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
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
“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.
This 1939 Coca-Cola add appeared in the Ladies' Home Journal.
A 1939 Ladies' Home
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
wherever people gather. It's such a natural companion to any special event,”
The idea for a Coca-Cola
wedding often begins with a vintage
theme and takes off from there. Kari Warwick, a wedding planner
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 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.
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
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."