Dear Leslie: Do You Have Ideas for Wedding Favors?

Useful wedding favors

Dear Leslie,

I’ve been scouring the internet forever and I can’t seem to find favors that I really, really love. Do you have any suggestions?

I’ve totally been there. Spending hours and hours online, looking at Pinterest, trying not to spend an arm and a leg while making it elegant, classy, and fun. If I could get back the time I’ve spent doing this, I would in a heartbeat.

Well, why don’t I just make it easy for you. Here are some ideas for that I absolutely love:

Edible favors (with a personal twist)

I love all things personal, which is why I encourage guests to create favors that have a bit of their personalities. I’ve had brides who come from beekeeping families buy little mason jars, fill them with honey from their hives, and stick on a little label (tied with a raffia bow and mini-honey dipper, of course!). If you’re Italian in heritage (or love all things travel), why not give a little jar of your favorite olive oil, or jam from berries you canned last summer (if you’re planning way ahead!).

A warm pastry

This works well for colder weddings, or weddings where guests have a bit of a drive or cab ride back home. Imagine the weather turning chilly, your guests have danced and drank all night, and now it’s late and the party’s over. What do they want? Short of a piece of pizza, they probably want a gooey treat to keep the warm or curb that late-night hunger on the way home. Sticky buns are my favorite, but you can also do chocolate croissants or danishes. Planning tip: have them served on a tray for people to grab on the way out with a little sign that says “For the ride home. On us.”

Things that are useful

We do a lot of outdoor weddings in Montana and in the summer? It’s hot and can be buggy. One of my favorite ways to say to guests “We’re thinking of you!” is to place out a basket of fans that guests can grab on the way to their seats. They can fan themselves and then take a little piece of the wedding home with them (bonus points if you get the favors monogrammed or have a cute message put on them). Other ideas are flashlights (for those stumbling in the dark after an outdoor wedding) or lightweight pashminas for chilly nights (easily sourced inexpensively if you’ve got good Googling skills!)

Donation to your favorite cause

I love giving back on wedding day. Plus, by the end of the night, guests are wined and dined enough that they might not want another thing to take home with them and eat. I’ve had couples who will create 3″x5″ flyers with faces of different animals from a local shelter, saying that a donation was made on their guests’ behalf to keep them safe and warm. Maybe donate to a cause abroad or locally. or buy handmade goods from artisans living in a country you’ve traveled or  where you want to travel.

Anything local!

This is a total plug for Montana because huckleberry products and local bison jerky are definitely rampant in this part of the country. If you’re planning a destination wedding (or have lots of folks from out of town) a simple nod to the local culture can be a great touch, but also a treat for some of the in-town guests who may not go out and buy a local product for themselves. Sourdough bread from San Francisco! Magnolia cupcakes from NYC! Deep dish pizza bites from Chicago! Saltwater taffy from the coasts! The options are limitless!

Nix the favor altogether

Wait, what? I thought you said that this was a post on how to pick great favors, Leslie!

Okay, you’re right, but take a second and hear me out. Why are you wracking your brain trying to decide on a favor? Is it because you think you have to have one? Is it because all your friends had one at their weddings? If the answer to either of the latter questions is yes, then I’d say spend your money elsewhere. In Montana, we do LOADS of destination weddings, so we carefully plan welcome bags for out of town guests and often forgo a favor. If it’s not that important to you, then stop wracking your brain and move onto the next task on your (likely very large) to do list. (and if your looking for other ways to trim your budget fat, I’ve got you covered).

I’d like to start doing this as a regular series. If you have any questions about your wedding that you’d like me to answer on the blog, send me an email at info@leslielukas.com

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