Monday, June 27, 2011

stupid favors

Dear ESB:

After your perfect wisdom on guest books, I bought one and am going to set it out and not think about it again.

Here's the newest conundrum: do I do favors or say all the favors out there suck, no one really wants them, and get over it. is the little monster in me that says Aunt Proper Etiquette will freak right?

Can't my favor to everyone be that we're giving them an awesome meal, swing band and open bar? do I need to give out stupid ass tchotchkes too?

favors blow



Trust me.

Helena Bonham Carter by Juergen Teller for Marc Jacobs Fall 2011 via Fashion Gone Rogue


  1. Oh Helena! Love love love.

    The only time I've noticed and/or appreciated a favor at a wedding was when the groom, an amateur beekeeper, made tiny jars of honey for all the guests to take home. You better believe I almost wept when I got to the bottom of that delicious tiny jar. Unless you've got something you love to make/share/eat, I'd say skip it.

  2. the only favor i ever appreciated was a small box of bite-sized snickers bars. i ate them on the cab ride home. i was wasted.

  3. i know i'm alone in loving favors, and i don't even care.

  4. My family makes maple syrup, so we gave little glass jars of syrup to our wedding guests.

    That particular batch of syrup was extra special because my husband's parents came to help make it with my fam. We have all these great pictures of the two families together working. The favors probably meant more to us than they did to our guests, because of the experience and memories we created in the process of making them.

    So, in my opinion, making favors can be a really neat thing to do with your bridal party/close friends/family, and it gives you all a chance to simultaneously accomplish something productive for the wedding and take a step back from the wedding-planning-stress and have fun together.

  5. I'm a fan of favors. We gave out tiny jars of locally-made honey. It was a small, inexpensive gesture. Friends still approach me about how much they loved it.

    But... you could do anything. A couple of my favorites:

    CD favors:

    Button favors:

    Good luck. xo.

  6. Actually proper etiquette does not say you are supposed to give favors. A wedding is not a birthday party for small children who might be jealous of the birthday kid — therefore necessitating a favor.

    I say, if there is something meaningful you'd like to give and/or make for your guests, then go for it. If not, then forget about them.

  7. We splurged on pint jars of picked okra, homemade jellies and salsas from a small sustainable farm in my husband's hometown. We had a semi-destination wedding and wanted something special to thank our guests. 5 months later, our guests still mention how much they love the gifts. It's one of their lasting memories of the weekend.

    Do not have gifts just to have something, because (as usual) ESB is right - people don't care. It's a waste of your precious time and money. However, if there is something personal that you and your FH want to share, it's worth it.

  8. If it isn't useful it won't be remembered.

    No one leaves a kick-ass wedding complaining they didn't receive a favor.

  9. i once went to a wedding where the bride and her mother had (lovingly, by hand) made jars of jam for favors. so many of the guests had flown in for the weekend, and, as the jars were over 3.5oz, there were BOXES left over since no one could bring them through security without checking their bags. It was so sad and made me give up on favors right them. We made a donation to Heifer International and called it good.

  10. give out puppies, obviously.

  11. I call measles to esb!

    I would say my favours were pretty awesome. Admittedly it did take a while and effort to sort out.

    I found an old book for each person and spent hours writing lovely messages inside. They weren't all romantic, from my rather conservative friend I got her the intelligent woman's guide to socialism to the Golden Ass for one of my brothers.

    Still tickles me.

  12. My brother just got married. Buddhist Burning Man altar set up in an Arts and Crafts building in the Presidio. Tea lounge. Photo booth. Purple tablecloths. Favors would have been not just dumb, they'd have been a pain in the neck.

  13. the only favor I still have (and know others still have): magnets made by busy beaver button that my friends lucas and april gave out along with some friend-made cookies. i helped put the gifts together into tiny packages.

    the 3 magnets are two chicago scenes/landmarks and one of lucas and april's bulldog. the magnets are small and fun and a nice reminder of a good time.

    all other favors have been trash.

  14. No guest actually cares about favors unless a. It's something useful, or that they can eat at midnight when they are hungover or b. something like jam or honey which they would already buy and can now save $2 on at the grocery store or 3. it's personal and makes them weepy because gosh darnit, they just love you.

    If you like favors because of the ones YOU made and gave out at your wedding, your vote doesn't count. OF COURSE you think they're important.

    End result = not important. Do it only if you want to. Which you don't.

