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Tolerance – a core strength

Tolerance – A Core Strength

Tolerance — respecting human dignity — seems like a particularly timely topic.  Is it that people are allowing religion to do more of their thinking for them?  Has our educational system failed too?  How can I continue to model tolerance for our son and do my part to help create a more inclusive society?  When confronted with intolerant behavior, how does our family remain strong?

While organizations like pflag.org, hrc.org and itgetsbetter.org are fairly well known, the following are some sites I use as resources that provide outstanding information and/or support and do not come up in discussion as often.  

finimpact.com : This article #LGBTQ: How to Support LGBTQ-Owned Small Businesses & Resources at Finimpact is a great resource for LGBTQ owners who need support, offering some of the best ways to support LGBTQ-owned businesses right now.

matthewshepard.org  :  We L O V E this organization and its outreach efforts, and we donate 1% of our sales to this non-profit so we may be a bit biased. The Matthew Shepard Foundation provides educational resources for schools to encourage greater acceptance of individuals different from ourselves and manages a website for youth to find programs and shelters that are welcoming regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.  Judy and Dennis Shepard also speak about bullying and hate crimes at schools, college campuses and organizations.

tolerance.org  :   Though focused on educators, this creation of the Southern Poverty Law Center has well written articles and an exhaustive list of resources covering a wide variety of topics.  The one that caught my eye this past week:  “Don’t Threaten My Religion” by Sara Wicht, discussing lessons educators can use to help students deal with content that may threaten individual belief systems. 

whatmakesyourfamilystrong.org :  Way to go Michigan!  Created by the Strengthening Families Initiative, a part of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation,  this is a great resource for straightforward and “readily consumable” information to share with friends, parents-to-be, and families with young kids.  It outlines methods for promoting personal resilience and healthy family life behaviors.

When confronted with intolerant and sometimes aggressive behavior,  I want our son to have learned to recognize the insecurity behind the action and have the skills and strength to handle the situation in a healthy way.  We aren’t there yet, but we’re working hard.  Now if we could get him to do his chores without being reminded…

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Why We [still] Love June

June is for celebrating marriage, fathers & PRIDE

We originally posted June is for Celebrating in 2017 – sure feels a life time ago. Not long after the 2015 Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, David and I began to wonder if a business like ours — built on a commitment to not just marriage equality, but basic equal rights and inclusiveness — might within a few years become so commonplace as to be inconsequential. Ahem…turns out, we were wrong.

Pride month is a reminder that our actions matter, and that we have a long way to go.  And while we are grateful for the support so many brands show this one month, discrimination continues year round. And importantly, commercialization of Pride doesn’t automatically create support for the LGBTQ community.  What can you do to lend your support?

  1. Donate to organizations like The Trevor Project or HRC.
  2. Shop at gay-owned businesses like ours, or our Lilly & Taylor ETSY shop, not just in June, but all year long. 
  3. Attend your local Pride Event – celebrate with your friends & your community.    

It’s Pride month!   Happy Pride!

And it’s also David’s and my wedding anniversary month (!)

And it’s Father’s Day! Since our family has two dads, two amazing sons and now, one grandson (!!), we have plenty to celebrate.


Since Taylor Street is all about celebrating, we love June!

There is a common thread to these celebrations, and to all celebrations — and that is the sense of community each promotes.   There is a sense of belonging and acceptance — and love — that is created when you and I take time to honor tradition, our families, our respect for one-another.  And while modern families are increasingly diverse, at their core they remain much the same…

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David and I will continue to share stories of people and their celebrations — of all types —throughout the year.  We do this to support a sense of community, celebrate its members, and strengthen our collective bond.  Because, as Lin -Manuel Miranda said in his amazing 2016 Tony Awards acceptance speech, “Love is love”, nothing here is promised – not one day.

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We also will continue to post profiles of wedding industry professionals who support inclusivity and marriage equality.

