Michael James Schneider and his boxed-wine betrothed

If you can’t be with the one you love, Stephen Stills wrote, love the one you’re with. Or, if you’re Michael James Schneider and the one you love has just shattered your heart, build yourself a whole new swain out of drained boxes of wine. There’s a good chance you’ve already come across Schneider’s project: last February, the Portlander tweeted four photos of himself posing with a somewhat cubist, very DIY sculpture. “i do not have a boyfriend so i made one out of boxes of wine,” he wrote. Within a day, the tweet had gone viral. Stories from Vice, BuzzFeed, the British tabloid Metro, and even an Armenian newspaper followed.

Since then, the couple has enjoyed bike rides, breakfast in bed, and summertime sandcastles, all meticulously documented—like any other true romance of our time—on Instagram. And in August, #boxwineboyfriend popped the big question in the scenic surrounds of Southeast Portland’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Nuptials are slated for Saturday, February 9, at downtown’s Hi-Lo Hotel (located on SW Harvey Milk Street, natch).

“We want it to be a blowout,” says Schneider, by day an operations manager at Louis Vuitton, “kind of a carnival atmosphere.” Think face painters, drag performers, and, of course, plenty of photo ops. Proceeds from the ticketed event will benefit ACLU Oregon.

The project has its roots in a painful breakup Schneider experienced back in 2015. After “self-medicating through wine,” he decided to turn his coping mechanism into a craft project. He duct-taped about a dozen empty Bota, Franzia, and House wine boxes—he insists several were donated—onto a metal armature he’d picked up at a Halloween supply store. Franz (get it?) was born.

Goofy? Yes. But Schneider says the gag hits on something deeper. “It speaks to resignation,” he says. “It speaks to loneliness. There’s an underlying melancholy, a bit of sadness in that this is how I would have wanted the trajectory of me and that guy to go.”

Not that he’s taking his boxed-wine beau too seriously. When asked if wine will be served at the wedding—is that not cannibalistic?—Schneider laughs. “I don’t think that taboo exists in his culture,” he says.

Following the wedding, Schneider says to expect a honeymoon post in late February: “We may do a kind of Six Feet Under thing, projecting the happily-ever-after in the future. You will definitely see our horrifying child.” And then? He’s packing up Franz. Because boxed wine—unlike love or whatever—has an expiration date.

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