Edible favors have come a long way from Jordan almonds. Caterers, coordinators and crafty, culinarily confident couples are cooking up fresh takes on guest gifts by the grocery cartful.
“It’s cool to be a foodie these days, and in California, with all of the year-round farmers’ markets and specialty food vendors, it’s also easy,” says Alisha Snider, half of the party-planning team at Los Angeles–based So Fete. “It was only a matter of time before that trend started to influence favors.”
These gourmet gifts can also be quite affordable, space saving (nothing to store until your next yard sale) and, most important, personal, says Courtney Gallagher Isaac, senior event designer at Waters Fine Food & Catering in San Diego. “You try to loop the couple’s story through the entire event, and often food is a big part of that story. The favor is the cherry on top that reminds you who this couple is and what a great time you had.”
Inject your favor table with fun by serving syringes filled with premium European chocolate cream. Started last year in Agoura Hills by Sharon Yaar and Linda Dub, ChocoBoost shots come in milk, white and dark chocolate, orange, and strawberry, all which can be colored to match your reception’s décor, spiced up with flavors such as peppermint and marzipan, and enhanced with caffeine boosts or alcohol, such as tequila or brandy—tequila chili is one of their best-sellers. The velvety desserts also come in test tubes and jars. Prices start at $4.75 each and are affected by size of order, flavors or enhancements, and packaging and shipping.
Jam & Honey
Spread the love with the two most popular and tantalizing tokens of appreciation. If you don’t preserve your own, never fear, as the Golden State is home to dozens of small-batch, big-taste jelly makers and bee-nectar collectors, such as Happy Girl Kitchen Co. in Pacific Grove on the central coast. Owner Jordan Champagne uses low-sugar, seasonal fruit and local hives to attain brightly colored, fragrant and fresh products such as wildflower or sage honey; Blenheim apricot jam; and plum lavender jam with rose petals. TSA-approved 2-ounce jars run $4 with delivery around the Bay Area included.
With rustic outdoorsy affairs on the rise, this healthy mix of oats, nuts and fruits is a fantastic way to say happy trails to loved ones. It’s also versatile: It can be affordable or fancy, depending on ingredients, and served myriad ways—as a brittle, as a blend-your-own buffet or pre-bagged in eco-friendly snack sacks. Even the ways in which guests
enjoy it are diverse. “It can be their morning-after breakfast or a snack for the flight home,” Waters’ Isaac says. “And most of the time, it probably doesn’t make it beyond the drive home.”
Olive Oil & Vinegar
These are the other MVPs of the palatable-present category, thanks to their extreme functionality by even novice cooks and the wide availability of quality product. Bari Olive Oil in Dinuba, California, has been milling and bottling extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and importing vinegars since 1936. It has more than a dozen types, ranging from tandoori- and jalapeño-infused olive oil to blackberry vanilla balsamic vinegar, all of which come in the perfect 50-milliliter sample size for $2.99 each. Tiber Canyon Ranch in San Luis Obispo has pulled double duty as an olive farm and wedding venue since 2006, when owners Chris Anderson and Will Carlton hosted their daughter’s wedding. Her favor? Her parents’ hand-harvested, stone-milled EVOO, of course, presented in 2-ounce bottles with personalized labels. Regularly $4.50 each, the bottles cost a dollar less for couples getting married on-site. Anderson associates the product’s popularity with utility. “It’s something most people will use rather than stow away in a drawer to be forgotten like many favors. There are never any left behind at the end of the evening.”
The campground classic cleaned up nicely at a recent soiree for bonfire-loving sweethearts when the Los Angeles–based So Fete created the ultimate California edition of its portable s’mores kit using chocolate bars from Alcove Chocolate, Little Flower Candy Company marshmallows, Brown Butter Cookie Company cookies and jars from Michaels. With a little elbow grease and some downsizing of full-size products, it keeps the price tag at $4 each.
Emilia McCool, owner of Sweet Emilia Jane in LA, coordinated a union between a pair who loved cooking and was known for throwing fabulous dinner parties. So it was natural that the couple return to the local spice shop, where they’d bought ingredients many times before, to buy a few special spices in bulk for personalized, hand-stamped bags. McCool created the favors, which cost about $2 each. “You could smell them when you sat down, and it set the atmosphere for dinner,” she says.
Although their doomsday prediction was getting all the attention last year, the Mayans, more importantly, were responsible for introducing the world to drinking chocolate. Patricia Tsai, owner at Culver City’s ChocoVivo, wants to reintroduce their pure cacao concoctions. “The chocolate we grew up on is so processed and dumbed down with artificial flavorings and soy lecithin. This chocolate is food, not candy.” Tsai’s stone-ground 2.6 ounce bars, in flavors such as coffee vanilla and spicy chili produce 4 ounces of hot chocolate when heated and mixed with liquid. Mini-wedding sized favors begin at $3.50 per one ounce of chocolate. Additional charges apply to custom blends or packaging beyond the standard butcher paper and twine. Bars can also be broken into chips or pulverized into powder to fit various containers, such as vintage milk bottles.
Thanks to companies putting an epicurean spin on the humble kernel, popcorn is no longer relegated to movie night. Wedding sales manager Jessica Haro of Global Gourmet Catering explains, “Popcorn appeals to every taste bud,” thanks to the wide variety of savory and sweet flavor profiles, such as the Bay Area’s caterer’s best sellers, caramel and white truffle mushroom. Popcorn items start at $4 per guest and can be served in many different ways, including bag-your-own bars. ✵
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Try, just try, to not smile from ear to ear when you scroll through this wedding by Aurelia D’Amore Photography. I am going to go as far as to say it’s basically impossible. Because this couple has personality out the wazoo, and their wedding is the perfect reflection of that. From the heartfelt details (pun intended) to their quirky ring “bear” – words simply won’t do this wedding justice, but thankfully the gallery speaks for itself. See it all here!
From Aurelia D’Amore Photography… Every detail of Adrienne and Brian’s wedding was created with imagination, from hundreds of DIY paper flowers to a personalized logo that was used in many aspects of the wedding. Each guest was given a personalized drink/table tag that had a fun and true statement personalized to them. A wall was created by the bride and groom to show their childhood photos by inserting their childhood photos into classic ’80s memorabilia. The bride walked the down the aisle to a live performance of “She’s Your Queen” from “Coming to America,” the groom wore a hand-sewn felt heart as a boutonniere, and a friend dressed as a “ring bear” came down the aisle to deliver the rings. With a whimsical background, the bride and groom focused on fun and laughter. At every moment of this celebration, there were surprises and smiles.
Wedding Photography: Aurelia D’Amore Photography / Wedding Venue: Carondelet House in Los Angeles, California / Venue Contact: Alan Dunn (firstname.lastname@example.org) / Wedding Coordination: Ania Kamieniecki-O’Hare + Alisha Snider of So Fete / Paper Flowers: DIY / Wedding Cinematography: Paul Wie (email@example.com) + Peter Yun (firstname.lastname@example.org) / Catering: Michelle Wilton of Four Cafe / Ceremony Guitar: Nick Bobetsky via Plaid Elephant / DJ: Marshall Wright (MWright@publicinterestnetwork.org) / Chairs: Audrey K. of Imperial Party Rentals