Regional Wedding Favors
Caramel Apples from New York
Caramel apples bring out the kid in everyone and make the perfect souvenir for an informal afternoon wedding. Each piece of candy-coated fruit is warpped in a sheet of cellophane and tied with waxed cord; bright paper scrolls are hole-punched three times and speared by bamboo skewers.
Maple Sugar Candies from Vermont
Maple sugar candies are a melt-in-your-mouth local specialty sure to be gone before the last dance. Transform a store-bought box of candy (this one is from Maple Grove Farms of Vermont) by re-placing the lid with a paper band printed with a personal message (leave the shrink wrap intact). Finish with a yarn bow.
Lobster Lollipops from Maine
Guests are sure to grin when they receive a pair of bright red lobster lollipops, playful versions of a Maine icon, from Ju-C Suckers. We tied them together with a blue gingham ribbon and attached a custom-stamped hang tag. The good news: no plastic bibs or drawn butter required.
Saltwater Taffy from New Jersey
Saltwater taffy, a popular souvenir of Atlantic City, is shore to be a crowd pleaser, even if you are nowhere near the boardwalk. Deposit the candies (these are from The Original Fudge Kitchen) into a cellophane bag and secure with a satin ribbon, looping it through an oval-punched label stamped with a greeting.
Cherries from Michigan
After a warm-weather reception, set out pints of juicy cherries, a fitting souvenir (Michigan is the nation's leading cherry grower) that needs no fancy packaging. Line berry baskets with parchment paper before filling; print labels, punch out, and sandwich pairs on skewers. Calligraphy by Nancy Howell.
Caramel Corn from Nebraska
Welcome out-of-towners to the Cornhusker State with a bag of crunchy homemade caramel corn. Have friends or a caterer make the snack a day or two before the wedding, and store it airtight so it stays fresh. A few hours before the wedding, place in bags, fold the top, and staple on a label.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Buckeyes from Ohio
You wouldn't want to eat real buckeyes, this state's symbol, but these chocolate and peanut butter versions are made for munching. We bought them in bulk from Marie's Candies and repackaged them: For a two-tone effect, we swapped the lids of brown and blue boxes and tied on coordinating ribbons. Clip-art drawings of leaves and nuts grace the labels.
Chocolate Fish from Alaska
A whimsical wedding-day catch, this trio of chocolate fish is designed to be pinned up on a board at the reception. The foil-wrapped critters (from Chocolat Michel Cluizel Paris) are strung on embroidery floss; the label is a simple hang tag.
Mini Coconut Macadamia Bundt Cakes from Hawaii
Favors as gorgeous as these can double as decorations: use them to enhance an entry hall or place settings, or group them together for a centerpiece. A homemade mini cocounut macadamia Bundt cake is placed inside a 4-by-4-by3-inch gift box lined with bakery tissue. A handwritten note is tucked under the ribbon and a fresh orchid tied on top in lieu of a bow.
Pecan Pralines from Louisiana
Pecan pralines are a signature New Orleans confection as sugary as they are Southern. Here, a trio of individually boxed clusters from Aunt Sally's is joined by a band of patterned paper. The square label was printed from a computer and run through a sticker machine.
Peach Preserves from Georgia
This little jar of homemade peach preserves relies on nothing more than peaches, sugar, and a squeeze of lemon for its orchard-fresh flavor. We created our own printed stick-on label, added it to a Weck jar from Glashaus, and tied a linen ribbon around the top. Learn how to make the labels for the jars on the next slide.
Peach Preserve Labels
For the peach preserves, print the labels from a computer as shown below. Cut out using a circle craft punch (turn it upside down so you can see the position). Then put it through a sticker machine, and place it on lid.
Texas Spice Rub
Guests will long remember their trip to the Lone Star State with homemade spice rub and your favorite recipe. Pour the rub into eight-ounce glass jars, and seal. Decorate the lids with circles of patterned giftwarp secured with rubber bands. Fold the recipe-backed label and slip through a second rubber band around the jar's middle.
Key Lime Sables from Florida
Pale-green boxes hint at their contents: homemade Key lime cookies, a delicious variation on the state's famed Key lime pie. We stacked rows of the fluted sable cookies in a slim cardboard jewelry box lined with unbleached parchment paper. Scalloped edges on the paper labels and pale-green polka-dot ribbons provide chic touches.
Grits from South Carolina
Send guests off with a package of grits so they can enjoy a hearty Southern breakfast at home. Wrap a bag (ours is from Charleston Cooks) in kraft paper or newsprint with a rubber-stamped label. Use waxed cord to bind each bundle. Learn how to make the packaging for the grits on the next slide.
How To Label the Grits
Inking an oversize stamp can be a challenge; a tool called a brayer makes it easy. Roll the brayer lightly over the ink pad to thoroughly coat it, then over the stamp to transfer the pigment. Test to see how many passes you need to get a good impression.
Roasted Peanuts from Virginia
You can fill net bags with this roasted snack for, well, peanuts! It's the extra touches that make them wedding-worthy. The computer-printed tags are folded in half, hole-punched at the ends, and threaded with a red-and-white ribbon that ties around the colorful bags.
Rock Trail Mix from Colorado
A novel favor in a Rocky Mountain state is a bag of little "rocks": actually nuts, dark chocolates, and dried apricots coated with a sugar shell, from MarieBelle. To echo the rustic motif, we used muslin pouches. Each sack was labeled using a custom rubber stamp.
Olives from California
Here's a fun twist on a cocktail-hour classic: These favors look like jars of pimento-stuffed olives, but they're actually sweet glazed almonds in disguise. Buy them in bulk from Gil's Gourmet Gallery and transfer them into glass jars. Seal with labels (print them from a computer and run them through a sticker machine). Tie with a jaunty striped grosgrain ribbon.
Pinot Noir from Oregon
A half-bottle of pinot noir, the red wine whose grape thrives in Oregon's cool climate, allows guests to toast your union long after the ceremony. Each bottle is wrapped in parchment paper. The labels, with calligraphy by Nancy Howell, were photocopied on heavy paper and tied on. Learn how to make the wine labels on the next slide.
Making the Wine Labels
Cut a square piece of paper with sides twice as long as the bottle's height, plus a few inches. Lay the paper flat, and hold the bottle on it, upside down, in the center. Wrap the paper up around the bottle on all sides, smoothing it against the bottle. Twist excess paper at the bottom, and tuck into the dimple. Pleat and smooth paper at neck, then tie on ribbons.
Chocolate Bars from Wyoming
Old-fashioned nature-themed wrappers transform trail-mix chocolate bars from Coco-Luxe Creations into unique mementos from this western state. We replaced the sleeves on the foil-wrapped bars with computer-printed ones depicting elk, trout, native plants, and evergreens (the images came from clip-art books; some have accompanying CDs of the images). We added the names of the bride and groom, the date, and the location, and printed the labels. Pile the bars in large wicker baskets or trays for guests to dig into when the party ends. Opposite: Calligraphy by Nancy Howell.
Coffee from Washington
Want to give your guests a thoughtful wake-up call? Try coffee from the Pacific Northwest, where residents famously consume caffeine by the gallon. You can leave the gifts in guests' hotel rooms (or offer them at the festivities). Order beans in bulk (try a blend from Dancing Goats) and transfer them to half-pound bags. Tie each bag with a length of colorful fabric. Learn how to wrap the coffee on the next slide.
How To Wrap the Coffee
For quick cutting of fabric for ties, lay it on a mat and use a rotary cutter to cut 2-inch-wide strips. Wrap around bag and tie at the top.