Wedding favors have been around since the medieval times when aristocracy sent their guests home with bonbonnieres, boxes made from precious metals or crystal usually adorned with precious stones and filled with sugar cubes and other sweet treats. Since sugar was so expensive, the bonbonnieres were a sign of wealth and high society, so they made an impressive mark on the people who received them. In England in the 16th century, brides and grooms gave their friends love knots made of lace and ribbon to pass on the good luck of marriage and we have all been to weddings where the traditional gift of five sugared almonds has been continued. As brides and grooms are considered to be good luck, handing their guests a little bag containing five items, one each for fertility, wealth, longevity, health and happiness is a way to pass on the good wishes to those who have attended the big day.
Today favors at a wedding are a token of thanks, just like they were centuries ago, but the rules have certainly changed in what brides and grooms choose to give. Favors usually correspond to the theme of the wedding or are a nod to the happy couple’s personal tastes or interests, but the most important thing is to make it something your guests will be happy to take home. Whether it is something to eat, something to keep or something practical that they can use, picking the perfect gift just takes a little imagination and creativity.
We all want that perfect reception where everyone eats, drinks and are merry, we focus on the entrees, the desserts, the cake, and worry that after all of that our guests may still be hungry. Late night pizza delivery, a night buffet or a candy table can all be incorporated into the reception, and likewise the favor can be something edible. Tiny pies that you either buy or bake yourself can adorn each place setting, add a disposable fork and you have a sweet reminder of the big day that can be enjoyed anytime. Packaged donuts in cute two count boxes with a fancy label and a ribbon are a tasty treat for couples and there is nothing like a tiny jar of homemade jam as a wedding memento. S’mores kits that include stacked graham crackers topped with squares of chocolate and tiny marshmallows all wrapped in clear plastic or a selection of specially chosen coffee beans wrapped in personalized boxes are also fantastic edible treats. Packaged teas, elegant tea diffusers, local honey in tiny pots and even personalized candy in adorable boxes or miniature gumball machines add a touch of personality to your big day and will be loved by your friends.
With candy and cookie tables becoming popular choices for receptions, adding cups, boxes or take out containers adorned with your names and the date of the wedding make lovely—and tasty—souvenirs. Guests can visit the table throughout the night or just as they are leaving to pick up their treats.
Personalized wine bottles have long been the favor of choice for many couples. Some choose to create their own wines for the occasion while others buy ready-made vintages. A label of thanks and ribbons usually adorn the bottles and guest can use the first anniversary of the date to toast the happy couple. If you want to provide alcohol as a gift, your choices are not limited to wine however, as most other spirits and even some craft beers come in the small bottles that are perfect to give. Some brides even go so far as to offer hangover boxes filled with pain killers, water and an eye mask as favors, a helpful solution to guests that may have indulged in the festivities just a little too much.
Of course favors don’t need to be consumed to be enjoyed. Some brides opt for photo frames, either stand alone or magnetic or coasters that bear a thank you in them to start with that become photo coasters when you get them home. Other useable items like salt and pepper shakers, trinket boxes, decorative soaps, fancy letter openers, bottle openers, wine stoppers and candles are also great favor ideas that serve a purpose long after the wedding is over and will be appreciated by your guests. If you want something that is environmentally friendly as a gift, you can buy or hand make reusable shopping bags or totes, screen printed with your message of love and the date of your wedding. Packages of seeds, packages of seed paper, saplings ready for planting or succulents set in small boxes, pots or teacups are also naturally beautiful treats. If your ceremony is outdoors, sunglasses make a fun and usable favor; same can be said for flip flops or slippers that make comfortable gifts for your guests, especially those in high heels! If your reception is part of a destination wedding, personalized gift bags for each guest make a thoughtful gift, especially if filled with items like lip balm, sunglasses, sunscreen and the like that guests can use after (or during) the festivities.
If you are a bride on a budget why not make your table centerpieces double as your take home gift? Clusters of candlesticks, vases or potted plants make lovely highlights for the table, and after, each guest takes a piece of it home as a reminder of the day. Not only does this eliminate the need to find homes for each centerpiece after your reception, but each guest can choose their favorite item from it to take home. Some brides opt for tiered dessert trays to act as centerpieces, again with the notion that each guest takes some of the goodies home (in provided containers) as a memento.
No matter what you choose, the memory of your big day will live on in the hearts of your friends and family for years to come. Sweet, potent, useable or simply fun, your favors are a reflection of you and if they come from the heart they will be treasured.