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Category Archive for: ‘Favors + Gifts’
Few locations on this great, glorious globe of ours evoke the feelings of romance like Paris. Can you imagine being surround by the all of the beauty The City of Light has to offer on your wedding day? The art, language, architecture, cuisine, style, history … how could one not get lost in the love, romance, and joy? For many of us, the idea of a wedding in Paris is a far-off dream; a wonderful fantasy that seems somehow unattainable. That, mes amis, is about to change thanks to the brand new book by my dear colleague Kim Petyt, an American wedding planner who just so happens to live in Paris.
The Paris Wedding is the perfect mix of practical guide and gorgeous inspiration that makes having a Parisian wedding within reach of many couples. In The Paris Wedding, Kim walks you through the basics of getting married in France such as residency requirements, documents needed, and what you need to get married in the Catholic church while explaining the differences between French and American weddings.
Full of beautiful photographs of locations, wedding details, vendors and even DIY projects, The Paris Wedding, provides an abundance of inspiration and resources for creating your own wedding in Paris or simply one that’s Parisian-inspired. Where the book really shines is Kim’s writing. She’s utterly engaging, making what could be an intimidating process into a fun and fabulous journey of a lifetime.
To celebrate the launch of her book Kim has graciously shared a simple and oh-so-French DIY project with us, these lovely lavender sugar favors.
DIY FRENCH WEDDING FAVOR: LAVENDER SUGAR
If you’re looking for ways to add a French touch to your upcoming celebration, here’s a simple, inexpensive DIY favor idea that’s just perfect for a French -themed wedding or party: homemade sucre de lavande—lavender sugar. Some of the finest lavender and lavender-infused products come from the South of France, where lavender is used throughout daily life. Not only is it used to scent the home (dried in sachets, or in distilled water for perfuming linens) and in soaps and creams, but it’s also delicious in cooking. On cookies, cakes or fresh fruit, a sprinkling of lavender sugar is a great way to add a delicate French flavor to any dessert.
To make sucre de lavande, fill a large (depending on the number of favors you’re making) sealable container with granular sugar. Add several sprigs or handfuls of dried lavender blossoms. Seal the container and let it sit for two weeks, shaking the container occasionally to mix evenly. When ready, pour the sugar through a sifter to get the blossoms out, or whirl the sugar and blossoms together through a mixer or coffee grinder. Fill small apothecary jars with the sugar, and add a recipe or two along with the gift tag, et voilà! DIY doesn’t get much easier than this.
Kimberley Petyt is an American wedding planner living and working in Paris, France, and writes the popular blog, “parisian party: tales of an american wedding planner in paris”. Her newly released book, The Paris Wedding, is a full-color, idea-packed, “go-to guide” for globally minded trendsetters who are in love with the style and romance of Paris, and is now available for purchase online and in local booksellers. You may find Kim via her Blog • The Paris Wedding book page • Twitter • Pinterest • Amazon • Goodreads.
Who says an edible favor has to be candy or another unhealthy sweet? I have another breakfast inspired wedding favor that is also healthy. What I love about this granola bar recipe is that it has no added sugars. I make this almost weekly for a morning snack, and thought it would be easy to share with guests. During the holidays I cut them into small squares and added them to my sweets platter. (Which also, included some doughnut holes from biscuit dough.)
Cranberry and Oats Bar
recipe adapted from Anja’s Food 4 Thought
- 2 cups of rolled oats
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F.
Step 2: Line medium baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside.
Step 4: Mix wet ingredients and pour into dry ingredients and stir to combine. Let mixture soak for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Then, pour onto pan and press down evenly. Bake for 20-35 minutes. The bake time will vary on how thinly you spread the mixture, so watch carefully.
Step 6: Take out of the oven, and cut into squares.
