Experts weigh in on how to make your display spectacular.
multi colored bags wedding favors on gold and white display tables and shelving
Credit: Brandon Kidd

Figuring out the best way to display your carefully-chosen wedding favors means taking into account several different factors, from the favor itself to the setup of your space. For some couples, a favor display can become a stunning installation and art piece that sets the tone for the entire day's décor; at other events, incorporating a small gift into each table's place settings gives the tables a personal, cohesive look. Before you decide what's best for your big day, consider these tips from Diana Venditto, owner of Eventi Floral and Events, and Tory Smith, owner of Smith + James.

Choose the right favor.

Since the size and type of favor you offer dictates the rest of the display, you should choose one before planning your presentation. Both planners recommend giving out favors that lean more toward practical—and personal—than decorative. "I try to steer my couples away from something that would just sit on a shelf," says Venditto. "Guests do not necessarily want a wedding bell with your name and wedding date on it."

In many cases, practical can also mean edible; a treat your guests can consume, either at the wedding or later, is easy for out-of-towners to pack and offers unique options for customization. "Edible favors don't have to travel and are almost always useful to every guest," says Smith. "Use favors that make sense for the location, or something that is near and dear to the couple—for instance, a homemade jam that the bride makes every summer with her mother." Once you've decided on the gift you want to give, you can more easily visualize a display or place setting, and whether it makes sense to use your favors as escort cards or place cards.

Mock up your place setting.

If your venue doesn't offer space for a large-scale display, plan to put your favors at place settings. This gives you the option of personalizing each favor to assign specific seats instead of using place cards, or keeping the favors generic so guests can choose their own chair. But incorporating the favors into the design of your place setting means choosing gifts that coordinate with the rest of your tabletop design. "You have to make sure they work easily into the aesthetic of the table décor," says Smith. "Favors that work well at place settings are small loafs of artisan bread, miniature boxes of macarons, and anything you can work into the design of the table décor."

You and your coordinator should also work with the florist, caterer, and rental company to decide whether you'll have room on the table for favors next to china, flatware, glassware, and centerpieces. "Space and scale are always a factor," says Venditto. "An overcrowded table can easily take away from the couple's intentional design."

Assess your space.

Larger favors may not work as part of a place setting, says Smith, but setting up a standalone favor display isn't ideal since guests tend to overlook a separate space. Choosing favors that can double as escort cards guarantees that your friends and family will take one, and can also make a stunning visual impact. "Are you planning a Moscow mule bar and do you want everyone grab their monogrammed mug to find their seat? If so, a large wall with hanging copper cups would work well," says Venditto.

Another idea, suggests Smith: small bottles of olive oil with calligraphed names and table assignments displayed on an eye-catching installation. But displaying several hundred bottles, mugs, or other take-homes requires an appropriate space at your reception site. "Sometimes a venue space is begging for an amazing statement at your cocktail hour and you are almost able to back yourself into an amazing favor display," says Venditto, "while sometimes you have a great idea for a display and it can be tricky to find the perfect home for it." Cost is a factor, too, she says: "A favor display is 99% more expensive, but the wow factor can be completely worth it."


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