About every third time I reach for a mug, I grab the one from Heather and David’s wedding. And, yes, I do often take a moment to think about how much fun I had at the wedding and what a good couple they are.
So their crafty plan worked. Plus they gave out excellent wedding favors – the mugs were useful, easily personalized, appropriate for two such notorious caffeine addicts, and came filled with candies that had quotations about love written on the wrappers. Mmmm.
Not every wedding favor I’ve encountered has been such a long-term success. Here are a few things to think about while you’re pondering your choices.
It’s OK to skip them.
Wedding favors are a relatively recent addition to the reception festivities, and people don’t necessarily expect them. They’ll hardly cause an explosion in your wedding budget, but they will make a bump. If you’re looking for places to economize, it’s possible that your guests won’t really miss tiny pirate ships named the S. S. Marrrrge and Arrrrnold.
Go simple, go fun, and go you.
Think of your wedding favors as treats for a children’s party. OK, maybe a tad more romantic. There’s no need to enhance anyone’s Waterford collection or deal with anything that will need special handling for the car ride home. If you can find favors that really remind people of you as a couple, so much the better.
It’s true that your name and wedding date can be stamped on just about anything, but is there really any point in customized matchbooks? Unless, that is, you and your crowd are really into smoking. Or incense. Or smoking things that need to be covered up with incense. To get back to my point, something with a little more personal resonance will make your guests smile. Ping-pong balls? Groucho glasses? Temporary tattoos? Think about what you love about each other, and what your guests love about you.
Avoid giving your guests an albatross.
As charming as they are at the dinner table, a lot of wedding favors become trouble the minute it’s time to go home. Even with matchbooks, I find myself panicking about how long I’m supposed to keep the commemorative cover after I’ve struck all the matches. If your favors aren’t immediately useful, make sure your guests will feel OK with the gentle process of moving them ever closer to the recycling bin.
Know that toys will be tried out immediately.
I am not for one second suggesting that this is a bad thing. I’m just saying that you need to figure in the amount of balsa wood plane action that will be happening during your father-daughter dance. Same deal with whistles, balloons, masks, slingshots, and surgical equipment.
For that very reason, I highly recommend kazoos as wedding favors. They are inexpensive, they are silly, and they keep your guests making their own fun throughout the reception. Trust me: You have not lived until you have entered a room and been serenaded by an impromptu kazoo rendition of the Olympic theme.
Edible favors make everybody happy.
Remember that children’s party rule? Edible favors really are the perfect solution. Your guests get to enjoy them immediately, they don’t have to be carried home, and they warm both the heart and the stomach. Pirate ship? A sudden décor challenge. Chocolate gold pirate coins? Yes, please. You can get personalized chocolates, or simple candy hearts, or you can get a little more creative with it depending on your wedding theme and your lives. Cupcakes are easy to decorate to match any theme, or, heck, you can just write on them.
And, yes, you can have healthy edible favors too. If you don’t mind watching your guests each look up at you in stunned betrayal while a single tear rolls down his or her cheek.
Oh, I’m kidding. You can get guilt-free favors by looking for local farms. Small jars of honey with personalized labels will score points for sweetness and symbolism, and fresh berries are always a treat.
But in the end, the point of favors is to be an extra bit of fun. If they’re making you stressing too hard, bag ‘em.
And, yes, if you really want them, get the little pirate ships.