Thank you for your support & Happy Pride! Please share with us how you are celebrating Pride, celebrating Father’s Day, celebrating your marriage, or – like us – ALL THREE!

#loveislove #NoH8 #lovewins #LGBTPride #Pride

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The “I Do Crew” …for those couples doing things a bit differently… .

At our wedding reception with orange poppies

Men as Bridesmaids, Women as Groomsmen – and what about that Man of Honor!

As more newly engaged couples, gay and straight, involve friends and family members in their weddings in more creative and personal ways, they are redefining traditional gender-based bridesmaids & groomsmen roles. Welcome to the I Do Crew!


[And really, why can’t brides and grooms have their BFF’s stand with them at the alter regardless of gender?]


While it’s increasingly common to have wedding party members of both sexes standing up for brides and grooms, what to call your male bridesmaids (not this for sure) or female groomsmen (possibly an even worse idea) is all over the place.  Here are a few popular gender neutral alternatives to use in your program or when the wedding party is introduced.

I Do Crew and a Few Alternatives for your Wedding Party

Most popular:  “I Do Crew”.   It’s catchy, gender neutral, and – to me – a little bit sentimental, in a good way. You can find it on all kinds of wedding swag…and it makes a great hashtag:  #idocrew . But if that just doesn’t work for you, here are some others…

The safe choices:  “attendants” or “entourage”;

Lighthearted & best for personalized gear:   Team [fill in the name of groom(s) or bride(s)];

These show up fairly often too:  besties, party people, wedding squad, bridal brigade or bride tribe paired with groom squad.  

For the male maid of honor:  man of honor

And for the female best man: best woman

Or…how about best friend! 

3 Other Wedding Traditions Your I Do Crew Will Love

Just as your wedding party may not conform to tradition, increasingly, today’s modern couples — whether two brides, two grooms or a bride and groom — are choosing to co-create their wedding ceremony too. From the ground up, couples are mixing cultural and religious traditions with unique elements.

Here are a few examples of interesting and modern takes on traditional wedding rituals.

Wedding Colors and Wedding Attire

Couples are managing the all-to-familiar bridesmaid matching outfit and coordinating groomsmen tradition with a much lighter touch.  Couples are selecting a color (or two) and inviting a close circle of friends and family to wear the color(s). Sometimes instructions include a particular article of clothing (bow tie / socks / shirt or blouse color) and sometimes the request is simply to include that color in whatever outfit is chosen. Not only are couples able to involve more people than they might if the wedding color was limited to the more traditional gang up front, it looks awesome when it comes time for pictures.  David and I went this route, but in hindsight didn’t take the idea far enough.  We now wish we would have had his mom and my dad wear some “poppy orange” too [really – see picture!].

But make sure your wedding party members look the part, so that there is something in common that helps your wedding pictures to have a coordinated look.  If you’ve left people to interpret your request on their own, you may want to have some things available on your wedding day, just in case – a boutonniere, bow tie, socks – for pops of color that tie your wedding party together.

Non-traditional Processional

Rather than the 2X2, invite your closest friends, and wedding party participants to walk down the aisle at the start of your ceremony with their respective significant others and then sit in reserved rows at the front. This eliminates the need to have everyone pair up nicely…and means you can forget about requiring an equal number of attendants for each “side of the aisle”. Isn’t it more natural and enjoyable if a family with children move as a clump, or if you have a friend who is happily single, stride down your aisle individually?

Combined Bridesmaids-Groomsmen Party

Why not!  Especially if you each already have both men and women as attendants, why not have a co-ed party involving both groups.  Not only do these people then have more of a chance to get to know each other, you can have some fun with your best friends while getting to know your future spouse’s best friends – win/win.

New roles, new rules…or in this case, no rules.  Be creative in the way(s) you choose to honor your friends and your lives together. If you are feeling in need of a “steady-hand”; someone to help you think things through, get a professional wedding planner involved! Your wedding is a time to celebrate. Ultimately, do what feels right rather than what you wish felt right.

