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Throwing a Coke-Themed Wedding

By:  Laura Randall Apr 11, 2014
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Image from Coca-Cola calendar

One of Chelsea Doebler’s fondest memories from high school is heading to the local Sonic Drive-In after school and sharing Vanilla Cokes with her boyfriend Daniel.

So as she and Daniel started planning their marriage years later, it was a natural fit to weave a Coca-Cola theme into their vintage country wedding at a historic museum in Altavista, Va., not far from their former hangout.

“I’m a huge Coca-Cola fan,” Chelsea said. “It’s my drink of choice, and I love the happiness motto.”

As the big day neared in the summer of 2012, Chelsea and her mother, Linda Davidson, collected Coke bottle caps and gave them to the florist to weave into sunflower arrangements and wedding-party boutonnieres. They tracked down old-fashioned Coke glasses to give to guests as favors.


And Chelsea and Dan chose Coca-Cola red as their signature color, using it for everything from the tablecloths to the groom’s tie and the best man’s suspenders, In a fun twist, the bridesmaids wore red polka dot dresses. The dots reminded Chelsea of carbonation bubbles.

“We just loved the idea of having an old-time vintage feel to the wedding, of making it feel like simpler times,” she said.


While social networking sites like Pinterest are filled with creative ideas for Coca-Cola-themed weddings, the concept actually dates back to the early 1900s, when advertising campaigns promoted the drink as a natural part of any celebration with friends and family, explained Coke archivist Ted Ryan.

1939 Ladies Home Journal ad

This 1939 Coca-Cola add appeared in the Ladies' Home Journal.

A 1939 Ladies' Home Journal ad shows a tiara-bedecked bride holding an armful of calla lilies in one arm as she prepares to take a sip from a bottle of Coke below the slogan, "There's always a moment for the pause that refreshes." Calendars from the 1950s and 1960s featured a smiling bride in traditional dress accepting a bottle of Coca-Cola at the reception.

"It starts with the basic premise of Coca-Cola belongs wherever people gather. It's such a natural companion to any special event,” Ryan said.

The idea for a Coca-Cola wedding often begins with a vintage theme and takes off from there. Kari Warwick, a wedding planner in Minneapolis, suggests filling old wooden Coca-Cola crates -- once used to carry glass bottles from the delivery truck to the store -- with flowers or tall grass and using them as centerpieces or place-card holders.

Hosting a do-it-yourself Coke float bar and using glass-bottle Cokes tied with red-and-white baker's string as favors or seat assignments are other fun touches, Warwick added.

Other event planners suggest starting with the color of Coca-Cola red and letting one's imaginations run from there. A blog created by South Africa's largest wedding directory urges couples to play around with Coke's signature red-and-white color palette: "This bright and joyous colour combination has so much to offer in terms of flower options, dessert table goodies (cherries, candy canes) and festive decor (streamers, Chinese lanterns)."


Courtney and Heath
Katelyn James

Courtney and Heath Cline's wedding celebrated the groom's roots as a Coca-Cola collector.

Courtney and Heath Cline didn’t exactly set out to throw a wedding with a Coca-Cola theme. But as the Virginia couple’s red, black and white color choice took shape, they realized it was “a natural fit” and a way to celebrate the groom's longtime roots as a Coca-Cola collector, Heath said.

Ice bucket full of Coca-Cola
Katelyn James

A vintage Coca-Cola ice bucket at the Cline wedding.

Heath started collecting Coca-Cola memorabilia as a young boy in Woodstock, Va. When his dad took over a country convenience store in nearby Columbia Furnace when he was 11, the hobby really took off.

“I began gathering his expired Coca-Cola promotion materials, inflatables and sign. He even bought me an old flat-box cooler for my bedroom,” Heath recalled.

On the big day last fall, Courtney's all-red bridal bouquet featured local dahlias, cabbage roses, Red Mikado spray roses, mini calla lilies, and orchids. Red napkins urged guests to “Eat. Drink. Be Married,” and glass containers of red-and-white straws were strategically placed near the drinks. They were even able to borrow a vintage replica ice tub from the convenience store, which Heath's dad still runs, and fill it with ice and frosty bottles of Coke.

"It happened to be 96 degrees in October, so they proved to be a big hit," Heath said. "It was a unique extra touch that put a smile on our guests' faces while celebrating our special day."