When we were planning our wedding, we did away with many of the more formal aspects and tried to put our stamp on other elements. When asked what we wanted to do about a guestbook, we decided that a “note in a bottle” would be a perfect combination of our informal nautical theme (we were married in the marina) and our love of wine (instead of registering for gifts, we asked people who wanted to give us a gift to get us a bottle of wine that would remind us of them). With the help of Tiffani at the California Yacht Club, I went down an Etsy spiral to see how we could make this idea a reality.
As luck would have it, it didn’t take long for us to find an alternative wedding guestbook that we loved! WindsorPrinting puts together a package of personalized labels (including names and important dates) for six wine bottles. Now, Andy and I are a little bit older, and we know that “Year 50” might be very optimistic. But if you can’t be optimistic on your wedding day, when can you be?
The package arrived, and thanks to our wine club being willing to taste some pretty great rose, we had clear, empty bottles to use. You can use any color bottle, but I liked the idea of using clear ones so you could see the notes inside.
I started by soaking the empty wine bottles in a solution of warm water and baking soda to remove the labels and any wine residue. Some labels came off easier than others, and I did have to use a light brillo to remove the final glue remnants.
Once the labels were off, I turned the bottles upside down in a sink to allow them to fully dry before applying the labels. It was easy after that. The backing of the labels came off easily, and then it was just a matter of placing the middle of the label down and gently pushing the label down from each side until it was applied without bubbles or creases. I took it slowly, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly, and the labeling process only took about 30 minutes.
I set the bottles aside to make certain they were dry while I looked around in my frame bin (finally came in handy!) for an 8×10 black frame. Luckily, there was one here, and the “message in a bottle” instructions for our wedding guests that arrived in the Etsy packaged looked great inside it.
The only other thing I chose to do was put the note paper (which also came with the Etsy package) into little navy organza bags so that the paper wouldn’t fly away if the wind kicked up. I also included pens and tape.
We really loved how they turned out, and people seemed to have fun leaving us messages for the various anniversary years. We opened the “Wedding Day” one a couple of days later, and we’ve set the other bottles aside on a shelf to await their big days.
One thing you should note, not everyone will remember to use the tape to close the note before slipping it into the bottle. That’s going to make it trickier to pull them out of the bottle when it is time to read them. Since we didn’t want to cut or break the glass, we solved the problem by buying a Susan Bates Afghan Crochet Hook. The hook grabbed onto the papers perfectly, and it’s very long, so it can easily get into the wine bottles.
Are you looking for an alternative wedding guestbook? Did you choose something unusual? Let me know in the comments!