The best part about planning your own wedding is that you can customize it anyway you like. Don’t want to have a first dance? Skip it. Want to get hitched in a barn? Do it up. Prefer to give guests an alternative to wedding favors? We got you.
Who doesn’t love a good photo booth? If your wedding includes a fun photo booth set-up, let guests take home photos the night-of, acting as an instant souvenir. Even if you’re livestreaming your event due to COVID-19, you can use virtual backgrounds that match your event’s theme. Guests can take screenshots, or you can have them printed for them as a little thank-you. In a digital age, it’s so nice to receive a hard-copy of a photo.
Chances are that guests will be delightfully stuffed after your reception dinner and dessert, but who doesn't love a snack for the road? Wedding dessert bars are popular as late-night treats, and donut walls are great to have on the way out. Simply place some paper bags next to the bites, and then guests can pack their own treat to go. If you want to pre-package edible thank-yous, we love s’more kits, gourmet cookies, popcorn, and candy bags.
OK, so a glass could technically be considered a wedding favor, but hear us out—it’s an option that can act as a place setting, if personalized, and it can also be used throughout the night. Whether wine, craft beer glasses, or Champagne flutes, go with a style that best suits your wedding aesthetic and bar options for the night. You can also match your gifted glassware to your signature cocktail and send guests home with ingredients to remake it themselves. If alcohol wedding favors are right up your alley, make sure to consult your wedding budget to determine if each guest will receive a wedding favor or if each couple or household will receive one to share.
For cold-weather winter wedding favors, consider a fun mug—personalized with guests’ names or decorated with your wedding date—and ingredients for hot chocolate. Take-home hot chocolate kits are just what guests will crave while curling up after a long night of dancing.
If your wedding is during the COVID-19 pandemic, think of masks as a wedding favor alternative that has health and safety benefits. While many couples opt to postpone or hold off their nuptials, some are getting married in scaled-down events, hosting socially distanced weddings, or planning micro weddings. While guests will likely bring their own mask, you can get creative with wedding masks. Think matching them to your wedding colors or ordering designs with fun phrases on them. It will make wedding photos memorable.
Wedding flowers are gorgeous and make your ceremony and reception shine, but after the night’s over, you’re often left with more arrangements than you can deal with. Repurpose your wedding floral arrangements by making little bouquets and giving them to guests. If you have enough potted plants or succulents as decor, you can send your loved ones off with one each, too.
Don’t have flowers to give, but still have a green thumb? Gift guests plant-your-own-tree kits or seed envelopes. They make adorable and sustainable gifts.
Pick a cause that is close to your heart and put the money you would have spent on wedding favors and donate it to a good cause. You can let guests know via a little note or during your wedding speech that in lieu of traditional wedding favors, you and your spouse made a donation in their name. Not only will this pay your good fortune forward, but it also is a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative.
If you’re hosting a virtual wedding or a micro ceremony with loved ones watching on Zoom, there are still ways to include them in the fun. Alternatives to traditional wedding favors can be sent out physically ahead of your big day. Ideas include having smaller versions of your wedding cake delivered to guests, or giving them the recipe for your signature cocktail so that they can make it at home, and toast to you online. You can also have everyone attending the virtual event “pose” for a group photo online, and print the picture to send out to guests as a thank-you for attending your e-wedding day.
If you’re having a destination wedding or a multi-day affair, wedding welcome bags are ways to thank your guests for their attendance and give them some supplies to make them feel comfortable. You can give these to guests in lieu of wedding favors. It’s common to put items such as snacks, treats, water bottles, and welcome notes in welcome gift bags.
Get creative with your table place settings; many can be gifted as wedding favor alternatives and taken home by guests once the night is done. For place settings, items such as personalized buttons, magnets, engraved wooden hearts, and message in a bottle trinkets are tokens that people can keep. For holiday weddings, ornaments with guests' names (that can later be hung on Christmas trees) make adorable place settings.
Some couples like to think in an eco-friendly manner and repurpose centerpieces or decor. If your event has succulents or plants galore, invite your wedding guests to take one on their way out. The same goes for candles—if you want to make sure that your lighting gets a second life, have little wedding favor bags ready for guests to take a hardly-used candle home.
Wedding favors are a nice way to thank wedding guests for taking part in your special day, but there are plenty of alternatives that do the trick. Between edible treats and practical glassware, think about what you’d like to get as a guest at a wedding. And remember, just like every other aspect of your wedding is up to you, it’s perfectly OK if you forgo wedding favors (and alternatives) altogether.