DIY · Tablescape · The Street · Weddings & Receptions

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!

 

 

The Street · Wedding Planning Essentials · Weddings & Receptions

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!

LGBTQ · Real Weddings

Raunn & Tim

April 22nd, 2017

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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio
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Raunn & Tim | Fitz Carlile Studio

Who proposed to whom? Tim proposed to me

How / where did you get engaged? In our old apartment on Highland Avenue, in Bernal Heights, shortly after he walked in the door from one of those hellishly long work trips to/from South Africa

Wedding date? April 22nd, 2017

Venue? Tim’s best friend’s home in Sonoma

Coordinator? Tim did much of the planning with a big assist from friends Paul & Jerry, who also hosted our family/rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding

Catering? Eli Grace Catering

Cake by? Moustache Baked Goods, and aside from it not being a bundt cake, they really delivered on our whacky chocolate bourbon bacon cake with chocolate-bacon buttercreme frosting.

Gratitude for Beginners · holidays · The Street

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!

The Street · Wedding Planning Essentials

Totally Awesome Same-Sex Wedding Cake Toppers

Acrylic Custom Cake Topper #caketopper #samelove #gaywedding #gayweddingcaketopper #gaycaketopper

A post shared by TheTaylorStreetGuys (@thetaylorstreetguys)

Tablescape · The Street

Napkins – The final detail

The holidays are upon us and the family and friends events you have planned for the next two months will be a huge success! After all that planning and hard-work everyone will be talking about your party for the next year. There’s just one final detail – Napkins.

Our selection of napkins can be customized to fit your event and theme. A simple #CHEERS design or old classics like Sip Sip, Hooray or Seasons Greetings. There are foil colors for printing to add a little sparkle plus a wide rage of napkin colors. Perfect for placement on your buffet or cocktail area.

Personalized napkins are super fun, a great addition to any party, plus it kicks festive up a notch! Got for it.

The Street

Crisp Fall Party at Upper Shirley Vineyards in Virginia

I love the color of the flower arrangements – actually the whole presentation is pretty spectacular. Totally captures the summer to fall feel.

The Knot Pro Blog

Summer fading to fall was the inspiration for our event planned by Lauren Emerson Events & Design. The leaves in Virginia were starting to turn a slight orange hue and it was the perfect element to pull into the design. Upper Shirley Vineyards has beautiful views of the Virginia landscape that made it the ideal location for our event. Our favorite elements of the night included the plaid linen (Pressed Fine Linens), the dainty plates (Paisley & Jade), and the amazing entertainment — think bluegrass playing all night long (Early Grove String Band) and a caricature drawings for all of the guests. (Kyle Edgell). Check out more of the crisp fall inspired details from the night captured by the talented Elisa Bricker!

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The Knot Event – 9/20/17 from Silver Streak Media on Vimeo.

A special thank you to all…

View original post 105 more words

Gifts · The Street

Gift Giving – 5 Simple Rules for a Sane & Successful Shopping Season

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Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

It is human nature — the more we value the person we are shopping for, the more we strive to find THAT one-in-a-million gift that will completely & effortlessly reflect the depth of our feelings about our relationship and be EXACTLY what he or she wants.

Warning, Will Robinson.

You know and I know that thinking this way is, at best, unhelpful & at worst, a sure path to frustration and spending (way) more than you can afford.  So why do we do this?  There is a psychology to gift giving — and there is research that demonstrates the biggest effect from giving a gift may be on ourselves — our self-perception as a result of the gift we give.  Self-perception could be a pretty powerful motivator when just one person is involved, but multiplied by a long gift list full of cherished friends and family and it is not surprising that we often lose control.

Here are 5 rules that I know, but sometimes forget to apply, when it comes to holiday shopping.   These help to keep me grounded and thoughtful as I go about checking off my Christmas gift giving list.