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NAVY AND GOLD, A WEDDING IDEA WITH GLAMOUR, DRAMA AND A BIT OF SPARKLE

We love this color combination for weddings!

Elegant and classy, navy & gold is a sophisticated color combination that appeals to both men and women. Adding white helps to lift the overall feel without pulling focus, and cameras love it. All three of these colors are easy to find, and while interpretations of Navy will vary somewhat, most golds and whites shades are very close.

Navy and gold make a striking night sky color palette, perfect for outdoor evening weddings with a golden sunset as your backdrop. There is nothing subdued about this color combination; it is dramatic, bold and beautiful.

Here are a few of our most popular navy and gold items:

These classy favor boxes are the perfect size for small treats – 2 inch squares.  We make these ourselves from heavy duty card stock, no flimsy cardstock wannabe paper used.  If you love the idea but are not sure about the geometric pattern, we also offer these in a champagne bubble top. The navy blue pull on top is optional.  

We import these candle holders from the Philippines.  They are beautifully handcrafted and provide a shimmery candlelight glow, even with battery tea lights.  These also make beautiful gifts.

Gold Geometric Candle Holder or Flower Centerpiece  |  $7.99

These gold geometric candle holders add a modern element to your reception tables.  We show it here as a flower holder, but since the glass holder is included, you can easily use candles or battery operated fairy lights.  These look great indoors or outside, and the small eye-lit at the top makes it easy to suspend these in trees or archways.  

Our labels come in a variety of colors – including Ivory and Navy.  They coordinate beautifully with a variety of wedding reception themes and are easy to use.  The black bow tie doesn’t come with these, but we do sell them if you want to kick your wine bottles up a notch!

These mercury glass votives are just perfect for a navy and gold theme. Guests love these little candle holders as wedding favors.  The price is right too.

A great complement to the mercury votives, these glass coaster favors come gift ready in a gold gift box with a clear lid.  Coasters have rubber feet too, so they really are a gift your guests (or you) could use over and over again. They capture the navy, gold and white color theme perfectly without being over-the-top.  Sweet.

  • Brushed Gold Round Card Holders
    Brushed Gold Round Card Holders
    $3.95 $3.36

There you have our most popular navy, gold and white decor, gift and wedding favor ideas.  Let us know what you think or if you have any ideas on what to create.  We love to create!

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Rustic Weddings; The force is strong with this one…

Bride in White Dress Sitting on Bales of Straw in a Barn

It’s not just burlap and mason jars.  As the rustic wedding theme’s popularity snowballs, it is increasingly both an attitude and a style, involving planning as well as purchasing decisions.  Local sourcing, more natural textures & materials, and less fussy, more comfortable decor are the defining elements of today’s rustic weddings. 

And while barn venues continue to define the quintessential rustic wedding reception, inspired brides & grooms (and their creative planners, florists and bakers!) are designing ever more creative elements to consider (queue Pinterest).  David and I happen to have gotten married in one of THE absolutely most romantic and historic barns in Central California, so we bring a personal as well professional perspective to this rustic wedding decor and favor fever. Here are 12 of our current favorites. 

Rustic Wedding Decor Good design comes from the heart, not the brain.  So when you think of your ideal rustic wedding decor, find inspiration first — looks that you love — colors and textures that delight you.  

Rustic Wood and Glass Box with Hinged Lid & Lighted Candle
Wood and Glass Box  |  Taylor Street Favors

The best part about this wood and glass box is that it is something you really will want to use at home too!


White enamel pitcher with wild flowers and purple ribbon on outdoor table.
French Provencal Style Enamel Pitcher | Taylor Street Favors 

This enamel pitcher is a simple and casual centerpiece natural.  Add flowers and you are done.  You will want to have this for home use too.


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Rustic Wood Place Card Holders with Place Card 

I chose these because they are made from real wood. There are less expensive resin birch logs available (we carry the resin ones too), but if your budget can accommodate these, real wood wins the day.


