Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Guest Favors ... What is the best bang for your buck?

In my lifetime, guest favors are a relatively new expense at weddings. I’ve lived a few decades and for most of my life, I never attended a wedding where a small gift was on the table for the guests. Maybe it’s a regional thing, maybe it’s just a new “tradition” (and I use that term loosely), but it’s pretty new to me, relatively speaking.

What are couples leaving as favors? Seed packets so the guests can plant some herbs or flowers (and those guests who have no interest in gardening will throw them right in the trash), or magnetic photo frames with a picture of the bride and groom (and the casual acquaintance guests, such as your co-workers, will leave them on the table or trash them on their way out the door). I’ve seen couples give packets of personalized cocktail mixes (oh a really good gift for your non-drinking friends and relatives …. Not!) Golf tees and anything sports … half of the guys will take them but most of these will be left or trashed.

If you’re going to the extra expense of buying a favor for your guest, at least spend the money on something that’s going to be used and appreciated.

What I’ve observed over the years of doing weddings is that if you’re going to spend money on favors, get edible favors. Everyone loves cookies, candies, fortune cookies or any type of food item. I rarely see these favors left on the table or filling up a trash can.

Some cute ideas that went over very well:
· The wedding colors were pink and Granny Smith green. The bride put a Granny Smith apple, a popsicle stick and some Kraft carmels in a gift bag, tied with a pink bow and instructions on how to make a carmel apple. I heard wonderful comments about this one from many guests.

· Chinese Fortune Cookies in a Chinese food box and the “fortune” were personalized messages from the bride and groom. These can be ordered from various sources off of the internet.

· A bride sat small buckets of mixed candies done the length of the 8’ rectangle banquet table and then scattered more candies in a line down the center. She combined her favors and table decoration for a real money saver.

· Another idea to combine table d├ęcor and favors is to have a floral arrangement of cookies in the center of the table, with a cookie for each guest. These can be any number of shapes or designs. I’ve seen centerpieces with cookies shaped like stars (for “An Evening Under the Stars” theme), cookies shaped like wedding cakes, shaped like flowers (get it? A cookie floral centerpiece instead of real flowers!). When the favors and centerpieces are combined for an all-in-one design, it can be a real money saver.

· Another cookie idea was my bride who ordered cookies shaped like dog biscuits. The couple were passionate dog lovers and attached to the cookie bag was a note that a donation was made to the ASPCA in honor of their marriage. Another had the breast cancer ribbon cookie. Her mother had passed away from breast cancer and this was their way of honoring her mom, who couldn’t be with them that day.

· A bride planned her wedding in October because she was having an M&M theme. By having the wedding in October, she had easy access to the small Trick-or-Treat size bags of M&M’s that she left for each guest.

· Bags of colored popcorn are popular as a small snack and to accent the wedding colors. Flavored popcorn in a multiple of colors (blue raspberry, red cherry, etc) in a clear cellophane bag and a label with the bride/groom’s name and wedding date is always a welcome treat to your guests. (A great source for these is Snack Krackle Pop,

http://www.skp-popcorn.com/ . Tell Brian that Debi sent you. Brian can ship these across the country … he’s even shipped internationally.)

So while favors are a very nice touch, be true to your budget and be considerate of your guests. Get something that you can afford, that won’t be wasted, and most important, will be enjoyed by your guests.

Because contrary to all of the Bridezilla shows, taking care of your guests is the most important part of hosting a reception.

Debi can be reached via email at


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