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They brought you into the world, now show them you care with these creative ways to say thank you! (expert advice)
photo by: Gifts for the Good Life
Your parents have played a very big role in making your wedding spectacular. Not only did they raise you into the beautiful bride-to-be that you are, they've stood beside you through all your planning stress, offered their suggestions, and they may be funding the affair. Your parents, and your fiancé's, definitely deserve a huge thank you. Set a Budget I don't have to tell you that weddings are expensive - I'm sure you're learning that! It's important to include gift giving in your original wedding budget. There are no rules specifying an amount you should spend on gifts for your parents, but it's best to spend the same amount on both sets and to choose gifts that are somewhat similar. Some couples decide to give their parents a gift for the two of them while others select 2 separate gifts for mom and dad. Thank You Gifts for Two Giving your parents a thank you gift to enjoy together can be very meaningful and can also allow you to spend a little more on each gift. Depending on your budget, consider: Travel. Cruise tickets, hotel reservations for the weekend, or a romantic retreat to a local resort are all possible gift ideas. An evening out. Whether it's a gift card for a favorite restaurant, tickets to a show or a complete night of pampering including the limo, your parents deserve a night out to unwind after the wedding. Gift baskets. Wine baskets, gourmet food collections, or personalized his and her gift sets are terrific ways to say thank you and can fit into most any budget. Something personal. Creative gifts often hold the most meaning. Consider making a personalized video or slideshow for each set of parents, presenting them with a family photo calendar, or framing your favorite wedding pictures for a sentimental touch. Digital photo frames with a personal message are big hits with parents. For Him, For Her You may decide to honor your mom and dad with individual gifts rather than a joint thank you. If you've set a large budget, you could even do both! Ideas for dads: Personalized cufflinks to wear on the wedding day. Gift certificate to a favorite store. Wine and cheese assortment. Personalized golf accessories. Pens, intriguing paperweights, monogrammed money clips or key chains. Mothers may enjoy: Spa certificates. Earrings or a necklace for the wedding day. Bath soaps, candles, and fragrances in an elegant gift basket. Personalized photo albums, frames, or a jewelry box. Charm bracelet or necklace with a family theme. Consider your parents' interests and you'll be sure to choose thank you gifts that your parents appreciate and remember for years to come - whatever your budget.
Yes, we love candy, koozies, and potted succulents as much as the next wedding fanatic, but sometimes you just need to think outside of the box. Here are a few wedding favor ideas that truly break the mold.
Condiments and Spices
Olive oil is a popular wedding favor these days, but if there’s a condiment that you and your spouse love, share it with your guests! We’ve seen ketchup, mustard, Tabasco, as well as various seasonings (Old Bay, BBQ rubs, etc.).
Photo by Anjuli
Yeah, it’s a little offbeat, but it’s certainly hip and will get your guests talking. Offer up an array of temporary tats for your guests to enjoy. Who knows, maybe your Grandma will partake (can you imagine that photo?).
Photos by (from left): Liz Chrisman Photography, Emily Alt Photography
This might be a little labor-intensive, but we love the idea of picking out a book for each guest (or couple) to take home. Handwriting a personalized note inside is a great touch. What an amazing keepsake for your nearest and dearest!
Photo by Diana M. Lott
These are pretty quirky, but adorable, too! Offer your guests a selection of pins to affix to their attire and take home.
Photos by (from left): Katelyn James Photography, Shelly Kroeger Photography
Pottery or Handmade Crafts
We love how this bride used her pottery-making skills to create ceramic bowls for all of her guests. If you have crafting or cooking skills, use them to create gifts for your guests (but don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on a too-huge task!).
Photo by Maggie Fortson Photography
Cotton Candy in a Box
Fact: Guests love sweet treats. But instead of cookies or candy, try something a bit more whimsical with cotton candy stored in a takeout box. What a fun treat for guests of all ages!
Photo by Jenny DeMarco Photography
Give your favors a healthful touch by providing your guests with fresh fruit. From berries to pineapples, peaches to apples, think seasonal and local when it comes to picking your produce.
Photo by Dear Darling Photography
Want more great favor ideas? Follow our Favors Editor to see lots more wedding favor photos »
Whether your ceremony is long or short, you want your guests to be comfortable during the proceedings. Gift your nearest and dearest with useful items pre-ceremony to make sure this important event is even more memorable and enjoyable.
Your guests will have a lot of questions during the ceremony. Who’s in the bridal party? What types of rituals should I expect? What’s that song? Answer your guests’ questions by providing them with programs – or post a sign that includes all of the pertinent information.