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tonoandco.com Ribbons & Textiles

If you want to skip the burlap, consider hand dyed silk for your table runners, pocket squares and bouquets.  Janelle Nicole Wylie, the owner of Tono + co. creates beautiful one-of-a-kind hand dyed fabrics.  Awesome.


 

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Wood Blocks for Guest Book Alternative

Not only is this a lighthearted wedding guest book alternative, it happily lives on after your wedding day as a game-night essential that will rekindle memories every time you play.  I wish we had thought of this for our wedding — we play this game often and it would have been so easy to set up for guests, either at a reception table or incorporated at each place setting.


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Personalized Leather Guestbook with Kraft Paper

If you are looking for a more traditional wedding guest book, this one is not only made with natural leather and kraft paper, it looks the part too – refined but not fussy.  Makes a beautiful personalized keepsake.


Rustic Wedding Favors:  At their best, favors are meant to be a thoughtful way to show your guests your appreciation for participating in your wedding day.  I’ve written about selecting favors here before, so I’ll just refer you to that article from last year here, and leave you a few suggestions of popular rustic favors we love.

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Miniature Galvanized Buckets

Super cute and truly a miniature version of its workhorse name sake, these galvanized buckets could be filled with just about anything – candy, plants, candles, confetti, crayons – to name a few.


Miniature Woven Picnic Basket with cinnamon bun and tag tied with purple ribbon
Miniature Picnic Basket Favors  |  Taylor Street Favors

 

Continuing the miniature theme, these picnic basket favors are almost as versatile as the mini-buckets above…and they might even be cuter.  Not shown in the image, they come with a solid lid too, in addition to the double handles and classic woven wicker design.



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Rustic Wood Print Favor Box

While these card stock wood print boxes have been around awhile, they continue to be very popular — easily customized with our personalized black chalkboard style label, and affordable.


Rustic Inspired Wedding Gifts – these gifts prove that rustic can be fun too.  

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Personalized Wood Trimmed Flask

This flask makes a great gift for your entire wedding party – guys & gals both will appreciate this personalized reminder of their participation in your wedding day.


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Personalized Wood Cuff Links with Gift Box

Available in two finishes – cherry or white oak, these round wood cufflinks with toggle backings in a personalized wood box make gift giving easy.


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Personalized Wood Heart Treasure Box

Our wood heart treasure box comes in two sizes and can be laser engraved with up to two lines of text.  The inside is bare wood, and the two sizes can be nested, if you want to kick it up a notch and get both.


 

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Happily Ever After | Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

Happy rustic wedding planning!

“First, think. Second, believe. Third, Dream.  And finally, dare”.  -Walt Disney

 

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Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded

Featured image: Clark Tibbs | Unsplash


Going the extra mile & the awesome power of making a difference.

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Thomas AE | Unsplash

Wedding season is in full swing.  Feels like a good time to pause and take a breath.

This is a shout out to our fellow wedding pro’s everywhere and to the brides & grooms who have hired you as their wedding planner, their DJ, their videographer, venue, caterer, wedding cake baker, stylist, florist, and yes — their favors & gifts provider too!

Wedding Professionals – It is difficult to consistently perform at 100%+!  We worked hard to win the business in the first place, and maybe we overpromised a wee-bit, and minimized the challenges of delivering the vision the wedding couple described in such vivid detail.  Well, now its time to make good on that commitment.  And we can do it – in fact, we must — our about-to-be-married couple is counting on us to go the extra mile.  What we do matters, and we know that little things make a big difference.

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

 

Brides & Grooms – Your wedding professional is undoubtedly good at what he or she does.  The reviews you read validate it, their prior work demonstrates it, and you wouldn’t have decided on her or him if your gut didn’t tell you that too.  They are pushing themselves to make your event – extraordinary.  And while you are paying for their expertise, we all know that putting in the blood, sweat & tears necessary is tough. Simple gestures of thanks can make an incredible difference.  Go the extra mile and let your wedding professionals know how much you appreciate having them on your team – today!

