My friend and bride-to-be Jen is having favor issues…should they even have favors? If so, what the heck should they give? And how much should they spend? All valid questions in today’s wedding world. Favors seem to be one of those minor details that can tend to give couples more than minor stress…but they don’t have to. Jen has a few ideas in mind, so I want to break them down into pros and cons to help make the decision easier.
Jen wants to make a donation in her guests’ honor to savetheelephants.com. Sound silly? Maybe. But I love it. And I love it merely on principle. I love being able to take something that is characteristically materialistic (i.e. wedding favors) and turning it into something better…any opportunity we get to give to worthy causes, yes, yes, and YES. If you want to make a donation, I suggest picking something meaningful to you as a couple. Have you both volunteered your time with Habitat for Humanity? Did you adopt a kitten or a puppy at your local shelter? Something that is meaningful to you will also be meaningful for your guests. Added bonus: You are in COMPLETE CONTROL over the cost. Want to donate $300? $500? That’s exactly how much you’ll spend. There will be no surprise costs that are easily found in providing wedding favors, like shipping, packaging, etc. And that is a beautiful thing.
I love candy buffets simply because they involve candy. ha. Candy buffets are always a big hit at the party, but they are also usually a big hit on the budget. Glass jars or canisters can get pretty spendy. And fancy cookies, truffles, and candies can certainly run up the bill fast. But YOU CAN DO IT CHEAPER. Find cool bowls and jars at places like Goodwill. Or check out the marketplace on weddingbee.com. Tons of brides go there to sell stuff they bought for their wedding and can’t use anymore. Their loss is your gain! And remember that the candy is going to be EATEN. While those expensive ribbon candies that were made to match your colors and the M&Ms stamped with your monogram look extremely pretty, they will be gone before you can say, “Look how pretty my candy buffet is.”
Make cookies! Include yours and your groom’s favorite candies growing up…or candies you like to share together now. Again, the more personal you make it, the more meaningful it will be to your guests. It won’t just be a pretty candy buffet, it will be an extension of you as a couple. Plus, you don’t want to take any attention away from your fabulous cake, right?
Custom mix CD’s are a relatively inexpensive way to share a little bit of your personalities with your guests. You can put “your song” on them, the song you’re walking down the aisle to, the songs you sing to each other in the car, songs that tell your story, etc. The con? not everyone is going to love the songs you love and that CD may make a better coaster than anything else. But that’s not the point. They’re songs the two of you love and songs that represent you. Maybe include a “reference sheet” with the CD, explaining what each song means to you.
Photo booths are awesome. They add another element to the party and give your guests a great memento to take home and remind them of how much fun they had on your big day. they can act as wedding entertainment, favors, and a unique guest book (have the booth print 2 copies…one for your guests, one for you to keep in an album). The only problem? Financially, photo booths are hard to justify as they can run you $1000 and up to rent. If you can compensate that cost over several elements, like the guest book and favors, it might be worth it. But definitely sit down and decide how important an element of this cost means to you. Gotta have it? Cut back in other areas, like photography. Since you’ll be swarmed with photo strips documenting you and your guests at your reception, maybe cut back on the photographer time at your reception. If you can swing the cost, a photo booth is guaranteed to be a big hit.
So what do you think? How did you give favors that were meaningful and on (under?) budget? Whatever Jen and her fiance choose, from saving the elephants to a photo booth extravaganza, I have no doubt that they will be perfect…and perfectly inspired by them.
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