Photo by IQphoto Studio
Something to Drink
In warmer weather, provide your guests with a refreshment either before the ceremony, or if drinks are allowed in your venue, during the event. Bottled water is a good bet, since it’s in a sealable container that’s less likely to spill – and a custom label adds a cute, personal touch.
Photos by (from left): PW Photography, Jason Burns Photography
Fans can be a nice giveaway for indoor or outdoor ceremony in warmer climates. And by printing your ceremony programs on a fan, it will do double duty.
Photo by Aaron Watson Photography
If your outdoor ceremony is under a blazing sun, your guests will appreciate having the extra shade.
Photo by Whittaker Portraits
It’s a good idea to check out your ceremony location at the exact time when you’re planning on getting married. If you’re concerned your guests will be squinting in the sun, sunglasses are a good favor idea.
Photo by Hearts and Horseshoes Photography
Shawls or Blankets
Depending where you’re getting married, there may be a risk of a slight chill in the air during the spring and fall seasons. That doesn’t mean you should avoid an outdoor ceremony entirely, but consider your guests’ comfort by providing them with shawls or blankets to cuddle up with.
Photo by Nelly - Photographer
Place boxes of tissues at the end of every row in case your guests shed some (happy!) tears.
Photo by Hearts and Horseshoes Photography
Something Fun for the Recessional
Whether it’s confetti, ribbon wands, streamers, flower petals, or something completely different, asking your guests to wave or toss something during the recessional can add a fun celebratory element and make for a great photo op!
Photos by (from left): Gideon Photography, Rachel Robertson Photography
Check out more fun favor ideas by following our Favors Editor »
Photo by Brett Arthur Photography
Planning a cold-weather wedding? Consider these little touches to help keep your guests warm and cozy during your wedding celebration.
1. Blankets Provide each guest with a snuggly blanket during the ceremony or at the reception. It’s a totally useful favor, plus will help fight off the chill in the air.
Photo by Michelle Warren Photography
2. Bonfire and S’mores A crackling fire just screams cozy romance, and delicious s’mores provide both a fun end-of-the-night activity and a sweet treat!
Photo by Alixann Loosle
3. Pashminas and Shawls They make a great bridesmaid gift, or you can go all-out and provide inexpensive shawls for all of your guests as favors.
Photo by Allison Davis Photography
4. Candles Everywhere! Not only do they look totally romantic, but an abundance of candles provides added warmth to your ceremony or reception space.
Photo by Aaron Watson Photography
5. Warm Drinks As you guests head out into the chilly night air, provide them with hot coffee, cider, or hot cocoa to help warm their hands and bellies.
Photo by Gerber + Scarpelli Photography
Looking for more winter wedding ideas? Check out these winter real wedding photos!
Favors are a thoughtful way to express gratitude to your guests on your wedding day. Don’t hesitate to be creative and offer a parting gift that lasts beyond its time at the reception. We have compiled a list of unique and stunning favors that will have your guests abuzz.
Photo by Blaine Photography
Far superior to fresh blooms that eventually wither to expiration, potted plants offer a great keepsake. Succulents work best, with sturdy and elegant blooms that take very little gardening knowledge to keep alive. These potted plants breathe life into the reception space while offering a parting gift to your guests that continues to grow.
As a creative solution to favors that never get used, cards that are embedded with seeds are the perfect favor for travelers, gardeners and green-minded guests alike. Light and practical, seed cards can easily slide into your guests’ suitcases or purses and then be planted later at the guests’ leisure. Further, the seed cards can be personalized with your wedding date, your names, a photo or your favorite quote, inspiring your guests to let love bloom.
Glossy gift boxes with an embellished top present a classic Tiffany’s take on presentation that will have your guests wowing. Dress up the boxes with personalized gift tags or shiny ribbons, and place truffles, cookies or some other sweet treats inside.
Use a bigger, triangular box to give your guests a slice of wedding cake to take home as a delicious parting gift. If you’re opting for a candy buffet for dessert in lieu of or in addition to cake, give your guests a beautifully decorated bag or box to take their goodies home in.
Ingredients of Love
Pay homage to a lost loved one’s recipe or introduce your guests to a family favorite with the ingredients of your favorite banana bread or sugar cookies. Using old-fashioned mason jars, layer the dry ingredients in a pretty pattern of varying colors. Tie a ribbon or jute rope around the lid with an attractive tag that lists the remaining ingredients and the recipe. For an added touch, include a mini-tin for your guests to bake the ingredients in.
