It doesn't get any easier (or cuter) than this. Put dragees in notched-petal favor boxes. Arrange five of these unusual shapes together in a circle and, voila, you've got a classic five-petaled cherry blossom. Custom favor boxes, Denise Sharp. Dragees, Pecou, from Crossings, 800-209-6141.
At a wedding, our senses absorb the details of the day. These favors celebrate the sense of sound. Place a shell in a mesh bag, and your guests will hear the call of the ocean. Silver chimes slip into an aluminum canister trimmed with scallop-edge Ultrasuede and a double-face satin ribbon. A CD of love songs is placed in a cardboard sleeve, wrapped in rice paper, and tied with a woven ribbon. A kazoo in a glassine bag is topped with a folded piece of patterned paper and secured with a brass staple.
Create a boundless field of tulips with these sweet favors. We placed bulbs (you can buy them online in the fall) in votive candleholders with enough water to cover the roots, then added paper blooms and a vellum seat assignment to each one. Bulbs, John Scheeper's. Candleholders, Jamali Garden Supplies.
Invigorate table arrangements with a flavor infusion. Farmers'-market greenery, like oregano, basil, and tarragon, gives this modern setting an organic feel; planted in sleek pots, the herbs double as inventive displays for a wraparound menu of foods that put the plants' virtues to good use. Stainless cubes, Jamali Garden Supplies.
Edible favors are always a hit. Unlike most knickknacks, they tend to be gratefully received -- and are quickly put to use. How better to thank your guests for traveling to your wedding than with a taste of the region's cuisine, like this New Jersey-inspired saltwater taffy? Add labels and stickers to convey a personal message, or buy treats in bulk and repackage them in imaginative ways.
Sure, matchbooks have become a go-to wedding favor, but there's more to these clever versions than meets the eye. Give away a surprising something to remember in the form of a cheery, charming pack of forget-me-not seeds. The best part: Long after the big day, guests will watch the dainty blossoms -- and the memories -- spring to life. Forget-me-not seeds, Flower Art & Soul. Glassine envelopes (G7), ClearBags.
It may not be dahlia season just yet, but that doesn't mean you can't channel this flower's intense color and festive attitude here and now. For these eye-catching favor pouches, we used bright tissue paper to create a pattern that mimics that bold beauty, then tied on a tag bearing planting instructions, and verdant ribbon to pose as leaves. At home, guests will peel back the petals to reveal a dormant dahlia bulb brimming with potential and just waiting to take root. Bulbs, Swan Island Dahlias. Tissue paper (CT1AP), Nashville Wraps. 1 1/2" Paper Shapers circle craft punch, EK Success, from Scrapbook.com.
For a takeaway centerpiece that's anything but garden variety, decorate reception tables with an array of plants that guests can gaze at while they dine, then take home with them at evening's end. The vessels holding these miniature orchids are wrapped in fabric for more exotic appeal. Mini phalaenopsis, McLellan Botanicals, orchidexperts.com. Calligraphy, Primele.
"A host, of golden daffodils/beside the lake, beneath the trees/fluttering and dancing in the breeze." We love daffodils as much as William Wordsworth did -- they herald spring's arrival. Here, budding bulbs bought from a local nursery are nestled into sake cups beneath beds of rocks. To turn them into take-home favors, use a rubber stamp to imprint planting instructions onto wooden posts. If you prefer dormant bulbs, buy them online in the fall. Bulbs, John Scheeper's. Large wooden sake cup (OMS -100), Buy4AsianLife.com. Wood-veneer paper, New York Central Art Supply, 800-950-6111. Rubber stamp, Stampworx.
The best thing about this bridesmaid gift idea: You won't find another like it anywhere else. Ask your calligrapher to create something special -- a sentiment (as we did here), an illustration, or simply each attendant's initial. Have the image converted into a digital file and print it onto iron-on transfer paper. Cut closely around the design, iron onto a canvas bag (following the manufacturer's instructions), and -- don't forget this part! -- admire your handiwork. Grocery tote, BagWorks. Iron-on transfer paper, Epson. Dress, Barbara Tfank, from Barneys New York.
Use rosemary, an herb of love and remembrance, to preserve memories of your seaside wedding. Guests can take home this fragrant sea salt to sprinkle over potatoes or use as an ingredient in focaccia. After preparing, decant into airtight containers, and label with your new, shared initial and wedding date.