To package for favors, I simply wrapped each square in parchment paper and tied with twine. Simple and healthy! If you prefer loose granola you can make a granola “bar.” I would love to see a bridal brunch with a buffet of granola, toppings, and yogurt for a parfait. Toppings for the buffet could include: fresh and dried fruits, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and cinnamon.
I would love to know how you are incorporating your favorite foods into your wedding activities.
So! Are you hard at work planning your own wedding feast? The rosemary-rubbed pork chops I suggested got me thinking: why not let your guests take home a bit of the wedding meal you spent so much time preparing, and send them away with rosemary-infused favors? Making herb-infused olive oil at home takes mere minutes, a minimum of supplies, and is a thoughtful way both to show off your affinity for all things culinary, and offer your guests a treat to keep in their own kitchens.
Of course, to make a large quantity of these favors requires a bit of planning and shopping. You’ll need, first, to locate a vendor for large amounts of olive oil, the exact quantity of which will depend on the vessel you plan on using. I used mason jars for my project, because that’s what I had around, but I’d certainly recommend picking up some glass oil dispensers from any restaurant supply store. A quick Google search brought up these two vendors of bulk olive oil, but shop around for the best prices. Because you’ll be masking the oil’s base flavor with the rosemary, I wouldn’t worry too much about the oil’s quality, but for its general characteristic, shoot for something on the fruity rather than nutty side.
You’ll also need a fair amount of fresh rosemary. One 4-inch sprig per glass bottle should do, but of course that can add up when we’re talking olive oil favors for 100 or more guests. Large rosemary trees are available at many garden and even grocery stores: one 24-inch tree should offer up enough fresh rosemary for about 20 favors.
Rosemary Olive Oil Favors
- Glass bottles or containers with either canning jar lids or rubber stoppers
- 8 ounces of olive oil x number of guests
- 1 24″ rosemary tree per 20 guests
- tags and ribbons for instructions and labels
- First, gently trim, wash, and bruise the rosemary to release its flavor.
- Then, combine the oil and the rosemary in a large pot. Cook until a candy thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 180 degrees.
- Remove the oil from the heat and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Remove the rosemary from the oil and place in the bottles. Using a funnel and ladle, carefully spoon oil into the bottles, sealing tightly.
Oil should be made several days before the wedding, at a maximum, as the infused oil will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.
Before distributing as favors, decorate the bottles with ribbons and labels. Delish!
Of course, you can infuse olive oil with just about anything… Suggestions, anyone?
I love breakfast! Over the next few weeks I will give you DIY ideas for sharing the best meal of the day with your wedding guests. This banana muffin recipe makes about 20 edible favors for a bridal shower or intimate brunch wedding.
Banana Muffin Recipe
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large bananas (mashed)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup butter (melted)
- 1/3 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt set-aside.
Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in large bowl.
Fold in flour mixture, mix until smooth. If you are adding nuts, fold in until evenly distributed. Fill lined muffin cups a little over 2/3 full. Bake large muffins for about 18- 24 minutes.
You can bake these ahead and freeze. Allow the muffins to cool and place in a freezer storage bag. A paper towel over the muffins will prevent moisture from building on the tops. (Also, make sure you get all the air out of the bag.) When you are ready to prepare the favors, let them defrost for a couple of hours. (If you decide to sneak one for yourself just pop in the microwave for about 15 seconds for a warm muffin.)
Now we are ready to dress up the muffins for your special guests.
- Muffin cupcake template <- click to download
- Decorative paper
- Double-sided tape
- Decorative Edge Scissors
- Cellophane wrap
Use a cupcake template to cut your liner from your decorative paper. I used the straight edge scissors to cut the bottom and sides, and scalloped edge scissors to trim the top.
Wrap your new liner around the muffin, and tape where the two sides meet.
Cut wrap to gather around the muffin and form a “poof” at the top. Then, secure with ribbon and this completes your custom breakfast favor.
