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Fifteen Great Ideas

13. Think beyond little boxes of chocolate and table mints.
If you’re doing favors, make them personal. “We had a couple who gave saplings—topiaries bought online—with certificates stating a tree would be planted in Israel, through the Jewish National Fund, in the guest’s name ($18 each;,” says planner Lyndsey Hamilton. “Do something similar through Trees for the Future, which plants in developing countries, ($.10 each; or American Forests, which reforests devastated areas ($1 each;” Or give out something that you love. Newlywed Michelle Flax bagged her husband’s favorite Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels for their guests ($27 for six pounds, Martin’s Pretzels; 315-628-4927;; ribbon, stickers at Arthur’s Invitations and Prints; 212-807-6502;; bags at Party City; 212-271-7310;

14. Make a grand exit.
“Release butterflies– one for every two guests—they’ll flutter around beautifully, and fly away,” says Renee Cooke of the Greathouse Butterfly Farm (from $89 for a mixed dozen; 866-475-2088; Or, hand out sparklers, which make for a dramatic photo op ($41 for 192 sticks;

15. Don’t stop while the night’s still young.
No one will want to leave a good party, especially one that promises more snacks and music. Station a Mister Softee truck on the street. Offer the whole menu of ice cream, keep a tab, and pay in cash. For 200 guests, it can cost as little as $400 (856-939-4103; Planner Bussen had one couple who took all their friends to the Hotel on Rivington. “For their after-party, they rented the triplex penthouse, which has a bar and a hot tub, and brought in a D.J. to spin late-night ($7,500 for the penthouse; 646-253-6638;”

Additional reporting by Catherine Coreno, Frankie Thomas, and Katherine Ward


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