There are good things and bad things about being a stress-induced baker. The good? Around generally tense times, I always provide cake. The bad? I live by myself, and have found that consuming an entire batch of cookies in one sitting can, in fact, be done. But, now that I'm getting married in a mere 19 days, I'm using that baking vice for good (saving money, homemade favors) instead of bad (increasing my coworkers' waistlines).

The majority of my wedding guests are traveling from out of town, so I wanted to give them something to nosh on between the already-planned meals including the reception and the morning-after brunch. Hostess Bags seemed a natural fit.

I wanted to load up the bags with things that reminded people of us, like a bottle of Coke, as my fiance is from Atlanta, but also fill it with things that can be prepped ahead of time and not go stale. Out go the cookies, in come the candied pecans, biscotti, and cheese straws.

This weekend, I sat down to start making the candied pecans and, once I got in my sugar-and-spice groove, it was a snap! I made ten pounds over the course of about five hours. The cost to me? Approximately $60 (Five two-pound bags of pecans from a shopping club at $10.19 each, plus the spices I had on hand). The cost of ordering ten pounds of sugar-and-spice pecans online? $169.50, before shipping and tax!

If you're looking to save money while planning a wedding (not an oxymoron, despite what it might feel like), it can totally be done. All you need is a little time, and a lot of counter space. Stay tuned for more budget wedding ideas, including do-it-yourself favors and other Hostess Bag goodies. For candied pecan recipes, click here!