Remember how I talked about brutally slashing parts of your budgets? Well, one potential place to cut is favors. I think favors are great if you and your partner have something that you really want to give to all your guests (if David and I do favors, you can bet they’ll be wind up plastic monkeys wearing little veils and bow ties), but if you don’t, skip it. We’ve somehow gotten to this place—thanks wedding industry—where we have all been convinced that its rude not to give favors, because it’s part of etiquette. If you think this is true, call your mom or your grandmother right now, and ask her what kind of favor she gave out at her wedding. I can guarantee that this is going to be met with silence on the line, and then maybe the question, “What do you mean by a favor, dear?” The reason they are going to say that is because favors have been invented by the wedding industry in the past 15-20 years to give us something else to buy (and stress about). Last I checked, when you hosted a party, you didn’t have to give your guests a gift too. “Thanks for coming to my dinner party, I bought you this potted plant!” The gift that you are giving your guests is food, drink, and the pleasure of sharing your joy. For serious. You are spending a bunch of money on your wedding, you don’t have to get them a bridal pez dispenser with your names and the date on it.
If you’re skipping favors, but you want to do something, what should you do? I think a really lovely gift to give your guests would be a hand written note. If you are doing escort cards, why not just make the cards a little envelope with their name and table number, and inside write each guest a short personal note saying how grateful you are that they are here with you on your wedding day. How many times have you spent a boatload of time and money traveling to a wedding, only to talk to the bride or groom for 1.5 minutes, and not have a personal moment? Another (non-wasteful) idea is to let your guests take home floral centerpieces and vases at the end of the night. In the same vein, you can talk to your caterer about boxing up leftovers for your guests if there are any. If you are taking a big group picture at your wedding of you and all your guests (we are!) then you could always print the pictures inexpensively online, or make them into your thank you notes, and mail them out to your guests after the wedding. That will probably go right on their fridge. Ta-da, instant enjoyment.
Now, I know, this is where I’m supposed to recommend that you make a donation in honor of your guests to a charity. I’ve worked in nonprofit fundraising for years, so I’m always on the side of giving to philanthropy (do it, do it today). That said, somehow this smacks of “you have to spend $XX on favors or you are a poor host, so if you are not buying favors at least give that money to charity.” You DON’T have to spend money on favors, so this is silly. If you want to start your married life with charity (tzedaka for the Jews in the house) that’s a great idea! Do it in your own names. And don’t put it as a line item on the wedding budget.