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Miss Manners on Wedding Favors


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Perhaps one of my favorite posts I’ve written is one I wrote ages ago, on favors. In that spirit, I thought I’d share this thought from the imitable Miss Manners:

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.

There. Now don’t you feel better?

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16774816589101208646 skatej

    As per your suggestion I mentioned wedding favors to my mom, and her jaw dropped. Following that was a true-to-form dramatic litany about how ridiculous that was.

    Also, check out this picture I found on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carpeicthus/421131884/
    Probably my favorite wedding picture ever.

  • Anonymous

    Lets be honest and look at the dozen or more favors we have received over our lifetime of wedding attending. Did any of them really stand out and do you even remember them? What people remember are the happy faces not candy in a plastic swan.

  • Anonymous

    Amen, sister! I’m copying and pasting this Miss Manners quote to the top of my budget.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12435697594154408096 jessica lynn

    amen. amen. amen.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08842191847941847564 Bride in Exile

    I just read your original post on favors, and I completely second everything you said! I enjoy some of the favors I’ve gotten (a mix CD from a couple with amazing taste in music is still one of my favorite road-trip listens) but most of them end up in the trash can at the hotel. I hate that the wedding industry has bullied couples into thinking they have to give out a party favor or risk offending their guests. I really doubt that anyone will be offended if they go home without a heart-shaped soap or a plastic dove.

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    I love this quote from Miss Manners, one of the best. Wedding favours are crap. I got a biscuit with my name on it once, which was great while we were waiting for the caterers to appear with the food, but if they’d just fed us on time I wouldn’t have needed it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13828739368190632319 K_Streams_Her_C

    The back of our program casually mentioned that in lieu of favors we gave donations to three meaningful charities (Autism Speaks, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation). I’m sure no one missed the favors and this gave us a great reason to donate a few hundred dollars.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05650363231006892289 Mrs. in May

    I agree! Its a donation for us! It just makes so much more sense, I am feeding them and boozing them, why do I need to give my guests coasters or winestopper?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17697336000590176561 Susan Fussell

    Yes! Just read the original post as well. I was struggling with favors as well for a time. For our modestly sized wedding, favors wouldn’t be a huge cost, but nothing rang true to me. I had decided to skip ‘em when two important things happened. First -darling fiance found a DIY wedding project that made him really happy. He’s decided to make our own photo booth and guests will get to take home a photo strip. It’s going to cost way more than the favors would have, but he loves to have a project and frankly once he got it into his head he was going to try this idea our regardless of its usage at our wedding. Second, I decided to share my family’s excellent recipe for crab cakes which we’re serving at the wedding, along with a small jar of Old Bay spice. The hinged-top jars are just $.99 and we’ll fill them from bulk containers of Old Bay. So, now we’ve gone from no favors to two favors but I really love both ideas for different reasons.

  • Peonies and Polaroids

    Meg, I think you need to start an advice column. You have so much Miss Manners style wisdom and I think you would be fabulous. There are a lot of people who need some situation-specific advice and I think you are the lady to give it. Please?? Once a week, a post giving practical/polite/sassy advice to those in dire straights over how to deal with wedding conundrums.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01723202743021861347 Cyd

    I’m loving this! The favors are definitely something I’m willing to let go of in favor of keeping the budget intact and my mind at ease. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cute/crafty/witty/thoughtful favors we find all over the world of weddings via the internet, but I do not want to break the bank on them nor do I find them particularly necessary. If the food, drink and free entertainment wasn’t enough to make you feel welcome and appreciated and loved, perhaps I should have reconsidered inviting you. But that’s just me. :-) And really, what guest ever reflects on the favors? “Problem” solved.

  • http://www.astraltravel.com/ jane

    Some really howling work on behalf of the owner of this website , absolutely great content material .

  • Sarah

    So I’m late to posting, but I just “told” my mom that we don’t want to do favors, for this very reason. She said of course we’re doing them, we don’t want to look cheap (sidenote: parents paying for most of the wedding, and my mom not the type of person who ever cares what others think). So I used your trick and asked if she remembered their wedding favors…they were match boxes and Hershey’s Kisses. This is real life. Only 11 months of this craziness…

  • Lane

    Is it just me, or is this link to the original post expired? Please repost as I find this very relevant!