A old, old voice must have whispered when you set your heart on an autumn wedding. It all began with the first twinklings of agriculture in Europe. When the barns and barrels were full for the winter and the harvest chores ended, only then would you know if you were rich enough to marry that year! If you were, you passed around the drink and meat, and piled up branches for all-night bonfires: it was time to celebrate with friends.
Even today, we still seek that unique sensation of a full belly and fuller pantry in autumn. It isn’t the refined, ethereal tastes and scents that call us, but the earthier ingredients: honey and nuts. Berries, coffees and cheese. A fall wedding gives thanks for this timeless bounty.
Favors for Autumn Weddings
Imagine the satisfied householder from 100 years ago, tucking away the last of her currant jams. Picture the side of bacon curing in the cellar over barrels of mead. Anything homemade and bottled or canned connects you to her … and the very heart of autumn.
For a bit of personalized warmth in a bottle, try handing out your sister’s kicky salsa, or a creative homemade jam or fruit butter. Or, choose honey, a favor as timeless as weddings themselves. It’s a translucent beauty that comes in creative forms like mini jars, honey spoons and flavored straws. Make each favor even sweeter by tying on a little wooden dipper.
Not into bee juice? How about small jars of gourmet mustards, full of tantalizing herbs like terragon or dill? Or try out this indulgent favor: individual bottles of pure vanilla extract. It’s simple to make, requiring only vodka, top-quality Madagascar beans, and a few months to brew
More Tempting Harvest-Time Treats
Fall reminds us of sturdy, slow-ripening fruit and treats from the hearth. Caramel apples, home-baked cookies and nuts are popular candidates for sharing this exquisite face of fall with your guests.
Want a gift for guests that’s sure to thrill? Tie off caramel or candied apples with personalized ribbons. These favors are so beautiful, they double as decor. Arrange them stick-side up to create attractive wreaths around the base of your centerpieces. Or for a bouquet look, turn them stick-side down in a mound of fabric-covered foam inside galvanized buckets or mason jars. Add luxurious Midori ribbon and silk leaves to the sticks for a special finish.
A pro in the kitchen? Serve up a pair of fall cookies in an earthy paper bag, tricked out with a beautiful maple leaf stamp. Glue on a skeletonized leaf and tie with a gold ribbon. Another simple kitchen idea: candied nuts. Glazed walnuts are deceptively simple make, but oh-so-indulgent to snack on. Or add more syrup, and create your own nut brittle.
It’s probably true that some edible favors are better left to the pros, given all you’ve got to do. So chat up a favorite baker, farmer or kitchen whiz to see how they can help. A talented local might be able to whip up gourmet popcorn balls, drizzled with caramel and chocolate, or bake up mini pecan and pumpkin pies. Individually-waxed cheese is a delightful, urbane gift, and marzipan fruits are as elegant as they come.
Of course, you don’t have to go traditional to have the perfect favors. A popular choice is a beautiful wedding favor box in chocolate brown or burnt orange, filled with tongue-in-chic treats. Try mellocreme candy pumpkins, or Jelly Bellies in fall flavors like cinnamon or green apple, then finish with a pretty ribbon.
Hand and Heart-Warming Beverages
But as wonderful as it is, food is only a part of the fall wedding favor equation. After all, a warm, soothing
beverage is proof against the grayest day. Consider personalized cider or cocoa cones for a light-hearted treat. And coffee packs or personalized teas could come in handy for late-night revellers … perhaps even as soon as the morning after the reception!
“Watch Our Love Grow”
What about the seasonal cycles of planting and harvesting? Growing bulbs or seedlings are a classic for autumn weddings, with their promise of hope when the warm months return. From packets of wildflower seeds to perennial bulbs nestled in a box with wood shavings, each plantable favor promises to stretch out those warm feelings from your wedding for another year or more.
This custom’s at least as old as Victorian times … canny Queen Victoria started the trend of taking a sprig of ivy from her bridal bouquet, and planting it to use again at her daughters’ weddings. Whatever your favor, be it humble or elaborate, it’s bound to bring your guests a little closer and make those toasty autumn memories last a little longer. Just make sure your choice reveals a hint about those things that make you unique.