Personalized Favors

We canvassed Island vendors looking for favors that can be personalized with your names printed on them and found five options. Bonus: Some part of each can be saved and reused – for example, fill the jam jar with sea glass or tuck the soap wrapper in a lingerie drawer.

Tea. Just tea for two, and two for tea – plus all your guests. “It’s a nice way to bring home the flavor of the wedding,” herbalist Holly Bellebuono says of her six-inch canisters of handcrafted teas. Provide your own photo or art, or choose from three labels Holly can personalize. Up-Island Herbal is a popular blend among other herbal, black, and green teas. Ballpark cost is $17 per tin depending on tea choice, artwork, and size of order; 20-tin minimum and two-months notice required.

Jam. Add a little spice to the celebration with Linda Alley’s New Lane Sundries. Zinfandel Chili Jam is her most popular savory jelly, and her straight up berry flavors – blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry – are the most popular jams. She offers four-ounce or eight-ounce jars at about $5. (The smaller, octagonal jar is more costly than the standard round eight-ounce jar, so both are priced the same.) Linda says orders can be filled in about 10 days or less. 508-693-9561.

Water. Tapped from an underground spring, Chilmark Spring Water literally provides a taste of the Island. You can consign the trio of siblings who own and operate the business to customize your label, or you can submit artwork or photos. There is no set-up charge, but there is a five-case minimum with costs ranging from $29 to under $15 for 60 cases or more.

Soap. Flat Point Farm’s Emily Fischer says her lemon verbena and lavender soaps are popular, though with enough notice she can create just about any scent. “My soaps are all handmade on the Island with milk from our small herd of goats,” Emily says. “My husband does the milking; I do the soap making.” Because soap takes time to cure, orders require six-weeks notice with no minimum quantity. The base price is $2.25 per soap, plus labeling. Ready-made labels can be personalized or Emily can design unique ones.

Cookies. At Martha’s Vineyard Cookie Company, owner/baker Judy Rogers says her two-cookie packets with red heart labels and matching ribbon are the most popular for weddings. Among the favored flavors are Beach Hearts (shortbread with cranberries, dipped in dark Belgian chocolate) and S’mores (as in the classic graham cracker/marshmallow/chocolate treat). Prices are based on cookie choice, size of order, packaging, and labeling. A standard two-cookie packet (with your names and date on the heart label) is $7.75. Two-weeks notice is encouraged.

More favor ideas
Choose a favor that reflects you as a couple, so your guests can carry a sense of connection beyond the celebration day when they take that special token home. For a Vineyard beach-themed wedding, favors might range from seashells collected on Island shores and hand-painted with the couple’s name and wedding date, to engraved wooden sailboat or lighthouse miniatures. Two of the most popular Island favors are Chilmark Chocolates and Murdick’s Fudge; these businesses don’t offer custom labels (although Murdick’s is exploring options for as soon as summer 2010), but you can personalize their boxes with ribbons or stickers ordered elsewhere.

Or choose another kind of favor that says the two of you. Emily Brown and Benton Coulter chose tiny pots of herbs for their May 2009 wedding. The plants added to the overall ambience at their reception, and once transported to their guests’ kitchen counters, windowsills, or gardens, they could continue to evoke memories of the happy occasion.

Some couples turn to a favorite artist to create favors. Louisa Gould – who represents John Holladay at her eponymous Vineyard Haven gallery – and her fiancé, JB Lamont, commissioned the artist to make caricatures for their guests. The couple provided photos along with hobbies: Two guests were depicted sailing on their boat, two others on a tandem bicycle, and the groom’s parents were shown fishing and cooking.

A tip from Island wedding planner Lynn Buckmaster-Irwin is to use a book of Island art or photographs. She has many couples who use them for guest books, but Brenda Keaton and Rob Levine took the idea a step further at their June 2009 nuptials and presented autographed copies of Martha’s Vineyard: Quiet Pleasures (Globe Pequot Press, 2008) as favors.