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Do me a (wedding) favor
When in doubt, consider Swedish Fish

01/19/12



While there is no obligation to provide guests with a wedding favor, many couples do so. In a way, a wedding favor is the last memory of your wedding as people leave for the night. To ensure that is a fond memory, those in the wedding industry suggest giving an edible gift.

“I suggest people give a food-related item,” said Melanie Voros of Blissful Beginnings Wedding and Event Design. “There is definitely a trend toward edible. The favors are also much better if they’re homemade or personal.”

Wedding favors typically come down to budget, according to Deborah Bouchard-Smith of Maine-ly New Hampshire, a Portsmouth gift store that offers products made in New Hampshire. Bouchard-Smith used to do high-end event planning but she decided to get off the corporate treadmill and opened her shop in Portsmouth. She said was promoting buying local before it became cool. As far as favors go, she said about six weeks before the wedding, couples look at what money they have left in their budget and go from there. Bouchard-Smith said the average wedding favor costs $3 to $8, which, if you have a wedding with 250 guests, can add up quick.

“I often talk my brides out of wedding favors,” Bouchard-Smith said. “Unless it has meaning, don’t do it.”

Bouchard-Smith was recently involved with a wedding at the Wentworth by the Sea hotel that had a black-and-white 1940s Hollywood theme. It was widely known that the couple getting married loved taking shots of Jack Daniels. So in the spirit of the evening, Bouchard-Smith ordered them 1940s retro shot glasses with the couple’s names on one side and a quote from Casablanca on the other side.

“The shot glasses were connected to them,” Bouchard-Smith said. “If you’re going to spend the money, make sure it makes sense.”

Also make sure you think about the guys. Bouchard-Smith said she often asks brides to think about a favor that a boyfriend or husband would also want to take home.

“You know the heart-shaped frame with your name on it?” Bouchard-Smith said. “I don’t want it in my house.”
Voros agreed.

“Long gone are the days of the personalized frame with your names on it,” Voros said. “Ask yourself: what do people want?”

What they want seems to be treats. Voros said she often advises brides to think of snacks like homemade cookies or candies, gourmet marshmallows, honey or jam. If your wedding is local, New Hampshire maple syrup is always a great option. Bouchard-Smith often recommends chocolate balls that look like granite pebbles. For one good-natured couple she got individual-sized whoopie pies — because, honestly, who doesn’t love a whoopie pie? — that said, “enjoy the whoopie” on them.

“Everyone knew exactly what that meant,” Bouchard-Smith said. “But for this couple who had a great sense of humor it was perfect.”

If people might have traveled great distances to your wedding, think of favors that are smaller and can fit in a suitcase.

“I’ve had brides who have done infused rock salts that can flavor things later on,” Voros said. “Or cider mulling spices, which a person might actually use later on. The potted plant or the glass with your wedding date on it really don’t have any value.”

“And never underestimate candy,” Voros said. “I am always shocked that adults love Swedish Fish as much as nine-year-olds do.”

Voros said that this trend toward edible favors has been going on for four or five years. She said it is a part of the greater do-it-yourself wedding movement, which has been aided by the countless wedding blogs and Web tutorials now available online. Voros said couples are looking to save money, and while it isn’t a good idea to cut back on your photographer or DJ, favors is an area where it makes sense.

Voros should know. With her company, which is based in Portsmouth although she lives in Bedford, and as a Justice of the Peace, she is involved with 40 to 50 weddings each year.

“It is fun and something different every day,” Voros said.






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