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A sweet addition to any dessert table! Photos By: Caroline Drake Bringing a sweet menu to your wedding doesn't have to be expensive or very difficult. Cream puffs are perfect to serve at weddings, and bring the right amount of fancy, but are actually very easy to make! The best part is that you can make them in advance, and easily put them together for the big day! Pastry Cream Ingredients: You will want to make the filling first, since you need to refrigerate it for at least a few hours or overnight to set. We adapted a recipe from Baking Illustrated. 2 cups half-and-half ½ cup sugar (divided into 6 tablespoon, and 2 tablespoons) Pinch salt 5 large egg yolks 3 tbsp. cornstarch 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces 1½ tsp. vanilla bean paste (this makes such a difference if you can find it!) Pastry Cream Recipe Instructions: Heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds. Pastry Cream Recipe Instructions: When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Pastry Cream Recipe Instructions: Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days. Pâte à Choux Ingredients: 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces 2 tbsp. whole milk 6 tbsp. water 1½ tsp. sugar ¼ tsp. salt ½ cup (2½ oz.) all-purpose flour Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 425° F. Pâte à Choux Recipe Instructions: To make the pâte à choux, whisk the eggs and egg white in a liquid measuring cup. You should have ½ cup (discard the excess). Set aside. Combine the butter, milk, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. When it reaches a full boil and the butter is fully melted, remove from the heat and stir in the flour until incorporated and the mixture clears the sides of the pan. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, using a smearing motion, until the mixture is slightly shiny, looks like wet sand and tiny beads of fat appear on the bottom of the pan (the mixture should register 175-180° F on an instant-read thermometer. Takes about 5-10 minutes on LOW heat. Pâte à Choux Recipe Instructions: Immediately transfer the mixture to a food processor and process with the feed tube open to cool slightly, 10 seconds. Pâte à Choux Recipe Instructions: With the machine running, gradually add the reserved eggs in a steady stream. When they have been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process 30 seconds more until a smooth, thick, sticky paste forms. Pâte à Choux Recipe Instructions: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip with the pâte à choux. Pipe the paste into 1½-inch mounds on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 to 1¼ inches apart (you should be able to fit 24 mounds on the baking sheet). Pâte à Choux Recipe Instructions: Use the back of a teaspoon dipped in water to even out the shape and smooth the surface of the piped mounds. Pâte à Choux Recipe Instructions: Bake for 15 minutes (do not open the oven door during baking). Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F and continue to bake until golden brown and fairly firm, 8-10 minutes longer. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Use a paring knife, cut a ¾-inch slit into the side of each puff to release steam; return the puffs to the oven, turn the oven off, and prop open the oven door with the handle of a wooden spoon. Pâte à Choux Recipe Instructions: Dry the puffs in the turned-off oven until the centers are just moist (not wet) and the puffs are crisp, about 45 minutes. Transfer the puffs to a wire rack to cool completely. (At this point the puffs can be stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight plastic bag. Before serving, crisp in the oven at 300° F – 5-8 minutes for room temperature puffs, 8-10 minutes for frozen puffs.) Cream Puff Assembly: To fill the puffs, use a bread knife, and carefully cut the puff in half. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain tip with the pastry cream. Cream Puff Assembly: Pipe some of the pastry cream onto the bottom half, then place the top on the pastry cream, and sift powdered sugar onto the top. Repeat to fill all the puffs. This recipe will make about 24 small cream puffs. Such a simple treat to make, that will "wow" your guests!
In light of the nostalgia-inducing #ThrowbackThursday trend, here are some wedding ideas that allow you to reminisce about the past while also celebrating your future.
1. Marching Band
Photo by Shannon Cronin Photography
Whether it's your high school or college band, this is an adorable way to re-live school memories.
2. Creative Favors
Photo by Marlin Munoz Photography
We love the way this couple incorporated the classic cartoon into their wedding favors!
3. Picture, Picture
Photo by Sarah Rhoads Photographers
Leave a Polaroid on the tables so guests can snap photos and keep them as favors!
4. Play Dress-Up
Photo by Melvin Gilbert Photography
Throw on a silly costume and strike a pose in the photo booth with your new partner in crime.