Topiary Place-Card Holders
Place-card holders are a lovely way to dress up a reception, but miniature topiaries offer a stately touch to the table. Enchanting guests with the freshness of nature, most place-card topiaries come with a card clip tucked discreetly in the foliage. A charming favor to take home, the tiny tree can be displayed on a guest’s desk to hold photos or postcards or in the kitchen or bathroom for an elegant effect.
Mini-Lantern Tealight Holder
An evening outdoor reception can be set aglow with the ambiance of candlelight. With windproof miniature lanterns, the tealight holders can be hung from branches, grouped in different levels on the reception tables and staircases, or gathered for a dramatic centerpiece. Illuminating your special evening with candlelight adds a romantic and stylish setting as well as allows your guests to take a lantern home for dark nights.
As a practical and tasteful favor, stylish napkin rings can be embossed and polished with the words or finish of your choice. Have them personalized with traditional advice of “Live, Laugh, Love” or “Eat, Drink and Be Merry,” a heartfelt line from your vows, or your own words of wisdom. The tone of the reception will be graciously set, and guests will enjoy the rings on their own tables.
A Chance to Win Big
Giving out scratch lottery tickets is a fun favor that your guests will be more than happy to open. Affix a lucky penny to each ticket so that people can start scratching right away. Place the tickets in envelopes and guests can grab theirs on the way out the door, or attach them to a tree or large plant with decorative ribbon or a pretty string.
Photos by This Love of Yours... Photography
PRESENTATIONUse a color scheme that matches your wedding palette: wedding colors aren’t just for the flowers and bridesmaids dresses! Taking advantage of the colors you’ve already established can enhance your candy table’s presence, and bring cohesion to your entire reception. Create depth and height in your display: with simple boxes or even phone books, you can sculpt a beautiful landscape on your table. You can wrap the boxes in decorative paper, or even leave them bare and covered with matching linens for a refined, free-flowing cascade. Take advantage of your centerpieces: whether they be flowers, candles, or tiny little goldfish, using an extra centerpiece or two will not only tie into the rest of your reception, but it can also add life and freshness to your candy table. Don’t be afraid to use trimmings: details like good quality linens, ribbons, and paper can add nice touches to your overall display. Less is more: trimmings are definitely your friends, but don’t go overboard! Too many space fillers can potentially clutter your table and cause sensory overload! Consider the table: where will it be located? Will there be a nice backdrop or wall behind it for pictures? Or will it be open so people can access it from all sides? Will it even have sides, or will it be round? These are all good questions to ask yourself before deciding on a set-up design.
CANDYColor is key: as mentioned before, having a specific color scheme can really make your table pop. Monochromatic palettes can also be striking and elegant. Make sure to consider different hues and shades – for example, if your colors are red and brown, don’t be afraid of using different shades of reds and pinks. If using primarily dark colors, try to use trimmings in lighter shades to bring energy to your table. Check the weather: Will it be hot or sunny? Will the table be indoors or outdoors? If indoor, will there be AC? If you’re worried about warmth, save the stress and avoid candies that could easily melt (unfortunately this includes most chocolates)! Fruit seasons: if you’re planning to use fresh fruit on your table (e.g. chocolate dipped strawberries), make sure you consider if they are even in season. Strawberries in the winter might not be as sweet as when they’re at their peak in the summer! Not just candy: if you’re open to treats in other forms, consider mini cookies, kettle corn, or spiced nuts as sweet additions. Placing the wedding cake or groom's cake on the same table can add visual diversity. Be creative: candy isn’t just made to be eaten, but also to play with! Bundle large lollipops together like a bouquet of flowers, or skewer some marshmallows to simulate kabobs – the possibilities are endless. Keep it simple: having a variety of flavors and different types of candy can be satisfying to everyone, but don’t be afraid to go with a specific flavor profile. Whether it be a gummy bear bar or a chocolate truffle tribute, your guests will definitely enjoy the sugar rush! Don’t buy too much! It’s easy to worry about not having enough for everyone, but if you’re planning to include a meal and cake in your reception, guests probably won’t be stuffing themselves with extra sugar. A small portion of ½ cup (4 oz) or less is a good estimate per person. If you want to buy in bulk for a visual effect, save large containers for popular candies so you won’t have too many leftovers.
CONTAINERS AND SUPPLIES
WHERE TO BUY SUPPLIES
Project Wedding – the forums have a great Classified Section where you can buy gently used items from the community.
Online Candy Stores:
Local stores for candy:
- Your neighborhood grocery store: Safeway, Lucky, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc.
- Bulk stores like Costco
- Michael’s: they have a special selection of wedding candies
- Ethnic grocers may also carry unique treats that can give your table a broader range of flavors.