  15. Amen @Anon 10:25.

    The best favors I have received were either useful (homemade BBQ rub) or edible (chocolate covered strawberry). Nobody wants a shot glass/matchbook/fill-in-the-blank with you and your hubby's name and wedding date on it.

    p.s. Please no more candy buffets.

  16. I really don't think they're important. If you WANT to - and ONLY if you want to - I think edibles are the best way to go. People usually appreciate foodstuffs, and then they don't have something cheesy with your names & wedding date emblazoned on it floating around their homes. (No matter how much I love you, I still don't want a beer koozie with your name on it. Sorry.)

  17. In summary:

    1. No one will give a crap if you don't have them.
    2. If you opt to do them, go for edibles, not "keepsake" crap.
    3. No liquids/gels/jams over 3 ounces if you have guests flying in.
    4. But it sounds like you don't want to bother with them, and that's just fine. Move on.

  18. Anon 10:25, right on the money. For those of you swooning over your own favors - obviously you'd think they were great, doesn't mean your guests did.

    Do you really think when one of your guests's friends asks how the wedding they went to last week was they are going to waste the breath on how the favors were?! Of course they tell YOU they thought it was great, what else are they going to say, 'The favor you gave me is stuffed in a drawer somewhere if I haven't thrown it out already'

    Oh, and the buttons someone mentioned above.. as if anyone other than the couple are going to wear pins of the their faces! really?

    nothing against favors really, but they seem to me more about the couple wanting to express themselves. the guests won't notice if you don't have them.

  19. Miss manners (Emily Post) on wedding favors:
    "Who told you that you had to give out wedding favors? Etiquette has never thought of weddings as comparable to children’s birthday parties, where the guests might need consolation for not being the center of attention. You owe them only the hospitality of the occasion."
    we gave out party blowers and they were a (very loud) hit. $3 for 50.

  20. I am so going to toot my own horn here, but I was told my favors were brilliant and of course I thought so too.
    I don't think they were just being nice, because I hear from other people that this and that guest uses them every day.
    So there!

    I like favors when they are useful and personal. If not, what's the point? Jams are wonderful. Honey from the beekeeping groom... too cool!

    I am a big fan of wine bottle favors. Who wouldn't want another bottle of wine? :)

    So basically, feed me, get me drunk... otherwise give me something seriously cool that I can use... Like I did. LOL!

  21. We're giving out field notes notebooks, who doesnt like those?

  22. What's with all the anonymity? It's only favours.

    Sure some people won't cherish the favours I gave but I loved the process and that some people really did like them. (Honestly.)

    If you don't care about favours, seriously don't bother. Especially if there is an open bar.

  23. we gave away used books that we loved and wanted to share with our loved ones that we had collected from used bookstores. guests kept telling me how much they loved the idea, and honestly, idgaf if they hated the idea. THEY ARE AWESOME USED BOOKS! TAKE THEM OR NOT! besides, if it wasn't those...they weren't gonna get anything because frankly, favors are useless.

  24. When I told my BFF that we are planning on donating $$ to my future h's dead father's stem cell ward in lieu of giving everyone a bag of effing jordan almonds, she told me that my priorities are out of wack because I'm buying expensive shoes. I was going to write you and ask if I'm being an a-hole, but now I see that I don't have to. Or maybe I still do. Doesn't donating to a stem cell ward in your husband's dad's name seem nicer than some stupid candy - oh and we're also giving welcome bags to everyone in their hotel rooms.


  26. Anonymous 1:51,

    Your priorities are fine. You don't need to do favors. You don't need to do anything in lieu of favors either.

    Donating is nice, but it isn't for your guests. Whatever food/drinks you serve, whatever accommodations you've made to help people get there/stay, your gracious attitude, your thoughtful thank you notes are for your guests.

    The donation is for the stem cell ward and for your future in-laws and for good karma or whatever. But maybe don't try to sell it as in lieu of jordan almonds.

  27. @Anon 2:07 well said, lady. (are you a lady? why don't you guys get google accounts already??)

  28. I was feeling bad about wanting to cut the favors to save some much needed cash, but after reading all of this, I have decided to say "fuck it". No favors. They are getting fed and drunk. That is enough. I am also no longer having a guest book after reading the post "Fuck the guest book." I have a really great photographer which will be plenty of documentation.

    Oh, and I am anonymous because it's just the easiest way to post.

  29. I love sugared almonds!! My sister bought Breast Cancer Pink Ribbons and British Heart Foundation Pins in memory of her sister in law and our dad. She also bought a lottery ticket for each guest. We all wore our ribbons and pins which was really sweet but sadly no one won the lottery!