5. Lemonade Stand
Photos by Bright Bird Photography and Jose Villa Photography
The perfect throwback for a hot-weather wedding: ice-cold lemonade!
Photos by Cindy Lee Photography and Megan L Photo
As a kid, no celebration was complete without balloons! Go monogrammed or hire a balloon artist if you're feeling creative.
7. Temporary Tattoos
Photos by Liz Chrisman Photography and Emily Alt Photography
Personalized temporary tattoos are a creative twist on favors that everyone can rock at the reception!
8. Kissing Booth
Photo by Daniel Kim Photography
An adorable way for all couples to show off their affection at the reception.
9. Hall Passes
Photo by Per Pixel Photo
Escort your guests to their assigned tables with this unique hall pass idea!
10. Freezie Pops
Photo by Aaron Watson Photography
The only dessert you'll ever need! We guarantee this idea will be a hit at any summer wedding.
NEXT: 13 Ideas for Wedding Entertainment That Don't Involve Dancing
Whether you adore your pets or have a special place in your heart for a specific type of animal, it can be super-cute to incorporate this into your wedding décor. Here are a few ideas we’ve seen in real weddings.
Animal topiaries are projected to be one of the hot décor items for 2015, and it’s a cute and subtle way to express your love for animals, whether you focus on a specific species or mix it up.
Photo by James Moro Photography
From figurines to paper cut outs, your escort cards can provide a fun nod to your animal of choice. Aside from the pig and bird options shown here, we’ve also seen escort cards dedicated to cats, elephants, horses, and more!
Photos by (left to right) Joshua Zuckerman Photography, Gene Higa Photography
We love how this invitation style doesn’t go too over-the-top with the animal motif – it’s still totally appropriate and sweet.
Photo courtesy of April Twenty Five
What a fun idea for a guest sign-in board! Each guest signs a silhouette of a different sea creature – perfect for a wedding at an aquarium or near the water.
Photo by Jack Looney Photography
We’ve seen a lot of animal cake toppers lately, but these are two of our favorites – a nod to the couple’s pet pooches and fun deer-themed style.
Photos by (left to right) Rachel Pearlman Photography, Crystal Satriano Photography
Check out more creative décor ideas from our Décor Editor »
Project and Photos by Brittni Mehlhoff
Celebrate the holidays or a seasonal wedding with this festive DIY centerpiece idea, that involves combining a rosemary tree with fresh flowers that will look great longer than you may think.
Want to make your own? Here’s how…
Materials:rosemary tree fresh flowers (mostly reds, burgundies and deep pinks) - I used ranunculus, tulips, hypericum berries, sahara sunset, and brunia berry. scissors water tubes decorative paper ribbon
1. Start by cutting out a square from a large piece of decorative paper that is large enough to cover all sides of the plastic starter planter.
2. Then fold the corners upward and then the surrounding sides until the container is covered. Add a ribbon to secure the paper around the container.
3. Next, fill a tube with water and put the rubbery cap on. Then add one flower stem, after you’ve cut it down to size. You’ll want roughly 1-2 inches of the stem poking out of the top of the tube.
4. Then, stick the tube into the rosemary tree, hiding the tube, so you can only see the flower.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the rosemary tree is covered in flowers.
Now you have a beautiful holiday centerpiece, perfect for a reception, rehearsal dinner, or holiday party.
This year we have been fortunate enough to showcase hundreds of stunning real weddings featuring lovely couples and talented vendors from across the country and around the world. Narrowing it down to ten favorites certainly wasn't an easy task! While we loved every wedding we featured in 2014, we thought we would revisit a few that particularly stole our hearts. Enjoy!
1. Erin and Andrew: La Jolla, California
Photos: John Schnack Photography
This intimate summer wedding, set in the lush gardens of a historic Spanish estate, is filled with romantic, effortless details.
2. Linda and Hugh: Oahu, Hawaii
Photos: Stephen Ludwig Photography
This gorgeous seaside celebration featured cultural traditions and lots of branded details from favor bags to cocktail glasses to gobo lights. Plus, gotta love those happy pops of yellow!
3. Laura and Jessica: Manhattan Beach, California
Photos: Jason Burns Photography
A sweet springtime wedding with a gorgeous beachside garden ceremony and a light, joyful feel throughout.
