Are Wedding Favors a Waste of Money?

Wedding favors are a long-standing tradition that can be traced back to early European civilizations where sugared almonds were given as gifts at weddings. Over the years, there has been a significant shift in trends, with couples spending hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars, on these commemorative gifts for their guests. However, some argue that wedding favors are unnecessary expenses that add little or no value to the wedding celebration. In this article, we explore the purpose, significance, costs, and alternatives to traditional wedding favors and their environmental impact.

Understanding the Purpose of Wedding Favors

Wedding favors are small gifts given to guests as a gesture of appreciation for their attendance and support on the couple’s special day. They are intended to commemorate the occasion and serve as mementos of the day, usually personalized with the couple’s names or wedding date. While wedding favors are not an essential part of the wedding celebration, they are widely popular and are considered a traditional norm in most cultures.

A Brief History of Wedding Favors

As mentioned earlier, wedding favors can be traced back to early European civilizations where sugared almonds were given as gifts at weddings. The almonds represented health, happiness, fertility, wealth, and longevity, and were a symbol of the couple’s good wishes for their guests. Over time, the tradition evolved, and couples began to personalize their favors with monograms, wedding dates, and other decorative elements.

It is interesting to note that the tradition of giving wedding favors was not limited to Europe alone. In the Middle East, for instance, it was customary to give guests small bags of spices or sweets as a way of expressing gratitude for their attendance. In Asia, tea and silk were popular wedding favors, while in America, Jordan almonds were a common choice.

The Significance of Giving Favors to Guests

Wedding favors are more than just gifts. They are a way for the couple to express gratitude to their guests for making time to share in their joyous occasion. It is also a gesture of goodwill that communicates the couple’s affection and respect for their guests. Furthermore, wedding favors serve as reminders of the special day and can evoke happy memories for years to come.

It is worth noting that wedding favors are not just for guests. Couples can also give favors to their bridal party as a way of thanking them for their support and hard work in making the wedding a success. These can include personalized gifts such as jewelry, cufflinks, or even spa treatments.

Modern Wedding Favor Trends

The trend of giving personalized wedding favors with the couple’s names or monograms is still popular today. However, couples have become more creative, and there is a growing trend of giving practical favors that guests can use after the wedding. These include customized wine glasses, bottle openers, and practical household items like coasters and magnets.

Another trend in wedding favors is eco-friendliness. Couples are increasingly opting for favors that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. These can include seed packets, reusable shopping bags, or even small potted plants.

It is also worth mentioning that some couples choose to forgo wedding favors altogether and instead make a donation to a charity in honor of their guests. This is a meaningful way of expressing gratitude and giving back to the community.

In conclusion, wedding favors are a cherished tradition that has evolved over time. They are a way for couples to express gratitude to their guests and serve as reminders of the special day. Whether it’s a personalized keepsake or a practical item, wedding favors are a thoughtful gesture that will be appreciated by guests for years to come.

The Cost of Wedding Favors

The cost of wedding favors varies considerably depending on the type, quantity, and quality of the favors. On average, couples spend between $2 and $10 per guest, with some spending even more. The cost can quickly add up, especially when planning a large wedding with multiple guests.

Average Prices for Popular Favors

Couples often choose to purchase favors in bulk to save on costs. Popular wedding favors like personalized shot glasses, key chains, and candles can cost anywhere between $1 and $5 per item, depending on the quantity ordered. High-end favors like gourmet chocolates and custom-designed keepsake boxes can cost up to $25 or more per item.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Favors

The cost of wedding favors is dependent on several factors, including the type of favor, quantity, customization, and shipping. The cost of customizing the favors with the couple’s names or wedding date, as well as shipping and handling, can quickly drive up the cost of favors.

Budget-Friendly Favor Ideas

Couples on a budget can still give meaningful and memorable favors to their guests. There are many budget-friendly options, like homemade jams, succulents, or personalized sweet treats like macarons or cookies. Another option is to choose practical favors that guests can use every day, like eco-friendly tote bags or reusable water bottles.

Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Favors

While traditional wedding favors are lovely keepsakes, some couples opt for alternatives that are equally thoughtful and memorable. Here are just a few ideas:

Charitable Donations in Guests’ Names

A lovely way to give back to society and acknowledge guests’ kindness is to donate to a charity on their behalf. Couples can choose a charitable organization or cause they support and make a donation in their guests’ names. For example, a donation to a wildlife preservation organization for animal lovers to support during the pandemic.

Personalized Experiences for Guests

Couples can also create memorable experiences for their guests as a way of expressing gratitude. Personalized experiences like wine or mixology classes, or local tours of the wedding destination, can be memorable and meaningful gestures of appreciation.

DIY and Handmade Favors

Do-it-yourself (DIY) favors or handmade favors can be a lovely and personal touch for guests. Couples can make their favors, like homemade candles, desserts, or soaps, and customize them with unique packaging and labels.

Evaluating the Impact of Wedding Favors

While wedding favors have their merits, they are not without their ecological impact. Here are some of the factors to consider:

Guests’ Perspectives on Favors

While most guests appreciate the gesture of wedding favors, many admit that they have a limited use, and some may not even take them home. Additionally, some guests may forget to take them at the end of the reception, leaving the couple with unused favors.

Environmental Considerations

The production of wedding favors can have an environmental impact. Favors often come in packaging that contributes to plastic waste, and the production of favors may have significant carbon emissions. Couples can mitigate these effects by opting for eco-friendly favors like seed packets or items made from recycled materials.

The Role of Favors in Wedding Planning

Wedding favors are just one expense in the overall cost of planning a wedding. While they can add a personal touch to the celebration, they are not essential to the wedding experience. Couples should consider their overall wedding budget and prioritize other critical elements like food, decor, and entertainment before considering wedding favors.


Are wedding favors a waste of money? The answer is complicated. While they are not essential to the wedding experience, they are an opportunity to express gratitude and create a memorable experience for guests. Couples can opt for practical, personalized, or eco-friendly favors that align with their values and budget. By being thoughtful and intentional, couples can leave a lasting impression on guests while minimizing the environmental impact of their wedding celebration.

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