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  • Do yourself a Favor

    Wedding favors for all styles and budgets
  • When contemplating that finishing touch on the wedding reception table — the handpicked favor that sits at each place setting — it's wise to consider changing trends. Gone, it seems, are the days of elaborate, pewter picture frames, candles or expensive, engraved pens that all too often get left behind.
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  • When contemplating that finishing touch on the wedding reception table — the handpicked favor that sits at each place setting — it's wise to consider changing trends. Gone, it seems, are the days of elaborate, pewter picture frames, candles or expensive, engraved pens that all too often get left behind.
    Instead, look to today's "new traditions in favors," counsels Gina DuQuenne, sales and catering manager at Ashland Springs Hotel. "People want to have something that's useful — that you can enjoy or that you can eat," says DuQuenne, who coordinates about 50 weddings a year. "Plus, they are looking to save costs. There will always be the dress, flowers, food and photographer. But favors can be less expensive."
    A good rule of thumb: If you can't eat it, don't give it. And spend less on packaging and more on the goodie inside the box or bag.
    Find something that complements the wedding's theme, colors and decor, and which embodies the personality of the newly married couple, advises Sara Studebaker, owner of Heavenly Touch in Medford. "There's a lot of range, but keep in mind that if you're going to do favors, each guest should get one."
    DuQuenne and Studebaker share the following ideas for favors that suit several popular wedding themes.
    TRADITIONAL
    "The most traditional favors are candy-coated, Italian almonds bagged in odd numbers," offers Studebaker, who likes to package the age-old treat in colorful or patterned Chinese takeout boxes.
    A delicious chocolate truffle tucked into a pretty container is another traditional edible.
    "Tie the box with a ribbon that features the bride's and groom's names or the wedding date," suggests DuQuenne.
    ELEGANT & UPSCALE
    Heavy crystals in varying shapes add sparkle to any table and can be used as paperweights once guests get them home.
    Studebaker likes to continue the "diamond" theme with crystal garlands, lanterns and chandeliers, which she purchases online and at local craft stores.
    "If it's an outdoor wedding, you could give fancy fans to relieve the heat," says the wedding coordinator. "Take it up a notch by engraving with their names or dates."
    CONTEMPORARY
    Modern weddings tend to skip favors altogether and opt instead for signature features, such as specialty drinks or hors d'oeuvres.
    "It's about putting that mark of 'This is me,' " says DuQuenne.
    For flourish, the contemporary wedding table might include a single, small orchid from a local florist or grower inserted into the fold of each napkin.
    "It's just beautiful, elegant, light and simple. And it's biodegradable and tastefully done."
    ECO-FRIENDLY
    Reducing waste and promoting preservation are priorities of many Southern Oregon couples. Offering each guest a small, glass jar containing a seedling tree is a thoughtful way to keep the wedding sentiment alive for decades.
    "One bride had cute, little, pottery vases she'd made in the colors from her centerpiece," recalls DuQuenne. "She put seeds in each and told her guests to go plant their flowers somewhere and watch their love grow. It was really charming and a way to give back to Mother Earth."
    LOCAL & ECLECTIC
    There's no better way to showcase the beauty of the Rogue Valley than by employing local foods, flora and fauna in a wedding.
    "We have become such a destination spot that people from Southern or Northern California or Portland or Washington want their guests to really experience Southern Oregon," says DuQuenne.
    She has helped brides create favors using miniature, perfectly shaped, local pears placed on each napkin.
    "The menu was then inserted, and at the top it said 'The Perfect Pair,' and they even put that on a ribbon: sweet, cute and, again, you can eat the favor."
    Spotlighting local chocolatiers is another relatively inexpensive way to share the area's bounty with guests. Or perhaps invite guests to celebrate "A Perfect Blend" by treating them to small bags of locally roasted coffee.
    BUDGET
    Skip the favors altogether and just feature the wedding menu customized with the couple's names and date.
    "Or find a good deal on candy bars and use those as favors," says Studebaker.
    Through all the planning, always remember that the real keepsake from your wedding is witnessing the love, supporting the commitment and celebrating with new friends and family.
    Favors are truly the truffle on top of the cake.
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