Once upon a time, favors were as common at Western-style weddings as tiered white cakes and puff-sleeve ball gowns. These days, couples getting married are pretty much split in half on their real need, but event planner Summer Newman is still a fan of the concept. “It comes down to gracious accommodation,” she explains. “Favors tell your guests that you appreciate them coming to celebrate you.”
Meet the expert
Summer Newman is the founder of Summer Newman Events, a full-service destination wedding planning and design company based in Southern California. She was recently named Best Wedding Planner by Martha Stewart Weddings and was also featured on Brides and Style Me Pretty.
If you are planning to include favors in your wedding, it can be helpful to know the etiquette surrounding them, as well as the amount to budget. Read on for all the essential details.
Average cost of wedding favors
Like almost all aspects of a wedding, the cost of favors can vary widely. (Factors that influence pricing can include the type of favor, the wedding venue, and the display design.) That being said, The marriage report indicates that in 2019, American couples spent an average of $ 241 on wedding favors. Newman, however, advises his clients to budget between $ 10 and $ 20 per guest for favors. If the favor is a food item, this estimate can sometimes be lowered to $ 5 per guest.
What to budget for when giving to charity
Donating to charity instead of giving away favors has become an increasingly popular option at weddings. While your first instinct might be to put aside the exact amount you would have spent on favors and donate it to a favorite organization, Newman suggests a more nuanced approach. “You want to give something that has an impact,” says Newman, who advises his couples to aim for a gift of $ 1,000 or more. If that’s not possible, she suggests taking your initial favor budget and doubling it using money you might have spent on something else or donated to the organization at another time of the year.
Another approach: work with the charity to fund a specific project or donate a number of supplies, then share that information with your guests. “Instead of just placing a sign on a table, tell guests why the charity is so important to you in your speech,” Newman says. “Thank them for [the opportunity] to give the gift, and then follow up on your wedding website or social media pages afterward. Organizations usually send a thank you letter – share it. Let them know that their favor has done something right.
Wedding favor tag
Do we need to give wedding favors?
Favors do a necessary job of any gathering: they thank guests for coming. But as weddings – and the world – become more eco-conscious and experience-driven, favors in their traditional sense have largely gone out of fashion. (After all, who really needs another keychain or wine opener?) Which is why Newman advises his couples to think carefully about what they want to give – and make sure it’s meaningful and well thought out – before to fully engage. “If you’re doing it just to get a favor, you don’t really need it,” she says. “Use that money elsewhere in the wedding planning process to make your guests feel loved and cared for.”
Should we put our names and dates on the favors?
Put yourself in your guests’ shoes: Would you like something that has someone else’s names and wedding date on it? The answer is probably no, but there are a few exceptions. Initials and dates can be fun for disposable food boxes, single use favors, or short shelf life favors like hand sanitizer. In other circumstances, think carefully about the design. “Don’t put your information in your favor unless it is very clean, elegant and refined,” Newman says. “I had clients who wanted to put their initials on a mask, so I said, ‘Make it look like a fashion brand logo.’
When and how to distribute favors?
Wedding favors are usually a second half of the reception. Once the cake has been cut and the dance floor is in full swing, favors can be displayed near the main exit of your room. If your favor doubles as an escort or placeholder, guests will receive them sooner.
Add a little “Take me home!” sign up near the display or tag the favor so guests know it’s a giveaway
Are favors necessary for micro-weddings?
When dealing with COVID-19 restrictions, your budget might be better spent on a richer eating experience. “In the pandemic, guests often aren’t able to dance or stand up and do the things they normally would,” Newman says. “So distract them with what’s on the table. Upgrade the wine, add more dishes, or treat guests to a nice bottle of champagne for toast. ”
Modern wedding favor ideas
Here are Newman’s favorite things to give as wedding gifts:
- Something local. It works especially well with destination weddings – who wouldn’t want to come home from Tuscany with a sample of Italian olive oil? Not only does this give your guests the opportunity to experience something new, it is also an intentional investment in the local economy. If your wedding is a destination wedding, avoid something that will be cumbersome to pack. And think twice about the matches: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows hand baggage, but forbids them to be packed in checked baggage.
- Something from a black-owned business. “Your favor is a great way to support a black-owned business,” Newman says. “Let your guests know that this is important to you and celebrate it in your love story.”
- A favorite treat. “I always ask customers if they have any special food they like,” Newman says. “The delicious treats are the best, and they go really fast.” It could mean something bought directly from a business (like, say, the delicious salted caramels you picked up on the trip you got engaged), or, for a particularly sentimental touch, a homemade goodie from a beloved family recipe.
- Eat late at night. Donut walls, fresh churros, and even food trucks are all fun and satisfying late night options that can be replaced with traditional favors. “Food as a favor never gets old,” Newman says. Arrange biodegradable boxes next to late-night snacks so guests can bring them back to the hotel and eat them as they please.