Your wedding was a spectacular success. And now as the bride and the groom you want your guests to remember your holy union long after you have said ‘I do’. The most memorable way to show your gratitude to the people who celebrated your special day would be to send them home with beautiful bespoke wedding takeaways. Handcrafted with a personal touch -- these unique favours and gifts are perfect to impress your guests.

Take your pick from one of these four UAE-based gift creators. Helen Harper from Chubby Leaves pots mini succulents as wedding favours. Sara Japanwalla sketches live fashion illustrations of wedding guests in their sparkling outfits. Melissa Orkamo runs The Party that personalises wooden products and stationery. Naila Rahim hand pours scented candles as wedding gifts at Light of Sakina.

Potted with love

Reward your guests with a gift that will keep on growing -- jars of mini succulents wrapped and styled to suit your wedding theme. They are sure to treasure these eco-friendly wedding takeaways in their homes for a long time to come. Dubai-based Helen Harper, founder of Chubby Leaves, pots an array of these special plants. “There is something lovely about giving a living gift to your guests. Not only is it beautiful and sustainable. It will last for ages with the right kind of love and attention,” says Helen.

What’s more, the pots are coloured according to the couples’ choice or to match the table decor. They come tied with vintage lace ribbons and personalised with pretty tags with wedding quotes or just a simple note saying ‘Thank You’.

Helen chooses each plant she pots. She loves curating specific succulent species, especially those that grow well in the UAE. “Echeverias are my favourite. Sedums are popular and Haworthias are great as they are more hardy,” says Helen. She prepares her own potting mixture for each succulent takeaway and then closely works with the couple to ensure it is finished with a customised personal touch that is both eye-catching and impressive.

Among the numerous weddings she has designed takeaways for, the most memorable experience was when a bride hand painted over 120 pots to plant the succulents at her wedding. “She was quite creative and had a specific colour scheme – coppers mixed with dark and light teals. In such instances the gifts are very personal,” recalls Helen. From 20 to 200 – Chubby Leaves can deliver a wide number of succulent takeaways at a single wedding.

Festive fashion sketches

Your guests will treasure this illustrated keepsake – an artistic version of themselves in their wedding finery sketched live. Dubai-based artist Sara Japanwalla specialises in creating such customised fashion illustrations. Enlist her services to design a bespoke art-induced version of a couple or individual guest at your wedding events. Sara uses the wedding’s colour theme to create a background for her sketches. She also includes the couple’s name, a border or a particular design in the background according to their choice to further personalise it. “At a Mehendi Ceremony, for instance, I might sketch a paisley border and at a beach wedding draw shells or coastal motifs or add something unique that the couple desires.”

At Desi weddings elaborate embroidery on women’s lehengas and shimmering embellishments on men’s jackets are aesthetically captured on paper through Sara’s pens. “I love using metallic elements to portray the finer details of rich designer outfits with glitter, metallic markers and tiny sequins. People love these little touches on their sketches,” adds Sara.

With a fashion design degree from Scotland, Sara has been doing live illustrations at events in Dubai since 2012. She has been associated with luxury fashion illustration campaigns for a number of leading brands, including Bloomingdale’s, Harvey Nichols, Missoni, Ralph Lauren, YSL, Maserati and Van Cleef and Arpels. Live sketching at runway shows, restaurants launches and private parties have been her forte, with weddings being a recent addition.

“I do quick family portraits too at malls and thought it would be great to use the same concept for weddings. It’s been great so far and the energy at weddings is something completely different to the fashion launches,” says Sara. “I had a real good time at a Pakistani Mehendi Ceremony recently. The groom’s and bride’s side had their posse almost branded in complementary colours. They had great taste in outfits that were really elaborate yet elegant. The crowd was wonderful and I enjoyed chatting with the guests as I sketched them.”

Memories etched forever

Add a long-lasting sparkle and shine to your wedding celebrations by gifting engraved and customised wooden keepsakes to your guests. At ‘The Party’ Melissa Orkamo curates a wide range of bespoke products and stationery as wedding gifts. Think mini-cheeseboards, wooden coasters, bespoke gift tags and cookie stamps with the name of the bride and the groom etched along with the date, matching the wedding theme and logo.

“Our products are all about personal customisation as per each couple’s wish to make their family and friends feel part of their special day in a very intimate way,” says Melissa. “At a recent wedding, for instance, instead of a traditional wedding cake the couple opted to have various cheese wheels styled together as a cake. Inspired by their cake they decided on mini cheese boards as wedding favours for their guests. We made the mini cheese boards with their wedding logo and wedding date engraved on it.”

Melissa Orkamo curates a wide range of bespoke products and stationery as wedding gifts
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Melissa starts the customisation process with a complete brief from either the event planner or the couple revealing details about their theme, colour scheme, style, number of guests and budget. The design and finer details of the engravings are shared for approval before the final product is created.

“For the cheese boards we used specialised machines to cut and engrave the bamboo material. We followed a strict quality control process to ensure each board has a smooth finishing process. Each piece is then cleaned and packed by hand, ready to be gifted to their guests,” explains Melissa. Depending on the guest list, The Party has delivered gifts ranging from to 200 bespoke coasters as keepsakes to 1,200 customised monogram logos that were gifted as wedding stationery items.

The most cherished aspect of her work, says Melissa, is the joy in planning gifts that are unique and reflect the couple’s love and future together.

Scents of gratitude

Encapsulate your love in a beautiful scent by gifting perfumed candles to your guests as wedding takeaways. Light of Sakina, founded by Dubai-based Naila Rahim, offers candles that are hand poured using eco-friendly soya wax, making them a sustainable choice as gifts. Opt for their range of customised transfer candles with photos and quotes or choose from their array of scented candles.

“We mostly receive requests to put the bride and groom’s name along with the date of the wedding on the candle. Couples can also choose from 10 different scents, which range from Lavender to Oud, to gift their guests refreshing wax takeaways,” says Naila. For a recent wedding, Naila’s team crafted 600 candles as wedding favours. The colours of the candles matched the shades of the bridal outfits. These candles were displayed as beautiful centrepieces at the table settings during the wedding party.

Light of Sakina offers candles that are hand poured using eco-friendly soya wax, making them a sustainable choice as gifts
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Handcrafted transfer candles are adorned with photos of the bride and then aesthetically embellished with ribbons and sequins. “We start off with editing the photograph and sizing it to the candle. Then the transfer process is completed. Each sequence is individually set, one by one onto the candle in our atelier. The candle is then carefully packed and sent to the client,” reveals Naila. For the hand poured scented candles Naila selects jars, a preferred scent and then embellishes them with a quote to give it a festive look.

“Each wedding is memorable and every candle has to be perfect. We spend time understanding the couple’s needs by either meeting them in person or communicating online. All the bespoke designs are made in-house and we go into production only when the couple is completely sure of their chosen design,” points out Naila. The creative process begins at least three to four weeks before the delivery date, especially if there are more than 500 candle takeaways. “It truly is a labour of love, but is totally worth the effort as the couple has something truly unique, bespoke and memorable for their wedding guests,” says Naila.

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