 

1. Money does not buy love.     You can be passionate about gift giving and still not blow your budget.  Giving gifts that are practical, but maybe a bit less desirable to give as gifts, is GOOD!  Handmade gifts are awesome, if you dedicate the time and materials needed to truly deliver.  But – if you haven’t yet done what you are planning to do for a DIY gift – do a practice run to make sure you have all the supplies you need and that the end result is what you envisioned.  As with all gifts — keep the recipient in mind — ‘useful’, ‘edible’ or ‘holiday keepsake’ are all great DIY categories.  And lastly – do not turn gift spending into a competitive sport – do not attempt to match spend.  Rarely turns out well, builds resentment, and just not a good headspace to be in.

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Capiz Shell Candle Holder | Taylor Street Favors

2.  If they asked for it, that probably means they would like it.     There are studies that demonstrate recipients actually appreciate gifts they specifically asked for more than gifts chosen by the gift giver. (!!) Moreover, when recipients then rated the giver of the requested gift, they rated them as more thoughtful and personal than the person who gave the unrequested gift.  Long story short here — don’t guess — ask for a list.  And if you are worried that asking for a gift list may seem tacky, or obligate the person you’re asking to then give you a gift, good points!  Plan B:  going with a gift that tracks an interest (yoga) or theme (cooking, gardening) or a gift certificate (massage, bookstore, coffeeshop) could be a great alternative.

3.  Men and women not only shop differently, but truly think differently about gifts.     Gender factors into gift giving & receiving.  While a generalization, men tend to skew more pragmatic/functional & women skew in a more sentimental gift direction.  I am not saying this to let anyone “off the hook” for a poor gift choice.  No way.  I say this so that you and I can compensate for any chromosomal tendency we might have – not play to it.  So while gift cards and envelopes full of cash have their place, don’t assume that because you would like to receive your gift that everyone else would appreciate receiving it as well.

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Photo by To a Heftier on Unsplash

4.  ‘Experience gifts’ are often more appreciated.  A gift of time – sharing a meal & a movie together, breakfast in bed, a day spent shopping, hiking, or museum hopping are all amazing gifts.  These gifts allow you to feel closer by spending more time together and allow you to tailor your gift to the specific interests of the person receiving it – increasing the emotional value to you both.

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Personalized Turkish Towels | Taylor Street Favors

5.  It is okay to give the same gift to different people.  Placing a premium on “uniqueness” over “appropriateness” is the trap not to fall into here.  It’s okay to buy the same gift for different people if you believe each person would enjoy receiving it.   It’s efficient too!  Might need to consider if the recipients would be opening your gifts to them at the same event, but really — if I like a gift enough for more than one person, or if two people on my list have asked for the same gift, why not!

Choosing gifts based on the recipients perspective is the best way to approach your gift shopping.  Gift giving, when done with intention and thoughtfulness, can make relationships stronger, regardless of money spent.

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Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash
Gifts · The Street

Inspiration through Fermentation

The holiday season swings into full gear.  Christmas and Hanukkah gift shopping looms.  I drink more wine.  Which leads me to today’s article on 5 great gift ideas for wine (& cheese) lovers.

WINE GLASSES

The stem versus stemless dilemma need not confuse.  [And for those of you who, like me, enjoy wading deeply into details few appreciate – know this:  stemless wine glasses actually have neither a stem nor a base & are more accurately referred to as tumblers.]   Stems are there so you do not hold the bowl, thereby warming the wine beyond its optimal drinking temperature. Stemless wine glasses have become synonymous with modern & casual, while stemmed glasses suggest, to some, a more formal and traditional affair.  Taylor Street offers both.  And rather than a colorful imprint that will not wear well over numerous cleanings, we suggest an etched personalization, with a minimal design that is beautifully etched.  Two of our most popular wine glasses:

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Stemless, Etched
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Bordeaux Decanter Gift Set by Viski

COASTERS

Too many wine glasses already? What about coasters.  Coasters can be cool.  These coasters are keepers, handmade hammered copper backed with black velvet.

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Hammered Copper Coasters

BOOK

For those on your list who love books and would enjoy learning as much as possible about wine from one of today’s most knowledgeable and entertaining experts, The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil is the book for you.  Spoil your loved one with the hardcover edition at $22.

