I received a few inquiries of “How can I do this for my wedding?” about my wine bottle guest book from this anniversary post. After sending this information to a friend, I realized “Why don’t I post this on the blog?” What I love about this idea is that it doesn’t just apply to weddings. You could make some adjustments and do something similar for a retirement party for a co-worker, honoring friends at an engagement party, hosting a fun holiday party, a shower, a going away party, birth of a new baby, etc.
Step 1: Check with your venue
Some venues may not allow you to bring in outside alcohol for your event, even if you will not be consuming it at their location. If you are hosting your celebration at a restaurant, hotel or venue space, I highly recommend checking in with your event or sales coordinator before investing time and money into this project.
Step 2: Determining the guest list
The first thing you should do is think about your guest list/expected attendance for your event. We were expecting 150 guests at our wedding and figured that there would be enough space for 18-20 people to sign each bottle. So, we purchased 8 bottles for the following year milestone anniversaries: 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30.
Step 3: Wine 101
Research your wine! If you are planning on doing a multi-year bottle signing, think about the wine and how it is going to hold up. I went to my local Spec’s in Houston and talked to one of their sales associates about selecting wines that could stand the test of time for these milestone years. Together, we picked out some wines that would be appropriate up to year 20. I say research, because as you can probably guess, wine that will still be good that long will NOT BE CHEAP. I was only prepared to invest so much money into this, and so the bottles for year 25 and 30 will just be ceremonial and visual reminders that will bring us back to memory lane. Hopefully we can do something nice those years! 🙂
Step 4: Removing the old labels
Before you start to remove the labels, log your wine names and years in a spreadsheet so that you will remember which bottle correlates with each year. Purchase a large container of white vinegar and pour into a tub. Be sure to mark each bottle or have some way of telling which bottle is which. You will totally immerse your wine bottles in the vinegar for several hours or even over a day. Some labels are more stubborn than others, but the vinegar is really the best way to remove the labels. Once the label is removed, use Goo Gone to remove the last of the stickiness. With a glass-writing marker, write the corresponding year on the bottom of the bottle so that you can keep track of the right bottle/year.
Repeat until you are done with all of your bottles.
Step 5: Creating your wine labels
Brent and I asked the talented Sara Tristan of Sara Michelle Design to create our bottle labels. We sent Sara a copy of our invitation design so that she could match the flowers and she did such a lovely job. If you are creative in your own right or have your own design skills, you can create your own image and then print on large labels. Etsy is another great place to look if you want someone to create a custom design. If you’re concerned about the ease of applying the stickers to the bottles, you may want to order a few extra sets of labels!
Step 6: Carefully put your labels on
If you don’t have a steady hand, find a friend or family member to help you out. The labels can be kind of tricky to put on depending on the shape of the bottle. I recommend going left to right, smoothing out the sticker as you go (to avoid bubbles, etc.).
Step 7: Purchase glass-writing pens for your bottles
We purchased similar pens from Amazon.com. Make sure you get a few sets if you are expecting a large turnout.
Step 8: Create and print out your guestbook instructions
The text we used is below. Feel free to use or adjust for your own event. We printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock and trimmed down for an 8 x 10 picture frame.
Helen & Brent
Please sign our guestbook!
Wine comes in at the mouth And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth, I look at you, and I sigh.
-William Butler Yeats
We ask that our guests sign one of these bottles of wine.
Each of these wine bottles will be opened on our 1st, 2nd, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th anniversaries. As we sip and reminisce years passed, your signatures will bring us back to our wedding day and the wonderful memories we shared with our closest friends and family. Thank you for making this day a very special one.
Love, Helen & Brent
Step 9: Display and enjoy!
Your wine bottles will be beautiful, unique and eye-catching! Display in a prominent place along with your sign and enjoy the party!
If you have any questions, please e-mail me at idreamofprettythings(at)gmail(dot)com.
Until next time,
I Dream of Pretty Things