There are a variety of ways to save money on your wedding, but it's always difficult to decide what to cut from your wedding wish list. Instead of cutting something you think is a wedding must-have, you can combine two items that will both save you money on your wedding and showoff your creativity. The DIY Wedding has a list of 17 creative wedding favors which you and your guests will love.
Creative Wedding Favors
- If the weather is likely to be hot, put a pretty straw fan on each chair before the ceremony. You can put a tag on the handle with your names and the date, if you desire.
- For an intellectual crowd, try bookmarks or bookplates printed with your names and the date, packaged in glassine envelopes for safekeeping. Check out http://www.wedding-favor-bookmarks.com.
- For a rowdier crowd, create custom temporary tattoos with your names and the date—there are lots of Web sites that offer this service.
- It's easy to make personalized crossword puzzles and word searches using free or low-cost software found online. (Try www.crosswordweaver.com) Hand them out with pens or pencils printed with your names and the date.
- An ingredient and matching recipe will extend delicious memories of the weekend into your guests' own homes—think small potted basil plants with instructions for making pesto, or a tiny jar of perfectly proportioned spices with a (formerly) secret family curry recipe.
- Who doesn't love fragrant homemade bath salts? It takes seconds to make them from sea salt, kosher salt, or Epsom salts and essential oils. Choose a scent that evokes the time and place of your wedding, and package them in small screw-top or cork-topped glass jars (www.save-on-crafts.com has a good selection at affordable prices). Recipes abound on the Internet, so choose one and make a test batch a month or so before the wedding and make sure it turns out—and keeps—well.
- One artistic bride I know made coloring books for the kiddies and the young at heart. She drew pictures telling the story of how she and the groom met, photocopied them, punched holes in them, and bound them together with ribbon. She stashed one in each hotel bag, along with an assortment of crayons.
- A homemade sachet full of lavender will keep the moths away from your guests' sweaters.
- Seed packets are colorful, useful, and good for the planet. The same is true of saplings—you can get them for $3 a pop at www.arborday.org.
- Years ago, monogrammed matchbooks were de rigueur at fashionable weddings. Today, there are tons of customizable styles available, ranging from kitschy to posh—and all of them make a stylish, retro keepsake that will remind your guests of your wedding, whether they're lighting up, or lighting a fire in the hearth. Try www.foryourparty.com for a great selection.
Another idea that falls under the "useful" heading is making your favors multitask. Create place cards out of beautiful, quirky, or useful objects that people will want to save or reuse:
- Tiny picture frames make excellent homes for place cards. Just print out sheets of names and table numbers and slide them in. You can even place a Polaroid i-Zone camera (www.i-zone.com) on each table, or near the guest book, for people to snap postage-stamp-sized pics to slip into the frames over the course of the evening.
- You also can make a place-card holder out of any object that can be discreetly slit with an X-ACTO knife to hold a piece of card stock. Corks from wine or champagne bottles work beautifully (a wine bar near you will undoubtedly be happy to unload their extras).
- Any small fruit, such as lady apples, Seckel pears, or mini gourds, can work beautifully, too—just slit the stem and slide the card firmly into place. (Beware outdoor weddings and wind; some fruit stems may be too delicate to hold cards in even mild gusts.)
- Many varieties of seashells could cradle small rectangular place cards in their bowls—much better than the ready-made seashell place-card holders that will set you back $10 or more apiece.
- A smooth stone looks elegant holding a pretty place card flat on the table (a perfect idea for outdoor events in windy weather—you can even stencil the table number, or the guests' initials, on top).
- For a quick and easy (though more expensive) alternative to a DIY favor that still has a high creativity quotient, consider a souvenir from the city or state where you're having the wedding, such as a kitschy postcard, magnet, shot glass, or keychain.