and another few bottles around the reception venue to draw attention to our sign about our social media hashtag. Those bottles also had lights in them.
When all was said and done, I heard from many guests that they enjoyed the personal touches in the decorations that incorporated our love story. The decorations felt like we were welcoming people into our life and sharing a unique part of us. I still have the bottle from our first date – it is currently sitting on my desk. I love seeing it and being reminded of where we met!
Who else has used wine bottles to decorate? What did you do with the bottles? I’d love to hear about what you’ve done!