Wedding Favors – Do you need them? 

To give wedding favors, or not give wedding favors, that is the question. As a wedding planner this is one place where there is still a lot of tradition and conflicting information available. Personally, as a wedding planner that has seen 100s of weddings, I can tell you that traditional favors that are personalized with something specific to the couple and their dates are often left behind and boxed up by my team at the end of the night. 

But I have good news, not all favors are a waste of time, energy and money!

If you’ve been wondering what wedding favors to get your guests that they will love (and not just end up in the trash) then we have some great ideas, and alternatives, for you! From edible gifts to night of experiences, here are some ideas on what to “gift” your guests.

If you really want to give guests a “take away” favor consider something that is edible within the next 12-24 hours. Something small and sweet to enjoy before they hit the road! 

  1. Cookies

Who doesn’t love a good cookie? Whether it’s a homemade cookie, or something fun and creative with your photo on them, cookies are sure to be a hit!

  1. Chocolate

End the night on a sweet note with some chocolates for your guest to take home. We love Lulas local chocolates or caramels as wedding favors. Bonus, they already have the cutest two piece chocolates (or caramels) favors in wedding bags for you to give to your guests. You can also customize the chocolate and ribbon color to match your event.

  1. Cupcake boxes

Gift some individual cupcakes for guests to take home for a sweet ending to the night.

Late night cookie and chips to go at Tehama Golf Course. Photo by Megan Welker
  1. Snacks to go

Give your guests a little midnight snack to go. Your caterer may have some great ideas for on the go snacks. Some fun ideas are little boxes with hotdogs, fries and a drink. You could also put the money into a fun late night bite for guests to enjoy while dancing instead of a to go option. 

  1. Donut boxes

Send your guests off with a treat they can have as a midnight snack or for breakfast the next morning. 

  1. Jams/ Jellies-

Have a fun date night and make some homemade jams or jellies, with love, to gift your guests. Just know that this is a big project so only go there if you really have the time and energy!

  1.  Alcoholic beverages

Let your guests take a fun drink home to enjoy later. We love Mini Vacay Wine for great local, quality, canned wine. If you want to try something besides wine, we love California Seltzer Co for local seltzers.

As an alternative to take away favors I suggest opting for activities or treats that are more Experiential or interactive at the wedding. Put the money that you would sink into favors into something that everyone can enjoy at the wedding. 

  1. Smores Bar- 

Give your guests a break during the dancing for an opportunity to roast some marshmallows and make some smores.

  1. Ice Cream Sundae Bar- 

Who doesn’t love a good ice cream sundae? With a variety of toppings and ice cream flavors, an ice cream bar is sure to be a hit. 

  1. Slider Bar-

After dancing the night away (and probably a few drinks in) a good burger can hit the spot. A slider bar is a great late night bite but some other fun ideas would be a taco bar, fry bar, popcorn bar, you get the idea – salty and indulgent!

Interactive Experience in the form of Bars is a huge hit at events! 

Photo by A Tale Ahead Photography @ataleaheadphoto⁠

  1. Cocktail Making Bar

A fun interactive cocktail station with a mixologist can be a huge hit!

  1. Coffee bar –

People love coffee and an espresso cart or truck at a wedding is a big crowd pleaser! Not only can you get delish lattes, and that shot of espresso to get you through the night but add some espresso martinis and irish coffees to the mix and you have something for everyone. 

  1. Whiskey tasting bar

Sip on different kinds of whiskey with a whiskey tasting bar. If you can source special and rare whiskeys (depending on venue and liquor laws of your wedding) this can be something that is really unique and fun! 

While there are many great food and beverage ideas to give your guests, there are plenty of experiences you can provide your guests in place of wedding favors. Here are some fun ideas that are sure to get your guests talking.

Photographer: Julie Cahill Photography

  1. Cigar bar

Make a fun setup and lay out some different cigars and matches for your guests to try. You can even have a specialist on site to hand roll cigars! 

  1. Caricature artist

This is a fun one for all ages. This is a great experience for your guests and a personalized keepsake for them to take home. It will be something they won’t soon forget.

  1. Live painting artist 

Similar to caricature artists, but in water colors. We really like Pigment and Parchment and Amy Burkman, who is a speed painter.

  1. Photo booth

Photo booths are always a hit at events. With silly props and drinks in hand, your guests will have a blast taking pictures. Send a copy with your guests and keep one for yourself to see how much fun they had.

Some other fun ideas your guests can enjoy while they’re out dancing and are really cost effective are: 

Photo/Video: Nikki Ryan Photography @nikkiryanphotography

  1. Glow sticks

You can make glow necklaces or glasses a fun part of the evening while dancing. This is great for all ages.

  1. Silly hat

Put some silly hats on a table and watch your guests have fun dancing the night away with them on.

There are many different options that you and your guests can enjoy that will make your wedding memorable. While there are also gifts your guests can take home, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on gifts that will just get left behind, or thrown away. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your wedding style on what you want to gift your guests with, or if you choose to give anything at all. No matter what your choose, your guests are ultimately there to celebrate you as a couple and anything extra is just a bonus for them.

Photographer: Julie Cahill Photography Sugar Lips Mini Donuts @sugarlipsslo

Prosecco Cart Bubbles and Brews SF Bay @bubblesandbrewssfbay Photographer: Lacy Michelle Photography @laceymichellephoto

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