Template effects are an inevitable feature of supramolecular chemistry and were prominent in the discovery of crown ethers, carcerands and catenanes. Templates can act as guests or hosts, but in either role they must be structurally persistent - rigid or "hard" - on the timescale needed to form the final complexes. This report explores a peculiar effect encountered with self-assembled container molecules: soft templates. In these cases neither the guest nor the host has an independent existence, but they do coexist as complexes. The host and guest are prevented from collapsing into more familiar, stable structures by the forces that hold the complex together. The complexes represent emergent phenomena and offer a look at structures otherwise unknown in free solution.