The 5 Worst Wedding Favor Mistakes Couples Can Make

Say "I don't" to these bad wedding favor ideas.
Wrapped wedding favor boxes with an X through them
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 30, 2024

We've all been there—politely pocketing party favors that, let's face it, are destined for a lifetime of drawer dwelling. Although personalized koozies and quirky bottle openers aren't the worst wedding favors ever, it's crucial to learn from your own past "junk drawer" experiences and not fall prey to those same common favor pitfalls when planning your own wedding. After all, if you're putting in the effort (read: money) to send your guests home with wedding favors, ensure it's worth it for both of you. While favors aren't pivotal to the success of your event and are certainly not obligatory, they do serve as sweet expressions of your gratitude to your loved ones for joining in your celebration. So, to ensure your gifts aren't left behind or discarded later on, here are the most common wedding favor mistakes to steer clear of, according to experts.

1. Choosing Generic Wedding Favors

John Campbell, Owner and Principal Planner at John Campbell Events and Design, advocates for a thoughtful approach to choosing wedding favors. He preaches, "If it isn't something exciting or of personal significance, skip giving a favor." He advises couples against investing in what he terms "stock items," like koozies, bottle openers, shot glasses, mints and Jordan almonds, because guests will likely throw them away. Choosing such generic items, though practical, can feel uninspired and overused, ultimately failing to leave a lasting impression on your guests.

2. Selecting Wedding Favors That Are Too Heavy, Fragile or Bulky

When selecting wedding favors, it's wise to avoid big, bulky, heavy or fragile options. According to Campbell, consideration of guest experience should be at the forefront of a couple's decision-making process. He advises, "If you're planning on hosting an after party or inviting your guests for a night out on the town, remember that they likely won't have a place to put a favor." It's all about practicality and ease for guests. "For nonedible favors, if it can't fit in a clutch or a pocket, your guests won't have anywhere to put it and will likely leave it behind." He also discourages the idea of gifting bottles of alcohol, noting that many venues may not even allow it and that guests might not have a convenient place to carry it. "Giving guests a bottle of wine at your vineyard wedding doesn't make sense when they have to catch a flight the next day," he says. Opting for compact, lightweight and durable favors ensures that guests can easily handle and appreciate the tokens without hindering their enjoyment of the celebration.

3. Underestimating the Challenge of DIY Wedding Favors

Campbell says that couples embarking on the DIY route for wedding favors should know "it will take more time, money, resources and planning than [they] probably realize going into it." In general, he actually discourages DIYing wedding favors unless they hold a special significance to your relationship. He recounts, "About five years ago, I had a couple who did apiculture together as a shared hobby. For their favors, they chose to harvest honey that their bees made and put it into individual jars. I loved the idea because it added to the story they wanted to tell their guests. The choice of honey wasn't arbitrary, it was a thoughtful decision with a lot of personal meaning." So, weigh the pros and cons of making favors by hand and start well in advance if you choose to do so. You should also have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Remember, the days leading up to your wedding will be busy enough without you having to curate 150 perfectly packaged and labeled wedding favors. If you'll lose sleep over baking homemade mini pies or pouring handmade candles, skip (or buy) 'em. (Whichever you choose, make sure you make or order enough favors.)

4. Splashing Your Monogram Everywhere on Your Wedding Favors

Monograms can be super cute if they're your own, but your friends and family don't want your names stamped across a gift meant for them. Campbell suggests, "When it comes to personalization and monograms, brand the packaging and not the item itself." In his experience, "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." By opting for a more subtle approach to personalization, couples can ensure that their guests receive a thoughtful token without it feeling out of place in their homes later on.

5. Stressing Over Your Wedding Favors

If you're reading this, it means giving good wedding favors is high on your priority list. While it's great that you're putting a lot of thought into finding wedding favor inspiration, don't let the process become overly stressful. Campbell wisely notes, "It's important to remember that you can't please everyone. No matter what you choose, at least one person is going to be disinterested in the favor you've selected, and that's perfectly okay!" Rest assured, no one will be whispering about your so-called "bad wedding favors" behind your back—they're more likely to end up tucked away in a drawer at worst, a minor detail in the grand scheme of your unforgettable celebration.

Up Next
  • Wedding favor in small white box with white bow
    6 Tips for Choosing Memorable Wedding Party Favors