Good Things: Wedding Favors
Custom Favor Crest
Send guests off with wrapped Camembert adorned with your custom crest. Chicago graphic designer Sarah Drake will create an image based on your shared interests (the example here is inspired by a couple who met through their pets and enjoy playing tennis and collecting vintage coins). Fill out her short questionnaire, and she’ll send you a digital file that you can apply to virtually anything.
Customizable Printed Tapes
When printed with your names in a zippy hue, tape can adorn favors, embellish envelopes, and keep photo-booth snaps in place. We love the customizable printed tapes from Continental Tape Printers, which come in 12 colors. For the punchiest impact, pick a shade in your palette, and trim edges for a polished finish.
Place single blooms in these brightly-colored vessels and cluster several to make garden-fresh centerpieces. Then, toward the end of the night, have a friend or your planner slip premade thank-you tags around each, and move them to a table close to the exit so they can pull double duty as favors.
Chip Clip Favor Display
Inspired by the snack holders at delis everywhere, we turned a Clip Strip rack into a grab-and-go favor stand. Setup is a breeze: Stamp Paper Mart bags with a custom Stampworx 2000 "ampersand" rubber stamp, slide in cookies, and then clamp packets to the rack. Download sign clip art, print, and affix it to the top.
Potted Place Card
Both place card and favor, these tiny terra-cotta pots with a dome of velvety moss are spare yet elegant against a pristine white table -- great for a simple wedding.
To make one, place a small piece of cork in a 2-inch-diameter terra-cotta pot, fill with potting soil, and top with a mound of moss. Insert a birch twig into the center of the mound. To secure a name card to the twig, slip the card behind a twig node, or make a horizontal slit in the twig with a utility knife, and slide in the bottom edge of the card.
Moss can be purchased at Moss Acres.
Flowers to Go Favor
Fresh and inexpensive, 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 (For Your Party made ours). 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.
Fortune Favor Boxes
Guests departing this real-wedding reception dinner received handsome red-ribboned boxes that were stamped with the couple's monogram. Inside were two fortune cookies -- one vanilla and the other chocolate. The fortunes were written in both Dutch and English in recognition of the couple's different nationalities: "The love we give away is the only love we keep."
Pouch of Pears
Filled with miniature Seckel pears, fiber bags make inviting favors. The bride's and groom's names, the wedding date, and the words "A Perfect Pair" are printed on labels tied to the bags with strands of paper ribbon; a note reminds guests to take one home.
Address Book Favors
Give guests a useful gift that also helps them to stay in touch with you in your new household.
Choose inexpensive address books and order a custom stamp with your name and address. Make sure the stamp will fit in the space for a single entry. Stamp each book on the proper page. Cut a thin strip of decorative paper to an inch longer than twice the height of a book. Fold it over the cover and around the pages preceding your address. Glue ends of the strip together to form a loop. Use only a drop of glue so that none leaks out and sticks to the book's pages.
Photo Chocolate Bars
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.
Rosemary Sea Salt Favors
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.
Potted Orchid Wedding Favors
Perfect as a centerpiece for the party or as individual guest favors (perhaps at a shower), stunning orchids emerge from terra-cotta pots painted white and arranged on saucers; a butterfly-shaped tag on a thin wire holder hovers over each plant.
Fresh Flower Favors
These painted metal bucket favors brimming with blooms call to mind a French flower market. Display them near a doorway or throughout a reception hall on tiered metal stands painted to match the buckets. At day's end, post a card inviting guests to pick a bunch.
Sunblock Wipe Favors
Protect your guests' skin at an outdoor wedding by placing these cleverly packaged sunblock wipes outside. Since they're not liquid, they won't cause a mess. Set them on the program table, or in a compote or candy dish tied with ribbon. To let people know they've got it made in the shade, write "sunscreen" on a scalloped card and prop it up amongst the packets.
Calligraphy by Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls.
Seating Card and Favor Sacks
A bag paired with a tag and filled with whatever goodies you choose is an easy and economical favor that doubles as a seating card.
We used a rubber stamp to give muslin bags a dotty border, but you can add any motif that fits your theme. (Tuck cardboard inside the bags as you stamp so the ink won't seep to the other side.) Print tags with guests' names and table numbers on a computer, then cut out with an oval craft punch; the tiny flower is made with another stamp. Punch a hole at top of the tag to thread drawstrings through.
