Do Couples Still Give Out Wedding Favors?

Have welcome bags taken over, or is the tradition of a wedding favor totally outdated?

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Photo: Abby Jiu Photography

If you've been wondering whether or not brides and grooms still give out wedding favors, the simple answer is yes. But as anyone who's been to a wedding in the last few years knows, what constitutes a favor has definitely evolved over time. Gone are the days of monogrammed candies and wasteful tchotchkes that'll end up in the garbage. Now, couples are more interested in giving their guests something meaningful that'll remind them of the experience they had at your wedding, or else something edible they can enjoy right away. Here's what you need to know about the new class of big-day favors.

You're giving your guests an experience.

Weddings have come a long way from the tried-and-true church and ballroom celebrations of our parents' generations. Over the course of your wedding weekend, you might host four or five different gatherings over multiple days' time. What this means is that you're gifting your guests an experience rather than a thing. If there's a favor or something to send them home with that reminds them of this special time, that's great. But if you're doling out wedding favors just because it's something on your to-do list, take the stress off yourself and rest assured that your guests will be heading home with long-lasting memories.

Welcome bags set a new standard.

With destination weddings being more popular than ever, the gift-filled welcome bag has taken on more prominence than traditional wedding favors. If you have a large contingent of guests traveling from out of town to attend your wedding weekend, you'll probably want to greet them with a welcome note and a nice bottle of local cider, box of donuts from the neighborhood bakery, or a bag filled with tasty treats. You might include a fun and festive keepsake, like custom koozies for a summer wedding or a copper mug for guests to take home and make Moscow Mules in.

Favors are very much still a thing.

Rather than the outdated monogrammed box of candy or miniature framed photo of the two of you, wedding favors have evolved to be more reflective of the time, place, and experience you're sharing with your guests. What does that mean exactly? Well, it could be that you gift your guests a bottle of wine from the vineyard where you're hosting your wedding, or if you're getting married at a farmhouse that's known for its delicious food, you might gift your guests the property's own cookbook. Getting married at the beach? Stick with something guests will use throughout the weekend, like a fun pair of sunglasses or a cool Turkish towel.

Go with something simple.

One of the biggest frustrations for couples with favors is that guests leave them behind. Keeping it simple is a good way to minimize waste and ensure you're giving your guests something they really don't want to forget at the end of the night. Infused olive oil if your wedding is in olive-rich countryside, a cocktail kit for a nightcap, or a pretty brass bottle opener can all be fun, simple options.

Swap the favors for something edible.

Edible favors are always a good way to keep things simple if you'd like guests to depart your wedding with something in-hand. Near the exit, you can set up a takeaway table filled with bags of small-batch popcorn, freshly fried beignets, a mini s'mores kit, or big, salty pretzels. While guests may not eat these treats right away, they'll likely dive into the grub when they return to their hotel rooms for the night.

Waste matters.

If you're concerned about the waste-factor of your wedding, you might decide to skip the traditional favor gifts and instead make a donation to a charity or local non-profit. Say, for example, that you're hosting your wedding in a heavily forested area on the California coast. You might set up a donation to the local fire department or forest service to reflect your appreciation of the area. Or, if your wedding will take place at an urban art gallery, you might set up a donation to a local non-profit arts center for kids. Either way, the donation is something you can note on the bottom of your wedding menu and you might even challenge your guests to match your donation as a wedding gift to you.

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