Wedding Wrap Up

OK guys – I am pretty sure that I have reached the end of my list of wedding-related posts! I’m actually a little bummed- I had SO much fun planning (and actually getting married), that being able to blog about it afterwards helped to stretch out the fun. I’ll definitely keep sharing wedding ideas & inspiration periodically, since I just adore weddings so much!

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If you are one of my few *but awesome* loyal readers, you have been privy to a long line of posts both leading up to and now following my October wedding.

I shared stories & reflections about the big day, and I gushed (and could still gush some more) about some of my incredible vendors (like our venue & florist here in part 1, and our wedding band & photographers in part 2) that helped make our day so perfect.

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I also shared loads of DIY Projects that I completed with the help of my hubby, friends & family.

Looking back, here are some of the highlights from the past few months of wedding postings.

The Expression of the Day

Our DIY “Yay!” Flags were our alternative to rice-throwing at the conclusion of our ceremony.

IMG_3463We used construction paper, wooden dowels, & double-sided tape for this simple DIY project, to create fun flags for guests to wave at the end of our ceremony (and throughout the night!)

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Careful Coordination

I designed our invitations & menus, featuring our L+T “logo” of sorts and the fonts Campland and Lavanderia (you can purchase Campland letters and ornaments here & Lavanderia here).

DSC_5567Our programs were printed on Kraft paper (simple, one fold booklets designed to coordinate with the Invitations).

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Keeping things Organized

I helped to keep our bridal party on track with these day-of pocket timelines, full of details on when and where important things were happening throughout the day.

TimelineOur overnight guests found a helpful, informative card and map of the wedding site tucked into their welcome bags.

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Say Cheese!

Our DIY Photo Booth was an inexpensive & easy interactive feature of our day.

FrameEditBy hanging a simple white frame from two birch poles, we created a simple outdoor “photo booth” area, where guests could strike a pose or share a message on handheld chalkboards.

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Some Thing(s) Borrowed, and Some Things Bought…

Loads of decor came straight out of my mother’s house – like these vintage chalkboards.

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Still more items were handmade by those more talented than me – amazing Etsy artists & shop owners. You can see where I bought special wedding pieces, like this personalized wedding gown hanger from Hanger Design Center, in this post.

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Personal Details

These DIY table numbers served a dual purpose –

DSC_2508-14 copyhelping guests to find their seats, and sharing some L+T ‘trivia’ to give family & friends a little glimpse into our relationship.

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Homemade Caramel Apple Favors

Delicious apples from a local orchard were dipped in caramel & a variety of colored sprinkles,

IMG_0592then bagged & tagged to give our guests a delicious taste of Fall to take home!

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Little Touches

DIY Burlap Bunting and a DIY Rustic Card Box were simple projects that were completed far in advance of the wedding to add another little handmade touch.

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Along the way, I also shared some of the web-based tools & smartphone apps that helped me plan & stay on track, and offered tips for things like including your pet in your wedding, and how to create a sweet DIY photo book for wedding (or other) pictures.

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It’s a Wrap

For full project tutorials & even more wedding related posts, visit my page dedicated to our DIY wedding.

For even more on our wedding, including loads more pictures, check out this post on the Focal Point Studios blog, and our special wedding feature on the WeddingLovely Blog!

instagramvowsPlanning our wedding was some of the most fun I’ve ever had- seriously. I loved every craft and project, and it was such a thrill to see it all come together on the big day. To top it off, I had the amazing experience of joining my life to my new husband’s – with all of our family & friends around us to share in that joy! Our wedding day was beautiful, with a very meaningful ceremony and a great party to top it off. It was the perfect start to an amazing new adventure that hubby & I now get to share, and I could not be any luckier!

DSC_6425I hope you enjoyed seeing the behind-the-scenes details that went into our day. If you’re a bride planning your own special day, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!

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DIY Wedding // Escort Cards and Kiddie Bags

I promised myself I would complete my wedding-projects posts this week, and since I love crossing things off my list, I’m determined to make it happen! So up next are a couple of small projects that I somehow squeezed in during our last week before the wedding.

Escort Cards

I had a completely different plan for our escort cards that just did not work out. As I mentioned in this post about my craziness, I decided somewhere in the middle of the night two days before the wedding that I needed to trash my original plan and find a better solution.

IMG_3495So, for a lesson in accepting that “sometimes things just don’t go perfectly”, and “don’t bite off more than you can chew,” my man-of-honor (bestie Eric) and I made quick work of Plan B – which involved grabbing a bulletin board from Staples & pinning up my already-made-and-punched heart shaped Escort cards.