 

David and I make exceptional customer service one of  Taylor Street Favors’ cornerstones.  It is one of the ways we go the extra mile.  David and I believe strongly in making every customer feel equally important and appreciated, something we did not experience as a same sex couple planning our wedding. Unfortunately, almost everyone will tell you that providing great customer service is a core part of their business. It can be difficult for customers to separate fact from fiction, especially when comparing similar products or services.

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Here are three tell tale signs of excellent customer service – delivered by passionate wedding professionals who know how to “go the extra mile”…

  1. They respond to inquiries as quickly as possible;
  2. They listen, they don’t “pitch”, and they remember what you, the customer has told them;
  3. They fix mistakes – before they happen if possible.  [David and I always proof our customer’s personalization information,  routinely correcting errors and eliminating the expense & frustration of having a non-returnable custom gift or favor produced and delivered].  

Let’s all keep going the extra mile.  It might not be lonely, but it certainly will not be crowded.    

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Your Wedding Day Time Capsule Awaits

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” -Dr. Suess

We all know Dr. Suess is right, we just don’t necessarily act on this knowing, especially when in the midst of wedding planning.  And while beautiful wedding day photos and a professionally edited video are wonderful to look back on too, they do not re-connect us emotionally in the same way as a personal message tucked inside a wedding day time capsule does.

I’ve collected a few ideas to help you incorporate some type of time capsule into your wedding day.  Confession, we did not do this on our wedding day – not because we decided against it, but because we were not aware of it.  [And I absolutely am sufficiently cornball/romantic to have included this.] So heads-up, David. I am thinking of including some version of this into our lives now – almost 2 years post wedding day.

There are two ways couples usually incorporate the time capsule idea into their wedding day:  “Day of” ceremony time capsule or a Guestbook time capsule.

“Day of” Time Capsule

Supplies:  A box & paper.

Really, the supplies required do not create too high a bar, even for those of us who are DIY-averse or flat-out-of-time.  We have some options on Taylor Street for boxes & stationery that will not only add symbolic significance to the occasion, but also create a true wedding day keepsake.  A shoebox with blank paper or note cards, however, will do just fine.

Boxes:  Both of these keepsake boxes could first be used for your wedding reception, so they would not only be pulling double duty, they would have the added significance of having been a part of your wedding day itself.

 

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Tin Box with Blackboard Panel Display

 

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Vintage Inspired Wood Case with Hinged Lid

Paper:  There are many awesome stationery alternatives available for you to consider.  We have a few for that would work well, like these:

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Dandelion Wishes Note Card

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Fleur De Lis Note Card

The directions are straightforward. You each write a love letter to your soon-to-be spouse, expressing your feelings on this day — your wedding day — what you are most excited about, your hopes, what is most important to you about this day, and why & when you fell in love with him/her. You know, the emotional kind of “stuff”.

[And this idea is really awesome for a blended family ceremony – including your children in on the time capsule by adding their own notes makes it even more memorable.  And, it creates a potential family tradition with the opening of the time capsule and its periodic updating.]

 

 

Guestbook time capsule

This version has you asking guests to write you a note on a postcard you provide and drop it in your “time capsule” to be opened on your 1st anniversary.  This invites your guests to participate in a way that a guest book signature does not.  Here are a couple of ideas for collecting your postcards.

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Acrylic Box Card Holder

 

 

 

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Wine Barrel Card Holder

 

Kick it up a notch:  So a year has passed and you’ve opened up your time capsule on your one year anniversary.  You’ve read your letters over a glass of wine and eaten what remains of your wedding cake.  So now what?! Here are a few ideas for what to add for “the next time” — regardless of what time capsule option you decided on — for your 5 year anniversary, 10 year, … or whatever year you agree to re-open it.

