I know the jury is still out on whether favors are a wedding necessity, but Mr. Wallaby and I decided to provide favors for our guests as an extra little thank you for coming. When we were considering different favor options, there were a few guiding principles:
1. No monogrammed/personalized favors with a picture of us, or our name on them. We routinely purge our houses of clutter, and we already get all kinds of free things from work. (We work for large companies, and in our industry there are always giveaways at conferences and recruiting efforts—I have a laundry bag, many water bottles, several flash drives, a cutting board, a coffee cup, zillions of pens, a back-pack, a duffle bag, and countless other things emblazoned with my company’s logo.)
2. The packaging must be minimal and must be reusable or recyclable. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Mr. W and I are big-time into minimizing our impact on the environment.
3. We preferred to choose an edible or consumable favor. We love food, especially sweets, and it would be only fitting to offer our guests edible treats.
I did some research and found several options. (Now, I’m sure there are a million other favors that we would’ve loved—macarons, anyone?—but these are the things I found that were most personal and reflected something special about the two of us.)
First—wildflower seeds. These aren’t edible, but they are consumable—they won’t take up shelf space or collect dust. Mr. W and I love gardening and we’re both very interested in botany and how plants grow—and how plants benefit the natural environment. I took a lot of plant biology classes in college, too—I’m even hoping to earn a PhD in plant biology eventually. Moreover, the Texas wildflowers are well-known in this area, so we could offer our guests packets of Texas bluebonnets or another variety of Texas wildflower seeds.
A second type of favors we considered was coffee beans, a la Mrs. Coyote and Mrs. Husky. I’m from Seattle, a coffee-lover’s mecca and home of the original Starbucks. Seattle has tons of awesome small coffee mills, so Mr. W and I could buy a lot of coffee beans wholesale and arrange them in pretty packaging for our guests. Unfortunately, though, once I looked at the prices of coffee beans, this looked a little too expensive for our meager favors budget.
Coffee beans as wedding favors…mmmm I can smell fresh-brewing coffee just looking at those beans. Photo by Ellen LeRoy Photography.
I found a third idea for favors when I was browsing through a book I had bought full of DIY wedding projects called Handmade Weddings. (I highly recommend this book! We’ve borrowed several project ideas from its authors, and in general, it gives me a lot of confidence and inspiration surrounding our DIY wedding.) The idea is to offer guests loose-leaf tea packaged in pretty little glass test tubes:
These favors have much more personal meaning for us than may be apparent at first glance. Mr. W is a chemical engineer, and he slaved away in engineering courses for four and a half longggg years—I’m really proud of his degree and his hard work. Even now, he works with chemical analysis all the time. So the test tubes are very fitting for Mr. W. Second, tea is the national drink of Iran. Persians drink a lot of tea. Mr. W’s parents drink tea daily, and they always brew a pot of tea when they’re entertaining guests. I think all of the Persian guests at our wedding will appreciate this nod to their culture. And it’s not just a nod to Mr. W’s family—my family drinks pots and pots of tea, too. My brother buys earl grey tea by the pound (no joke!) to get through finals, and my parents drink lots of yummy chamomile tea to cozy up during the cold, wet Seattle winters. So I am very happy we found a favor that is meaningful for all of us!
These favors were actually really economical. I bought Fisher glass test tubes (size 18×150 mm) off eBay in bulk for $22.95, and I bought size six cork stoppers for $18 online from Lake Charles Manufacturing. I filled the test tubes with organic loose leaf tea that I bought from a variety of sources. I started out by buying a variety of tea (black tea, green tea, and an herbal blend) by the pound from Starwest Botanicals when I would see a product go on sale. However, after I ran out of tea and still needed to fill 60 more test tubes, I discovered that Whole Foods Market sells bulk tea, so I could buy the tea in person and avoid the cost of shipping. So I bought up all of their black tea and chamomile tea that they had in stock, and went to work filling the rest of the test tubes.
All that remained was attaching some sort of thank-you note to the test tubes. In the DIY instructions from Handmade Weddings, you are told to order a custom stamp for the favor tags and stamp your note onto muslin or lightweight canvas, then use an eyelet cutter to create holes to string some twine through the tag and attach to the test tubes. However, this sounded like too many materials to me, so I bought a scalloped tag punch with a 50% off coupon at Michaels, threw together a simple template for the tags in Microsoft Word, and set about punching out paper tags. I created a small hole in the scallop of each tag using a sharp pencil, and I tied the tags to the test tubes with pink baker’s twine.
Ta-da! The finished product. Personal photo.
All of the favors packed up and ready to go. Personal photo.
The other side of the tag says “Merci! Love, Mr. W & Miss W” (merci means “thank you” in Farsi, Mr. W’s family’s native language). We decided to display a favor at each place setting on the dinner tables at the wedding, in this style:
For all you brides out there on a tight budget, this turned out to be a really wallet-friendly decision! I estimated that each test tube filled with tea cost us less than $1. You could fill the test tube with just about anything—candy, wildflower seeds, confetti, honey, syrup—the sky’s the limit. Plus, once your guests consume the favors, the glass test tubes can be recycled. Win-win
Are you providing favors for your guests? Did you go above and beyond to ensure that your favors represent something personal about you and your significant other?