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Hearts were prevalent throughout our wedding decor, and I had already printed the names of my guests on Kraft paper, and cut them out in the shape of little hearts using this craft punch. While I did not end up displaying them as planned, I thought the rushed end result on the bulletin board was cute enough to pass. (And made for easy name-finding-and-grabbing for our guests).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlus, the hubs & I are both teachers, so I thought a nod to school supplies was relatively appropriate, no?

Even though this was not my initial plan, I would definitely recommend this method- with a few minor tweaks.  If I’d had more time, I would have covered the bulletin board in a pretty fabric or paper and I’d probably have painted the frame. I would also use prettier thumbtacks if I got the chance to do it all again. I could have made some super sweet tacks using these lovely resin Cabochons. Maybe when I ditch the world of public education and become a wedding planner. (Joking). (Maybe).

Kiddie Bags & Wedding Activity Book

A last minute but super fun project was assembling some gift bags filled with goodies for the handful of under-10 year old guests at our wedding. While the ages ranged from one year old babies to 6 year old kiddos, these bags were relatively fool proof no matter the age.

kidbook1I wanted to include some personalized activities for the kids at the wedding, and so I took inspiration from a kid-friendly book created by Chelsea on her amazing blog Lovely Indeed, which she offers FREE right here for her readers to download & use themselves!

I created my book to coordinate with the rest of our day-of paper items. It had a Kraft paper cover & was filled with cute little coloring pages, puzzles, and activities.

kidbook2I then filled little bags with the activity book, a small box of crayons, pencils, stickers, foam pumpkins, and bubbles. Because honestly, who doesn’t love bubbles?

kidbook5I unfortunately did not remember to snap a few pictures of the completed bags, but I promise they were adorable.

kidbook6We did not have many young children at our wedding, but I was so happy to have something special for the few we had. Plus, I’m sure their parents appreciated having something to keep them busy! What do you think about having little goodie bags for kids at weddings- is it something you would or (or have done?)

DIY Wedding // Finishing Touches

So between today & tomorrows posts, I’ll be completing my wrap up of our DIY wedding festivities! Phew! With just a handful of projects yet to come, here are some of the smaller DIY-ed touches that we incorporated into the day.

Guest Book

I created a photo book of our favorite engagement pictures in iPhoto, ordering directly through Apple.

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The quality of Apple photo books is really nice, and I left plenty of space between pictures & even some blank pages for our guests to leave us notes and well wishes.

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Now we have this great momento from our day, filled with fun & sweet messages from all of our guests!

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(Not to mention a lovely way to preserve & share the sweet engagement photo session we took on the beach! Thanks again, Amy & Lauren!)

Signs

It wouldn’t have been a rustic, DIY wedding without a few wooden signs now, would it?IGoursign

I take no credit for the creation of these lovelies. My father cut up some plywood & created the arrow-points on the ends of each sign.

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Then, one of our dearest friends donated his talents by painting & lettering each sign.

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This one (my favorite) led the way up a little path to the fire pit, where we had our fun after party, complete with whiskey, cigars, doritos & S’mores-roasting. (Yes, I sat by the fire & ate some S’mores in my wedding dress. The dress was only in danger of catching fire once… and the crisis was quickly averted. 🙂

Check back tomorrow to see how we presented our escort cards & the fun kiddie bags I created for our youngest guests!

Wedding Vendor Round-Up: Part 2

After sharing some of the DIY projects from our wedding (which, if you missed, you can catch up on here), I want to take a moment to share the amazing wedding vendors that helped to make our day as perfect as it was. These are the people that did everything I couldn’t do myself (or didn’t want to do myself). These are the people that gave their time and talents for five (or fifty) hours of exclusive attention to my wedding guests, my family, my husband, and me. They all deserve recognition, thanks, and great. big. hugs.

[Here’s Part 1 – on our Location & Caterers and Florist!]

Our Photographers: Focal Point Studios

Another aspect of our wedding that the hubs & I discussed long before we were actually engaged was photography. My man is about as camera-shy as they get. He gets all tense & nervous when someone tries to take his picture, and he is not a fan of being told where & how to do anything pose/stand. Luckily for us, we’d already had the experience of being photographed by our fantastic wedding photographers – Amy and Lauren of Focal Point Studios, at a family photo shoot the previous summer. Hubs loved how casual & easy-going they were, and I loved how gorgeous the photos were. And so, without even a second thought, within the first week of our engagement I had emailed & booked Amy and Lauren for our wedding day.

