8 Secrets to Memorable Wedding Favors People Will Actually Use

Give a thank-you gift everyone will get excited about.
by Libby MacCarthy
Wedding favors ideas guests will love
photo by The Nichols

Favors are a great way to show your guests you appreciate their support and to give them something to remember the wedding day by, but all too often these tokens get left behind or tossed the morning after. To guarantee your gifts get noticed (and appreciated), follow our top tips on picking out the perfect favors.

1. Think Practically

Welcome bag idea for a fun wedding favor

Like any good gift, you'll want to put some thought into your selection. Before you dish out the cash for those monogrammed Christmas ornaments or koozies, take a moment to reflect—is this something you would want? You don't want your favor to collect dust or—worse yet—end up in the trash, so consider something that's practical or edible. Edible favors are a fail-safe option guests can enjoy at the reception or on their way home. Some of our favorites include cake pops, macarons and mini pies. Among those in the "something useful" category are locally roasted coffee, luggage tags or acrylic frames for the photo booth pictures taken at your reception.

2. Pass on the Monogram

'Alice In Wonderland' cookies for a themed wedding favor idea

Resist the urge to put your initials and wedding date on everything. Personalizing the favors is a fast way to turn a useful gift into something guests will pass on. For example, guests who enjoy entertaining would find coasters handy, but no one (excluding your mother) will want to display coasters featuring your engagement photo. The one exception? Packaging—it's totally fine to put your personal touch on the boxes, bags, ribbons or labels. It'll make for a pretty presentation, but won't put off your guests.

3. Pick Something Meaningful

Potted succulent place card idea for a fun wedding favor

Choose favors that express your personalities, speak to the wedding's setting or share something you love with your guests. Are you both into wine? Mini wine bottles with personalized labels will go over big. Spend almost every weekend hitting the links? Give out golf balls or tees customized with your wedding locale. Share a piece of your unique heritage by giving out tins of cookies or pastries with a family recipe attached, or authentic olive oil from the region of Italy where your ancestors were born. Regional specialties like jalapeño jelly from Texas, hot sauce or barbecue rubs from Louisiana, or Vermont maple syrup are great for giving guests a taste of local flavors. You could even make a donation to a cause close to your heart in lieu of traditional favors. Let guests know of the donation by placing a note at each place setting or table.

4. DIY—With Discretion

Picked wedding favor gifts

While DIY favors might seem like an easy way to save money, they can be a lot of work. So before you go crazy with the glue gun, try making a few samples to gauge whether you're up for the project—assembling and wrapping 200 favors is probably more time-consuming than you might think. On the other hand homemade gifts are a great way to show guests you appreciate their support, and they don't have to be complicated. Show off your jam-making skills, mix up some spice blends or put together s'mores kits. Don't be afraid to ask for help either: Throw a favor-assembling party complete with cocktails and snacks to entice your friends or wedding party to tie bows or affix labels.

5. Try Before You Buy

Welcome bag idea for a unique wedding favors

Once you've decided on your favors, do a trial run (especially if you're buying them online). Order a sample before you hit "buy now" and end up with 100 favors you hate—you want to make sure the truffles taste good or the handcrafted soaps are the right scent. Even if you're just purchasing personalized tags or packaging to wrap homemade gifts, ask to see a proof to make sure everything is spelled correctly. Order favors one month before the wedding to allow yourself time to assemble, if necessary.

6. Order (Or Make) Extra

Jam favors for a unique wedding favor DIY

Whether you choose to give one favor per guest or per couple, always have backups ready (figure about 10 extra favors for every hundred guests) in case some get lost or broken in transit. Plus, some guests will take extras, and you may want to hold on to a few favors as keepsakes.

7. Wrap It Up

Cute wedding favor idea

Personalized packaging and a thoughtful display can go a long way when it comes to these tiny tokens. From colorful boxes and clear cellophane bags to tiny tin pails and slim silver canisters, your favor packaging can, and should, make as much of an impact as what's inside it. Edible favors require special packaging. Paper bags or boxes can quickly absorb the grease of cookies or custom popcorn (leaving you with an unsightly favor box). Line the container with wax paper before adding any edible goodies to keep grease from leaking through.

8. Plan the Display

Cute wedding favor display

While they're thought of as parting gifts, favors can be handed out at anytime, from the start of the wedding to the end of the night. That means you can definitely make your escort cards or place cards double as favors—smaller favors wrapped in pretty packaging can add to the table décor. If your favors deserve a spotlight, designate a special table at the reception or near the exit for guests to grab on their way out.


Still figuring out your guest list? We can help.

Get more favors ideas, here.

Up Next
Wedding Details: One Wedding Favor Per Guest or Per Couple?

Do you have to give wedding favors to every guest, or can you give them per couple? I picked a wedding favor that's a bit expensive.

by The Knot1 min read