- Kamala Patra
If you're looking to the internet for help with your wedding plans, you're sure to
benefit from the wealth of organizational and comprehensive wedding tips, ideas,
tools and resources available right at your fingertips! The internet is packed with
useful websites, as well as online stores offering every wedding product and service
imaginable. You'll find everything from wedding invitations, wedding keepsakes and
wedding favors to online bridal gift registries, travel agencies for destination
weddings and honeymoons, wedding consulting services and much more. To ensure
that you can recognize and hire or purchase from qualified wedding vendors, the key
is to be aware of a few general guidelines.
First, it's important to understand the two basic kinds of online wedding vendors with
whom you may choose to do business with.
Wedding Vendor Type 1) An actual, physical storefront who opts to have a
website to further broaden their customer base and supplement their offline
+ Possible benefits of this type of wedding vendor: This is a wonderful opportunity
for you, as you may familiarize yourself with the wedding vendor's offerings via their
website and then choose to drop by their store to have a look around and complete
your purchase in person. Or you may do this vice-versa - have a look around their
store and then go online to make your purchase. This is a very flexible consumer
environment for you, as there can be multiple sources of contact and convenient
ways to browse! You can also get a personal feel for the type and level of service you
may expect from the wedding vendor and their staff.
- Possible drawbacks to this type of wedding vendor: Though not true or hard to
measure in many cases, the wedding vendor with a physical storefront does have the
potential to be more expensive. And though the storefront exists, it may not be
within reasonable driving distance for you to visit in person and explore.
Wedding Vendor Type 2) A virtual store who deals exclusively online.
+ Possible benefits of this type of wedding vendor: You'll often find a reasonable
value for your dollar here, as in many cases, online wedding vendors tend to have
lower overhead. As well, take advantage of shopping anytime you feel like it...even if
it's the middle of the night!
- Possible drawbacks to this type of wedding vendor: In general, you will never
actually meet the wedding vendor with whom you are entrusting a certain aspect of
your wedding to. To some brides and grooms, this may be worry-some, for others,
not a big deal. Do what feels right for you, as this issue may be dependant upon
what item or area of your wedding you are shopping for.
What to Look for in an Online Wedding Vendor:
1. Quality and selection: Look around the website to gain a sense of the overall
image of the wedding vendor or their company as a whole. What general
impression do you get from the products or services offered? What about the
tone, variety and general appearance of the website? As with offline wedding
vendors, first impressions speak volumes online. If applicable, browse
through photographs, screenshots, detailed spec lists, virtual tours and any
other information provided. When dealing with products specifically, many
websites display close-up versions of product pictures, which accurately
showcase items from several different angles or viewing points.
2. Availability and delivery: Check into shipping rates and time frames for
delivery, as well as possible limitations/restrictions of service in your area of
residence. In regards to products, ensure that you are aware of shipping cost
variations for items exceeding a certain weight, or oppositely, any shipping
discount awarded for purchases in large quantities, such as wedding favors.
3. Physical address or mailing location: Many wedding vendors are eager to
supply this information to give customers a sense of security that they're a
dependable and trustworthy "real" business.
4. Methods of contact: Wedding vendors want to communicate with you! Quality
wedding professionals look forward to meeting your needs and usually
provide several means of communication. Look for email addresses, online
forms or phone numbers. Some wedding websites even provide a "Live Help"
button with which you can carry out a real-time conversation with a staff
member. In addition to giving you many options for contact, many online
wedding vendors also have a "Frequently Asked Questions" page on their
website that may be of some assistance to you. Often, common questions are
outlined and explained for immediate answers.
5. Helpful suggestions or advice: Not to be confused with the above point! While
a wedding vendor may offer open lines of communication with you, they must
follow through on it! Keep an eye out for their attitude toward you. Was their
response to your inquiry prompt? Enthusiastic? Informative? Look for a
willingness from the wedding vendor to answer your questions, provide
details and offer you suggestions. See if they have an overall positive attitude
toward you and about your wedding, as well as toward their business in
6. Experience: Wedding vendors want to prove that they are trustworthy and
reliable! Check out the wedding vendor's "Testimonials" or "Reviews" web
page. See what other brides and grooms have had to say about their
experience with this wedding vendor's product or service. If available, check
out their "Press" section to see what media coverage they have experienced
and for what reasons. Look for a wedding vendor who takes pride in what
they do and in the level of service they provide to their clients. Take it a step
further and type the appropriate business name or web address into your
search engine of choice to spend at least a few minutes paging through the
search results on a particular wedding vendor before buying. You may find
articles and press releases about the wedding vendor. Even more helpful: you
may come across forums or other valuable feedback from brides and grooms
who have personally dealt with the wedding vendor.