Containers and things:
- Restaurant supply stores, like Kamei or East Bay Restaurant Supply
- Save On Crafts
- Furniture stores like Ikea, Crate & Barrel
- Thrift or second-hand shops
- Cost-saving stores like Target, Ross, or the Dollar Store
- Scoops and more scoops
From monogrammed bags to personalized lockets, it's probably impossible to pour all the gratitude and love you feel in just one bridesmaid gift, but you'll have to pick something out and hopefully it will say more than just 'thank you.' With a bit of luck, some of the suggestions below will set you off on the right path towards selecting something memorable and appropriate for your bridesmaid gifts.
Photo: Jeff Loves Jessica
Traditional Bridesmaid Gifts
If you'd like to keep in line with traditional bridesmaid gifts, perhaps you'd like to concentrate on providing the lovely ladies in your life with jewelry for your wedding day. Matching necklaces, bracelets, rings, and even tiaras make great keepsakes. What about an engraved gift? Think silver jewelry boxes, lighters, flasks, toasting glasses, and key chains.
Bridesmaid Gifts on a Budget
When planning a wedding on a budget, you can still give sentimental bridesmaid gifts to your attending ladies. Never underestimate the power of an attractive gift bag. Helping out with a wedding takes a lot of time, energy, and patience. Don't you think your bridesmaids deserve a little relaxation? Create a goodie bag filled with scented candles, bubble bath, lotion, bath beads, and other soothing treats. What about the memories? And, when you're on a really tight budget, a box of chocolates is always a sweet way to say that you appreciate their presence at your wedding.
Luxury Bridesmaid Gifts
If you've really been a Bridezilla throughout the process of planning your wedding, then maybe you need to spring for bridesmaid gifts that truly pamper. Treat your bridesmaids to a day spa treatment. Purchase a beautiful cashmere sweater. Send your bridesmaids to a luxury hotel for one night, preferably one with a Jacuzzi. Perhaps, your bridesmaids have been neglecting their own better halves in order to help you plan your wedding, treat them both to a dinner for two at a ritzy restaurant. Silk nighties or pajamas are also quite special for the bridesmaids in your life.
Other Ideas for Bridesmaid Gifts
When looking for more ideas for bridesmaid gifts, allow your creativity to run wild. Consider their individual personalities and what would bring a smile to their faces. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Additional suggestions include:Cooking lessons with a master chef Free yoga sessions Handmade pottery Day of horseback riding Rock climbing adventure Scuba diving lessons MP3 player or iPod Tickets to a sporting event or concert Leather photo albums
See more ideas: Bow Gifts for Bridesmaids and Monogrammed Bridesmaid Gifts
Usually, on the night of the rehearsal dinner or early wedding day morning, the exchange of gifts takes place. The bridal party typically receives a token of gratitude, and the bride and groom also give gifts to one another. So, as if shopping for the love of your life wasn't hard enough, what could you possibly get him for his wedding present?
Photography by: Michael Moss
Hopefully, I can shed a bit of light on the subject and get your creative juices flowing.
Wedding Present Brainstorming for Him
Your future husband certainly has interests, which you should take full advantage of when it comes to locating his wedding present. What activities do you see him participating in? Is he completely obsessed when football season rolls around? Perhaps season tickets would be perfect for his wedding present.
Tap Into His Interests
Is your groom a technology fanatic, keeping his eye on all the latest gadgets and constantly tinkering with his iPhone? Take this fascination to heart and seek his wedding present at the local electronics shop, like Best Buy or Apple. Does he like to play video games? Well, then you're just in luck because there is a plethora of gaming accessories and software to consider. Keep a look out to how he reacts when a commercial for a new release is mentioned on TV.
Take Advantage of His Hobbies
Hobbies will come in handy when choosing his wedding present as well. Tap into the kinds of things that make him happy and you'll never go wrong. Perhaps he's a Babe Ruth fan and collects old baseball cards. What about his poker playing with friends over the weekend? Does he like to tune-up classic cars? Do you have a master griller in the house? Then, a new grill, personalized poker set, or vintage rookie cards from eBay might be just the kinds of things to consider for his wedding present.
The Music Man
For the man who enjoys his music, consider the joy of owning an MP3 player or iPod. Today, you can even combine music, movies, and phone use into one by choosing an iPod Touch - a product much similar to the iPhone.
Straight From the Heart
Sometimes, you just want to choose his wedding present because of sentimental reasons. Framed photos of the two of you together; a slideshow consisting of special moments; or a memento from the past can all become touching, heartfelt presents for your groom. Monogrammed or personalized or just plain shiny, a gold money clip is another great way to present your fiancé with a cherished wedding gift.