[This blog post appeared on the Wishpot Wedding Blog!]
As gracious and generous hosts, you’ll send your guests home with a little something to remember your day by. The subject of wedding favors is a hot topic, with more and more couples wondering if it’s something they can skip to save money. The answer? No way! Favors are a must-have, and guests deserve – after taking the time, trouble, travel and expense to be with you – something a little bit more than just great memories of a great weekend to take home with them.
Your choice of favor should resonate with the theme and style of your wedding, perhaps the season, and it should definitely be you. There are countless ways to personalize your favors, and you have a world of inexpensive options open to you. I’ll start you off here with a collection of the most popular favor ideas out there, and I encourage you to check out the wonderful, budget-priced options at www.BlissWeddingsMarket.com.
- Chocolates. Godiva offers wedding-themed boxes of two-piece or four-piece for just a few dollars each. And look at other brands of filled chocolates or truffles, also in their own attractive boxes.
- Fill small tulle bags or gift boxes with a few handfuls of your favorite candies, like M&Ms or rainbow Skittles, mini peanut butter cups, jellybeans or nonpareils.
- Very popular now: oversized peanut butter cups that have been iced with a petite rosebud design.
- Chocolate-covered Oreos or other childhood favorite cookies.
- Girl Scout cookies.
- Iced sugar cookies, like the ones you’ll find in your wedding’s theme colors at www.cherylandco.com, or you can make them yourselves!
- Chocolate chip cookies…again, you can spend a day baking and save a fortune by making them yourselves.
- Same goes for brownies. Just be sure to make some without nuts, due to people’s allergies.
- Fill a bag with chocolate covered coffee beans…
- …or pistachios or a mixed peanut collection.
- Go traditional with sugared almonds (sometimes called ‘confetti’), which has been a staple in wedding favors for decades. These treats are symbolic of sweetness and prosperity. Shop for these in bulk at candy stores and even at craft stores that stock them at a discount. If you go to a bakery for them, you’ll pay top dollar.
- Hand out great big tufts of cotton candy in your wedding’s colors. You can buy them pre-made for less at bulk candy stores and party supply stores rather than renting a machine (and getting all sticky as you try to make them).
- Choose jars of great, unique salsas and place them in baskets together with mini bags of tortilla chips.
- Gourmet-loving couples are handing out small bottles of infused olive oils – with lemon, rosemary, or hot pepper flavoring to suit their guests’ future cooking needs. Get great small cork-stop bottles, fill them from economy-sized jugs of quality olive oil, place in your flavor of choice, cork up, and seal with wax. Voila!
- Regional specialties, such as jars of honey or maple syrup for your New England wedding. Jambalaya spices for your New Orleans wedding.
- As per tradition, guests can take home slices of the wedding cake or groom’s cake set in specially shaped boxes for this purpose.
- Chocolate bars, with or without personalized labels.
- Take advantage of post-Halloween candy sales and stock up on mini versions of everything from silver Peppermint Patties to Hershey’s Kisses, and all manner of other favorites. Just make sure they’re not in Halloween-colored wrappers so that it’s not too obvious.
- Mint tins are another growing trend in the world of wedding favors. You can order these online in specialty tin shapes with customized labels, or you can make this an easy Do-It-Yourself job by buying mini-tins (Heart-shaped, perhaps? Moon shaped? Ovals?) and big bags of mints at the craft store. Then print out your own custom labels to affix on top.
- Single roses for the ladies and a cigar for the men
- Cellophane-wrapped bunches of tulips or daisies in great, bright colors
- Flowering plants like mini rose or daisies, wrapped with a colored foil at the base to work with your wedding’s colors
- Tree or plant seedlings
- Herb plants, like great rosemary plants in a colored foil-wrapped base, bought for just a few dollars at the nursery or at a supermarket
- Kitchen garden seedling trio (parsley, rosemary, chives, tarragon, and so on)
- Packets of flower seeds with a personalized label (not covering planting directions, of course)
- Small gift books with poetry, quotations, or great pictures. Choose them to work with your theme (such as a lighthouses book for your beach wedding). Most can be found in the $6 to $10 range.
- Gift books filled with tear-out postcards, such as theme collections of classic artwork, or angels, or flowers. Whatever works with your wedding’s style.
- Card decks with theme ideas on them, such as a collection of ways to simplify your life/rekindle romance, etc. Find these in the giftbook section of your bookstore for just a few dollars each.
- Bumper stickers with great sayings on them, like Follow Your Bliss.
- Magnets with great poems or quotes on them.
- Great, graphic journals
- Travel coffee containers
- Candles and candleholders
- Keychains with theme décor or novelty pictures.
- Wine charms (A very hot trend right now!)
- Charm bracelets for the ladies (Under $10 at accessory stores)
- Toys! Check the toy store for Etch a Sketch, Magic 8 Ball or the pink version called the Magic Date Ball (to be used for all those romantic questions), Slinky, Super Soakers (a great takeaway from an informal outdoor or backyard wedding).
- Believe it or not, playful socks in holiday print themes for Christmas or Valentine’s Day is a big hit. One couple from San Francisco went into a dollar store on a rainy day and rounded up 75 novelty pairs of socks for just a dollar each. Their guests loved them!
- Also trendy: wintertime scarves in great pastel colors for the ladies, with matching gloves or mittens. The men’s collection came in blue or black.
- Better for the bridal shower: Bath salts in pretty colors, in great glass containers, wrapped in tulle (This is a great do-it-yourself project!)
- A DIY snack basket, like a S’Mores-making collection with graham crackers, marshmallows, and a few chocolate bars.
- For a little bit more, look at favors that serve a greater purpose, such as the pink pins at Avon, where a percentage of each purchase goes to fight breast cancer. You can find a wealth of great charities with gift tie-ins to raise money for a cause at www.idofoundation.org.
- If you wish to donate to charity in your guests’ names, in place of giving out gifts, be sure to print out the announcement on a great card with color print, and attach a token for guests to take home (such as candies or a printed poem on a laminated card from the bookstore or card shop, something tangible and not just an announcement.)
Sharon Naylor is the author of 1000 Best Wedding Bargains and 1000 Best Secrets For Your Perfect Wedding, as well as over 30 additional wedding books, www.sharonnaylor.net
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