Wedding Favors 101: The Dos and Don'ts of Post-Party Gifts

As you make your way down your wedding checklist, you'll probably come to an item that reads, "wedding favors." It's a tradition to give your guests a parting gift as they leave your wedding, but there are so many options to choose from! To make things even more complicated, many couples are actually opting to go without giving out favors.

So, what should you do? Forego favors? Go the traditional route? Here are some important dos and don'ts of favors to consider as your wedding day approaches:

Don't Assume Wedding Favors Are Mandatory

If you're more traditional, go ahead and give out favors! It's a nice gesture that's meant to thank your guests for coming.

However, don't feel as though you have to give them. At the end of the day, these little gifts can add up to a significant expense, and if you're on a tight budget, it's completely acceptable to go without them or put the money toward something else guests will enjoy, such as an open bar or a photo booth.

Do Make Them Heartfelt

Items such as matchbooks and candles are traditional wedding favors, but they can be pretty generic. If you're going to spend money on gifts for your guests, why not make them a little more heartfelt? When you relate the favors to who you are as a couple, they'll be that much more memorable.

If you and your fiancé have a cute engagement story, tie an element of the story into the gift. For example, if one of your favorite dates was going apple picking, what about wine stoppers with apples on top? Or, if you met in a gardening class, pass out little planters of your favorite flowers.

You might also consider putting a short thank-you note into the gift bags. It's a small, inexpensive addition that makes favors much more personal.

Don't Go Crazy with Monograms

It's your big day, so it's probably tempting to stamp "Jane + John" on your favors. Before you monogram everything, though, put yourself in your guests' shoes. If you received a wine glass or a drink coaster as a wedding favor, would you want it monogrammed with someone else's name? Probably not.

If you're going to monogram gifts, pick something guests don't have to keep, such as cookies or the gift bags themselves. This way, you can still put your personal stamp on it and your guests aren't stuck with a monogrammed mug.

Do Make Them Useful

When picking out your favors, keep in mind that tchotchkes aren't everyone's favorite thing. To cater to as many people as possible, choose something they can use in their everyday lives. The options are pretty limitless, especially if you think outside the box!

Some unique, functional gifts include the following:

  • Headphones
  • Lip balm
  • Bottle openers
  • Makeup compacts (for women)
  • Family recipes
  • Soap

Another popular option both you and your guests can feel good about is to make a charitable donation with the money you would have put toward favors.

Don't Pick DIY Favors (Or at Least Think It Through)

To save money, many brides choose to make their own favors, such as baked goods or cute crafts. This might be plausible if you're an avid DIYer or you're having a small wedding, but make sure you carefully think through the time commitment of making your own gifts. This is especially true if you want to give out baked goods, as you'll have to make them in the days leading up to the wedding when you'll be crazy busy.

There's no wrong option when it comes to wedding favors, so choose something you like, and your guests are sure to love it too.