Moon Pie Wedding Favors
Scrumptious tartlets from a bakery in custom-stamped bags make for tasty treats that are easy as pie to assemble in advance.
Miniature pecan pies, which will stay fresh longer than most desserts, can be picked up at the store or delivered to you a day before the wedding. When you receive the pies, bridesmaids or moms can add extra pecans, tuck them into wax-lined bags, and seal them with double-sided tape.
Chocolate Bar Wedding Favors
Wrapped in pretty paper, store-bought chocolate bars make elegant favors.
Choose patterned wrapping paper that coordinates with your wedding palette; cut to the same size as original wrapper. Remove outer wrappers, leaving just the foil and cover the candy bar with the wrapping paper, securing with double-sided tape. Print bride's and groom's names and wedding date onto card stock; cut into strips, and tape in place.
Candy-Rock Wedding Favors
They may look like the real thing, but candy pebbles in small galvanized pails are a sweet and delightful favor for an outdoor wedding; a note lets guests know they're for eating.
The candy shown here is marzipan and chocolate-covered dried fruit. Print your message onto paper, cut into strips, wrap around the pails' handles, and secure with double-sided tape. Set the pails in trays filled with turbinado sugar.
Fruit Pie Wedding Favors
Send your guests home with sweet memories and even sweeter treats, in the form of individual fruit pies in your favorite flavor. Enlist the help of friends who bake, or have a bakery make them. Personalize the packaging with self-adhesive labels, available on sheets that can run through a printer or a photocopier.
Stamped-Bag Wedding Favors
Simple sacks can be beautiful when given a handle and personalized with a stamp.
To make them, you will need white paper bags (ours are 3 inches by 6 1/4 inches), a rubber stamp, paper cord, double-sided tape, and candy. A rubber-stamp company or office-supply store will make a stamp for you; just provide an image along with your names and wedding date. Stamp your design onto a flat bag (place a piece of cardboard inside for a smooth surface), add candy, and fold top of bag over twice. Place double-sided tape under flap of fold (but do not seal yet). Cut an 11-inch length of paper cord; knot ends and trim. Loop cord under flap, knot in center; press the flap down, enclosing the cord.
Filled with flowers or favors, these origami boxes are multifunctional little dreams. Use a large one in lieu of a ho-hum vase (set a deep four-inch plastic plant liner inside) and voila: You've got a glitzy centerpiece on the cheap.
Candle Wedding Favors
Beeswax candles and personalized matches are a simple and thoughtful gift for your guests. Choose candles, decorative paper, and ribbon in colors that match the palette of your table setting and buy enough matchboxes for each guest to get his or her own.
Cut strips of decorative paper, sized to fit around the matchbox sleeve plus 1/2 inch for overlap. Wrap the sleeve of each matchbox in a strip of paper; glue at the overlap. Tie the matches to the candles with the ribbon. Finally, add just enough decorative Dresden foil flowers, using craft glue.
Bookmark Wedding Favors
Guests will recall your wedding while they tear through the their reading list if you provide them with these bookmark favors.
Cut railroad board, a buff cardboard, into 2-by-7-inch pieces. Cut a 2-by-5-inch piece of floral-print paper (you can make your own floral paper by gluing lace-paper over solid-color paper). Cut a 2-inch square from patterned paper. Glue two decorative papers end to end on one face of railroad board. Cut a 2-by-1/2-inch band of solid-color paper, and glue over seam to cover. Punch hole at one end; loop 8-inch length of satin ribbon through hole. Stamp wedding date on band.
White Dragee Compote
Dragees have a long history at weddings, and a paper compote in the center of each table lets your guests be a part of the tradition. Construct the compote from a single piece of paper folded accordion-style, and fill with sugar-coated almonds.
Guests will remember you warmly as they sip this gift. Place loose tea in the center of a 12-inch square of cellophane. Pull up edges, tie with twine, and place in a teacup. Slip one end of the twine through slits in a monogrammed tag, and knot.
Favor Bags with Grits
Shrimp and grits, a Southern specialty, make an original and delicious wedding favor. Display sacks full of grits on a table in enamel basins. Tie a recipe for the dish around the outside of the bags.