4. Aarti and Sukrant: Malibu, California
Photos: Ian Grant Photography
This happy couple tied the knot with a joyful, vibrant Hindu ceremony followed by a romantic poolside reception at a breathtaking Tuscan estate on the Pacific coast. The colors and details are exquisite!
5. Samantha and Travis: Phoenix, Arizona
Photos: Daniel Kim Photography
This sun-drenched orchard wedding was filled with cheerful details like crepe paper tassel garland, Geronimo balloons, marquee monograms, brick oven pizza, and even a Dippin' Dots bar!
6. Paul and Joe: East Hampton, New York
Photos: Jayd Gardina Photography
A sweet ceremony featuring heartfelt vows and yoga poses followed by a four-course dinner and dancing, all set in the couple’s immaculately landscaped Hamptons backyard.
7. Janet and Stanley: Fremont, California
Photos: Jasmine Lee Photography
These high school sweethearts tied the knot in a stunning sunken garden ceremony followed by a glamorous tent reception complete with ruched chiffon ceilings and floral chandeliers.
8. Samantha and Daniel: New Orleans, Louisiana
Photos: Mark Eric Weddings
A fabulous French Quarter destination wedding featuring a traditional second line parade and a regal palette of royal blue and gold.
9. Tricia and Adam: Toronto, Ontario
Photos: Lyn Ismael: Evocative Imagery of Love Stories
This wedding was filled with fun personalized details from start to finish: cheerful florals and a fabulous beverage bar at the ceremony, followed by boogie shoes and wish lanterns at the reception. Adam also takes the gold for sweetest First Look reaction of the year — hands down.
10. Beth and Jon: Nolensville, Tennessee
With a beautiful farm backdrop and a soft ivory and blush palette, this wedding epitomizes natural elegance and rustic romance.
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By: Jenny BattA touch of gold goes a long way! These metallic tassels will add an interesting flair to place settings. Materials White latex paint Small plastic container Paper clips Foil lined tray Bamboo skewer Gold liquid gilding Step One: Wrap thick cotton twine around your fingers about 20 times and cut the end. Step Two: Take a second piece of twine, then wrap and tie around the top. Knot to secure. Step Three: Unfold paperclips and hook on the tops of the tassels. Step Four: Pour white latex paint into a small container with high sides. Hold the tassel up with the paper clip and dip the tassel into the paint. Step Five: Use the skewer to press in the entire tassel until it is completely submerged. Pull out tassel and use skewer to scrape off any excess paint. Step Six: Lay to dry on a foil lined tray or cookie sheet. Use the skewer to gently style the tassel if needed. Repeat with remaining tassels. Let dry for 24 hours, flipping tassels over and placing them on a clean portion of the tray after 12 hours. You can also hang to dry with a tray underneath. Step Seven: Outside, paint each tassel gold and let dry. Spray a second coat. Flip over and cover the other side with two light coats. Let them air out a few days before use. DIY: Gilded Tassel Adornments Tie each tassel to cotton twine and wrap around napkins at each setting. Add a tag if desired. These would be just as fun as escort cards or attached to magnets and given as favors! (photos by hankandhunt.com)
By: Victoria HudginsThis DIY packaging is a fresh and modern way to present small favors to guests. Fill each cocoon with something fun to keep your guests busy (like these bright and nostalgic finger pops) and something sweet to snack on. Materials: 1/2 craft glue- 1/2 water mixture Large spool of embroidery thread Balloons (1 balloon for every 2 favors) Instructions: 1. Blow up your balloons and tie a length of thread to the end of the balloon. 2. Begin wrapping thread around the balloon, the messier the wrap the better. 3. Once you have a good covering over the entire balloon, dip a brush into the glue mixture and coat the entire balloon. Hang the balloon by its end to dry. Note: You could also use liquid fabric stiffener for this step in the project, just fill a large bowl and completely dip your wrapped balloons in. 4. Once dry, cut the balloon in half at the center width. Each balloon will make two separate cocoon wraps. 5. Gently pop each balloon and pull away from the fabric. Fill your wraps and tie together with a ribbon and simple tag. 6. Rest each favor on a place setting for a creative, modern touch.