  1. Take a picture of the two of you with the time capsule the day you open it up & include it for the next time;
  2. Include that day’s front page from your local paper or print-out from your favorite news source;
  3. Write about:
    1. The hardest moments you faced as a couple your first year;
    2. Your favorite memory of year one;
    3. A goal or prediction for the next time you open your time capsule;
  4. Write another personal note to each other.

You get the idea, there are lots of things you could include.  Just don’t make this list so long that it gets tedious.

Close it up, store it somewhere safe.  Done.

This may become a ritual that you continue the rest of your lives or it may be something you enjoy once and set aside. Regardless, your notes to each other or notes from your friends & family will become something you will be able to look back on, reflect & reminisce when you do happen upon it – especially after it has gathered dust for years.  Your children may also enjoy the opportunity to glimpse a bit more about you as well, in your own writing and in your own words … “when you were young”.

Life goes by pretty fast and if you are like me, unless we force some pauses along the way to reflect and reconnect, we miss some awesome & inspiring moments, unique opportunities to really connect with each other.

Your time capsule may help you both re-connect, to a younger you and to each other.  Sweet.

 

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Our 5 Favorite Wedding Favor Jars

Though it may seem there exists an endless list of possibilities, the truth is that many of the jars pitched as wedding favor containers are too small, poorly made, or too impractical to be of much use.  We’ve eliminated those that didn’t measure up in three important categories and then selected our favorites.  What makes these favor jars best of class?  These jars offer a combination of these characteristics…

1.  They are a good value for the price.
2.  They are versatile – they can be adapted to differing wedding styles AND can be used after the wedding, at home everyday or for other celebrations…like a baby shower!
3.  They are captivating.  They are a detail your guests will notice.

I also listed a couple jars that just did not measure up at the end of this article, along with a brief explanation.  Take a look.

SMALL BELL JAR WITH WHITE FLUTED BASE

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Miniature Glass Bell Jar | Taylor Street Favors

Our favorite thing about these jars is how little you need to do to make these shine.  They are really interesting just to look at, especially massed together, and make anything inside of them look better — cookies, cupcakes, small plants – anything!  They are not so good when it comes to storage — the glass lid just sits on top and they are not very large.  You’re not going to be storing last night’s dinner leftovers in one of these.  Individually, these may not be as useful as when you have 6, 8 or a dozen that you could use at a dinner party.  They are a reasonable size at 3″ X 3″ x 4″ high and are well made.

 

MINI COOKIE JAR

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Mini Cookie Jars | Taylor Street Favors

These jars are a good value, sturdy & definitely something your guests will easily be able to find uses for at home.  Only consideration – they are small.  Note the 3.75″ X 2.75″ dimension.  Depending on what you are putting inside of these, their size could be an advantage…less needed to fill these jars!

GOLD CONFETTI MINI GLASS JAR 

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Gold Foil Confetti Mini Glass Favor Jar

These jars are AWESOME.  They look better in person than even the image.  They have a heavy [‘expensive’] weight to them and the lid fit is nice and snug.  They are sleek and modern, a nice alternative to many of the other options available.  Downside – they are a bit pricey.

MINIATURE MILK BOTTLE WITH CORK STOPPER

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Glass Milk Bottles with Cork Stopper

These continue to be a very popular jar, with good reason.  They are versatile, they are really cute with a truly vintage vibe to them, and they are about the least expensive glass favor jar we carry.  Their downside is that they do not seal, so these are not appropriate for liquids and you would not want to use these in situations where they are likely to tip over.  They are sturdy too — we’ve knocked a few of these off our table onto a carpeted floor while taking photos — did not break.

SQUARE GLASS JAR

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Square Glass Favor Jar – Gatsby Collection | Taylor Street Favors

We love their shape and vintage feel.  We also love the unusual and vibrant colors that these come in, though that does make it impossible to clearly see what is inside if that is important.  [These are the jars in our lead image] They have the same cork top issue as the milk bottle – the cork stays put, but it’s not going to keep liquids in or prevent spills of any sort should these tip.

