***Check out the previous installments in this series here.
Today marks the final installment of the wedding series, “Tying the Knot without Breaking the Bank” (somewhere I know that my seven male readers are rejoicing). To the best of my ability, I’ve tried to shape this series in a sort of chronological order: we began with setting the date, then we moved on to picking a caterer, venue, florist, dresses, music, and then the decor. So logically the next (and last) thing I want to talk about are the wedding favors. You know… those things you give your guests on their way out to give one last thank you (if the free food, cake, and booze didn’t already do it)??
I speak as both a frequent wedding guest and a one-time bride when I say that there is no reason in the entire universe why this part of the wedding should break the bank. However, as I’ve discussed before, the wedding industry — through ads and magazines– tells us that we need the cutest, most thoughtful, and most expensive favors or our wedding will be less than special (and I’m not knocking wedding magazines — they’re a great source of inspiration).
However, even the nicest wedding favors don’t have staying power — I’m sure most people who have attended weddings will agree that they don’t usually hold onto wedding favors for very long.
In light of this, I think it’s ideal to budget less than a dollar per wedding guest (if not less, especially for handmade items). Also, wedding favors that double as something else, like whatever you use in your send-off are another good way to get around your budget.
With our wedding, we gave guests small bottles of bubbles to blow for our send-off.
We got them at a Dollar Tree store, as they were the best deal in bubbles by far, beating Oriental Trading and Party City (they were only $1 per 9 bottles).
I got 16 cases (or 144 bottles) for a whopping $16. Then I took address labels and printed off “Courtney and Josh” in our wedding colors (c’mon, they wouldn’t be wedding favors if they weren’t slightly narcissistic).
These weren’t the designated “favors” per se, but they did make for a great send-off as they didn’t create a mess to be swept up later (like rice or flower petals) and they made for especially unique pictures (some of the bubbles look like ghost orbs).
Now for our favors, we went a non-traditional route. Like I mentioned, I’m not the biggest fan of favors as a wedding guest, so we chose to make a donation in our guests’ honor). We picked the Special Olympics — something near and dear to all of us as my brother has autism and is an Olympic swimmer and basketball player. In exchange, we were sent cards to be given to our guests, explaining the donation as well as providing more info about this great organization.
Choosing to donate was a win-win in every sense because not only did it raise awareness of the Special Olympics for my guests, but it also helped this organization financially with money that would have been otherwise spent on “insert overpriced wedding favor idea here.”
To further alert our guests (because those cards were kind of tiny), I typed up a little note, stuck it in a frame, and propped it up on one of the tables guests passed as they entered the ceremony. Obviously no one complained about not getting a more tangible favor, but I did have quite a few guests comment on how much they liked this idea!
This donation-minded favor should work with any charity or organization, and if they don’t give you cards, you can just make your own for your guests.
However, if you’re more into giving your guests a little something extra, there are a bazillion (yes, a bazillion) options out there… and many of them can be bought or made by hand for super cheap! I’ve rounded up a few for your browsing pleasure….
That’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this series as much as I enjoyed writing it! As always, feel free to send any questions you have via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in comment form (click on this post’s title, then the white thought bubble in the upper right hand corner).
Happy Wedding Planning!