Sugared almonds? Do us a favour: weddings are all about the bling

Shiny is displacing sweet as the preferred 'favour' given by couples to guests on their wedding day.

Heads up, sugared almonds: you now have some stiff competition.
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For centuries, sugared almonds have remained the most common wedding "favour" or gift that brides and grooms give to their guests, but who wants to be common? Today, although not having fallen entirely out of favour, the humble bundle of pastel-coloured tooth-shattering nuts faces some stiff competition.

"Trends in favours change every three to six months," says Katinka Socrat, founder of online wedding suppliers The Bride Side of Life. "Some of our favours are runaway favourites - for example, a silk fan in an elegant gift box." For couples taking advantage of the beautiful weather in the UAE to have an outdoor or beach wedding, she says, the fans are a perfect little gift to keep guests happy during the event.

If that sounds a bit too functional, another favourite is the miniature gold chair favour boxes, says Socrat. "They can be filled with any kind of candy, and the guest's name can be written on the back-rest. This is a great favour if you are planning a big wedding and have a limited budget."

Speaking of money, you may want to be sitting down on a gold chair when you hear that favour budgets for large luxury weddings can stretch to Dh15,000.

"The most expensive favours are our handmade Spruengli chocolates," says Socrat. "Each one is handmade in Switzerland and flown-in especially for the wedding." The chocolates can be customised with the bride's and groom's names and they taste, says Socrat, "fantastic". As they should at Dh100 for four chocolates.

With so much care and consideration having gone into your wedding favours, how do you ensure your guests actually take them home? Socrat says canny modern-day brides have found a practical solution to this very common problem.

"We have favours that the guests can use in their everyday lives: a manicure set for example or a set of heart-shaped measuring spoons called 'Love Beyond Measure'."

Other popular wedding-table adornments include silver picture frames, often showing a photo of the happy couple on their engagement. Which might be particularly impressive if that's a Mario Testino original, or, says Mohamed Ali, PR director of Quintessentially, a private members' club and global concierge service, if the engagement venue is genuinely spectacular.

"We can organise weddings from start to finish for our members and most commonly they take place at the most exclusive venues in the world. That said, two of the most bizarre requests we worked on were to organise the following setting for wedding proposals: one was on an iceberg and another was a gentleman wanting us to close down Sydney Harbour Bridge."

Another consideration: with the flowers, food and favours taken care of, your wedding tables may still feel slightly underdressed. So how about customised candles to set the mood? The more the merrier, says Socrat.

"Brides and grooms just love them! I think it plays into the elegant, romantic atmosphere that most couples want in their wedding. The range of extravagant candles we offer are incredibly popular, especially different designs like ones in the shape of a wedding dress or a rose."

For maximum impact and maximum expense there's always the option to "bling everything" with Swarovski crystals. According to Nuhad Al Masri, the manager of Color Lines, supplier of royal wedding invitations and favours: "Our customers really enjoy planning their wedding and automatically after the card is done they request extra details for the wedding party itself to give it a unique handmade touch that is artistic and different. This could include decorated napkin holders, water bottles, candles and even wedding menus and table numberings."

Well, that's one way to make your party sparkle.

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