Wedding Favors – Gift Ideas for your Guests

We hope you like sugar-coated almonds because these are what you might get when you attend the next wedding. Wedding favors have come full circle, dating back to the aristocracy days of the Old World where the bonbonniere was first used as a favor. The typical bonbonniere those days was a tiny trinket box made of either porcelain or ivory and people would put sugar cubes or some other sweet candy delicately crafted by the manufacturer. Historians say that sugar was considered a symbol of royalty then because it was a rare commodity; hence only royalty could enjoy it.

Why the almond in particular? Some sources say it symbolised prosperity, fertility, or longevity. Others viewed the almond as a sign of joy and happiness. The sugar, we believe, stemmed from the belief that marriage can be sweet, while the almond represented the bitterness of marriage. Regardless of the troubles that beset the marriage, husband and wife stay together, whether for richer or for poorer, which explains the coating – sugar-coated almonds therefore were rich in meaning and were considered the appropriate symbols for a lasting marriage.

Wedding Favors – Thanks for Being With Us!

That’s what wedding favors convey as a message. Wedding favors are given to the wedding party and to guests as a gesture of sincere appreciation for each person’s role and participation in the wedding to make it a success.

Parents of the bride and groom, bridesmaid and groomsman receive special gifts and so do the husband and wife. These gifts are usually more special than the wedding favors that are handed to guests during or at the end of the reception.

Budget is the determining factor in deciding what kind of wedding favors will be given away, and because many couples these days live on a tight budget, wedding favors have multiplied in kind and size that you need only your imagination to pick out gifts for your guests.

Chocolates are still a favorite and couples settle for the more popular ones like Godiva chocolates. Chocolatiers will usually do special wrappings and use nice decorative ribbons and lace to make them look festive and blend in with the wedding theme and décor.

Sharon Naylor (How to Plan an Elegant Wedding in Six Months or Less, 2000) suggested that gifts to the parents could be a watch (his and hers costing about $50-60) as a fond reminder of times they raised their children). Other ideas are a silver frame, a weekend getaway or a spa day. Spas these days no longer cater just to females, but an increasing number of men rather enjoy going to a spa at the end of their day to be pampered and given a good rubdown to ease the day’s worries.

It is only fitting for parents to receive gifts that are more special than the wedding favors for guests because of their lifetime’ commitment’ to their children. They don’t stop being fathers and mothers just because their kids are married and raising a family of their own.

Let’s not forget the bridesmaid and groomsman. They too deserve special thanks for their efforts and the stress that went into planning a wedding.

You will of course know your bridesmaid and best man intimately enough that you’ll know what gifts will ‘click’” with them, but here are a few suggestions:

For the bridesmaid:

  • Jewelry
  • Tickets to a concert
  • Basket of spa items
  • A gift certificate to her favorite store
  • Fortune plant, or fern, or a flower arrangement for her dining or living room
  • Six CDs of her favorite artists
  • Perfume
  • A nice purse
  • Kitchen utensils she does not have yet
  • A year’s subscription to her favorite magazine
  • A day at the hairdresser’s, spa, or swim club
  • Dinner for two at a chic restaurant
  • A gym membership
  • Books
  • Glassware

And for the best man:

  • Bar tools
  • Power drill
  • Cufflinks and tie
  • Gym membership
  • Tickets to a sports event
  • A day at the spa
  • New mag wheels for his car
  • Cologne
  • Watch with his name engraved on it
  • Year’s subscription to his favorite sports magazine
  • iPod or the latest Windows operating system
  • game or accounting software

For the Guests

Should we or shouldn’t we? For some couples, having one more wrinkle to worry about in the form of wedding favors can be financially draining. There is no rule today that says wedding favors have to make it to the wedding agenda. Eileen Livers suggests, however, that if you’’ve been to numerous weddings in your lifetime and have received nice favors, then you’ll need to seriously consider giving favors in return. So make them a part of your planning it’s a sort of reciprocity, a basic courtesy. We reiterate though: you’re certainly under no obligation to offer wedding favors to your guests.

Again, the emphasis here is on budget. You need not give away pricey crystal glasses or goblets to the guests. Let’s look at the $4.00 wedding favor. This may seem a trifle cheap to you, but it won’t look that cheap if you multiply that amount by the number of guests you’’ve invited to the reception.

Here are some suggestions: the first five on the list are for couples who don’t mind spending for the best, and the rest are for the budget-minded:

  • Lalique crystal figurines
  • Expensive wine (or port, or liqueur)
  • Gourmet food products not available commercially
  • Personalized pens or purses
  • Electronic agendas
  • Godiva chocolates or any gourmet chocolate (available in small, medium and large boxes)
  • Jordan sugar-coated almonds
  • Potpourri with or without a bowl
  • Candles with or without holders
  • Slice of cake
  • Sachets of special coffees, teas
  • Stacks of memo pads
  • Coffee/beer mugs

What’s the best way to distribute wedding favors? Wedding planners say a common practice is to leave each piece of favor on the table beside the name card. Instead of ‘universalizing’” a wedding favor, they pick out one gift for the men and another for the women. They wrap them in colored paper to distinguish which favor goes to the man and which one goes to the woman.

Flower girls are sometimes asked to distribute the favors table-to-table. Or else, if the bride wants to take this responsibility so she can personality thank everyone, she will distribute the favors herself or do it with her groom. This can be a time-consuming exercise, however, if you have a large wedding of like 300 people.

In some weddings, we’’ve seen the bridesmaid and best man at the door, handing each guest the favor as they say goodbye and leave the reception hall.

Whatever you decide to do with wedding favors, be sure you make arrangements ahead of time with the banquet hall manager to have a special table for the favors. Tell him what size of table you’ll need, as you don’t want to pile them up too high for fear of them toppling down.

If you’re feeling bogged down with ideas for wedding favors and you don’t have a wedding planner who can take care of this one detail, you can spend a few hours on the internet to get ideas. There are even online retailers who will take your order and handle everything from the assembling, wrapping and shipping of the favors so that when they arrive, all you need to do is decide how to give them out.



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