6 Popular Wedding Favors (and Their Trendier Alternatives)

No guest really wants an engraved wine glass.

Contributing Writer
Photography by: Walter B. McKenzie

Even the most stylish wedding can go down a notch in sophistication with an overdone or less-than-useful favor. Wow your guests with these favors they'll be sure to keep (or eat)!


Anything Engraved

Of course you'll love seeing your names and wedding date on hundreds of little picture frames, votives, or pens, but it will never be as special to someone else as it is to you, says Calder Clark of Calder Clark, a wedding planner in Charleston and Raleigh. She recommends going for something with more heart like a little book of love poems. Wrap it in beautiful Japanese paper or a Turkish tea towel. It's timeless and simple, says Clark. 

Mason Jars with Condiments

While it's really kind, it's not practical. Your guests might not even like your maple syrup, honey, or whatever else you whipped up, and they probably already have it at home, says Clark. And now they have the added challenge of fitting it in their luggage where it might break. If you're stuck on your homemade condiment, then limit it to 2-3 ounces. A better choice is to give them something they can eat right away. Clark recommends homemade biscuits with a small jar of whipped cream or lemon curd. Yum!

Mini Wine Bottles

Saying "I do" in the beautiful ambiance of Napa Valley? Go for wine by all means. It's Napa after all. If you're not, then don't do it. Instead, play off the local flavors. If you're a Kentuckian, like Hollis Starks of Hollis Starks and Company, she recommends miniature bottles of bourbon. But it's not just limited to those in the South. "Bourbon is chic everywhere, not just in Kentucky," says Starks. For large groups, display it in baskets. Smaller, more intimate party? Place bottles on trays with personalized tags or pair them with single-serving bottles of Old Limestone Mixing Water.


Get the Best Wedding Favor Ideas for Every State in the Nation


Yes, a lot of people love the way it looks in pictures, but it's played out. If you've seen it once, you've seen it a hundred times. Not only that, but they're messy. If you're trying to combine the favor with the exit, try a scented toss item. "I love lemon verbena and simple ivory petals," says Clark. Wrap the mixture in pretty bags that guests can keep if they want to. If they don't, they can toss the contents for the pic.

Anything Plastic

It not only takes away from a sophisticated theme, but it's also unlikely to be something the guests will keep. So toss the plastic mini cake figurines, plastic picture frames, plastic shot glasses … anything plastic! Put your money to better use with a well-intentioned donation to your favorite charity. "Guests are genuinely touched by the gesture, respect the practicality, and are often surprised by the twist on the traditional favors," says Starks. Put a pretty, framed sign near your guest book that says a donation has been made in the guests' honor. 


Mints are a dime-a-dozen and given out everywhere from doctor's offices to the bank. Live a little! Give your wedding favors a boutique feel with a locally made treat. "The trend to buy locally produced items and support local businesses continues to grow," says Starks. "It's also a unique way to introduce out-of-town guests to a regional favorite." And it doesn't have to start or stop there. Run the local theme in everything from your welcome bags to your favors to your décor.

About the Author

Tia Albright

Tia's love affair with weddings started with 16 sweet little words, "Dad, I met a man in Rome, and he's wonderful and brilliant, and we're getting married." That was all it took. Now she's married and writing about cakes, dresses, and décor to her heart's content, and she still watches Father of the Bride at least once a year (OK, maybe more like three or four times).


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