Discussion: Are Wedding Favors Necessary?

We received an Ask Emmaline question from Melanie, a bride-to-be who is confused about wedding favors. Melanie asks, “My fiance and I are planning our wedding and we’re trying to pick wedding favors, but we’re on a tight budget. Are wedding favors necessary? Do you think we really need them?” Great question! After all, who wants to spend their wedding budget on an item guests may never use or appreciate? So, today we’re posing the question: are wedding favors necessary? Do you really need to give wedding favors to guests? We’ll tell you what we think and provide a few pointers. And… we want to hear from YOU! What do you think about wedding favors? Do you think they’re necessary? Read on to get the full scoop and join the discussion! (P.S. We know you love Facebook, so now you can comment on our site using Facebook! So. much. easier.)

Are Wedding Favors Necessary?

Are Wedding Favors Necessary?

First, what is a wedding favor? A wedding favor is a small token of appreciation given to guests. It’s a small (typically between a dollar to a few dollars each) gift, placed at each guest’s seat to take home after the wedding. They’ve been a “must-have” for years, most likely couples like to give a little something to guests as a thank you for sharing in their day. But, wedding favors can be a hot topic button for some couples: a few dollars on each multiplied by your massive guest list can add up to plenty of money. Wedding favors have been deemed wasteful by some when the item isn’t something guests can actually use. When it comes to wedding favors (and whether they’re really necessary), we vote yes, but ONLY when done with practicality in mind. We think guests have come to expect a favor, and it is a nice way to say thank you for sharing in your day. However, we don’t believe spending gobs of money on a wedding favor that guests will never really use makes sense. Nor do we believe giving a favor just because you feel you have to is smart. Here are some pointers.

Wedding Favors Should Always…

o Be Practical

Wedding favors should always be practical. Think of something guests will really use. Here are a few examples of practical wedding favors spotted over at Kate Aspen. Some ideas include a tea strainer, wine glass, luggage tag, or drink koozie.

practical wedding favors - Are Wedding Favors Necessary?

kate aspen

For my bridal shower, the favor was a set of measuring spoons — which I still use in my house today! And, for my sister’s shower, we gave whisk favors (and you can bet I still make scrambled eggs with it). And, as a note: when you’re giving a non-handmade favor to guests, you can still add your own personal touch. Simply remove the box and add your own ribbon and tag. It will make your favor look more ‘homemade’.

measuring spoons wedding favor whisk - Are Wedding Favors Necessary?

measuring spoon favors | whisk favors

Other favor ideas include handmade wedding favors (that are also practical). Think edible treats (we love macarons!), soaps, or blended tea favor packets.

practical favors wedding - Are Wedding Favors Necessary?

macarons – le bonbon, soaps – dancing mooney, tea favors – dell cove spices

o Be Reasonable in Cost

A wedding favor is just a ‘little’ something to give to guests. Don’t go overboard. A few dollars each is plenty – don’t overwhelm yourself!

o Be a Reflection of the Couple (and Theme)

Be sure the wedding favor ties into you as a couple or your theme. For instance, a nautical bottle opener is perfect for beach weddings.

nautical anchor bottle opener favor - Are Wedding Favors Necessary?

kate aspen

Or, maybe you specialize in making your own home brew. Give it as a favor (as seen in this Saugatuck Garden Wedding):

i do brew wedding favor - Are Wedding Favors Necessary?

photo: k. holly via saugatuck garden wedding


We love the idea of giving a donation in lieu of a tangible item. For instance, if you’re a supporter of animal shelters, consider giving a sum of money that would have been used for favors and donate to a shelter of your choice. Then, print a card for each guest that says, “In lieu of a favor, we have donated money to the _____ Animal Shelter.” It is a great way to give back!

Remember… make it meaningful and your wedding favor will be more memorable to guests!

In conclusion…

We think wedding favors are an awesome addition (and a necessity) when done properly. What do YOU think?

Tell us: Are Wedding Favors Necessary?

Do you wedding favors are essential? What’s the best wedding favor you’ve ever seen or received? Comment below + join the discussion!


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10 Comments on "Discussion: Are Wedding Favors Necessary?"

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I think no matter what you choose, you can’t please everyone. We decided to give away travel sized hand cream and bar soap, which we will hand assemble ourselves. I had mentioned it to a friend and she said “are you sure? Seems a bit feminine and not a lot of men would use it…” Oh well, too late now! if there are leftovers, we’ll gladly take them home to use ourselves! ;P


We got an “our love story” map made and will print out for guests to take home. We also created our own CD cover from engagement photos and made a CD of our love songs. It was very cheap since our printer could accommodate.

For my sisters wedding we went to Costco and got a variety of specialty chocolates (those Brookside dark chocolate covered Acai and pomegranate chocolates, or the chocolate sea salt and caramel chews, chocolate covered raisins, cranberries, etc. and stuffed organza bags full and tied them with handmade tags that had a silhouette of a bird on it with the phrase, “a sweet tweet for you!” (since she had a lovebirds theme). People loved them, and we noticed they were scooping up the bags from the seats of the people that didn’t show up. Tsk. I was looking forward to those… Read more »

My fiance and I are on a budget too, but we found a koozie company that was less than $1/koozie. Ours say “To have and to hold and to keep your drink cold.”

Emma | Emmaline Bride

Cute idea, Stephanie! I’ve seen those koozies before and they’re perfect: fitting and functional! Thanks for sharing.


My fiance and I wanted to include personal touches in our wedding without blowing our budget. His family is from South Africa and mine is from Texas, so we chose to ask both of our mothers to bake cookies as wedding favors. His mother is making “soetkoekies” and mine is making sugar cookies. His mother has been sweet enough to provide adorable little burlap bags to put the cookies in. Our guests get a taste of both family cultures and it doesn’t break the bank :)

Emma | Emmaline Bride

Tara, thanks so much for sharing! What a great idea… it’s a great way to share both cultures and, as you pointed out, doesn’t break the bank. I love it!