Why Brides Don’t Know What Wedding Favors to Buy

Many brides find themselves a little frustrated when it’s time to choose the wedding favors. They aren’t sure when to order them, and they aren’t sure what to get. If it turns out that you’re one of those brides, this article can help you figure it out.

When to Order Your Favors

Brides like to put off buying their wedding favors until shortly before the wedding. This isn’t because they’re lazy; it’s because they have a more accurate guest list then, and they’re less likely to end up with the wrong number of favors. Sometimes this is a good idea, and sometimes it isn’t. For brides that plan to buy something fairly generic, such as a truffle or specialty chocolate in a decorative box, putting off the favors is fine. That way, if your first choice ends up back-ordered, you won’t feel much grief in ordering an alternative — after all, chocolate is chocolate.

On the other hand, if you’re having an unusual theme wedding and only one kind of favor will do, or you simply have your heart set on something, you’re better off ordering sooner. Favors are subject to “churn” — styles come and go. More than a few brides have bookmarked “favorite favors” on my site for months, then written in anguish when the items went out of stock or hit a six-week backorder shortly before the time they planned to order.

In short, if you can substitute easily, then wait until your final guest count comes in. If not, play it safe.

What to Get

Many brides ask themselves, “What will everyone like?” Trying to please everyone didn’t work when you decided who to marry. And it doesn’t work when choosing your favors, either. Sometimes brides get so intimidated with the question that they start asking other brides what to get. This never works either — and here’s why.

Brides come in distinct flavors, like ice creams. Some are vanilla. Some are more exotic, like avocado-coconut. The Hallmark Wedding Press Room has a little gem that puts it perfectly: younger brides often want a traditional, fairytale affair where everything goes by the book. But many older brides having a second wedding are determined to do things their way … which can be pretty non-traditional. Are these two brides going to be happy with the same kinds of favors? Of course not!

Let’s say you’re the kind of bride who has a little drawer or shelf full of silver picture frames and miniature wedding cake candles. Almost every wedding you’ve attended has given you a little keepsake reminder, which you treasure. In turn, you’d love to give the same type of keepsake to your guests. You’ll probably naturally gravitate toward the kinds of favors that guests can use indefinitely — picture frames to hold photos of the event or family members, personalized champagne flutes, clever miniatures that remind everyone of the destination wedding you held. When you ask other brides what favors to give, what you really mean is, “what type of keepsake favor would you find most meaningful?”

The Inevitable But Not Very Helpful Response

Here’s what inevitably happens.

  • Bride A, an older, non-traditional bride, responds: “Well, I personally find picture frames boring, but I gave out sushi candle favors at my small, Asian-themed reception and everyone adored them.”
  • Bride B, a young, traditional bride, responds: “I didn’t think that everyone would like picture frames, but everyone likes chocolate, so I handed out truffles in an elaborate ribboned box.”
  • Bride C, who’s a little tired of wedding planning, responds, “I don’t really care about favors, and I threw away every favor I ever got. Skip them; nobody likes them.”
  • Bride D, who may be a social activist or may have lost someone recently, says: “I have several diabetic relatives who couldn’t enjoy candy, and I wanted to do something meaningful, so instead of favors I donated to my favorite cause.”

All these responses are valid and thoughtful. Yet none of them are helpful to the keepsake bride, who will find the most personal satisfaction in handing out something as lovely as the favors she herself has received and saved over the years.

The Results Are In … And You’re Confused

The moral of the story? Stop asking other people what to get, and start thinking about you. What kind of bride are you? Fairytale and traditional? Sleek and contemporary? Quixotic and independent? If you have any doubts at all on that score — and believe it or not, it’s easy to have them — go and hie yourself hither to one of the Web’s many “What Kind of Bride Are You?” quizzes. As silly as they seem, they’re actually incredibly useful if you’re still in the process of figuring it out.

Once you have your style nailed down, you’re closer to identifying what favors will truly satisfy you, which is the point. Taking a CNN poll of friends, relatives and strangers is a great way to stay in office, but it’s not a great way to choose your favors.

“Know thyself,” said the oracle at Delphi. It’s been golden advice ever since — especially for brides.