7. Free sample or trial options: With wedding products, many online wedding
vendors get your attention by offering a free sample of their wares. For
example, a wedding stationery store may offer to mail a sample invitation kit
mailed right to your door so you can see the quality of the cardstock and
design in person. With wedding services, many online wedding vendors may
offer a free trial option. For example, a guest list software company may offer
a trial version or time period for you to check out their system and see how
easy it is to use. Often, if a wedding service provider does not offer a free
trial, they will provide screenshots or an online tour for you to experience a
"sneak peek" of their services. If no sample or trial options are available, see
what money-back guarantees or refund policies are in place.
8. Secure payment options: Many online wedding vendors accommodate with
several payment options for your convenience. Some process credit cards
directly on their website, or through a third party website. You may also have
the option to mail in a personal check or money order. Please be advised that
this could delay processing and shipping until payment is received by the
company. It may require longer, more flexible timelines on your part, often
by one week to 10 days.
Wedding favors are small gifts given as a gesture of appreciation or gratitude to
guests from the bride and groom during a wedding ceremony or a wedding
The tradition of distributing wedding favors is a very old one. It is believed that the
first wedding favor, common amongst European aristocrats, was known as a
bonbonniere. A bonbonniere is a small trinket box made of crystal, porcelain, and/or
precious stones. The contents of these precious boxes were generally sugar cubes or
delicate confections, which symbolize wealth and royalty. (In this era, sugar was an
expensive commodity and was treasured only among the wealthy. It was believed
that sugar contained medical benefits). As the price of sugar decreased throughout
centuries, the tradition of providing gifts to guests reached the general populace and
was embraced by couples of modest means.
As sugar became more affordable, bonbonnieres were replaced among the modest
with almonds. For centuries, almonds were commonly distributed to wedding guests
to signify well wishes on the bridegroom's new life. In the thirteenth century,
almonds coated with sugar, known as confetti, were introduced. Confetti soon
transformed to Jordan almonds, which later evolved into the signature wedding favor
for modern day weddings. Traditionally, five Jordan almonds are presented in a
confection box or wrapped in elegant fabric to represent fertility, longevity, wealth,
health and happiness. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the coated
candy exemplify the bitter sweetness of a marriage.
Today, gifts to guests are commonly known as wedding favors and are shared in
cultures worldwide. Wedding favors have become an intricate and necessary part of
wedding planning and have complemented ceremonies and receptions alike. Wedding
favors are so diverse in style, elegance and theme that options for favors are only
limited to the couple's imagination. Today's bride has the option to select a gift
based on her wedding theme.
Many couples wish to share commemorating gifts that are personalized with the
couples names and dates so the guests can remember the very special occasion.
Some of these favors include personalized pens, wedding flowers, trinket boxes,
goblets, candles, vases, and even personalized wedding cameras.
These gifts have made the bride's 'to do' list and climbing the list as a very important
The importance and demand for wedding favors have created new business in the
wedding industry. Wedding favors have surpassed the term 'trend' and have become
commonplace among today's weddings.
Jordan Almonds ~The slightly bittersweet taste of raw almonds is coated with the
sugary goodness of the candy coating, bringing with it a hope that the new life of the
bride & groom is more sweet then bitter. Other traditions say that almonds should
always be recieved in odd numbers so that it can not easily be divide. Once again
representing the new found life of the couple.
Dried Fruit Wedding Favors ~ Representing the bounty of a full harvent or life,
Dried Fruit is a wonderful way to say thank you to your guests for taking time to be
with you on your special day. Perfect for Outdoor weddings as well as appropriate for
weddings in Spring & Summer. A simple Tulle & Ribbon bag in your bridal colours
make a beautiful presentation.
picture frame wedding favors, ideal for a wedding favor.Picture Frames ~ Many
couples give picture frames as gifts. These frames may be placed in a mixed favor
bag, also used as placeholders/seat assignment placards, as part of a centerpiece, or
individualized for each guest (usually containing a picture of the couple and the
guest). These frames are generally no larger than 4x6, but some couples opt for
larger frames- especially if they are also using them as centerpieces. For more
information on incorporating favor frames as placards, see the seating assignments
Photo albums wedding favors ~ Small photo albums also make great gifts,
especially for small weddings and family-centered weddings. Couples may wish to
place one of their engagement pictures inside, or a small personalized note thanking
the guest for attending.
