A few months before the big day, I usually get a panicked phone call with several checklist questions. One of them is always: Do I need wedding favors??
My answer is quick and exact. Absolutely not.
Now, with that being said, I still see favors at the majority of weddings. Each Bride trying to be more clever than the last. So let’s begin…
A history lesson: Favors, or bonbonnieres, were first seen in France as tiny porcelain boxes containing sugary treats or candy. As sugar was quite expensive, it made for a particularly pretentious gift. Later, the sugary gift gave way to almonds, then candy coated almonds, becoming the quintessential favor Jordan Almonds. In my opinion, edible favors are always the most well received…..the French really must have been on to something ;)
- Standards – Personalized matchbooks, mints, cecond line handkerchiefs, or the ever amazing koozie are seen so often because they are useful, not terribly expensive, and readily available. You can never go wrong with any of these.
- Local Sugar – Pinterest is great for getting your ideas flowing, but like most things, it misses a dash of NOLA flavor. Keeping in the French tradition of nuts & sugar, New Orleans pralines make a GREAT favor. Guests are always thrilled to see these treats. To make it extra special, have a relative or close friend make them for you so that all your guests can fall in love with a secret family recipe!! Other great local treats are mini king cakes, Roman Candy Man sticks and Hubig pies with the name of the couple and the date printed on the top!! (We are looking forward to the Hubig return!!)
- Sugar Free – I can’t imagine a world without sweets, but there is something to be said for a savory favor. Tabasco bottles, New Orleans Rum, and Zapp’s chips will really bring the local flavor without all the sugar.
- Keep it in the Family – No matter what the favor is, if it comes from the family vault – it will be cherished by all!! Whether it's Italian cookies made by mom, Grandma’s limoncello, or your favorite Aunt making her world famous fudge, these favors will go fast!!! Wrap them in individual bags or boxes, and your guests will be taking them by the handful.
- Get Personal – One of the cutest favors I have seen was a calculator and a toothbrush. Strange sounding at first, but the Bride was a dental hygienist and the Groom was a CPA. Now every time you use that calculator or brush your teeth, you will think of that couple….and isn’t that the point?!?!?
- Big Spender – For those that might have some extra dough lying around, go big with your favors. Bottles of your favorite wine with personalized labels are a perfect way to commemorate the event. Or how about individually boxed wedding cakes topped with sugar flowers for your friends to slice up when they get home…..even the French would be impressed!
- Action Stations -- Individually wrapped and ready to grab items are great, but you can add some flair to your favors by letting the guests in on their creation. A photo booth is a great way to have fun making memories that can serve as both a favor and even your guestbook! Guests of hot summer wedding will love choosing a flavor from a mobile Snow Ball stand, and Lucky Dogs could accompany any wedding menu as a final food sendoff.
- Quick Thinking – For those who are running out of time and/or money for favors, or for girls like me who really lack in the DIY department to make cute favors, this last option is perfect. Have the baker make your wedding cake bigger than you need for your big day. After the cake is served, the venue can wrap the leftover cake into individual cake bags for your guests to take home! With cake slices being a few bucks a slice, the favor cost will stay low and your guests will leave on a high. Note: not all venues provide the cake bags, so make sure you ask them in advance.
Favors are always a fun way to show gratitude to your guests, but keep in mind they are not coming to your wedding for that….they are coming to celebrate your love and happiness. The rest is icing on the cake.
Vanessa Van Vrancken is an event planner and “wedding architect” at The Balcony Ballroom, a wedding and event venue in New Orleans. Established by her parents in 1974, Vanessa and her family have planned over 10,000 weddings.
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