Ballpark Estimate: Between $1 and $5 per guest
Wedding favors can be the perfect memento to thank your guests for attending your celebration. The only limit is your imagination and the budget you have to invest on these items.
Early examples of wedding favors can be seen in Europe, when aristocrat families presented ornate little boxes or dishes that housed expensive chocolates or other treats inside as a way to show off to their guests at weddings and other special occasions. Now, many American couples continue the tradition today but rather than showing off, their goal is usually to give their guests special tokens of their appreciation.
A Rainbow of Choices
If there is a unifying color that runs through your bridal party attire and decorations? If so, you can carry this idea through in your wedding favors. If your bridesmaids wear burgundy, then you might have burgundy napkins at each place personalized with your names and wedding date on it. Or give some mints or other candies in a burgundy net bag. This is an easy way to dress up your table and at the same time, give your guests a small thank you gift.
Look to the time of year of your wedding to determine some wedding favor ideas. Are you having a New Year’s Eve wedding? Silver sparkly candles, decorative noisemakers, colorful confetti and fun party hats may be good give-aways to help your guests celebrate the night away. A calendar is also a meaningful favor perfect for the New Year. For a spring wedding, give flower seeds or bulbs that your guests can plant as a reminder of your event. A small potted plant can also be a good choice, since this can decorate your table and also serve as a thank you gift, too. Other options include s small pail filled with shells for a summer event or a small pumpkin or gourd for a fall wedding treat. Or give a Christmas ornament reminiscent of your union. These and a host of other seasonal gifts can make a perfect statement.
A Thematic Approach
If you’re having an extravagant wedding that incorporates fairy tale detailing, you can use this opportunity to give favors that are fit for a prince or princess. Consider picture frames, placeholders or key chains with a castle, coach or glass slipper on them. This can be a very sweet touch. If you’re planning an Asian-inspired event, give chopsticks ties with a ribbon or a pretty accordion fan.
The Shape of Things to Come
Different shapes can also make good wedding favors. For a February wedding, you can select heart-inspired gifts. Other shapes to consider include butterflies, snowflakes, footballs, flowers, sailboats, books and four-leaf clovers. For a very simple option in these or a host of other shapes, buy or make sugar cookies and wrap them in cellophane gift bags to thank your guests for attending your wedding.
A new trend in wedding favors is to give a CD with the wedding music burned on it. This can be a thoughtful touch your guests can enjoy for years to come. You can also order special custom CD labels with your wedding information.
In Good Taste
Food items are a tried and true option everyone is sure to appreciate. You can give away small pouches or boxes with mints, Jordan almonds (a traditional choice for many weddings), specialty nuts, chocolates, lollipops, cupcakes, cookies and other gourmet treats. Other ideas are flavored jams and other regional specialties such as bottles of locally brewed beers or wines. Finally, a recipe card with a favorite dish is an inexpensive option that will be well received by your guests.
A Personal Touch
Many favor choices can be personalized with your names and wedding date. This information can be printed, stamped or engraved, depending on what your item is made from. Picture frames, key chains, place card holders, letter holders, small plates can lend themselves well to engraving. Paper or fabric items, including napkins, candy and cake boxes, bags and pouches, coasters and ribbons, can be good choices to print on. You can also have ribbons or stickers with this custom information that you can add to almost any favor. Or, considering ordering special labels that you can put on food items or jars to make them extra special.
Where to Find
You can find wedding favor ideas and resources in a variety of place, including wedding planning websites like The Knot, Wedding Channel, Brides.com, and Instyle Weddings. Other places to try for favors include Favor Ideas, Exclusively Weddings, My Wedding Favors, and Little Things Favors.
Once you decide what you want for wedding favors, you may wonder how far in advance you’ll need to order. A lot depends on exactly what you want. If you have selected an unusual item, you should order early just to be sure it won’t be sold out when you need it. Plan to order extra, though, since you won’t yet have a count of how many guests are attending. If it’s a common favor, though, you can take a chance and wait until you have an idea of how many you’ll need to give out. Keep in mind that when ordering edible treats, chocolate can last about nine months if you store it in a cool, dark place. Cookies usually stay good for about six months.
What It Costs for Wedding Favors
What you spend on your wedding favors can span a very wide range. If you’re having a very simple affair and are working with a tight budget but still want to include a small take-home item for your guests, you can easily find a small token gift for as little as 50-cents each (or $50 for 100 guests) or even less. Often on the low end, you may need to use your creativity and time to turn some inexpensive supplies into something special. For instance, you may buy small pretty shells and wrap them in gauge and tie with a pretty ribbon. Or, invest in some cookie cutters or molds and ingredients to make your own cookies or chocolate favors in meaningful shapes.
If you have a little more to spend, for between $1 and $2 (or $100 to $200 for 100 guests), you can get personalized drink coasters, small silver picture frames (which can double as place card holders!), potpourri sachets, candy bars with custom wraps with your name on it, and pretty votive candles in small glass jars or holders. CDs you burn and label can be at the lower end of this price range as well.
For a bigger expenditure, in the $3 to $5 each price range, you can get more significant gifts, such as chrome bottle stoppers, crystal frames and personalized leather luggage tags.
Also in this price range, you can also order wedding m&m’s with wedding bells, doves and rings on them for $9.99 per 7 ounce bag, or $13.99 if you want m&m’s personalized with your photos on it. The general rule of thumb is to give 2 ounces per guest, so for 100 guests, you would need 200+ ounces, or 30 bags, which would cost between $300 and $420, plus bags or containers to hold them. (A more economical option is to mix the custom m&m’s with regular ones you buy in the grocery store.)
Most couples spend between $1 and $5 a person on wedding favors.
Some wedding planners say that the rule of thumb is to spend up to 3 percent of your budget on your wedding favors. This means for a $10,000 wedding, you’d spend $300, while for a $20,000 wedding, you might spend $600. But keep in mind that many couples find wedding favors an area where they can easily cut corners. Remember that your wedding favors are really just a small token of your day, not a significant gift, so rely on your imagination and thoughtfulness to compass where your budget comes up short.
A Cost Saving Option
If you want to have a thank you for your guests but you don’t want to give people more clutter, you can make a donation to a meaningful charity instead, or buy carbon offsets for your guests. Consider printing out cards for each guest, or each table, that announce this gesture. This is a wonderful way to use your wedding favors to benefit others at the same time.