And TWO that didn’t make the cut:

DIY Blank Glass Milk Bottles

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Glass Milk Bottle with Screw-on Lid | Taylor Street Favors

These milk bottles absolutely get the job done, and are a great choice for safely storing liquids or anything you don’t want to accidentally spill.  They are reasonably priced, and do allow for some creative personalization options with labels and ribbon or twine.  They are a bit too functional.  Especially with the lid off and the threaded finish showing, these may be too commercial for some people.  We’ve looked around for something other than the plain white metal caps as well, and have not found anything much better (other than black).

Miniature Mason Jars

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Miniature Mason Jars | Taylor Street Favors

The mason jar wave crested a few years back, but they remain popular today, particularly when creating a casual & comfortable feel for an event.  These have the same screw-off lid issue as the milk bottles above – the threaded glass top and simple design give these a mass produced feel.  Our main issue with these is the size, especially when used for drinks with the cut-out lids.  These are small, holding barely 8 oz.  Further, with the flower cut lid added they also are no longer spill proof either.  They are a better choice as favor jars for small colorful candies, or mini-terrariums.  Personalization is very limited as well – really limited to the size and type of label you use.

There you have it, a short, straightforward, and we hope, helpful wedding favor jar summary.  Let us know what you’ve found that made an impression.  We are always on the look-out for new and interesting products.  Send us a picture too!

 

 

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SURVEY SAYS … What Your Wedding Guests Care About MOST, a couple of things they say they DON’T … & three things to AVOID

Featured Image: Kellie Pickler, Steve Harvey & Lance Bass on Celebrity Family Feud

With 2018 wedding planning here, it is worth spending a moment considering WeddingWire’s 2017 survey results about what wedding guests consider most and least important.  It is your wedding, and you (and maybe your parents and future in-laws) are paying an average of over $35,000 for your *Best. Day. Ever.*, not your guests, so you might be tempted to ignore these findings.  I totally understand, but you want friends and family to have had a good time and leave feeling glad they made the effort to attend.  So while this one survey should not determine your every decision, I think it is helpful information when thinking about how to allocate your wedding budget …  and maybe your guest list!

The good news is that 68% of guests surveyed rank celebrating with the couple as what matters most about your wedding, followed closely by the opportunity to catch up with family & friends, with 63% checking that box.

HOWEVER…when asked about what your guest is paying the most attention to, the top attention getter is  — DECOR — the setting, furnishings, attire, colors & how these all work together.  Your guests are appreciating the aesthetic your wedding and reception choices create.

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Photo:  Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Aesthetic is that hard-to-define, but you-know-it-when-you-see-it vibe you feel when an event is cohesive, coordinated and pulled-off in a beautiful and tasteful manner.  Aesthetic is a sincere and focused expression of your personal style, completed with surprising details and by combining various components to create a unified whole.  And maybe most important, it’s not about how much you spend, it’s about how you spend it.  Style comes through best with a light touch, IT’s A PARTY after all, and it needs to be enjoyed and able to be messed-up a bit.

What Guests DON’T CARE ABOUT

Taylor Street is excited to report what landed at the bottom of the list in terms of guest importance – escort cards.  We happily report this because wedding favors are usually toward the bottom of the list as well, so it is with relief and some delight that we report this result. WeddingWire’s survey also reports guests found toiletry amenities as unimportant.  I’ve honestly got nothing more to say about that finding, however…I do have a few comments on favors.

David and I also absolutely understand that wedding favors naturally are not going to rank high on a list that includes blockbusters like food, drink and dance.  It also is well known that favor shopping is left to the very end of most wedding planning — which kind of guarantees a rushed, less-than-optimal outcome with a budget that’s already maxed out.

