If you’re getting married in Napa, chances are you’ve got wine on your mind. In the heart of wine country, how could you possibly pass up a wedding venue that not only offers a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills and vineyards, but also serves top-notch vino? Yeah, neither could we. For those of you marrying at a Napa winery, wine will obviously be a huge part of your nuptials, but in more ways than you might think. In ode to that illustrious libation, incorporate wine barrels into your ceremony or reception décor and add a rustic element to your soirée. Read on for some of our favorite ideas.
Wine barrels as seating charts
While we have yet to see this idea captured in any of our weddings, using wine barrels to organize your seating chat is a great way to draw guests’ attention to your oenological theme. If your reception will take place in a vineyard or winery’s barrel room, post the table number and names of the guests seated at that table on a barrel, similar to the way the winery staff has labeled their barrels in the photo below. Top each barrel with a candle as this venue has done or place a photo of you and your spouse-to-be on top to add a more personal touch.
As a guest book
Yet another idea we’re anxious to see in a Zola wedding, we’re obsessed with the thought of using a wine barrel as your wedding guest book, similar to the way one particular Zola couple used their wine box below. Top the barrel with a card or sign reading “Sign Me” or “Write your well wishes for the newlyweds” as well as a cup of Sharpies. After the wedding, you can take the wine barrel guestbook home and use it as a side table or part of your home decor. Keep in mind that since you’ll be taking this barrel home, your wedding venue may charge you—but we think this trick is worth the extra cost, don’t you?
Simplify this idea by using a wine barrel to display your guest book at the entrance to your reception space.
As photo backdrops
When saying “I do” at a Napa winery, opportunities for incredible wedding pictures abound. But think outside of typical vineyard backdrops—the rolling hills, rows of vines, and undoubtedly beautiful venue (although you should certainly snap some pictures at these places, too)—and pose beside, in front of, or between these gorgeous oak barrels. If your Napa wedding venue has a barrel room, make sure your wedding photographer captures photos of you and your partner inside. The barrel room is also a fantastic spot to do your “first look” or host your rehearsal dinner.
As a Cake stand
We’re always on the hunt for new and inventive ways to display integral wedding details (see the sparkling wedding bands above) and there’s no more perfect union than wine and cake—present company excluded. Take advantage of your venue’s amenities and set your wedding cake on a wedding barrel in a fitting and photo-worthy display. We guarantee the result will be as gorgeous as that cake is tasty.
As coolers for apps and drinks
One of the more innovative wedding details we’ve seen, turning an empty barrel into a cooler for drinks and appetizers is, in our opinion, the best idea since digital wedding invitations. Whether you’ve got a few dozen oysters you need to keep cool or a variety of brewskis to chill, place a bucket of ice inside the barrels and fill with whatever food or drinks you’ll be serving. Your guests will love this practical incorporation of wine barrels into cocktail hour almost as much as they’ll love what’s inside.
As table legs
Stick a few wine barrels under a table top to create a custom, country-chic drink, dessert, or buffet table. Place a bouquet of flowers on the ground or floor between the barrels or drape fringe, pennants, or greenery between them.
As cocktail and side tables
Before the big sit-down dinner, most couples choose to organize a cocktail hour for their guests. Nothing makes cocktail hour more enjoyable than raised table tops around which guests can congregate and nothing makes raised table tops more enjoyable than wine…barrels. This simple detail cuts rental costs and is immensely photogenic, whether you use the barrels to hold drinks, flowers, or photographs.
As coffee or dessert tables
No matter where you place your cake, wine barrels function as easy table tops for coffee cups or smaller desserts. Place several barrels in a row to create a buffet-like spread or arrange three in a group to hold plates, cups, napkins, and cutlery. The great thing about using wine barrels as small tables—aside from the obvious “wow” factor—is that you can arrange them any way you’d like, making them a great solution for smaller spaces.
As ceremony decor
Use wine barrels to mark the entrance or the perimeter of your ceremony space or even as a makeshift altar. Place a barrel behind or near the officiant during the exchange of vows to hold flowers, religious materials, the officiant’s notes, or anything that you might need to store discreetly (vows, tissues, rings, etc.) during your ceremony.
As reception decor
These are just a few ideas to enhance your Napa wedding with decor reflective of your geographical location or venue space. Talk to your Napa wedding planner or winery proprietor for even more ideas and tips on how best to incorporate this gorgeous wine-centric detail. Cheers!