Message in a Bottle

We will be celebrating eight months of marriage in just a few days. I can say with certainty that the months after our wedding day have flown much more quickly than the months leading up to it!

As I mentioned here, I envisioned the environment of our reception being full of celebration, gratitude, liveliness, and joy. We were honored to have so many of our friends and family present on that special day. Best of all, they were there to witness and celebrate the beginning of our marriage, not just our wedding. I wanted to engage our loved ones in garnering their love and support for all the years to come, Lord willing! What could be more fun than them slipping messages into bottles for us to break open and read during future anniversaries? (Inspiration from Erica & Daniel Josey’s beautiful wedding!)

Our engagement was a little over seven months long, so I had time to plan but no time to lose! I also challenged myself to do this as inexpensively as possible. Here’s how they came together:

STEP ONE: Gather wine bottles. I saved some wine bottles from special occasions over the years (a lot from our dating relationship) and decided to use them rather than buying anything new – although this is a great excuse to host a wine tasting night if you don’t already have bottles! I liked the varying sizes, shapes, and colors because of the character they added, but you could choose identical ones too.

STEP TWO: Buy labels. I found some Avery shipping labels (#5783) on Amazon – yay Prime! – but I think you could find them at any office supplies store. At this point in my life it was more efficient to order things with free shipping and have them delivered to my front door than fight traffic after work. I liked the brown kraft color since it was similar to the rest of our stationery. The labels were also adhesive and easy to send through the printer. Note: Other than the paper/pens, this is the only thing that cost money in this small project!

STEP THREE: Find your font. I scoured the internet for a font with artistic, pretty numbers that were still legible. Sites with creative names like and have endless options. I landed on VKTS FLOWERS IN OUR SOUL – detailed floral lettering with a very basic shape. Most fonts are very simple to install – just click on the download button, follow instructions, and you will see it in Microsoft Word next time you click the font drop down list!

STEP FOUR: Download the template. I found the free label template from Avery here through a simple Google search for the label number. Click Download Template and follow the instructions. When the Word document opens, you will see it’s already created with the dimensions of the label to give you an idea of where your text will go.

STEP FIVE: Choose your numbering and print away. I decided to give us more bottles to open early on and a few for further down the road, so my anniversary years were 1, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 50. Helpful hint: Check the height of the part of the bottle where you plan to put the label before printing. If it’s less than 5 1/2 inches, leave some margin so there’s space to trim the label like I did for the pinot noir bottles (years 5, 15, and 50). Centering the number on each label in a large scale font, I typed them out and printed away.

STEP SIX: Adhere the label to the bottle. It’s important to note that the label might not fully wrap around some wider wine bottles (again, those difficult but oh-so-delicious pinot noir ones). I found it helpful to center where I wanted the number to show, press down once it’s straight, and then smooth the rest of the label around the back of the bottle.

STEP SEVEN: Complete the setup with pens and small slips of paper. You can make this as simple or as fancy as you want. My mom found two cute square note pads at Hobby Lobby (sticky note sized without the adhesive) that worked perfectly for short and sweet notes. I think our guests had a fun time thinking about what could be going on in our lives at each of these milestone anniversaries. Whatever it is, I’m sure their notes will be a source of encouragement and laughter in years to come!

Afterword: We brought these bottles home with us once we got back from the honeymoon. I planned to keep them in our bedroom in a pallet shelf I made a few years ago – post coming one day! As we were unpacking, I saw Jeff, from the corner of my eye, trying to slide out one of the notes in the one-year bottle with his pinky. He couldn’t believe me when I said we had to wait! So to all of you loved ones who left us notes, know that we have not folded under the anticipation. We can’t wait to read your notes in just four months!

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