Wedding favors are a tricky business. At the same time that you, the bride and groom, are trying for something original and memorable, you also don’t want a sizable portion of your wedding budget to be spent on little trinkets that your guests may or may not accidentally leave behind in their hotel rooms. Which is to say that we’re looking for something small and inexpensive, but that packs an original and expressive punch.
Moreover, the best wedding favors will not only reflect your wedding’s theme, but, in turn, your personality as a couple as well. I don’t know about you, my dearest DIY-Foodie-Bride, but the first thing that popped into my mind upon considering all of these requisite characteristics was seasonally appropriate homemade jams!
Here are the pros of giving out seasonally appropriate homemade jams as wedding favors:
-Possibility of adorable jars, decorated with wedding-color ribbons
-Can be made in large batches and kept for months before the big day
-Ingredient lists are generally inexpensive
-Leftovers can be handed out at work or to kids’ teachers as holiday presents
And the cons:
-None that I can think of.
So! Let’s get to work, shall we?
Since we’re in the height of winter wedding season, I decided to make use of the piles and piles of beautiful citrus fruits currently available at the grocery store and make orange-cranberry marmalade. The recipe is incredibly simple, but does take a tiny bit of planning.
After bringing the ingredients to an initial boil, you must let them sit overnight, before boiling them again for two hours. After that, however, you simply jar the marmalade and store it. I’ve added cranberries because they’re wintery and look lovely in the jar; orange marmalade straight-up would of course be delicious, too. Bonus if you use some kind of marmalade glaze in your DIY banquet, and then alert your guests to the fact that they’re taking home a featured ingredient.
Makes about six favor-sized jars; can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled…
- 4 navel oranges
- 2 lemons
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 8 cups granulated sugar
- 8 cups water
- candy thermometer
- large stainless-steel pot
- 6 small glass jars
- labels and ribbons, to suit your taste
Step 1: First, slice the citrus fruits into very thin half-moons by first slicing them lengthwise, and then across. If you are making very large batches of marmalade at a time, invest in a mandoline slicer, which will make this (the most involved) step go extremely quickly. Place the slices in a large stainless steel pot along with the cranberries, and cover the fruit with the water. Bring to a boil.
Step 2: Remove the pot from the heat, and add the sugar; stir until completely dissolved. Let the pot stand, covered and at room temperature, overnight. The next morning, submerge the jars in a large pot of water, and bring to a boil to disinfect. Remove from the heat after about five minutes or so, and allow to cool.
Step 3: Bring the fruit mixture to a boil again, and cook until a candy thermometer inserted in the liquid reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the marmalade into the clean, hot jars, and seal. Allow the jars to come to room temperature before refrigerating.
Step 4: Decorate the jars with ribbons and labels listing ingredients.
Cinnamon ornaments are an easy DIY, and can serve as both a favor for your guests or decorations for the reception space.
What you’ll need:
- Cookie Cutter
- Twine or ribbon
- Mixing bowl
- Cookie sheet
- Wax Paper
Estimated cost: $5 for 15 ornaments
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: To make the dough, use one part applesauce to one part cinnamon. For this tutorial, I used a 1/2 cup of applesauce and a 1/2 cup of cinnamon.
Step 3: Combine the applesauce and cinnamon in the mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. When combined well enough, the dough should make a ball and hold that shape.
Step 4: Roll the dough out on the wax paper, about 1/2 inch thick.
Step 5: Using the cookie cutter, press it into the dough and wiggle it to help separate the shape from the rest of the dough.
Step 6: To make a hole for the twine, use a toothpick. Carefully remove the shapes and place them on the cookie sheet.
Note: The dough will not rise like cookie dough so it’s okay if the shapes are kind of close together.
Step 7: Bake the shapes in the oven for at least one hour, or longer if the dough is still wet.
Step 8: Let the ornaments cool and set for a few before attaching the twine to hang.
Note: When the ornaments are first removed from the oven, loosen them a bit with the spatula to keep them from sticking.
This recipe made 15 ornaments, but can easily be increased to make more.