Raise your hand if you're slightly stressed over and stuck on wedding favors? I was. So much so, that I ended up kind-of not doing them! Instead, I wrapped lightweight throws in ribbon for our lady guests to enjoy during our evening summer soiree. But, if I had this little guide handy before the Big Day, I may have been swayed. Not only are we answering all the burning questions about favors—we're pairing it with a gorgeous shoot from Jen Huang for Box Belle, who make the most darling favor boxes. So many ideas come to life with these little beauties! Take a peek below.
Why do we give wedding favors?
The tradition of handing out wedding favors goes way back. It is actually believed that the first wedding favor was designed amongst the European elite and was knowns as a bonbonnier or a small trinket box that was made of crystal, porcelain or precious stone. Sugar cubes or delicate sweets were tucked inside. As sugar because more affordable, Almonds replaced the traditional bonbonniere contents. They eventually because sugared almonds, also knowns as Jordan Almonds, which represent fertility, longevity, weath, health and happiness. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the coated candy are a metaphor for the bitter sweetness of a marriage.
Do I need to buy wedding favors for everyone?
Short answer. NO. You don't have to buy anything you don't want to buy. Longer answer is that it's simply a nice gesture, particularly when guests have travelled far to celebrate something as important as your marriage. But it doesn't have to be overly expensive - often just a handwritten note to each guest will more than suffice (although your hand will hurt). And you know? If you are just going to buy something to check the "favor" box, we would ALWAYS suggest skipping it. The only reason to incorporate a favor is to delight your guests and leave them with a lasting memory of your wedding.
What is the "right" dollar amount to spend on wedding favors?
Well duh. There is no right amount. What is right for me, isn't necessarily right for you. It depends on a lot of things. How much value do you place on having a favor at all, how important are they in terms of your decor, how much of a budget are you working with, how big is your guest list and what might need to be sacrificed to purchase the favors.
Generally speaking? Most couples spend $2-$3 per piece which if you look at national average, generally translates to about 2% of your overall budget.
What should we think about when deciding on a favor?
The first thing is if you have the budget for favors. The second, is what you want your favor to represent. You can think local and create little jars of local honey or jam, you can create a CD with your favorite music, you can send petite succulents wrapped in pretty paper for a boho chic wedding. For a family oriented wedding, consider gifting a family recipe either printed on beautiful recipe cards or attached to a small version of the recipe itself (like these mini pound cakes). For an elegant affair, make your own very chic and simple candle.
Bottom line, is to think about the part of you, your relationship, your wedding theme, the season (christmas ornaments are adorable for Winter weddings) or the location that you most want to share. That will leave a lasting and memorable impression on your guests.
How can I make my wedding favors unique and not something guests will just toss or forget about?
Favors people often toss: mini bubbles, small picture frames with you inside, anything that is difficult to transport, anything with your name on it, anything that belongs in a set (think coasters, wine glasses, etc), anything that feels like a trinket - plastic bottle openers, etc.
Here are my general rules: If you can eat it, drink it or (maybe) plant it ... it's going to be a WINNER. Everything else is a bit of a risk.
The best? Donuts, warm chocolate chip cookies and ice cold milk, local jams/honeys/maple syrups, olive oils, Cold to-go Champagne (or any alcohol for that matter), local confections, cocktail making kits, you get the drink. I mean drift.
After choosing the favor itself, it's the personalization that will ultimately make the favor feel like it's a natural and organic part of your wedding. A beautiful watercolor wrap over a bar of chocolate, a family recipe tied to a bottle of olive oil, Limoncello packaged up with your unique formula on the label, a beautiful backdrop that invites people over to see what you're gifting. You can print out your own labels to add to purchased favors or you can start from scratch entirely and get your girls together to make, bake, craft, stick and tie.
Any great favor companies online that you would recommend?
I honestly think the best favors are homemade. Even if your wedding cost a zillion dollars. Or if your wedding planner actually home-makes them. The purpose of a favor is to thank your guests and much like thank you cards, you can always order them but those that are crafted with TLC will always mean a little bit more.
That said, Etsy is a great place to find goods that have that handmade feel that favors beg for. Read reviews and make sure you can get them in time b/c most everything is indeed...handmade. Oriental Trading and Beau Coup and all of the other favor sites have gems tucked inside, you just have to be willing to do a little digging.
Local Farms, Farm Stands, Wineries, Breweries & Restaurants are sometimes willing to help and often have great prices. Amazon's marketplace is probably the single best place to find good deals on really cool favors. Garden supply and Home Improvement stores sell inexpensive plants and seeds. Local bakers, donut shop owners, confectioners and chocolatiers will sometimes sell you wholesale priced goods or just above.
Questions to ask yourself before committing to a wedding favor:
-What is my overall budget for favors including shipping, packaging, personalizing, filling, extra pieces etc.
-When in the evening should we give out favors - if they are on the dinner plate or at the place setting, no one has to physically ensure that your guests receive them but you run the risk of guests forgetting them. Setting them up on a small table near the exit with a planner or friend ensuring that every guest receives one is another great option.
-Will my guests use/love this because if not, it might be a waste.
-Does the favor tell the guests a little something about myself?
-IF you have guests that travelled, will they be able to get the favor home easily?
-How can I personalize the favor and make it fit within the look, style and feel of our wedding?