All 'bout Favors!
Favor is such a strange name for a guest gift, isn't it? Anyways.. I digress.
Nothing varies more about a wedding than what favors the couple gives away. I would say the most popular ideas I have seen are the ones listed below.
Custom Can Koozies
There is nothing wrong with these favors at all, but if you are exploring options and are looking for the perfect favor I want to provide my unsolicited advice. As a wedding photographer I have seen all of these options and I have gotten to take some favors as a professional and as a guest for my own friends weddings. I have created a very strong opinion on the subject.
Pros: Very inexpensive, fun custom options, easily can fit the wedding theme or color scheme, can be used right away in some cases.
Cons: Very few guests may be drinkers of things that would benefit from a can Koozie. If people are using a can koozie they typically will want one that reflects their personality and not one that says "Bride & Groom Est. 01/01/2023"
Summary: Can Koozies are a super easy and affordable option, but they may easily become clutter in junk drawers for the rest of eternity.
Pros: Anyone can use a candle, They can be used and then thrown away. Candles make an easy to distribute favor.
Cons: People can be pretty picky about their candle scents. Guests burn the candle then throw it away. Can get pretty costly depending on where they are purchased.
Summary: Guests may like that they can use these and toss them which they may love, but are you ok with a costly favor that may just get thrown away?
Pros: They are cute and they add a really natural element to the decor.
Cons: These are costly and they are so messy and hard to prepare for your wedding. I have taken part in multiple weddings that offered plants and I have to say keeping 100+ Plants alive for a week or so after spending days potting them or taking them out of boxes, then to have to transport them carefully to the wedding. It is honestly a lot of work for a small element of your wedding day. Most guests will not take the plant home and take care of it or they will leave them all at the venue and you will have to take a bunch of new plants home.
Summary: This idea photographs well and is a focal point, but it is a lot of work for plants that will likely all die.
Pros: People love edible gifts they can toss away after its use, fun way to incorporate different themes or personality into your day or event. Very easy to purchase, store, distribute.
Summary: Guests love this idea and it is super easy to execute, but can be expensive.
Custom wine glasses
Pros: Can be used right away depending on the wedding venue, useable favor.
Cons: Can be costly, likely won't get used by guests at home, but will be kept for some time. Can be difficult to store and distribute since they are fragile.
Summary: Wine glasses are a great and useable favor to your guests as long as you feel comfortable storing and distributing them for your event.
What Shauna Recommends:
Okay, if you have come this far its because you want better/cooler/cost effective favor options. Let's dive into the ideas:
Alcohol Soaking Food
When I tell you this is the most impactful and perfect gift to your guests. Some venues have even incorporated this idea into their packaging. Essentially instead of a gift to take home couples are offering a bite to eat as their guests exit their wedding at the end of the night. This can be a number of different things such as; soft pretzels, wrapped sandwiches, fries in to-go containers, or any other carb to help guests recover from the night. By wedding ending time dinner would have been 2-3 hours prior so this favor idea is usually highly appreciated by the guests. I can easily recall every wedding I have attended that has done this and can clearly remember the gratitude I had for it.
Honestly you would think this sounds like a terrible idea as no one would like it, but I will say as a guest who has attended a wedding that did this I found myself thrilled that I did not have a trinket to bring home and find a spot for that the money that would have been spent on the favor was put to good use. So picking a fundraiser that is dear to you and your partner's hearts and offering a donation in honor of your wedding is special and people will notice that. Additionally if you find favors to be expensive (as they really can be) with a donation the amount is truly custom to whatever meets your budget which can be a great way to save without completely taking away having a favor to thank your guests.
This is one for weddings that have an outdoor area to their venue. I had seen multiple fall weddings offer this. Basically the couple gets a number of inexpensive blankets to offer guests to keep warm at the event. Blankets are typically used by the women so you can chose to only get these for the women of your wedding saving a bunch of money. Guests can bring them home or leave them in their car to be used. My brother in laws did this for their wedding and guests loved it. They used Ikea blankets like this one, Ikea Blanket
Hang Over Kit
I actually haven't seen this before, but if you'd like to take a journey with me I want to share this idea so maybe you can use it. Have guests create a hangover kit with a punny sign like, "So a hang over isn't the only think you're leaving here with" or "Because we tied the knot, and you tied one off". Then offer water bottles, Gatorade, sachets of pain killers, small snacks, and mints. These are typical house hold items so if you have to take some home they won't be wasted and they will make a lasting impact on your guests.
Surprise! This is probably not what you are expecting. I know as a wedding photographer I have seen all of the ideas and have thought of my own of course as well. But, if you came to me questioning what to do with favors as someone who cares deeply for the couples I work with I would tell them very plainly that I wouldn't worry over favors. I have seen many weddings who didn't bother themselves to offer favors and the wedding was no different because of it. Your guests don't need a take away or a gift from you. You asked them to be apart in your day because you love them and you want to celebrate this monumental day with them present. Also, they ate, drank, and (if they are a good time) shook their ass so I am sure they were happy to be there regardless.
So what did you do? Or what are your ideas? I would love to hear them!
Happy Planning Guys!