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We did an engagement shoot with them, which was not nearly as painful as hubby expected, and when the wedding day rolled around, they were an absolute dream. Full of enthusiasm, encouragement, and creative vision – these ladies (and Dave, Lauren’s super talented husband who joined them) just hit it out of the park.

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Compiling the photos into books as Christmas gifts for my family, printing my favorites to frame and display in our home, and sharing a mini album of some of the best pics with friends & colleagues has been such a pleasure.

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Some days, when it’s grey outside and I need a pick-me-up, I just sit at my computer and page through the hundreds of beautiful pictures from our wedding day. I couldn’t be happier to have such an amazing collection of little moments and memories, forever preserved in time.

Our Wedding Band: The Free Downloads

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One of my dearest friends from college, Sheree, is the lead singer for the most happening wedding band in Boston – The Free Downloads. You heard me right- I said Boston. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll note that our wedding was in New Jersey – a good 4.5 hour drive from the Massachusetts capital. Yet when I asked Sheree if her *fantastic* band would consider making the trip to play for our wedding, they heartily agreed, and proceeded to provide the “best wedding music I’ve ever heard” (direct quote from a guest) for both our ceremony & tented reception.

DSC_3008-171The Free Downloads is a seven piece band, featuring amazing Sheree and the equally talented singer Neil, and a group of some of the best musicians I’ve ever heard (Sheree and I went to college together… for music… so as a fellow musician, I feel confident in my professional evaluation!)

DSC_6271The number of glowing compliments I received about this band was only trumped by the number of smiling faces on the dance floor throughout the night. From the beautiful & soulful music during dinner, to the PUMPED UP energy of the dance tunes, this group of music makers were simply incredible.

DSC_2901-134While the night was a total blur for my husband and me, we did remark on several occasions that it seemed like the singers & players never took breaks, and just got better and better as the night went on! Nothing could have been more meaningful than to have Sheree, along with my bestie/man of honor/another college classmate Eric, providing the exquisite music for our ceremony. The added experience of having such a close friend perform throughout the evening, keeping everyone on the dance floor & having a blast, was unforgettable.

DSC_3007-170By the way, I once waxed poetic on this little blog about the many factors weighing on me as I selected the music for our wedding ceremony. (I was in charge of the music, hubs was in charge of the readings). In case you are wondering, here is what we ended up with:

Preludes (performed beautifully while guests enjoyed a glass of apple cider, took a pic at the DIY Photo Booth, and then found their seats) (and while I was bursting with excitement as I listened from a distance!)

The Book Of Love [Peter Gabriel]

She is Love [Parachute]

Send me the Moon [Sarah Bareilles]

(the links take you to YouTube versions performed by the original artists, but my personal (and slightly biased) opinion is that the renditions by Sheree & Eric were even better!)

DSC_2552-22My parents & bridal party came down the aisle to the James Taylor song, “The Secret of Life“. This is my mother’s favorite song (and she passed down the partiality to me). It even features the lyric that inspired the title to this blog!

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My processional tune was an instrumental-only rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” (Beatles), performed on acoustic guitar by the talented George of The Free Downloads.

Our recessional was the light & happy “Everybody” by Ingrid Michaelson.

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Since music is easily four-fifths of my life (with the final fifth split between my love of the beach, crafting, travel and bacon…) the music provided by my dear friends and the talented band members was very, very special to me.

I just might be crying a little bit right now, but don’t worry… it’s the good kind of crying.

Thank you once again to the fabulous Free Downloads, to my amazing photographers, florist, and caterers! I am also so grateful to the additional vendors who contributed their talents to our wedding day. See the whole list of amazing-ness at the bottom credits portion of this feature post.

[all photographs courtesy of Focal Point Studios]

Wedding Vendor Round-Up: Part 1

After sharing some of the DIY projects from our wedding (which, if you missed, you can catch up on here), I want to take a moment to share the amazing wedding vendors that helped to make our day as perfect as it was. These are the people that did everything I couldn’t do myself (or didn’t want to do myself). These are the people that gave their time and talents for five (or fifty) hours of exclusive attention to my wedding guests, my family, my husband, and me. They all deserve recognition, thanks, and great. big. hugs.

Vendor #1

Our Location & Catering Company: The Inn at Millrace Pond // Frungillo Catering

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Long before the ring was on my finger, hubby and I spent time discussing how we each pictured our wedding day. Fortunately, we both came to the table with similar ideas about what an “ideal” wedding location would be. I wanted water & nature, hubs wanted somewhere unique. We both agreed it would be awesome to find a place where we could do it all – ceremony, reception, overnight rooms –  for the convenience, simplicity, and intimacy. (Oh, and we also knew we wanted our little pup Emma to be involved, so we needed a pet-friendly spot!)