Bells and other noisemakers wedding favors ~ It is a long-standing tradition to
have guests receive wedding bells as favors. Traditionally, whenever a guest rang
the bell the couple would have to kiss. Many couples like to put the tradition of the
wedding bell ringing on little cards to go with the bells. In modern times, there are
also other noisemakers that can be included as wedding favors such as flutes, horns,
Candles Wedding Favors ~ Candles have been a popular gift to guests for many
years. They may be of any size, shape, or scent. Many couples use votive candles
and have them in decorative holders. There are also specialty candles such a
wedding cake-shaped candles in a scrumptious buttercream frosting scent. Some
couples will make their own candles to give to guests. Candles may also be places as
part of a mixed favor. If there is a unity candle ceremony involved, the couple may
give smaller replicas of the candles used as favors.
Cakery.Cookies, cakes, and pastries wedding favors ~ Edible items have
always been a popular favor at weddings. Some couples opt to have individual cakes
or cakes at each table in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. Cakes, cookies, and
pastries can be used as table centerpieces and as favors. Many couples who opt to
use these as favors generally have them in boxes. These items are very easily
personalized and can make for tasty desserts (as well as late-night snacks for later!)
Homemade Jams, Jellies, or Preserves Wedding Favors ~ If you make your
own jams, jellies, or preserves you may want to share you talent with your guests.
These tasty favors often last a lot longer than candy or other edible favors. If you're
having a destination wedding, you may want to consider this favor as well. That way
your guests can bring a taste of the destination home with them.
Candy Wedding Favors ~ One of the most popular and widely used favors is
candy. Candy is very versatile and there is truly something for everyone. Many
couples buy candy to match their wedding colors. Candy can be put into mixed
favors, put inside placards, used as part of centerpieces and table decorations, and
be made into other types of favors (e.g. tulle candy roses). Many types of candy can
also be personalized with the couple's names- either on the candy itself or on the
wrappers. Chocolate cigars are popular favors representing the groom.
An example card for charitable donation favors, from The I Do Foundation.Charitable
Donations ~ If you and your guests are particularily socially-conscious, you may
want to consider using your favor budget to make donations to charities in the
names of your guests. A small certificate can be handed to each guest explaining the
donation and thanking them for attending the wedding.
Bookmarks Wedding Favors ~ A quick DYI project for any computer savvy bride!
Create a 7 column-landscape layout on your favorite word processing software. Add
the the names of the bride & grooms, the location & date and a special poem or
saying(usually what you used on your invitation). Save your document file to a disk
or flash drive and take it down to your local stationary or copy store(i.e. Kinko's or
OfficeDepot) Pick out 8x11 card stock in the color of your choice and have your book
marks printed. Most stores will have a paper cutter you can use to seperate the book
Bath & Body Products Wedding Favors ~ Some creative couples may wish to
make their own bath & body products. These are especially nice for bridesmaid gifts.
The couple may make their own and create a personalized scent, give pre-existing
products, or give personalized products. These products are perfect for gift baskets.
Wild Flower Seed Packets Wedding Favors ~ Wild flower seeds are a great way
to show your love of nature as well as give your guests something beautiful to look
at for a long time to come.
Tea and Coffee Samplers Wedding Favors ~ If you and your partner are into
tasty beverages, you may want to consider tea and/or coffee sampler packets. This
is a great favor that can be enjoyed at the guest's leisure and also help share some
things you like with your guests. Hot cocoa, spiced cider, and other beverages also
make good favors.
Liquid bubbles wedding favors ~ Many couples choose to use blown bubbles as a
way for guests to send the couple off after the reception. These also make great
favors for guests to take with them. Many companies offer bubble containers in fun
shapes (hearts, champagne flutes, champagne bottles, wedding cakes, etc.) and
many also are able to be personalized with the couple's names and their wedding
Personalized items wedding favors ~ In addition to liquid bubbles, many other
items are able to be personalized. Pens, glasses, and small personal items
(keychains, money clips, clocks, etc.) can be personalized with the couple's names
and usually the event date as well. This gives guests a nice item that is a distinct
reminder of the event.
Kitchen/bar accessories wedding favors ~ It is becoming more and more
popular to have small kitchen and/or bar accessories as gifts. Bottle stoppers,
corkscrews, measuring sets, drink shakers, coffee accessory kits, divets, and
coasters are just a few examples of such gifts. Many couples opt to personalize these
with their names as well. These gifts are especially popular among couples who have
more mature guests.
Small plants Wedding Favors ~ Some couples decide to give their guests a living
gift, such as small plants that are native to the area where the wedding takes place.
This is an especially popular gift for destination weddings. The plants are often
arranged as centerpieces on the tables, with small notes at each place setting
inviting guests to take a plant with them.
Favor Bags ~ Favor bags are one of the most popular types of wedding favors.
Generally favor bags include several types of favors. Favor "bags" do not even
necessarily need to be bags- they can also be boxes, shadow boxes, cartons, or any
other type of container. Couples usually opt to include favors that hold significance
for the couple.