unique party favors

Something was Brewing before the Wedding

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As soon as we got engaged, Mike wanted to brew beer for our wedding. We gave out these bottles as an overnight gift to some of our guests. Beware, this project is awesome but it takes at least a month of prep. First collect beer bottles, remove all labels, and sterilize them:

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We got our beer making kits from Brooklyn Brewshop. You can order from them online – the kits come with the raw ingredients for one gallon of beer. We went with Spicy Saison, Rye IPA and Maple Porter Stout. The first stage of making beer is a lot like making oatmeal…with a thermometer.

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Then there’s a complicated process of separating the cooked grains (mash) from the liquid (wort). The wort is what will become alcoholic thanks to the miracle yeast. Mike is a weirdo and likes to eat the mash – we call it “manmeal,” and it’s absolutely disgusting.

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Keep the wort in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. Let it ferment for about a week. You need to hook it up to a special pipe that lets air bubbles out, but doesn’t let air in.

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Make sure to label all the gallons right away, because they all start to look the same after a while.

2013-01-27 12.15.10When the bubbling has subsided (after about 5-6 days) move the jugs to a cool dark place. Store it there for another week. Now you’re ready to bottle! We bought our labels from My Own Labels. The hardest part of the process was coming up with the names. Mike gets all the credit here: he came up with “I Do” brew, and he based the different names on songs

Rye IPA was called “Rye me to the Moon” based on Fly me to the Moon

Maple Porter Stout was called “Maple Stout Put your Hands up” based on the Isley brothers You Make me Want to Shout.

Spicey Saison was called “Saisons of love” after Rent’s Seasons of Love.

2013-02-23 17.40.39But beer isn’t complete without some snack mix. I found this delicious recipe from The DIY Wedding (I’d highly recommend this book. My friend gave it to me after her wedding, and I just passed it on to my next friend who will be getting married). Is uses about every packaged good from the grocery store. Warning, if you’re trying to lose weight before the wedding have someone else make this because you won’t be able to resist it 🙂

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Other gifts we came up with for our overnight guests: journals and writing games for my friends who are writers, mini bottles of bourbon distilled in the Hudson Valley , and fancy chocolate bars.

Crafty Wedding Favors

Mike and I were racking our brains trying to come up with party favors for our wedding guests. I didn’t want to waste money on a little tchotchke that everyone would throw out, but I also didn’t want to break the bank on a more significant gift. While I love the idea of making a donation to charity in honor of my guests, I also wanted to give my guests something sentimental that they can hold onto.

At four in the morning I woke up with this idea:

Name cards that were actually books which included lyrics from our first song, the recipes for the cookies we served, and pictures of us.

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Mike said I was crazy and that it would take too much time. He was right, but it was totally worth it. I loved making this books, and I love seeing them in my friend’s bookcases when I visit their homes 🙂 Mission accomplished!

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There were really simple to make but super tedious. I suggest enlisting a team of friends to help you. First I printed, cut and hole punched each of the booklets.

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I used thicker mason board for the covers. You can get this at most craft or office supply store. I used block stamps to mark everyone’s name on each cover. I kind of liked all the little imperfections.

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Then I just used twine to tie them all together. I originally wanted to Japanese Bind the books, but that would have taken way too much time and sanity.2013-02-20 20.02.36Marla was a huge help to me.

2013-02-07 14.01.13The whole project ended up costing about $3.50 a person (including ink, paper, and a special paper-cutter).