BY TABATHA RENEGAR
They’ve had your wedding day on their calendar for months. They’ve checked out your registry and made sure to send a special gift that you hoped to receive. In many cases, they have traveled – either a significant distance or maybe just across town. And, they’ve donned their loveliest outfits so that they look nice and spiffy on your big day!
Your wedding guests are a special group of folks – how best to thank them?
Offering wedding favors is a tradition dating all the way back to Europe in the 16thcentury when aristocrats and noblemen gave gifts of perfume and pastries to guests that had often traveled for days or weeks to attend the festivities. Sometimes, more elaborate gifts were given as a show of the host family’s wealth and position at the upper end of the class system. French nobility – perhaps the most decadent class ever – made a show of handing out Bonbonnieres. Bonbonnieres are exquisitely flavorful sugared almonds presented in glass or crystal boxes. Show-offs!
Today, most wedding couples are looking for a creative twist on the traditional or a favor that guests will find more useful than fancy candy. Here’s a collection of some tried and true wedding favors along with some funky and new! As with so many things wedding-related, this is one of those enjoyable opportunities to really show off your unique style and personality!
Tried and True
- Even with smoking on the decrease across the nation, who doesn’t love a cute little box or pack of matches? Maybe with your new monogram on them. Guests can use them to light a candle, fireplace and more.
- Who doesn’t love chocolate? From unexpected flavors and shapes to specialty M&Ms, sending your guests off with a sweet is always, well…sweet!
- It wasn’t that long ago that the “Candy Bar” was a new trend in reception décor that doubles as a party favor! Now they are one of the most popular crowd pleasers, especially if you have guests in the under 18 category! But, you can take this concept in a lot of directions with a cookie bar, trail mix station or even flavored popcorn.
- Although most of us have a pile of them at home, there’s just something fun about getting a personalized koozie! Can shapes, bottle shapes and even extra-large wine or water bottle options – koozies always delight!
Funky and New
- Give ‘em a million bucks! Or at least a shot at it – package up some scratch-off lotto tickets in an elegant envelope, attached to some cool card paper or paired with a small snack. There are so many plays-on-words: “We’re winners because you joined us today!” Just think of the fun when a guest of yours actually wins!
- Send them home with a reason to think of you every morning – coffee! By the small packet or a pound of beans, coffee is a fun eye-opener.
- Very few treats evoke a sense of playfulness like s’mores! Especially ideal for a wedding that includes a fire pit or fireplace element, give your guests a s’mores kit complete with chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows, and watch their faces light up.
- Has anyone ever said, “I wish I had fewer candles”? Of course not! People love candles, which come in so many shapes and sizes, and buying personalized candles is a nice touch. Try to choose a scent that has significance to you – perhaps the smell of both of your favorite desserts or fruits.
- Are you celebrating your wedding at a tourist destination? Regional souvenirsare great when people have to travel and will save your guests the time of looking for a souvenir on their own. How charming to enjoy the memory of your wedding’s location with a cute magnet, shot glass or keychain.
- Making a charitable donation in lieu of a tangible favor is a fast-growing trend that speaks to a general desire to make a difference in the world by giving back to the community. Practical and meaningful, donations allow us all to share the spirit of kindness. They can be especially meaningful if they relate to the bride and groom somehow. (See photo from a wedding I recently attended in which the bride is a heart transplant recipient.)
The personalities, taste and budget of the wedding couple are the only true criteria for selecting which favors to bestow on your guests. Don’t feel constrained by traditions. While history and tradition have their place, ultimately the couple should decide what’s best for them and come to the most unique expression of their own creativity. If it’s a glass box full of fancy almonds or koozies with the groom’s baby picture, no guest has ever wished they didn’t get a wedding favor!