Give guests a sweet send-off by stacking cookies in cellophane bags with sturdy bases. Finish with a heart sticker made with a craft punch. Lattice Heart Large Craft Punch, by Martha Stewart Crafts, from Michaels, michaels.com. 3-by-11-inch hard round-bottom bag, Glerup Revere, rgroup.com. Macaroons, Kee's Chocolates.
Lush floral centerpiece blooms double as favors when you provide guests with waterproof bags to take flowers home in. Have cellophane ones custom-printed with a message asking guests to pick a few flowers. Set them out with twist ties to cinch bags closed, and at party's end your guests can carry on (and carry off) a bit of the celebration.
Pastelitos de boda (literally, "wedding cookies") are a traditional dessert at Mexican weddings. Made with walnuts, pecans, or almonds, they're a sweet way to thank guests for sharing the day. To give as favors, tuck two into a tiny clear box along with a note imprinted with a fitting sentiment or your wedding date. Type on a computer, print on colored vellum, then cut the messages into tiny strips.
Offer a tiered treat your guests won't be expecting. We stacked sugar cookies to resemble wedding cakes. Each cookie is spread with royal icing; once the frosting sets, small dabs of icing secure the tower. Top with a sugar flower and serve individually for a dessert that takes the cake. Cookies, Eleni's, elenis.com.
In grammar school, you predicted your future mate with the help of a few paper folds; now you know who he is, but that doesn't mean you can't still have fun with cootie catchers, calligraphed once and photocopied for guests to play along, too. Calligraphy, Bernard Maisner, bernard maisner.com. Printing, Intergraphics Litho, 212-631-7565.
Chocolate bars adorned with the faces of the bride and groom are sweet in more ways than one. Choose a few favorite photos, then print them using an ink-jet printer or photocopy onto lightweight paper. (Enlarge or reduce images if needed.) With a paper cutter, trim so photos are slightly shorter than candy bars. Remove outer wrappers but not inner foil. Wrap each candy bar with a photo, and secure in back with double-sided tape. Adorn with waxed twine tied in a small bow.
Give guests sprightly bouquets of their own: Choose arrangements of 'Ping Pong' mums, chamomile, and lady's mantle (or other blooms to fit your color scheme). The flowers are held in small plastic floral tubes filled with water. Cones of decorative green paper hide the tubes.
Blue-and-white packaging complements dark-brown coffee favors. Chocolate-covered espresso and coffee beans are stacked in hexagonal boxes tied with silk ribbon. Use rubber stamps (made at an office-supply store) to identify the treats. Homemade coffee truffles, composed of bittersweet chocolate ganache spiked with Irish whiskey and coffee extract, nestle inside candy cups; paper bands, made on a computer using clip art, dress up their boxes. Rich espresso fudge brownies (wrapped in cellophane) are covered with dotted paper.
Seasonal fruits make wonderful (and delicious) favors. Each of these sacks holds a handful of juicy red cherries, perfect for an outdoor summer wedding.
Buy glassine bags; trim tops with scalloped scissors. Fill bags with enough cherries, or other small fruit, so they peek out over the top. To help the bags stand up, turn corners under at bottoms.
Display favors in wooden crates.
It's only fitting to give cookies in a jar -- this one is tiny in size but big in old-fashioned charm. The mini store-bought cookies inside include chocolate chip, oatmeal cranberry, and shortbread currant. Embellish the jar with a ribbon-tied tag and a homemade label (affix with double-sided tape).
These mini terrariums make chic table decor when grouped en masse -- and they double as favors, too! Just place sand and rocks in the bottom of a fishbowl votive holder.
Carefully set small succulents among the rocks -- securing them, if necessary, with toothpicks -- and quench their thirst with a dropper. Bubbleball 4 3/4-inch vase, Save-On-Crafts.com.
Take a cue from the Milanese, who serve panettone, a sweet bread made with dried fruit and citrus zest, on special occasions. The loaf is traditionally made in a large panettone mold, but we baked ours in attractive mini paper ones. Each treat is then wrapped in a cellophane bag tied with a letterpress tag by Austin Press. Bellissimo!
See what sweet tokens these real couples chose as gifts for their guests.Get the Ideas