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While searching for our perfect location, we stumbled (via google) upon the Inn at Millrace Pond, and decided to make the trip to the quaint little town of Hope to check it out.

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The minute hubs & I stepped out of the car, we knew we had found the perfect place. There was a stream (water- check!), there were lots of trees (nature- check!), and the Inn would host the outdoor ceremony I dreamed of and a tented reception – with the added bonus of a great tavern, pet friendly guest rooms (WOOT!) and a FIRE PIT (which meant S’mores!).

DSC_5502Everytime I visited the Inn it looked more beautiful. I saw it in the winter, spring and summer, but did not experience its beauty in the autumn until our actual wedding – and it was breathtaking!

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DSC_5495Frungillo Catering was fantastic to work with. They provided exceptional service and delicious food, and our stay at the Inn was absolutely lovely.

DSC_5642I especially enjoyed getting ready with my bridal party in the Stone Cottage, sipping champagne & lounging in the beautiful guest room!

Vendor #2

Our Florist: Peggy Patton // The Flower Mill

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I love flowers. Actually, I absolutely adore flowers. Planning the flowers for our wedding day was one of the most exciting aspects for me – and I could not have been luckier to have Peggy of The Flower Mill to work with.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom our first meeting, I could sense her love & passion for her business, and her excitement about designing the perfect look for our late fall wedding. She just oozed enthusiasm & warmth towards the hubs and me.

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Peggy had a great eye for what would look best at our location, and at the same time was very open to my suggestions and ideas. We bounced ideas off each other, and collectively worked towards our vision for the day.

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One of my favorite parts of the wedding day was in the afternoon, before I dressed, walking through the grounds, buildings and tent & admiring the beautiful arrangements that Peggy designed.

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She made sure every detail was in place, extending her design to include outdoor lighting & decor.

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When the sun went down, the place was transformed into a magical little world of twinkling lights, lanterns & hanging, candle-filled mason jars, which perfectly matched the beauty of the flowers in daylight.

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Our location & floral design was everything I had dreamed of- so hats off to these amazing vendors!

[All photos courtesy of Focal Point Studios]

Wedding DIY // Table Numbers

Our DIY Table Numbers were the perfect kind of wedding project – simple & easy to make, yet personal and unique. I loved the idea of giving our guests a few random tidbits of information about the hubs & I as a couple, especially considering some of our guests were meeting one of us for the first time!

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If my wedding were a PBS broadcast, it would definitely be “Brought to You By Michael’s Arts and Crafts Store – Where Laura Spent Nearly Every Weekend During her Engagement” (well, that hasn’t changed, I still frequent my local Michael’s most Sundays…)

Anyway, when I saw these wooden picture frames for $1 a pop, inspiration struck. I loved the heart-shaped window for the table number, since the heart was a theme throughout our wedding stationary and decor. The space to the right of each window could have been filled with lots of different and fun things- a different picture of the couple on each table, a meaningful quote or song lyric, or a pretty burlap or paper flower adornment. I opted for some fun, unusual, and silly facts about our relationship.

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I painted both sides of each frame with Martha Stewart Vanilla Bean craft paint. I only needed one coat per side, and it took me two bottles of paint to cover all 15 frames. (I ended up only needing 14, but it didn’t hurt to have an extra!)

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I printed the table numbers on paper leftover from my DIY invitations, using the same Campland font as seen throughout my self-designed paper products of the day. Then I simply traced the cardboard heart insert from the frame to cut out each number. I left the cardboard behind the table numbers in the window for some reinforcement.

Then the hubs and I set to work coming up with a little fact that would coordinate with each of the table numbers, 1 through 14. Some were super easy (like the month we started dating (2- February) and the month we got engaged (12- December). Others were a bit more creative, like the number of pet friendly vacations the hubs & I have taken with our pup Emma (5) or the number of weddings we’ve been to together since we began dating (4- not including our own!)

DSC_2511-15 copyThe facts are printed on my invitation paper, glued to a rectangle of burlap, then onto the frame. I used wood glue to attach the burlap to the frame, and it held perfectly.

DSC_6064 copySo, what do you think? Slightly more interesting then a simple number, right? And maybe our guests learned some silly new facts about us. I enjoyed this project- and I think hubby did as well, since we had fun working together to come up with the little facts. This project only cost $15 – the price of fifteen frames, since I already had the paint, paper & burlap!

