Wedding favors are a tricky subject. Many people today are deciding to forgo them altogether—and for good reason. Trinkets bearing your monogram can be difficult for your guests to make use of, and there’s a pretty decent chance that those baggies of candy will be forgotten on the table or thrown away at the end of the night. Not that there’s anything wrong with either category if that’s your thing and it appeals to your guests. For a lot of people, though, it’s seen as a waste of time and money. For us, we just knew we would need something a little different.
Since I started my own little garden last year, I initially thought of giving everyone a packet of herb seeds with growing tips and recipe recommendations. Cute idea…if everyone attending was into gardening. I realized fairly quickly that, while many people would appreciate the favor, only a handful would be likely to follow through and actually grow the herbs. Also, I didn’t want to give our guests a project.
Still, we felt like we wanted to give our friends and family a little something special as a thank you, something they could take away in remembrance of the day. We didn’t want it to be something they would be stuck with, feeling obligated to keep or guilty for throwing away. It should be something useful, enjoyable by all, and still a reflection of us.
So this is what I came up with….
From July through November, I canned. Apricot red currant jam, zucchini pickles, garlic dills, apple butter. Somewhere around ten different varieties of preserved fruits and vegetables. To make them more appropriately favor-sized, I canned them using jars that were half the size one would normally use: 4-ounce jars for jams, 8-ounce jars for pickles.
There are a lot of ways you can adorn canning jars, and I’m pretty sure I explored and considered them all. Twice. When it came down to it, though, there was no premade label or template that was going to give me the look I envisioned. I wanted the jars to be pretty but with a slightly rustic, organic edge that would complement the venue. So, I got myself a few yards of burlap, a spool of jute twine, and some gorgeous textured, cotton-blend paper.
Squares of burlap covered the lids and were secured with the twine. Tied to each jar were two tags. The first was a plain, white tag bearing each guest’s name; the jars also served as place cards. The second tag was either dark purple or green, telling the contents of the jar, the month in which it was made, and decorated with a small sketch of the ingredients.
I have to say, I’m completely delighted with the way they turned out. Not only were they cute and functional, but it felt great to give something handmade to our guests.
Giving out pickles and jams as wedding favors definitely takes some planning ahead—especially considering that halving the size of the jars means that each batch takes twice as long to process. If you are a canner, though, I’m sure you already know that there are few things the people in your life get quite as excited about as they do about seeing those jars. And since such a huge part of the joy of canning is sharing, what better time to share the bounty than a day full of celebration and love?
Wedding Photos by Studio Saldana