White Candle Favors with a Message
Candles in three shades of white are wrapped in corrugated paper and tied with waxed twine; written inside is a message from the bride and groom.
Marshmallow Wedding Favors
These marshmallows, imported from Paris, are not your typical campfire fare. They are long (about 14 inches), pastel-hued, and quite pretty, especially when fashioned into love knots, time-honored symbols of commitment.
Tie marshmallows into basic knots (to keep them from getting stale, don't leave them exposed to the air for too long), and place in cellophane bags. Make tags, cutting them out with a scalloped craft punch or shears. Punch a tiny hole in each tag, thread ribbon through, and tie around bags.
Echo the rustic olive theme of your wedding day appetizers with chocolate "olives" bundled as favors for guests to take home.
First, cut burlap into 8-inch squares, and lay over it a 7-inch square of cellophane. Next, pile eight or nine candies in the center of the squares. Then, close it all up by pulling the corners together and tying tight with an 8-inch length of 1/4-inch-wide taffeta ribbon. The labels were printed on olive-drab paper, cut out in leaf shapes, and slipped into the ribbon.
Almond Easter Basket Favors
Let guests tote away sweet almonds in tiny baskets. Line each with colored mini paper liners, and then fill with Jordan almonds. Use liners and nuts that complement your color scheme. Label baskets with the wedding date. We printed the date on colored laser paper, then made labels with a special craft punch, and affixed them with double-sided tape.
Almond-Honey Wedding Favors
The Romans showered newlyweds with almonds, a symbol of fertility. Include them in your celebration by giving guests jars filled with almonds and honey as favors.
Decorate the jars' caps with squares of fabric in playful colors and patterns (we used stripes, pink linen, and florals), and secure with twine. Line up the jars on a tablecloth made from matching fabric, and label them with your first initials and the wedding date.
Kite Wedding Favors
These favors will soar, though perhaps not as high as your spirits on your wedding day. They are custom-made, with or without a 3-foot-long tail.
Finish each with an initialed label printed on laser paper. Cut into 2 1/2-by-3-inch rectangles, and fold along short axis; attach using two pieces of double-sided tape.
Snowflake Cookie Favors
Gingerbread cookies, piped with royal icing and highlighted with sugar and nonpareils, are delicious snacks for the post-reception ride home or the day after the wedding. Package them in clear acetate containers banded with ribbon and a quilling-paper label (ours reads "A love like no other"), both held on with double-sided tape.
These rosette-shaped 'Echeveria' resemble a favorite cut flower, but the similarity ends there. Succulent plants are so hardy that they will leave guests with a lasting and easy-to-care-for reminder of your wedding -- all they need is good drainage and sun.
Plant pots that have been primped for the occasion, then line them on a tray like rows in a garden. Sponge-paint 2-inch-diameter terra-cotta pots; let dry. Fill planter with potting soil, plant succulent, then tie 5/8-inch-wide double-faced satin ribbon in a bow below lip of planter.
Bird's Nest Wedding Favors
In these lovely favors, sugar-coated Jordan almonds masquerade as robins' eggs in a delicate faux nest; parchment paper threaded among them acts as a simple place card.
The almonds are available from confectioners in a range of colors; the nests are from a floral-supply company. Cut 3/4-inch-wide strips of paper long enough to reach across a nest, and write a name on each strip, finishing the ends in an inverted V.
Seedling Wedding Favors
Guests will enjoy these seedling favors long after the party's over. The Magnolia Company offers more than 15 different oak varieties and will send you the one that's suited to the geographic region of your wedding locale (minimum order six trees, seedsoflife.com).
Place the seedlings in sleek sake cups to elevate the look. They can even double as centerpieces when grouped together.
Fortune Cookie Wedding Favors
Share handwritten romantic wishes with your guests in homemade chocolate cookies. The paper strips should be about 6 inches long and a little less than 1/2 inch wide.
The cookies, French tuiles with cocoa powder, are only flexible enough to shape for a few minutes once they come out of the oven: Slide an offset spatula under a cookie, and flip it over. Lay a fortune across the cookie and form into a loose cylinder with the fortune inside. Press your finger into the center of the roll, bringing the ends together with your other hand.
Miniature Panettone Wedding Favors
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!