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The Wine Bible, available on Amazon.com

CHEESE BOARD

If you believe, as I do, that wine tastes better when shared with friends,  then why not gift a cheeseboard to linger longer?   Our bamboo board has a slate strip running through it, which makes it easy to add a fun & personal chalk note to guests with each use.

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Personalized Bamboo & Slate Cheese Board

 

There you are.  Five gifts for the wine (& cheese) lover on your guest list.

And remember — the best wines are the ones we drink with friends.

Gifts · The Street · Weddings & Receptions

Gifts for the Newly Engaged

Engagement photo provided by Nadine Cheetah of Cheetah Photography

Most of us can find an ‘okay’ gift in a heartbeat, but finding just the right gift for a newly engaged dear friend — or friends — is hard.  Fold in equal parts of what-is-customary, what-is-wanted, what-is-so-NOT-me and what-is-affordable, add a lack of available time to shop into the mix, and there – you and a white elephant might meet.  Fear not, as Taylor Street is not just a wedding favors store.  We have awesome gifts for the newly engaged — for both guys and gals (!) — and couples too.

But first, be aware of these rules of the road.  There are different gifting moments, with different generally accepted gifts for each — beginning with the engagement announcement (engagement gift), then the bridal shower / bro-bath gift, and lastly the bachelorette / bachelor party gift.

Engagement Gifts

I try to celebrate a friend’s engagement with an out-to-lunch treat, or a heartfelt card, like this one…

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White Rose Love Is Love Card And Gift Box

But, if there is an engagement party, do you “have to” bring a gift you ask?  No, you don’t have to, but if your friend’s parents have put on a fairly wiz-bang catered event for the about-to-be-married, you absolutely will see other guests bringing gifts…so, yes, you ought to.  These gift suggestions range from $35 to $55.  Particularly if you know both of the newly engaged, think of gifts that a couple can enjoy together.  It does not need to be “wedding-y”.

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Etched Whiskey Label Crystal Tumblers
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Stoneware Sake Set by Viski
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Personalized Red Picnic Cooler Set

 

 

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Hammered Metal Ice Bucket

 

 

Bridal Shower / Bro-Bath Gifts

This is most definitely a party/gifting event, and is usually planned far enough in advance that the wedding registry is already available – potentially creating a dilemma – do you do your gifting based on the registry or gift “free-style”?  If you keep the registry gift costs at the lower end, I like to not only buy something from the couple’s list, but then give a smaller, personal item too, particularly if I have not yet celebrated the engagement with a gift early on.  These gifts ideas range from $15 to $150.

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Stacked Initials with Date Leather Travel Diary
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Script Monogram Journal
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Personalized Vertical Bar Necklace
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Thomas Bracelet: Wood With Gold Skull
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Personalized Gold Edged Ring Dish

Bachelorette / Bachelor Party Gifts

As the last “blow-out” event of a bride or groom’s single days, the emphasis here is on fun and friends.  Your gifts ought to reflect this. Depending on the cost sharing arrangement for this last party, your gift may have already been given – helping to pay for the event itself – a Las Vegas weekend can get pricey.  If a gift is in order, gifts related to the honeymoon or travel are always welcome.  These gifts can be priced all-over-the-place, but the ones I’ve noted range from $20 to $55.

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Monogram Trucker Hat
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Personalized Moroccan Hanging Cosmetic Bag
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Personalized Turkish Cotton Robe
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Dalmatian Dot Tote – Black on White
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Personalized Black Travel Dopp Kit
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Personalized Canvas & Leather Messenger Bag
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The Force Awakens 3 Pair Socks Gift Set
2531BK_Life_SingleInitial_Alt2_2500x2500__19303.1468349508
Personalized Men’s Black Travel Tie Case
41043-31a-i_off-we-go-canvas-weekend-bag-in-pink-candy56e5bfed5af8132667ae546fd6fbc35b__91949.1509124563
Canvas Weekend Bag with Pink Stripe

There you have it – our selection of great quality gifts that are as nice to give as they are to receive.  Party on and get gifting.