It used to be common practice to give out wedding favors at every wedding. Is it still?
This one, like just about everything else about your wedding, is up to you! I have a few thoughts on wedding guest favors for your consideration. Firstly, just like any wedding “tradition,” it’s not necessary if you don’t want it, so don’t feel obligated to have them at yours. Guests truly do not expect them anymore when they attend a wedding and if they are not present (the favors, that is), they will not be missed.
If you decide you do want to provide favors to your wedding guests, make sure you take the time to do it right. The last thing you want is to be stuck with 50+ tchotchkes to haul back home at the end of the night. Two big factors in the success of wedding favors for your guests are going to be quality and personalization. Some of the best intentioned favors have been left behind on tables or ended up in the trash because they were generic, felt like a second thought, or didn’t seem worth keeping. Let’s look at some do’s and don’ts of wedding guest favors…
DO : Set your wedding favor budget and stick to it.
It’s easy to find something super cute that caught your eye on a Pinterest board, then get carried away and try to spend too much on it. A lot of those “must-have” favors you see in viral posts belong to weddings whose budgets are way more than the average couple’s OR they were designed and bought for a very small guest list, so they could be more pricey while not breaking the bank. Nice favors can be good quality while still being budget friendly for larger crowds. Do your research and be open to alternative ways to provide the sentiment you want to share with your guests. There’s a lot out there!
DON’T : Purchase favors at the last minute that require a ton of assembly.
The last thing you need the month or week before your wedding is to be scrambling to place an order, paying extra to rush shipping, and stressing about it arriving on time… only to spend hours and energy assembling and stickering 150 tiny boxes in your already-wedding-filled living room. If it gets to be too late in your planning timeframe, is going to stress you out more than usual, or is going to cost more money than you planned for it to arrive on time, simply let it go. (Did Frozen just pop into your head? Yeah… me neither.) Wedding favors are one opportunity of a wedding celebration that does not need to happen and if you decide to pass on them, you can use that money elsewhere!
DO : Take your time in your search and be patient.
It can be easy to get frustrated by seeing higher prices than you anticipated, not finding *just* look you’re going for, or not being able to decide on what you want to give your guests. So many options! There are literally thousands of favor types and thousands more designs and vendors of each type out there. Check out some inspiration photo boards, brainstorm things your guests might find useful/meaningful, and think of ways to represent you and your fiancé as a couple. From there, you should have some solid starting points for what to search for when hunting down your favors. You won’t please everyone of course, but you can sure stay true to yourself and you can take the time to find cost-friendly options!
DON’T : Purchase your favors too early.
Not only do you want to avoid buying/making too many favors before you establish your expected guest numbers, but you also don’t want to invest in favors that won’t mesh well with your overall wedding vision. It’s easy to be tempted by early planning excitement and to spend a bunch of money on a bunch of favors that eventually don’t make sense for your celebration. Let your wedding décor and overall theme guide what favors your guests receive. After all, the favors will ideally keep the memories of your beautiful day fresh in their minds long after the night is over!
DO : Keep local vendors in mind.
It’s always good to support your local small businesses and you may be surprised at what you can find for very reasonable prices! When you add the sentiment of a local product to your favors, it makes them that much more special and memorable to your guests, connecting them to an area that’s meaningful to you. Your purchase will mean so much more to a small, local business than it does to a big online bulk company. Plus, they might be open to offering a small discount in appreciation of your business!
DON’T : Force yourself to settle.
Your budget doesn’t allow for the style you like? You aren’t finding something that feels right for you and your wedding? You start feeling like skipping it all? (THE FAVORS, I’m just talking about the favors.) If you aren’t going to be genuinely happy with or proud of what you’re finding out of the bajillions of the options, it’s okay to scrap the whole wedding favor plan at any time. You wouldn’t serve food you don’t like to your guests. The same should apply to your favors. Don’t settle for giving something you don’t like just because you feel like you have to or because you’re tired of searching. (I would love to take over the search if you want to give favors, but are getting tired of the process!)
DO : Have fun with the process and the presentation!
You should be excited by the favors you’re giving to your guests! I love finding the perfect nifty gifties for the people I care about and the fun of them receiving the gifts adds to the excitement. Create favors you’re proud of and will be happy to give. Even if they’re a little silly or wacky, if they’re something that will share your happiness with your guests, then they will be appreciated. Allow your search to get really creative! It’ll make them that much more memorable when you find the favors that feel perfect for you and your wedding.
I skipped wedding guest favors for my own wedding and allocated my budget elsewhere, but here are some fun favor ideas I’ve seen here and there! FYI, Laura McCauley Events is not affiliate with the Etsy accounts included below. They just offer cool stuff.
Remember, you are not obligated to provide your guests with wedding favors, but if you do, be realistic with your spending and above all, have fun with it!