6 Tips on How to Choose Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Want

Here's how to make sure your generous gifts aren't left behind.
Wedding favor in small white box with white bow
Photo: Getty | Graphic: Natalie Romine
emily rumsey the knot editor
Emily Rumsey
emily rumsey the knot editor
Emily Rumsey
Assistant Commerce Updates Editor
  • Emily helps maintain and update e-commerce content for The Knot
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Emily worked as a website editor and manager for The Paleo Diet®
  • Emily holds two bachelor's degrees in Journalism and International Affairs with a Chinese minor
Updated Jan 31, 2024

Wedding planning requires many, many decisions, including selecting gifts for guests. Favors are a great way to express your appreciation for friends and family who joined in your special day. But despite the genuine intention behind the tokens, they're often abandoned or discarded. So, we asked experts how to choose wedding favors that guests actually want in order to avoid this tragic outcome. These wedding favor tips will also help you pick items that align with your event style and reflect your unique love story, so guests feel even more connected to your celebration. Below, find inspiration for the best wedding favor ideas for you.

1. Pick Wedding Favors with Personal Significance

One of the worst wedding favor mistakes couples make is investing in generic items such as koozies, bottle openers and shot glasses. According to John Campbell, Owner and Principal Planner at John Campbell Events and Design, only about 30% of guests actually take these items. He advises against favors that lack excitement or personal significance, suggesting instead choosing items that are meaningful to your relationship. For instance, "Are you known for your baked goods? Share that with your guests. Do you make the best limoncello from scratch? Send a bottle to your guests with a thank you note after the wedding."

2. Consider Edible Wedding Favors—They're Always a Hit

Notice a pattern to Campbell's advice above? Edible favors are reliable and crowd-pleasing options. He says, "If you want to guarantee that your guests will flock to a favor, have the catering staff hand out freshly baked cookies or a boxed midnight snack in branded packaging. It's always a hit and there is rarely significant waste." This culinary surprise will also be a memorable experience. Plus, these types of edible favors are conveniently portable, allowing guests to indulge in a tasty treat on their way to the after-party for a lil' energy boost.

3. Consider the Guest Experience

Choosing wedding favors that create lasting memories is the key to good guest appreciation—and this doesn't always translate to conventional tangible goods. "My suggestion is to invest in experiences over things," Campbell says. "Whether it's having a poet crafting bespoke verse, an artist doing simple fashion sketches of guests, a personalized letter you've written to each guest or even something as simple as an epic photo booth, experience-focused favors will go so much further when it comes to making memories." Plus, a custom illustration or a handwritten letter can become a sentimental keepsake, offering guests a heartfelt reminder of the special day that a personalized shot glass just couldn't pull off.

4. Personalize Packaging, Not Items

Favors are a great way to help guests remember the occasion, but that doesn't mean you need to put your initials and wedding date on everything. Campbell advises for you to brand the packaging, not the item itself and we couldn't agree more. "Guests will be more likely to use the item long after the wedding if it doesn't have wedding-specific text or someone else's initials on it," he says. For example, guests who enjoy entertaining would find coasters handy, but no one will want to display coasters featuring your engagement photo. (Sorry for the blunt honesty.)

5. Add a Thoughtful Note

Deciding on what to give as wedding favors is only half the battle when ensuring that guests will take them home. You'll also need to choose how to present them at the wedding. Couples can creatively display wedding favors by incorporating them into their table settings, dedicating a specific favor table, creating a favor wall or placing them beside their seating arrangement sign. Whichever you choose, Campbell recommends adding a note to explain the item's significance. He says, "Getting your guests invested in the story and personal meaning will go further than a pretty display."

6. Plan Early

Don't leave your wedding favors until the last minute, especially if you choose to make them yourself. The thought and time invested in these tokens of appreciation are discernible to guests and, thus, can impact their perception of your generosity. Plus, great vendors may not be able to meet a short deadline. Campbell stresses, "I start thinking about favors during the design process. What kind of favor might make sense with the wedding destination, venue, design, logistics and guests in mind?" This deliberate consideration may seem trivial, but as Campbell points out, it prevents potential misalignments. For instance, giving guests a bottle of wine at your destination wedding at a French vineyard might be picturesque, but it doesn't make sense if they have to catch a flight the next day. It also doesn't account for guests who don't drink alcohol. Planning ahead ensures that your chosen favors seamlessly integrate into the broader wedding vision, offering both thoughtful and practical elements for your guests. So, the sooner you know what and how many wedding favors, the better.

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