March 7, 2022
Recently I was listening the Wedded: The Wedding Planner Podcast (which is an awesome podcast if you’re in the industry or if you’re planning a wedding!) And the topic of discussion was Wedding Favors – take em or leave em! I thought this would be a great topic to write about as I get asked this question often from clients.
In general, I’m somewhat over favors as everyone has so . much . stuff . But there are always exceptions to the rule. If it’s really relevant to the destination (hello mini bottles of olive oil in Tuscany and Maple Syrup bottles in Vermont) or something that you can eat (individual desserts at each place setting), I’m totally on board. Something that the ladies on Wedded mentioned is that if guests can eat it, it’s a great favor – and I totally agree with that!
Photo booths are also technically a favor since you are giving guests photos to take home with them (if there is onsite printing or digital delivery.) I love this because it’s something fun for your guests to do during the night and they have great memories from it. Photo booths may have been around for a while now but I don’t see them going anywhere soon (ex: still seeing MirMir at every Kardashian party).
However, we work on so many weddings that are destinations and we are always talking about Welcome Bags. I am a huge proponent of providing guests with a thoughtful bag to welcome them to your wedding weekend, instead of a traditional favor. When building a welcome bag, we’re thinking about the basics (water and snacks) and adding special and thoughtful details where you can. The image above is a bag we worked on for a 2021 wedding, we’ll use that as an example – Saratoga Water and Rose were chosen because the couple got engaged in Saratoga Springs. Nine Pin Cider (in the most lovely can) is from an area where the Bride and Groom grew up. There were chocolates from a little shop in the Berkshires, where the wedding was taking place. The main snack was popcorn because it’s Gluten Free so I always suggest it as a “safe snack”. Because it was still COVID times so we added the most chic hand sanitizer. And finally, you’ll want to add a welcome note with details on timing, shuttle schedule, things to do, etc.
In certain situations, a “take home” box makes more sense than a welcome bag. This could be situations like guests at a bunch of different hotels (without many in designated room blocks, which makes it harder to track), more guests that are local to the area, or you have a lot of guests staying in rental homes. This is a different way to thank your guests and I guess is more like your “typical” favor because it’s passed out at the end of the night. In 2021, we did two awesome ones. The first one was a real breakfast in bed for guests to enjoy the next morning – mini champagne, OJ, pastries, and coffee. The second one was also meant for the next morning but I think many guests enjoyed it on the shuttle bus ride back Downtown! That one had a mini water, fresh doughnut holes from a local doughnut shop, and Advil (because it was one great party). It also had “Thank You” stickers with a note on the location and timing for day-after drinks on the front of the cutest box (tied with a matching ribbon!)
Set the take home boxes near the exit where it’s easy for guests to grab and make sure they’re set out at least an hour before the end of the night to catch anyone that might duck out early. In addition, make sure you have staff actively handing them out to draw attention to them and make sure guests are receiving them.
So I’ll say this – if I have to choose between favors and welcome bags/take home boxes, I say the latter every time. If there is room in the budget for both, and there is a connection to the destination/couple that would make a favor relevant, then I would suggest doing both!