Giving out wedding favors to your guests is a wedding tradition that dates to somewhere between the 16th and 18th centuries. This tradition used to be a special practice where the wealthy handed out sugar cubes at weddings. At the time, sugar was an expensive commodity.
Additionally, favors have traditionally been given as a token of thanks, but in its early years, it was also thought to be lucky. In fact, couples used to gift favors by hand personally passing on a small piece of their married bliss. This was a very personalized way to thank guests vs. the customary leaving of favors on the tables in modern days.
But this also begs the question, are favors necessary today? And, are there alternatives to the “traditional” favors seen at weddings?
The Do’s + Don’ts of Wedding Favors
First, while wedding favors may seem traditional, they aren’t a required or necessary component of wedding preparation. If you are on a tight budget, there is no reason to feel obligated to spend money on favors. In fact, you can opt for an experience, such as a photo booth in lieu of a gift and guests will adore it all the same!
If you are considering wedding favors, please do not
- Give favors out of obligation—you’re better off skipping them completely!
- Make your own edible favors—you don’t need more stress before the big day, and you may grossly underestimate your available time and get into a panic
If you are considering wedding favors, keep these in mind
- Choose something meaningful that represents you and your partner
- Opt for donating to a charity to avoid the waste of an actual favor
- Choose a favor that is useful to your guests, such as a candle that can be burned or matchsticks
- Carefully choose how you will present and distribute your favors. Opt for a separate display table or keep it simple and leave them on each guest’s spot at the table.
- Think about the environment. Go eco-friendly with a plant!
- Include a sweet note to your guests.
Let’s Ditch those Traditional Favors for Something Different!
We mentioned the photo booth, but there are so many options out there that can enhance your wedding day and ditch traditional favors completely. There are so many ways to allocate your budget, and since weddings are already expensive, wasting that portion of your budget on a favor may leave a bad taste in your mouth. Especially if you have been to multiple weddings where you yourself have ditched the favor.
We’ve compiled a list of ways you can make your day unique and still thank your guests for being part of your big day! Check these alternative favors out!
Give your guests a way to bring memories home with photo opportunities. Depending on your budget, you can choose to hire someone to run a photo booth or create your own photo booth area yourself. You can even splurge for an artist to come and paint personalized portraits at your wedding.
Whichever method you prefer, your guests will love remembering your big day with pictures they can save, hang, or frame at home.
Fun + Functional
While your guests may not be too keen on monogrammed items, they are sure to love a personalized touch with their own name. Consider personalized glasses as your favor to your guests, which provide both a clever way to get guests to their seats and a little token of your appreciation for the big day.
If glasses are out of the budget, take this idea and run with it! There are so many ways you can turn your favor/seating arrangements into something fun and functional!
Light up the Night
Are you having a nighttime wedding? Sparklers and glow sticks are a fun and safe way to add a little bit of fun to your party! People love both sparklers and glow sticks! Sparklers are a great option for sending off your couple into the night. Glow sticks help liven up the dance floor!
Fun is truly had by all when you let loose and go for an off-beat favor option!
Just for Kicks
Speaking of kicks, women know dancing in heels all night is no fun. In fact, many women love to kick off their shoes and hit the dance floor, dirty feet aside. Make their dancing feet have a more comfortable night by ditching your favors in lieu of a basket of sandals. Let all the ladies dance away into the night, whether it’s an indoor or outdoor wedding, this idea always goes over well!
Give to your Favorite Charity
We touched on this earlier, but instead of allocating money to a favor fund, considering taking that money and donating it to your favorite charity. Show your guests your philanthropical side and leave them a card that describes where the donation went and how it is helping others.
In fact, we found this idea of a couple who shared their two favorite charities with guests and allowed them to vote for their favorite. They split the donation based on the number of votes per charity. It allowed guests to feel as though they are involved in the decision and makes the giving interactive.
Out-of-Towner Welcome Bags
If you have a lot of out of town guests who are traveling distances to come and witness your day, consider letting them know right away how much you appreciate their presence. Give them out of town welcome bags and include seasonal items, such as
- Sunglasses for a summery setting
- Umbrella for rainy seasons
- Hat and mittens for winter
Welcome bags are a terrific way to give back to your friends and family. They really appreciate the little things and you’ll enjoy spreading your joy to others during this time!
Request a Tune
One of the coolest ways to involve your wedding guests without giving them a favor is letting them take control of the music for the evening. When you send your invites, include a small questionnaire and ask them to request a favorite song. Collect them and work them into the evening and make them feel special and as though they were involved in the planning.
One bride even pulled the suggestions and put them in a fishbowl allowing them to be selected every few songs played by the DJ. She had the DJ announce the song and who it was requested by and danced with that person. It’s a way to make sure you see your guests and your playlist is constantly shifting to music everyone will love throughout the night.
Final Words: Don’t overthink it and have an amazing time
When it comes down to planning, wedding favors are one of the last things that should be thought out. When it comes to your budget, it is one of the smallest allocated amounts (usually). There is no reason to stress over the favor. Don’t make it complex.
It doesn’t matter whether you love traditional favors, or you want to shake things up a bit, your guests are there to see you and your partner walk blissfully into your new life together. Most instances guests won’t even bat an eye at the favors, so they don’t have to be “the perfect favor”.
Here are some final tips for picking a favor that will leave a sweet, lasting impression for your wedding guests. Choose a favor that does one or more of the following”
- Reflects you and your partner’s personalities
- Is an item that is useful
- Is sensible for the season
- Is affordable
- Allows your guests to have even more fun
Did you use something completely unique, off-the-beaten-path, and not on our list? We would love to hear what you did to thank your guests for attending! Send us a message and let us know!