When I was a little girl I, along with my two first cousins, was asked to be in my 2nd cousin’s wedding. The youngest among us was appointed the role of flower girl (I still say it should have been me) and my older cousin Susan and I were tasked with handing out the birdseed and wedding favors (pastel-colored mints). Susan and I didn’t like having separate tasks, so we mixed up our baskets and each handed out the favors and birdseed. This experience, walking around the church fellowship hall in our extremely 90’s wedding outfits, was my first introduction to wedding favors. And in my elementary school mind, it didn’t make sense. It was Sharon and Greg’s wedding, they should be the ones getting the gifts, not giving them. What I didn’t know then is that wedding favors have a long history (dating back to the 16th century) and the reason that we traditionally give them out at weddings is actually really sweet.
In the early 16th century newly wedded couples would gift their guests with love knots. These knots, which were made of lace and ribbon, signified the couple’s bond with each other. At this time, weddings were lucky occasions and by gifting the wedding guests, newlyweds were passing on their luck to their friends and family. Over the years this tradition has evolved and adapted, but many newly married couples today still gift their guests with small favors at weddings.
We’ve compiled a list of some common wedding favors to help couples decide the best way to pass on their luck to their guests.
Seed packets are a very thoughtful wedding favor. Just like new love into strong relationships, these seeds will sprout and grow into beautiful flowers. One idea is to pick seeds that reflect the flowers seen in the wedding bouquets.
We love a “green” option for wedding favors. Consider giving your guests a jar of local honey. Another option is to gift locally made preserves or jellies.
You don’t have to stop at wedding cake. Donuts, cookies, and candy can make great wedding favors. One of my favorite weddings ever included a Krispy Kreme donut wall that guests would pass as the exited the reception. Each guest could take a donut (or two) for the road. Note, my donut didn’t last for the road. I ate it immediately.
Some couples will choose to give their guests little goodie bags with multiple gifts inside. This is especially thoughtful if you have a lot of guests traveling out of town to your wedding. Pick things to include that will help make their stay more enjoyable. Also, consider a coupon or gift card to a local restaurant while they are in town.
Need I say more? Tiny bottles of champagne or beer can make excellent wedding favors. Include a label with your wedding date so when your guests open the bottle, they remember your special day.
Some Spanish weddings traditionally include favors of cigars. We love that one of our special couples included this tradition at their wedding.
Let your decorations do double duty. Each guest can take a piece of the table centerpiece. Other floral alternatives are dried flower sachets, small bouquets at each table setting, and tiny potted plants.
My mom always gifts a new couple with a Christmas ornament, so I love the idea of a couple gifting their guests with ornaments. Each year as your guests put up their Christmas tree they will think about your wedding.
Cozies, mugs, and cups with the couple’s name and wedding date make incredibly practical wedding favors.
In case you wanted to see a picture of me handing out wedding favors in the early 90s (and I know you did)…