  30. Don't worry about favors, already!!

    We didn't get our shit together to make favors, let alone even make/buy the appetizers we "were definitely going to have" to go with all the beer we were all drinking before the ceremony. Whoops. The 200 handmade lumpia my dear Filipina aunt brought at cocktail hourwere wolfed down in about 10 seconds flat.

    Decided to not stress about any of it.
    And our wedding was still amazing!

  31. I have been pushed to include those little DIY personalized chocolates (Hershey's mini bars with an extra layer of paper around them stating the couples names and/or date). I'm not, because:

    1) Hershey's isn't even a valid source of chocolate.

    2) the personalized labels on top of the real labels only make the candy frustrating to open. especially if you use print & stick labels to make the DIY process easier.

    Who cares about favors? No one. If someone asks, let 'em leave with a center piece or something. Seriously, what are you going to do with all the crap you've amassed to decorate the place? Keep the things that matter to you, and let others take what they want as a part of your "clean up strategy."

  32. @Anon 1:51, as the son of a dead father due to leukemia I say rock on and I'd be happy to come set your BFF straight. Stem cells didn't work for my pops but they gave him a chance. You should be effing proud of what your doing, high five the BFF in the face if you feel like it.
    And get whatever damn shoes you want, it's your wedding.

  33. sadly, this is true. i'm with lauren, i like favors. i was really excited about ours, because WHO DOESN'T WANT A MEXICAN TIN ORNAMENT TO HANG ON THEIR CHRISTMAS TREE, but nobody (except for the mexicans) even knew what the fuck they were. four hundred bucks down the drain.


  35. i say make a meaningful donation to something you care about in lieu of favors and/or provide snacks to offset the open bar. no one remembers anyway.

  36. Yes to most of the above, except, that sometimes, even edible favours are not so great. Once went to a wedding where they, umm, didn't taste that nice... and there were loads left over at the end of the night...

    And besides - all this shit is just more pollution and rubbish going straight to landfill.

    Give hugs and kisses as favours.

  37. @Rob, with your permission, I totally plan to use the expression to high five someone in the face as a nice way of saying slap someone upside the head. Love it.

    As for favors, I was totally set on not having them for all the reasons mentioned and mostly because usually at least half the guests either forget them or never knew they were there. At the last minute I did them anyway (gummy bears and old NY postcard magnets that matched the old NY postcards we used for save the dates, both from that Cavallini line and on sale ... ) because the OCD part of me just couldn't not do it.

    Guess what. Everyone except for like 10 people either forgot them or never knew they were there. The fridge is covered in NY magnets and H and I got stomachaches after consuming hundreds of gummy bears in a short time.

  38. I am not going to do favors either. I was planning on it until I realized I rarely cared about the ones I had received at other weddings. We are doing a dessert/candy bar (are candy bars tired already? i actually selected my colors based on my favorite candy because I am such a candy junkie). I am going to put out to-go bags so guests can take a snack to nibble on during the drunken cab ride home. That's favor-ish!

  39. I love how favors get people all riled up.

    For the record - I have never walked out of a wedding wondering why I didn't get a favor. I have, however, felt bad about getting home from a wedding and having to toss a paperweight engraved with someone else's names and wedding date directly in the Goodwill bin. Because, seriously, I am never going to use it.

    I enjoy good edible favors, but wouldn't notice if there wasn't one.

    I would have LOVED Celia's tin ornament. Or fancy soap. But probably at least 50% of the other guests at any given wedding wouldn't love the same things I would love. That's the problem with picking out a single gift for hundreds of people.

  40. Oh, and it isn't just favors. There is so much crap associated with weddings that just seem superfluous. I went to Macy's to register and they handed me a tote bag with the most god awful pictures of some couple frolicking on it. I handed it back to the guy and told him "No offense, but I would never, ever use this." He replied "I can't say I blame you."

  41. I baked some chocolate chip cookies the day before the wedding with my friends (400 cookies!) which was pretty awesome and a lot of fun. I made the dough ahead of time and kept it in the fridge, and made good use of my parent's two ovens.

    Turned out we had extra cookies, which we all ate at 2 in the morning and others admitted to grabbing a bunch for their trips home.

    Obviously it's been said before, but only go for it if you want to. If you do, food kind of wins.

  42. Pretty sure Ms. Manners is ANTI-FAVORS and says something to the effect of your wedding not being a 6-year-old's birthday party. So there's your etiquette answer.