Let's just put it out there: Wedding "favors" typically aren't. They've got a rep as being personalized trinkets - small, predictable and initialed. But don't confuse cliched and classic, or think traditional can't also be fun. Things like candles and matches can be purchased in bulk without ''feeling'' that way. Add some pop with a hilarious quote instead of "Sally and Johnny Forever" (funny sometimes has a greater shelf life than sentimental). Make like it's a third grade birthday party and give out old school candy bags. (Do you have any idea how quickly an Air Head would be devoured once the open bar closes?) Frame copies of your favorite poem, or give out coasters from the bar where you met your significant other. And should all else fail, buy a bunch of blank CDs and make a mix for everyone. If your wedding was a true party, a guest will one day find herself on a crowded train listening to your playlist, recall breaking into The Robot with your parents, and fight a grin all the way to her stop. What greater favor could you do for someone?
Here are some basics to keep in mind when considering the type of favors for your wedding:
* '''Presentation and Personalization'''
** You want the favors to be personal, whether they be engraved, monogrammed, printed, or even tied on. Whether this means names and date or a quote of some sort is up to you.
*** You may choose to have the favors reflect the season in which you are having the wedding. Think tree ornaments around Christmas time, soap leaves during fall, flip flop candles for a summery beach wedding, or a flower motif for spring.
*** If this wedding unites two different cultures, use that as an advantage and get a culturally oriented gift.
** The presentation should be pretty and match the style of your wedding decor. Think of where you plan to place the favors until giving them out.
*** Will they be part of a breakaway centerpiece?
*** Can they hang off the backs of the chairs?
*** Should they be arranged to mimic a wedding cake?
* '''Memorable but Functional'''
** Favors that can be used after the wedding are the best. The trick is to keep them simple and clean looking.
** If you choose an item that serves as part of home decor, make sure that it is subtle so it can match most styles.
** It might not be strictly "functional" but edible favors are a sure crowd-pleaser. Most people don't need more trinkets, but everyone loves candy!
* '''Fun Ideas'''
** Memorable gifts for you and your guests are pens and notepads. It sounds simple, but it is fun. Have each guest use their pen and paper to write a note or wish for the bride and groom and put all the papers into a wedding wish box to be saved. The couple can open it again years later to be reminded of the special occasion, while guests can go on using the personalized pens and pads.
** An alternative to buying wedding favors is to use the money that you would have spent on gifts and donate it to a special cause, whether it be for animals, the environment, foundation or charity.
** If you and your guests enjoy wine or champagne you might want to consider personalized wine gifts. You can pick the type of wine and choose the label on which to put all the details of your special day and even photos. Years down the road you can open a bottle on a special occasion.