Readers of Louisville Wedding Magazine and Louisville Wedding Online have heard us say time and time again that wedding favors can be the first thing to go if you are trying to trim the wedding budget. However, for some couples, favors are a great way to give out of town guests a little flavor of Louisville, make for fun photo ops, and say "Thank you for sharing our day with us." How do you go about getting the right favor and ordering the right amount for your wedding day? LW is here to help!
First, let's focus on selecting a favor guests will love! You can bet that celebratory cigars are a huge hit for groups that love to mark special occasions by smoking specialty tobacco. However, you have to know both your guests' preferences and your venue's accommodations for smokers. If almost all of the guests are nonsmokers or the venue has restrictions that would prohibit sparking up on the grounds, this is not the favor for you. In this circumstance, the Groom should buy a special box of cigars just for himself, his father/father-in-law, and groomsmen and gift these at the rehearsal dinner.
If you have a large number of out of town guests who have not been able to sample the best of what bourbon country has to offer, give out mini bottles of the couple's favorite bourbon. This is a great way to introduce them to the spirit that defines Louisville. However, display these favors at the end of the night as guests begin exiting the party to avoid the risk of over indulgent attendees self-serving drinks. Bartenders should be the only ones distributing drinks consumed at the reception to ensure the safety of everybody!
Consumable items, like mini Derby Pies or bourbon balls, are another great way to infuse bourbon into your Kentucky wedding without actually distributing the liquor itself. If you do choose to give these out, consider this as part of your dessert offering. Very rarely will guests want to worry about carrying fragile food with them to an after party or back to their hotel. In this case, you can cut out any other sweets you were considering, like a candy buffet or dessert course. With mini-pies, you can even reduce the amount of wedding cake you need to order!
Especially for outdoor weddings, comfort items are always a huge hit with guests. Sunglasses or parasols that keep ceremony attendees from squinting in the sun to watch you during your vows are always a considerate touch and make for adorable photos. For the ladies, pashminas to wrap up in as the sun goes down on a chilly spring or fall evening will keep guests from leaving to escape the cold. Flip flops are a game-changer for women navigating uneven terrain in heels at an outdoor venue. These will keep guests dancing until the reception concludes without having to go barefoot.
Now, let's talk numbers! Once you have picked the perfect little gift for your guests, how do you know how many to order? Nothing is worse than returning from your honeymoon to boxes and boxes of leftover favors that you spend money on! LW's rule of thumb is one each for 30% of your final guest count. For consumable items, it would be reasonable to go up to one each for 50% of your guests. Remember, older guests or those with young children may be gone before favors are even put out!
Overall, the goal is to spend your money where it counts. Only invest in a favor if it is something that speaks to you as a couple, where you are getting married, or what your guests will be interested in. Wedding guests are there to celebrate with you and don't expect anything in return.