Here is a helpful article for Wedding Favor Diva, Shirley Tan. Check out what she has learned from her years in the business and what she has to say as a favor expert!
We have heard it all: the bride’s family pays for the wedding and the groom’s family pays for the ring. Don’t ask for gifts on the invitations. Send hand-written thank you notes within two weeks of receiving gifts. Proper etiquette throughout the engagement is extremely important, and luckily there is plenty of useful advice to assist brides-to-be during the wedding planning process. Unfortunately, the etiquette surrounding wedding favors is often glossed over or forgotten in lieu of more common questions concerning gift giving, the wording on the invitations, the reception, etc. I often receive calls from curious (and sometimes frantic!) brides who desperately want to know the proper etiquette regarding wedding favors. Hopefully this information will assist some of you nervous brides in finding beautiful wedding favors.
DO give favors. Yes, weddings are expensive and can be very stressful to plan. However, part of your job as a bride and groom hosting a wedding is to be gracious to your guests. Many of them will travel far distances to be there, and often guests spend good money on gifts for the happy couple. Wedding favors, and party favors in general, are proper etiquette that cannot be skipped. Giving favors at the engagement party is optional, but suggested. Handing out favors after the bridal shower is very strongly recommended, and sending wedding guests home with reception favors is a must. If you need to keep costs down, there are plenty of beautiful favors for affordable prices. Do-it-yourself favors are a rising trend because you save on the built-in packaging costs of other favors. In addition, with the control exercised over every favor component, you can often produce more personalized and gorgeous favors than you could otherwise afford.
DON’T be tacky in your favor selection. Do not rummage through drawers, attics, and hall closets to find favors. Tacky favors can completely ruin that gorgeous wedding décor into which you have put so much thought and money. Your wedding is an upscale, elegant occasion that requires the same attention paid to every detail. If you find a fun favor you want to use, but clashes with wedding décor or is too casual for a wedding, buy those favors and hand them out at your bridal shower. By choosing the right favors, you may even be able to incorporate them into your décor and save money. For instance, save on floral centerpieces by putting favors on a tiered cake stand in the middle of the table. Another option is to use wedding favors as place cards (that way guests receive a lovely, personalized favor and you save money by buying one item for guests instead of two).
DO give one favor per guest. I do not care what you may hear to the contrary. It is absolutely bad form to give one favor to every couple or to an entire family; save that for smaller parties. For a wedding reception, each and every guest should receive one favor. If you think that a family owning more than one favor seems unnecessary, rethink your favor selection. Either opt for unisex favors or choose two different favors to give to the women and the men to ensure that every guest loves their favor.
DON’T give wedding favors to your wedding party as gifts. Proper etiquette dictates that the wedding party receives special gifts for their extra services. In many cases, these are lifelong friends who have gone above and beyond any normal expectations of friends to perform wedding duties. It is almost an insult to forego the wedding party gifts. As wedding guests, they will receive favors. However, the gifts designated for the wedding party should be in conjunction with wedding favors. Generally, the bride and groom manage their respective wedding parties, but you can choose to either give the same gift to every person or buy each person a unique gift tailored to their tastes.
DO order more favors than you will need. Shipped boxes are highly mistreated, and in large orders the chances of damaged favors is almost a guarantee. As soon as you have an accurate prediction of who the wedding guests will be, order your favors with plenty of extras to compensate for this damage, last minute guests, and miscalculations.
I hope this has cleared up some confusion regarding wedding favor etiquette. Etiquette is a delicate issue and must not be regarded lightly. Adhering to proper etiquette labels you a gracious bride, which will resonate better with guests, build happier memories in yours and your guests’ minds, and provide an overall happier and smoother experience.
Shirley Tan is the President of AmericanBridal.com, a leader in the wedding favors industry. As an expert in this industry with success building her business from scratch, Shirley has been featured on BridalGuide.com, in In Style Magazine, and on HGTV’s Designing Spaces. An acclaimed advisor on wedding tips, she recently authored The Bridal Handbook, to be released February 2009.