November 09, 2007

in good favor

Not your average wine stopper

Like this design? Create an Evite invitation with this image.

Reader Mara asks, “What’s new with wedding favors? My fiancé and I have gone to great lengths to make our upcoming wedding unique, but favors end up seeming so cookie-cutter. How can we make sure our favors mean something to our guests?”

I feel your pain -- my fiancé and I are still deciding what to do for our own wedding. I’ve certainly collected my share of tchotchkes emblazoned with various dates. But think of the favors as an extension of your creativity and an opportunity to give your guests something that will make them think of you and your wedding day. So how can you make sure you don't give them something that'll end up at the back of a drawer? Here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Play up to everyone’s inner do-gooder by donating the money you would have spent on favors to your favorite charity. The charity you choose can also say something about you as a couple. If you’re animal lovers, for instance, give to the ASPCA. Let your guests know by leaving a note card at each place setting indicating the cause that you chose to give to in lieu of favors. A word to the wise: make sure to choose a charity that won’t bring contention among your guests. You probably don’t want your wedding to be a forum for political debate.
  • Create a CD with a selection of songs that will play at your wedding. The music you choose will remind your guests of the great time they had. Then when they hear My Heart Will Go On, your guests can think of you and your sweetheart instead of Kate and Leo.
  • Send everyone home with a late-night snack. Set up a candy buffet with scoops and baggies so they can take the "sweet" memories with them. You can also hire companies to come in and make mini donuts on the spot for your guests. Who won’t always remember hot donuts?

Your turn! Do you have any unique and interesting favor recommendations for Mara?

Posted by Lindsay on November 9, 2007 in Tips , Weddings

Permalink | Comments (15)

15 responses to "in good favor"

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My husband and I did something similar to the doughnut idea: we had footed cake stands set up in tiers and filled with Krispy Kremes. Then as everyone walked out for the night, they could take a doughnut with them for breakfast in the morning. We had stickers printed that we put on white paper bags that had our names on them to give it a personal touch. Everyone loved the Krispy Kremes!!

I like the donation idea however, I'd suggest donating to local organizations (especially as it relates to animal funds).

One of my favorites is They do great work and don't use your donation soliciting for more donations (as the spca seems to do sometimes) :).

Along with charity donations, I went to a wedding where the dollar dance proceeds went to charity. I had never heard of a dollar dance, but it's where guests pay to dance with the bride or groom. I think wedding boutiques will try to scam you into buying some polyester "satin" doll-sized purse to cram your dollar dance money into. And I guess the dollar dance is supposed to cash "fun money" for the honeymoon, but it was so much more moving knowing that the money went to fund cancer research at

My daughter who is "green" bought "small" herb pots (she had the local garden shop order them for her) enough for each person at the table. Then the day before we watered them then let them drip dry. I had girlfriends who like to sew, sew round circles together, in a satin look a like fabric the two colors of the wedding.(hers was sherry and off white) Then the day before the wedding we wraped the circles around the pots and held them up with a rubberband, the top part of the fabric kinda drouped over the rubber band to hide it. Then the day of the wedding she teared the pots on the tables. As each guest left they took a little herb home to plant in their garden or window sill.

Something cheap and easy would be to give seeds with a beautifully written note thanking everyone for being a part of your "budding"/"growing" relationship. Or, you could give a candle with a note encouraging guests to "keep the flame burning" in their relationships/lives.

I did cute favors for my Birthday Party... You can find mini-cocktail shakers and personalized drink mixers. The stainless steel one's are expensive but I found clear pastic ones for $3.00 and the drink mixer (cosmo) for $1.50 each. It just goes along with my fun party theme.

Hi. For my wedding I purchased disposable cameras at the dollar store and placed a couple on all the tables so that my guests could take pictures. I would put the pictures on CD and send them out to the guests. I figured it would be nice to share the pictures taken from thier point of view. It would of been alot cheaper than hiring a professional. Give it a try!

As a former wedding professional, when it came time for my own wedding, I thought long and hard about favors and decided that any wedding favor I had ever received either ended up left at the wedding or in the trash and are a waste of money really. Thus I decided to invest that money into pastry trays for each table instead. No one missed the favors, but they sure enjoyed the money well invested in mini eclairs and treats!

Shaye is right on....can you point to one favor you've gotten at a wedding that you still have? Probably not. My husband is Middle Eastern, so the Jordan almonds, while traditional, were also a nod to his culture. I love the idea of donuts--seriously clever--and to be adored by your guests, for sure. But I think if you skip them, no one will miss them--I know I wouldn't!

Cookie-cutters are exactly what my best friend Brian and his wife Erin did, which I do still have BTW. They had a fall wedding and gave out leave cookie-cutters. The tables had pictures of them at different places like camping or Disney World, etc. As each guest arrived for pre-dinner drinks we pulled paper leaves on wire stems that had our name and location (mine was Ms. Sarah & Guest/ Bluemond Campgrounds). Then when you went to sit down, you knew which table you had been assigned to. (I still have the leave). Anyway, I thought it was VERY clever and unique.

Oops! That should be leaf not leave. Guess I shouldn't be doing this at 2:30 in the morning.

When I got married (to my now ex-husband), it was July 8th and we had a 4th of July theme. So I used red, white and blue pasta noodles to decorate the tables (very economical) and my mom made flag book markers with ribbon "poles." We put our names and wedding date on them.

They make personalized seed packages and they're beautiful all by themselves, have your wedding date on them, say whatever mushy thing about your r'ship blooming and, if your guests plant them, last up to a very long time! Google them.

We had a caricaturist come to the wedding to do caricatures for everyone at our wedding. We set up a small table with 2 chairs in the corner of the room and he drew caricatures of guests who wanted them. Our guests went home with unique, personalized favors. We got rave reviews from our friends and family. It worked out to cost us $3 per person. Perfect!

For my wedding, I decided to do oil warmers with a spice pumpkin fragrance since it will be fall. I will have the same frangrance warming at the wedding reception. Since the holiday's are coming, I thought people would appreciate the fragrance, and it will remind them of my event. The whole family can enjoy the smell and if they like it, they can get other fragrances for the rest of the year. The oil warmers I got at the dollar store and the oil was about $5. for a small wedding, it was reasonably priced. I thought it was a nice alternative to the candles, I have gotten in the past,as they can continue to enjoy my and other fragrances throughout the year. And there is no assembly required!