So while trying to not sound too defensive, we suggest that wedding favors can not only be something your guests could appreciate, they absolutely contribute to your wedding’s aesthetic and help to create an overall impression that guests will carry with them (literally!) back home.

We humbly observe that wedding favors are [way] down the the priority list because they are not a concern of any of the big-ticket vendors – venue, caterer, photographer/videographer, florist.  The wedding planner is the only wedding professional who may consider favors important enough to discuss with you, and she or he is also usually already trying to stretch a budget to cover a very long priority list.

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Capiz Shell Gold Trimmed Lotus Candle Holder | Taylor Street Favors

Enough on favors — if you want great favors that your guests will love, we know they exist.  If you want some ideas, check us out on instagram, our WeddingWire or the knot storefronts, or send us an email letting us know your aesthetic, your budget, your guest count, and your wedding date, and we’ll get busy.

TOP ANNOYANCES TO AVOID

Guests ranked what bothered them most at weddings as: (1) drunk guests; (2) not knowing anyone & feeling alone; and (3) bad music.

So, might this WeddingWire survey have any impact on you?  Maybe those friends you were going to send a stag invite to (so you could manage head count) will now receive “+1’s”, or maybe you’ll rethink the DIY DJ mix tape decision you already were feeling unsure about.  Maybe you’ll even carve out some $$$ for wedding favors!

Next post – Choose your aesthetic in 5 [mostly easy] steps.  Plan on!

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All American Family

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Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Tired of the SEO-optimized click-bait titles and bored by breathless Black Friday pre-sale announcements?

Me too. 

Add in 24/7 race-to-the-bottom political news and it’s tempting to just give-in to the sky-is-falling-so-might-as-well-get-used-to-it voice in my head and trudge silently toward December.  Tempting, but that’s an excuse to not do this Thanksgiving post I’ve committed to.  And I absolutely believe in Yoda’s “do or do not, there is no try” attitude-is-everything philosophy.  So I write.  My topic — giving thanks this Thanksgiving.

I am giving thanks to family – my family.

This year, Thanksgiving itself will be a very small gathering.  The reasons are many.  The larger local family is adjusting to a new marriage and the restructuring this brings.  With new additions to guest lists and newlywed hosts at the helm, we could sense the anxiety and ambivalence of having a really large group for dinner and graciously excused ourselves.

Our parents are also not joining us this year. My father’s worsening dementia makes it difficult for him to enjoy gatherings.  The disease makes it increasingly hard for him to have a conversation, and that plus the noise and unfamiliar surroundings causes him to withdraw. I will instead have a Thanksgiving lunch with him at his facility.  David’s mom is unable to travel by air, is unable to drive herself here, and is too far away for us to drive her to us and back.  FaceTime will have to do.

So it will be David and me, our son and one other adult, someone who consistently and passionately works (and it can be work) to remain involved in our 12 year old’s life.  He will be with us for a few days over Thanksgiving, and we are so glad that he will be here.  He is family.

He is as family as it gets in my world.  He continues to choose by his actions to be involved, to listen, to make spending time with us a priority.  He wants to.  Not many adults show that dedication and loyalty.

What defines your family?

David’s and my family is not defined by blood, it is defined by commitment.  Our family is defined by trust and support.  We care about, care for and look out for each other.

Big picture — families, however they form, are a reflection of the effort its members put into maintaining and encouraging them.  Their spirit and relevance are a direct result of a concerted effort.  Most importantly, families are worth celebrating, especially those families that do not fit neatly into a traditional definition, are seldom acknowledged, and sometimes marginalized.  These diverse & modern families are American families too.

Who will your family include this Thanksgiving? Will there be new members, whether because of relationship or circumstance changes?  Or, are you about to “be that newbie” in someone else’s family? Either way, let’s all plan to not just try, but to do — and take one definite action step that will demonstrate the importance of your family to you and how glad you are to be a part of your family this year.  Someday, they might be all the family you’ve got — and, as it turns out, all the family you’ll need.

Happy Thanksgiving!