So you’re having a beach wedding, but it’s more Westport than Waikiki? You’re in luck! As you’ve doubtless noticed, there’s almost a limitless supply of cool beach or destination-style favors on the market. But if you love to get hands-on — and especially love the special vibe given off by a personal, hand-crafted gift — there are lots of fun and attractive beach favors you can put together yourself (or at least put your unique stamp on!). Some you eat, some you can drink from, and some give off a strange magnetic attraction.
Happiness! Any bride who knows a mixer from a measuring spoon can whip up sweet, tempting beach favors in the kitchen for next to nothing.
Try this Eastern shore classic: sand-dollar cookies, made from a chilled shortbread-style dough, which holds its shape during cooking. All you need is a round cookie cutter. Poke around the edges of the cookie with a fork. Make the pretty indentations all around with the side of a spoon.
Martha loves to get crazy with shortbread, and so do we. So don’t forget you can make chocolate sand dollar cookies … or lavender … or green tea(!), as well as regular vanilla.
Want a grand finish? Dip the bottom halves in delectable white chocolate … but only if the final destination isn’t too hot. Or, use a star-shaped cutter to make adorable starfish cookies. Twist the “arms” a bit after you cut them out for a lively look. Rich, buttery recipes like these freeze perfectly, so don’t worry about slaving over a hot oven the night before your nuptials.
Another popular and lovely idea: mold-your-own chocolate seashells, starfish or even seahorses. They’re easy and attractive, and you’ll find so many uses for the results (wedding cakes or cupcakes, individual favors, or just popping in your mouth). Buy the molds online or at a craft store. Still, remember that chocolate is only practical if your reception will stay relatively cool. Want an elegant hidden treasure effect? Try mixing up your chocolate shells with gold or silver Jordan almonds. Tuck in a treasure chest favor box and tie with a sheer organza ribbon. Lovely!
So you grabbed a case of those champagne flutes that Overstocked Retailer practically flung out the door? Great: now make them even better. Hot-glue tiny shells around the flute (outside only, please!) and tie a length of your personalized ribbon to the stem. Simple but breath-taking. Your guests will never crack open a cabinet again without remembering that lovely, lazy afternoon they spent celebrating your love.
Lucky enough to live near the ocean, or at least a good craft store? You’re in business! Here’s some ideas for rousing that sleeping do-it-yourself queen:
Shell Candle Favors
Make your own candles with medium-sized shells, either the “spiral” or clamshell type. Choose shells that can easily “sit” upright on a hard surface, or hot-glue them on to a base. Pour in melted wax and insert a wick. Try tinting your wax with wedding colors (or just leave that pretty translucent white). Add a little glam by sponging the shells with a touch of gold paint … or leave au naturel.
Gel Candle Favors
What could look more festive than a beach-themed gel candle with a touch of aqua blue? Create your own completely custom mix of glass containers, goodies (shells or beach glass, for example), and scents for a one-of-a-kind favor. But don’t limit yourself to votive holders … unexpected ideas like champagne flutes make great containers for gel candles, too.
The mysterious, lovely starfish barely needs any touching up. Still, a bit of bling and a strong magnet lends a starfish a sense of occasion … and a very practical purpose. Tie a pretty, sheer bow to the arms of dried or plaster starfish, then hot glue a round ceramic magnet to the back (pick the larger, stronger magnets so your creations don’t slide down the fridge). Want more glam? Sponge on a touch of sparkle paint.
Apply the same simple technique to sand dollars … which you can easily personalize with a little calligraphy bearing each guests’ name. Or, smarten up some
clam shells. Spice up the hollows with mini satin rosettes, bows, or smaller shells. For a super-polished look, coat your creations with clear acrylic spray.
The simplest favor containers becomes extraordinary when you hot-glue small seashells, sand dollars or starfish to the lids. Even glue a little bed of sand beneath the shells. Finally, tie it all off with a cute raffia bow, after you’ve filled your boxes with chocolate shells or more heat-resistant saltwater taffy.
Spinning Out the Seaside Theme
For a pocketbook-friendly but evocative centerpiece, gather terra cotta pots (paint white or ivory if you choose). Fill with sand, and a cluster of tall, white tapered candles. If the sand isn’t enough to keep the tapers upright, pour a bit of plaster of Paris and insert your candles while it’s still wet. Fill the remainder of the pot with sand when everything’s dry.
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