Don't buy thank-you gifts for your guests at home. Buy them after you arrive at your destination. A small gift that connects with the locale has much more meaning than a trinket from home. Here are a few examples:
Check out the blue and green serving pieces from Earthworks Pottery. In fact, look at all pottery because potters in Barbados have practiced their skills for hundreds of years. A small bowl or plate in clay pottery in brilliant colours and designs would be a treasure for your guests to take home.
Popular tea towels are sold at the Irish Linen Shop. The patterns include Bermuda flowers, Bermuda birds and Bermuda cottages. (Recipients often frame the towels.) Many local artists create watercolour images on various themes, particularly harbour scenes and landscapes unique to the island. In Bermuda, you will find great collections of small, inexpensive paintings, photographs, pictures and drawings, as well as pottery and small sculptures.
Some visitors take home freshly harvested sponges, wood carvings of miniature racing sloops or other distinctive collectibles created by local artisans. But the island's signature product is Androsia – a colourful, locally made batik. (These fabric designs are created by applying wax to the parts to be left undyed.) The results can be an explosion of brilliant colours. You might want this for yourself! In the search for much less expensive guest gifts, check out the straw vendors in the open-air markets as well as Bahamian handicrafts, conch shell jewellery and Junkanoo art prints.
Oil and watercolours are the two most widely used techniques of the Turks & Caicos artist. You can look for small prints – they make lovely table decorations at your reception as well as a take-home gifts for your guests.
The art of basket weaving, plaiting palm leaves for straw hats, net making and weaving fanner dishes and bowls is very much alive.
The crafts of Cuba represent both the African and Spanish influences with wooden carved figurines, masks and fine ceramics. (Don't overlook the finest cigars!) Seashells are used creatively. The necklace pictured is made from locally-grown spices and nuts.
Handicrafts are produced according to the region and the available raw materials. The prime materials are clay, wrought iron, metal, wood, ceramics, talavera pottery, glass, thread, woven palm, wax and leather. Complex patterned rugs from looms in Teotitlan, Oaxaca, unique pottery pieces from Quiroga, Michoacan, and the world-renowned Talavera ceramics from Puebla are just a sample of the wide variety of the artisan crafts that Mexico offers.
No matter where you plan to have your destination wedding, take advantage of the locally-made products that will charm your guests.
Originally published in Destination Wedding magazine, Fall/Winter 2016.