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Fashionable Favors

How to Say, "Thank You" to Your Guests Without Breaking the Budget

Wedding favors are one of those traditional "must do's" that are more often than not, ironically, "not done." With so many people on a budget these days, and wedding prices skyrocketing through the roof, it hardly makes sense to shell out the big bucks for cheesy little party favors for your guests.  If you're going to give your guests something, obviously you'll want it to be nice.  But nice can mean ramping up the price tag, and when you're looking at a 200+ guest list, suddenly the party favors get well, forgotten, bypassed, substituted for more affordable alternatives, or the money is donated to other agendas on the wedding budget.  Still, it's nice to say "thank you" when and if you can- Right?

I can still remember the first time I mentioned the idea of favors to my parents while planning my wedding... "What!" they screamed, as they looked quizzically at me as if I were absurd for even mentioning the idea.  "We're shelling out thousands of dollars to throw you a wedding and we need to give gifts on top of that!  When is enough, enough?" they asked.  That's when I knew that my fiancé and I would have to take over in that department.  That I was lucky enough to have parents who could and would pay for my wedding makes my forking over some cash to say "thank you" to my guests with traditional wedding favors all the more easy.  Still, once I started shopping around I quickly realized that gifts aren't cheap, especially "nice gifts", and not when you're multiplying their quantity by 25's, 50's, and 100's to accommodate your guest list.  After some creative thinking my fiancé and I managed to come up with some affordable and great looking favors for our guests.  I only wish I had more money to play around and shell out dozens of other little "surprises", but, alas, a budget will only go so far. 

For those of you who are still having trouble coming up with ideas for fun, chic, and affordable wedding favors, below is a list of some of our favorites.  Most of these are either an easy DIY project, or can be purchased for an affordable price through vendors.

Gourmet and/or Homemade Cookies- assemble 1 or 2 of these babies in a bag, tie with a bow, and attach a dual sided card that has a personal message on one side and the "secret" recipe on the other.  BONUS: throw in a heart (or wedding "theme") shaped cookie cutter that matches those inside.
Bookmarks- an intuitive way to say thank you, you can get bright and bold, simple and sophisticated, or go au' natural with your background image(s), paper choices, ink color(s), phrasing, etc. to make a customized gift your guests can admire and use!
Almonds- roasted, salted, chocolate covered, candy coated, etc. etc.  Almonds, particularly Jordan Almonds, are great traditional gifts that are as symbolic as they are yummy!
Charitable Favors- spread the love by logging onto your favorite charity's website to find out how you can make donations in your guest's name.  On the big day present either a beautiful card, certificate, etc. at each guest's seating place, explaining the "good" deed they've done.
Fans/Parasols- always a chic, visually pleasing, and most importantly, useful gift for those bright sunny summer weddings!
Mini Soaps- they smell good, look nice, and can be bought in bulk to cut down on prices.  Also, pending your vendor, you can sometimes opt to customize the scent, packaging, or both.
Candles- mini, vase encompassed votives are a visually stunning gift on a dinner table at a wedding.  You can coordinate your tables by scent (best if outside so as not to inundate the air with perfumes) and/or candle color.
Books- add your favorite book to the bookmark gift, or vice versa, for an even more personal touch for those "library" and/or estate weddings.
Mini Photo Albums- a great way to encourage guests to capture and save memories of the big day for themselves, give your guests mini photo albums in colors that coordinate with your color palette.
Personalized CDs- a genuine touch that takes time, effort, and a little cash, but goes a long way with your guests' hearts.  Make this CD a compilation of either tunes to represent the big day, or tunes that represent you and your partner as a couple.  BONUS: For an extra nostalgic effect you can have your DJ play the CD as a soundtrack during the reception so as to ensure your guests always have fond memories whenever they play your CD in the future.
Mini Wines- to savor the moment, and the taste, long after the festivities send your guests home with a mini bottle of your favorite red or white, or both, served during your reception, packaged with a Billy Joel inspired note, "A Bottle of Red, A Bottle of White"... just leave out the rest of the lyrics (which get a little depressing for the occasion)
Flower Seeds/Pots- give away either a pack of seeds or a mini potted version of your favorite flower with a little love inspired note that reads something like, "Love in Full Bloom."
Lottery Tickets- a great way to test the luck of your new relationship and those all around you.  Share "Lady Luck" with your guests for an affordably good fortuned gift.
Little Honey Bears- tagged with cute sayings like, "Have You Found Your Honey Bear?" are an innovative way to hallmark a casual spring/summer country wedding.
Mini Pumpkins- perfect for those fall weddings!
Mini Book of Poems- by either of your favorite author(s), for a truly romantic "thank you."
Wine Glass Markers- do double duty with these nifty treats: use them during the reception to mark each person's glass at a table, then encourage your guests to take them home after the fiesta.  BONUS: personalize them with either a name charm, etc. so that guests can't wait to snatch them off the glass and into their purses (and wallets).
Mini Photo Frames- serve double time as place card holders, but are so cute guests can't wait to take them home and display a photo from the big day inside their mini borders.



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