No, they’re not mandatory, but wedding favors are a great way to thank your guests for sharing in your celebration! They’re also a fun little extra to tie in the style of the occasion.
Today, almost anything goes. And just like the rest of the event, wedding favors should reflect the personality of the bride and groom. Not sure where to begin? Some of my favorite wedding favor ideas include:
Everyone loves something to eat, so delight your guests with something sweet or savory. Chocolates, almonds and candies are always popular. Or give a regional favorite from your wedding location such as Hudson Valley Apples.
Along those lines, test your culinary skills and make a homemade jam or spread for your guests (package them in festive customized jars!).
Quench their thirst
If your budget allows it, wow your guests with a nice bottle of wine, whether a selection served at the wedding or from a local winery. If you’re really ambitious, consider making your own, and stamp it with a personalized label. This is one of my favorite wedding favor ideas, but plan ahead – this must be done at least 3 months in advance.
Give your guests something that will forever remind them of your wedding day. Nothing brings a person back to a special moment quite like a song. So make a wedding playlist, and feature songs from the ceremony and reception. Feature selections from local artists. Or if the two of you just love music and want to share your tastes with your guests, make a cd of your favorites. Every time they pop it into the player, they’ll think of you and what a great time they had at your celebration.
These days, almost any item or trinket can be personalized, so think of something creative that goes along with your wedding theme, and stamp it with your initials or wedding date. You name it; someone can customize it – golf balls, koozies, ornaments, seashells, matchbooks, candles or soaps. You’re only limited by your imagination. I’ve even seen fortune cookies filled with personalized fortunes!
Give something back
Another one of my favorite wedding favor ideas: Some brides are foregoing the traditional favor altogether, instead making a donation to their favorite charity. You can print nice cards that read “in lieu of a favor, a donation has been made to xyz charity.” Just be sure your chosen charity is legitimate, and get a receipt for tax purposes.
Wedding favors are all about presentation. A few M&M’s can be amazing when wrapped in a pretty package. Choose packaging that matches or complements your wedding colors and table decor. Matching ribbons and personalized logo stickers or favor labels always add a nice touch. Depending on the favor you choose to give, the choice of packaging may be obvious. If not, consider these fun options:
Mini Chinese take-out boxes
Miniature canvas bags (printed with your monogram or wedding logo!)
Customized bottles or jars
Small Julep cups
Mini Terracotta pots
In determining just how and when to present them, you also have some options. Set up a table and display them along with a card that says “Please take one” or “Thank You.” (this makes for a lovely photo opp!). Or make your favors part of your table decor and place one at each place setting. A waiter or coat room attendant can also hand them out at a designated time. Some couples even add the extra special personal touch of distributing them personally to their guests as they leave the reception. However, due to timing and logistics, this method is best saved for smaller weddings.
Remember, favors are simply a nice gesture to cap off a successfully planned event. They don’t need to drain your budget. Expect to spend around $1 per guest on the low-end, and just like any other element of a wedding, costs can always creep up to suit your wildest imaginations.
If budget is a concern, you don’t necessarily need to cross favors off of your expense list. Food and candy items are often inexpensive and always popular. Or round-up your family or bridesmaids for a fun night of homemade favor-making. Even if you have your heart set on a high-end item, save by giving one gift per couple, placed between their dinner plates and tagged with the couples’ names (of course, your single friends will each still receive one). Or get two things for the price of one, and ask your florist to create centerpieces that can be split into tiny bouquets for your guests to take home.
Just like everything else in the wedding planning process, if you really want to give favors at your wedding, you can always find a way to make it fit within your budget.