Gifts your guests will actually bring home

You’re getting married so you’ve researched lots of weddings.

You’ve looked for ideas in all of the glossies, and all you know is that you want to find wedding favors that inspire, express your unity, and beyond all else are...

Wedding trinkets are usually junk; they end up in the trash or at the bottom of a purse. But they don’t have to be castaways — they could even be cool. What if your favors were classy and unique?

I evaluated typical wedding favors — the standard bubbles, snow globes, beer cozies, pens, and letter openers, settling on these gems from companies I believe in and whose products represent the reason you chose Vermont for your wedding. Go the extra mile, pay a couple extra bucks, and give something that you’d be excited to receive.

Mini Maple Syrup

by Butternut Mountain Farm

Morrisville, Vt., (800) 828-2376

Nothing says Vermont like maple syrup. It’s unique to New England and expresses a true taste of place. People who prefer Aunt Jemima shouldn’t be invited to your wedding, anyway! Butternut Mountain Farm, right around the corner in Morrisville, offers a choice of three shaped bottles of maple syrup, all 1.7 ounces. They do custom labeling, so your guests will remember you the next time they smother their flapjacks with 100-percent pure Vermont maple syrup.

Mini Jar Candles by Belle Savon

Danville, Vt.,

“Any color, any scent,” said owner and creator Tammy Goughnour. For about $2.25 apiece, Belle Savon will create an all-natural custom set of candles for your wedding guests. She can do custom labels and messages, and even match the candles to your invitations. Couples often send Goughnour’s mini candle jar favors as “save the dates.” The 1.5-inch lid provides enough space to make sure this simple reminder broadcasts your message loud and clear.

Truffles by Laughing Moon Chocolates

Stowe, Vt., (802) 253-9591

There is something to be said for a perfectly crafted chocolate truffle. The ladies at Laughing Moon Chocolates in Stowe will help you choose “his and hers,” “his and his,” or “hers and hers” boxed chocolate truffles for your special day. These handmade chocolates never skimp on quality or flavor, with over a dozen truffle flavors and endless combinations to choose from. You’ll be lucky if your guests even make it out the door with them. “We really like to customize each individual box for couples,” said chocolatier Leigh Williams. If you live far away, no problem; most of their products are available to purchase on their website.

Vermont Maple Cookie

by Sweet Crunch Bake Shop

Hyde Park, Vt., (802) 888-4887

Debbie makes a darn good maple cookie. Just ask Rachael Ray. The cookies were featured last year on Ray’s show on the Food Network. Handcrafted in her bakeshop in Hyde Park, Debbie’s cookies are delicate, crunchy, and have a perfect balance of maple and butter. “For weddings we usually put two cookies in a cellophane bag wrapped with the colored ribbon to match the settings,” Debbie said. For about $2 per person, you can treat your guests to one of the greatest cookies on earth.

Farmstead Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce by Fat Toad Farm

Brookfield, Vt., (802) 279-0098

Fat Toad Farm’s goat’s milk caramel may change your guests’ lives forever. The family of farmers raises their own goats and creates an ooey-gooey melt-in-your-mouth caramel topping that will make you think about starting up your own goat farm. The first time I heard someone rave about this caramel I thought it would never live up to the hype, but this stuff turned out to be better than a gold plated Trans-Am limousine driven by Mr. T. They do great custom labeling and really go out of their way to make sure their products leave a sweet impression on your guests.

Homemade Brownies

by VT Brownie Company

Winooski, Vt., (802) 450-BAKE

I’m a sucker for a good brownie, and Vermont Brownie Company makes a really good one. Rich, dense and full of chocolaty bliss, this brownie might even take your breath away, which is what happened to Bobby Flay when it beat his brownie on his popular Throwdown show on the Food Network in 2010. Now it’s just a click of a mouse away for you and your guests. These culinary award-winning

bakers pride themselves on quality and small-batch production. Let owners Katherine and Shawna knock your socks off as you treat yourself and others to the eighth wonder of the world.

Heady Topper Double American IPA by the Alchemist Brewing Company

Waterbury, Vt., (802) 244-7744

Ask your wedding establishment and caterer before giving beer as a gift, but if you want to give something unique, just give a Heady. It’s the gift they can’t get in Boston, New York, or L.A. Heck, we can’t even get it here half the time. Why? Because the beer is that good. Heady Topper is cooler than cool; it’s a hipster mustache accompanied by a sleeve of tattoos. Call the brewery ahead of time, place your order with a credit card, and people will be talking about your gift for a very long time.

Maple Smoked Cheddar

by Sugarbush Farm

Woodstock, Vt., (802) 457-1757

For all of the amazing artisan cheese we produce in Vermont, cheddar is king. In my book, smoked cheddar is the king of kings. At the end of a back road in scenic Woodstock, Sugarbush Farm still handcrafts and smokes cheese the old-school way — over maple hardwood and dipped in wax. This traditional cow’s milk cheese has a classic cheddar tang with a sweet maple wood smoke that makes it hard to put down. The 4-ounce award-winning smoked cheese comes in a 25 pack and just oozes Vermont.

Napkin Rings by Vermont Tree Bones

Guilford, Vt., (802) 257-0971

Sometimes giving food just doesn’t feel like the right choice for your celebration, and Vermont Tree Bones has created the solution for you. Their maple napkin rings are handmade, so each piece has its own, unique character. The stained natural wood will bring that classic woodsy feel to even the most contemporary of places. And, you know Aunt Jenny will steal them from the tables next to hers and call this wedding one of the greatest ever.

Photobooth and Custom Photos by Saratoga Photobooth Company

(518) 935-8531

For the minimalist who can’t bear to force a gift on people they love, VT Photobooth is the right choice for you. Everyone loves to pack into a photo booth to snap a couple quirky snapshots. This is the gift your guests can tuck into their wallets and pull out for instant memories … anytime. And yes, VT Photobooth can do the custom verbiage to remind people that it was you who brought all of this joy. It’s $1,200, no matter how big the wedding, so you might have to skimp a little on the band. A photo booth brings excitement to any wedding.

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