TableNumbers5For more DIY projects from our wedding, check out the Our Wedding Page!

Wedding DIY // Caramel Apple Favors

DIY-ing close to one hundred and fifty caramel apples as wedding favors for our autumn wedding was one of my favorite projects out of my long list of handmade wedding details.

ApplesEdit2These favors were really a DIT (do it together) project that I could not have accomplished without help from a big group of friends & family who helped to dip, sprinkle and tag – and who kept me (relatively) calm throughout the process.

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The idea came from my brother, and it sounded really great while we all sat in our beach chairs by the ocean on a beautiful summer day in July. As the wedding approached and I began to research how to go about accomplishing such a large order, I ran into a few roadblocks. Through experimentation (which also included taste-testing, duh) I settled on a method which worked nicely and was relatively simple.

My first plan was to create delicious gourmet apples dipped in chocolate and covered in a variety of delectable toppings. I tested my plan, creating these whoppers:

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They all tasted amazing, but took three times as long and cost twice as much as my final version. The good news was, me & the hubs got to eat them all. (Tip- when eating a giant apple covered in delicious goodness, slice it into quarters and ENJOY.)

After that experiment, I turned towards Caramel apples and discovered Kraft bags of Caramel Bits. These are by far the BEST way to make caramel apples in bulk – no unwrapping hundreds of little Kraft caramels, and no worrying about a homemade caramel recipe (who has a candy thermometer?)

I found the Caramel Bits at Target around Halloween time, however my two local stores only carried a few bags each. Enter Kathy, my mother’s best friend, who saved the day by visiting 5 or 6 Targets and Walmarts to collect about 20 bags for me! We ended up having some leftover, unopened bags- but I of course wanted to be sure I would have more than enough to make all of our apples.

We melted a bag or two at a time (mixed with the correct proportion of water- directions are on the bag) in a large pot on the stove. After inserting white lollipop sticks into our apples, we dipped the apples in Caramel and placed them on cookie sheets covered in wax paper to cool for a few minutes, then rolled them in bowls of colored sprinkles.

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Here are the finished apples, set out to cool on my mother’s dining room table. We kept the heat down low in the house that night, and let them sit overnight to harden before packing them.

Apples2After sprinkling-up each apple, we placed them into cupcake papers – both because it looked super cute, and made them much easier to package!

apples2I put each apple in a clear plastic treat bag & tied them up with some jute twine (like I used in my invitations). I designed the tag using the same fonts as my invites/programs/etc., and printed them on Kraft paper using my home computer.

AppleEdit3If you want to try these DIY favors yourself, here are some tips based on my experience!

Enlist help. As a bit of a control freak, I usually answered every friend or relative who asked me throughout the planning process if I needed help with an assurance that I had it alllll under control. In the case of the caramel apples, however, I gratefully accepted help that was offered, and am so glad that I did! I could never have done this without the help from my family, friends & my bridesmaids!

– Use small-ish apples. This will help keep your cost down, by using less caramel/sprinkles/etc., and will make it easier to bag your favors. If possible, use fresh apples grown locally – without any waxy or other preservatives that could keep the caramel from sticking. My parents ordered three bushels of Empire apples from an orchard near their home, so they were like a little nod to my hometown. Plus, they were delicious!

– Keep ’em cold. The caramel sticks better when the apples are cold, so we kept our outside (it was late October) until we were ready to use them.

– Accept (and embrace) the imperfections. I did not shell out over ten bucks a pop for perfectly dipped apples like these. As amazing as those professional apples most surely are, I DIYed my favors for more reasons than just saving money. I wanted our guests to take home something that I put time & care into making, which was a theme throughout our wedding. That said, not every apple looked perfect – but I’m sure they all tasted great, and I loved how they looked on the tables tied with my handmade tags!

– Taste test! As if I need to tell you this – but half the fun of DIY-ing an edible favor is getting to enjoy them while you make them! Once enough apples for each of my guests were cooling on the dining room table, my friends & family got to dig in to the leftover apples & caramel. It was a tasty reward for our hard work!

By the way- this project took place on the Thursday night before our Saturday wedding. Homemade caramel apples stay tasty and delicious for about a week (longer if refrigerated), so I knew that making them two days in advance would ensure our guests had fresh, finger-licking treats to take home!

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In case you are wondering, I unfortunately did not keep exact track of how much theses favors cost – but a guess based on all of the materials brought me to somewhere in the 2-4 dollar range per apple, which was not bad!

So what do you think? Did (or would you) you DIY your own wedding favors, too? Or do you think it’s more trouble than it’s worth?