Just when you think your budget is busting at the seams you remember to throw in wedding favors. To some people wedding favors are a special piece of your wedding they’ll remember forever, to others wedding favors are a random thing that gets thrown in a drawer. My junk drawer holds a Cody and Kristy wedding koozie, a Matt and Keilly wine topper, and Jeff and Stephanie tin can of mints. Of course, I’ll randomly use these items, but do I really need a Michael and Chandra personalized wine glass? Do you really have to hand out favors to guests that may end up in a junk drawer? It’s up to you because it’s your wedding, but we have a few things to think about before you make the final decision.
Wedding Favor Madness
Wedding favors have been a “must” for centuries. Historically in Europe a small box full of edible sugary snacks was given to each guest as they left the wedding. Weddings have always been considered lucky and the thought was sent down for years that the luck should be passed on to guests. These favors are usually given as a token of your appreciation to guests for attending your big day. Some people choose to go all out, spending a lot of money on each favor while most couples give a small gift placed at each guest’s seat. The problem is that many budgets can’t fit in all these favors. If you have a wedding with 250 guests, a couple of dollars for each favor adds up very quickly. You have no idea who is going to remember to take their gift home after a night of drinking and dancing. Many times, the couple is left with a box full of personalized wedding bubbles that will end up in their own junk drawer. Guests probably expect a favor, but they aren’t going to your wedding with that in mind. Your loved ones don’t attend your wedding just to get a gift.
Hit Two Birds with One Stone
You can use things in your reception that double as wedding favors. We decided to have a candy buffet full of all sorts of goodies. Guests filled up little bags with their favorite candy for dessert and as their favor. Of course, they could also indulge in wedding cake. They got the choice of having two different types of desserts, so everyone wins. If you’re going to have a photo booth for fun, it’s perfect to use the strip of photos as your favor. You’re already paying for the photo booth as entertainment, so you aren’t out any extra money. Many couples use extra slices of cake as the wedding favor. Almost all weddings have cake so it’s a no brainer to use it as your favor. Some couples double place cards as photo frames that guests can personalize with their own photos after they take out their name.
If you can’t shake the need for wedding favors, make sure you gift a practical gift. Remember you are never going to please everyone. If you give a mini bottle of lotion as a wedding favor, someone is going to be upset that they don’t like the smell or type. Just roll your eyes and move on. Think of things you use on a regular basis. A luggage tag is something small that you wouldn’t usually buy yourself, but it’s a perfect little gift. You probably drink out of plastic cups on a regular basis so personalized cups are cute and practical. A drink koozie may get stashed in a drawer full of other koozies, but it’s for sure going to make an appearance when you want to sip a cold drink. No one expects a wedding favor to be an expensive item. Another easy way to go practical is to make homemade items. Ask your cousin to make a few dozen of her famous chocolate chip cookies or ask your mom to whip up some of her famous candies. Edible wedding favors won’t usually end up in a garage sale because they’ll probably be eaten before guests even leave the reception! If you go practical, you can use those leftover favors the guests may forget.
Give an Alternative to Wedding Favors
One of the most thoughtful, budget friendly and easiest things to do instead of an actual wedding favor is give a donation. Many couples give a donation to their favorite charity in place of a wedding favor. In your wedding program you can include a line that states, “In lieu of favors, we made a donation to ____.” This gives guests warm fuzzies and you’ve helped a charity at the same time. Make sure it a charity you and your partner are passionate about and reflect who you are as a couple. Guests will respect your gesture and could even follow in your footsteps when they get married spreading even more love.