“Do we need wedding favors?”
Before we get to that answer, I realized while putting this post together that I never really knew the origin of the wedding favor. I mean, how and why did that even become a thing?
Turns out, the wedding favor had been around for centuries, and it’s believed to have been originated in France or Italy. It’s said that the upper classes would give small gifts of sugary treats, which were very pricy at the time, in small porcelain or crystal boxes. This was a symbol of their wealth more than anything, which is unfortunately where a lot of our traditions have come from.
If you’re Italian or Greek, you may be familiar with the tradition of Jordan almonds given as favors. The bittersweet nature of almonds is symbolic of the bittersweet nature of life and love, and sugar represents hope that the couples lives will be more sweet than bitter. Traditionally, five almonds would be gifted to each guest representing fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness; and are often tagged with this:
Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat
To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet
Five wishes for the new husband and wife
Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!
Ok, while that history is fun to note, let’s move on to the practical wedding favor tips you’re here for. One of my least favorite parts of the wedding day is the clean up at the end of the night. Of course, it’s the end of a long day, and we’re all inevitably exhausted. But the real bummer is when we have to either pack up all the wedding favors that were left on the tables, or worse yet, dump them in the trash.
It happens all the time, but there was one wedding that will always stand out when it comes to favors. I know the bride had spent a ton of time looking for the right candle favor, it was important for them to not only be the perfect shade of pink of their wedding, but also a certain type of wax that was clean and non-toxic. I knew she was so excited about these favors, and it broke my heart to see that the majority of them were left behind by the guests. I wish I could say this was just one of a few times this has happened, but honestly, I can’t remember the last time we didn’t have ANY favors left behind, with one exception that we’ll talk about in just a minute.
If you are set on having wedding favors, or are on the fence, I’d love to share some tips that will help you get the most for your money and effort.
First, food based favors are always the best! Whether it’s individual cookies, a candy station, or those Jordan almonds we talked about, favors that are food are rarely left behind. And if it’s not for every guest, there is usually someone who will happily take two! Regardless of what the favor is, if it’s some type of food, it will most likely be taken, leaving less behind at the end of the night.
Second, depending on the item you choose as a wedding favor, you don’t need to purchase one for each guest, but rather one per family or household. If the previous bride I mentioned had ordered one candle per family rather than person, it would have been a lot less waste at the end of the night. Of course, if you are doing something like cookies, I recommend you order enough for everyone.
Third, if you are set on giving an item like a candle, share with your guests why you chose that item. Last year we worked with the sweetest bride, who had unfortunately lost her father several years back. When she was younger, the two of them used to go to different flee markets and vintage shops looking for unique, antique spoons. Its one of her favorite memories with him, and when she was thinking about ways to include him in the day, that seemed like the perfect choice. Now, as a guest, it might seem super random to have an old spoon as a favor, but we made sure to have a framed sign on the favor table explaining the story. She was even able to find a picture of her and her dad spoon shopping that we included; it was really a touching moment.
And as a fun bonus, her, her fiancé, and their kid got to spend precious family time together prior to the wedding hunting for the spoons to serve as favors. We definitely had a lot fewer of these items left behind at that wedding, and I’m sure it’s a lovely reminder of such a sweet story for all the guests after the day.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to have such a heartwarming and meaningful story to your wedding favors, that is definitely the exception. However, if you’re giving away a bottle opener because you love trying new craft beers together, dog treats because you have a house full of pups, or an ice cream scoop because your first date was at an ice cream parlor, make sure to let your guests know why you selected that item.
And one final thought before we wrap up, if you really like the idea of giving the guests a wedding favor, but just can’t seem to find something that makes sense. You can put that money towards an upgrade in your food or beverage service for the wedding. For example, adding in a late night snack, or upgrading the bar. It doesn’t have to be anything you make known to the guests, but you can also put a sign out on the table saying something like “Please enjoy this pizza in lieu of favors”. Again, I’ve never seen an addition of food or drinks go to waste!
Are you planning on having favors at your wedding? Head over to the Wedding Planning Collective Facebook Group, and let us know in the poll! You can also drop any wedding planning questions you’d like to have answered there, and I’ll make sure to get back with you. Thank you so much, and I’ll see you in the next post!