Wedding favors are a wedding staple - regardless of how formal/informal your event. Saying thank you in a real way to those nearest and dearest to you who have supported you throughout the planning and stress is not limited to culture or tradition - it is just decent human behavior! But there certainly is no rule about not having fun in the process. Here, TheWeddingExpert gives you tips on how to give wedding favors to both bridal party and guests. We’ll also give ideas for welcome bags for your out-of-towners or guests who trekked out to your destination wedding.And goodie bags to keep the kids occupied!
KNOW YOUR BRIDAL PARTY
They know you - but how well do you know them? Try to think of a gift which celebrates some little detail or preference they have which only you remember. Whether it be a day at a top golf course for the best man or a LeCreuset dish for your Maid of Honor, remember what makes these people unique, trustworthy and such a vital part of your wedding.
YOU CAN BE GENERIC OR SPECIFIC
If you have several bridesmaids, you may feel if fairer to gift them all the same - with a day of spa treatments, an item of clothing or purse or book which shows humor and affection. You may want to give your Best Man a more formal gift like an engraved watch or pen and the Mother of the Bride a vase. Remember the ringbearer (a cap or a toy car?) and possibly a charm bracelet for the flower girl/s.
CONSIDER YOUR OTHER GUESTS
Ensure everyone of your invited guests has the chance to take home some personal memento of the day. It could be as simple as a small muslim packet of homemade macaroons with a handwritten tag, a colored tealight and cookie, a miniature liquor with some mini crackers and cheese, or a designer candle. Cardholders could double up as place card holders. The point is they will have something they can use to remember a great day - without broadcasting your names like a brand!
CHOOSE ITEMS THAT YOU LIKE FROM YOUR HOMETOWN OR THINGS THAT REPRESENT YOUR PASSIONS
For example, if one of you is from New York, maybe you will box up a Snapple Iced Tea and a black and white cookie or rainbow cookie. If you are renowned for your homemade jam, a small pot of that or a couple of your well-loved cookies. Or it could be something purely decorative and arty, a paperweight, a letter opener, a cheese knife (if everyone knows how much you love cheese). It could be to do with the town where you will be living or the secret recipe spiced olive oil your family makes.
WELCOME BAG TIPS FOR OUT-OF-TOWNERS AND DESTINATION WEDDING GUESTS
If your guests have travelled a long way and will be going to the expense of booking hotels just so they can join you on your special wedding day, the very least you can do is provide them with a spectacular and appropriate Welcome tote bag. If they are bringing kids, definitely invest in kiddies’ goodie bags stuffed with crayons, a fun t-shirt or cap, quizzes, a toy, some candy, a keyring or trinket, anything which will keep them amused and engaged and prevent the ‘Can we go home now? Can we go to the pool now?’
BUY SEVERAL STRONG PLAIN CANVAS BAGS or OTHER TOPICAL CONTAINER
You can print them with some generic design which will remind them of the theme of the day - definitely not a monogram or your names and date! It could be a symbol or a catchphrase - just something to make them smile and remember, an insider’s perspective. And the tote should be of a decent quality; the whole point is that it will be something your guests can use and use, either for groceries or the gym, and be durable. If, however, yours is an outdoor or garden wedding and you are outdoorsy types, maybe you would rather use a small fishing basket or a metal pail, if it’s in Tuscany or California or near vineyards, a woven basket, if the theme is vintage, a small suitcase or lidded hardy box.
FILL THEM WITH LOCAL GOODIES
This is to prevent them from having to eat out, raid the minibar or go to the corner store for a snack. You could include small samples of local produce or culinary specialities such as a box of Californian raisins (if in Cali), a Florida orange (if in Florida), a mini bottle of hot sauce if in Texas or down south, sweet potato chips, some cheese if in Vermont, cheese doodles if in New York, dried pretzels, a bottle of Twisted Tea…
INCLUDE USEFUL ITEMS FOR THE CLIMATE AND AREA
Not all your guests will have packed appropriately or know the area’s climate issues. Also, bear in mind the season. If it’s fall or winter, maybe include teabags, gloves, an umbrella or poncho. If your destination is somewhere tropical, include sunglasses, bug spray, a bottle of coconut water and some sunscreen.
THROW IN SOME ESSENTIALS
You know there will be at least one guest who forgets his or her toothbrush, shampoo and there you are stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Pack a basic emergency kit of mini-bottles of shampoo, lotion, a tube of lip balm and sunscreen, a toothbrush, toothpaste, Band Aids and possibly a sewing kit.
...AND A HANGOVER REPAIR KIT!
A bottle of water, Advil, Alka Seltzer, some instant coffee and a wheatgrass supplement...you will be appreciated!
GO TO THE TROUBLE OF WRITING OUT A WEDDING GUIDE MAP
Remember, many of your guests will literally be totally lost so, along with a guide map to the locations of your wedding festivities, include one for your favorite boutiques, coffee shops, places of interest. If the guests have children, make a special note of child-friendly places and things to do.
MAKE SURE THE KIDDIES’ GOODIE BAG HAS SOME CANDY!
Even if you are anti-candy, it is kid-code for ‘we-like-you’ so do include some favorite candy in their goodie bag. The kids will definitely remember you for it and it’s not rocket science or about to break your bank.
INCLUDE SOMETHING PERSONAL FOR THEM TO REMEMBER YOU BY
For example, a crossword puzzle about you both, a mixtape or a personal, handwritten note stating why their presence is so important to you. It doesn’t have to be extravagant - just sincere and thoughtful. Humorous is an added bonus!
WORK OUT HOW TO SHIP THE BAGS OVER TO YOUR DESTINATION
If you are travelling far, have a trusted member pack all the bags into one and make sure it is clear they are ‘gifts’ and you are not running a business or exhibition! This is to clear you through customs. Ask at the hotel/s if the bags can be delivered personally to the rooms (so you do need to know your guests’ room numbers beforehand). There is nothing worse than a goodie bag ending up in the wrong hands...and yes, it has happened and no, it was not returned!
A WELCOME BAG IS A GREAT WAY TO MAKE YOUR OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS FEEL WELCOME
It is an extra that is really not an extra at all - just a way of celebrating the extravagance of love and gratitude your wedding brings out!