Imagine spending hundreds on favors for your wedding reception only to have the majority of them left on the tables at the end of the night. That’s as good as throwing money in the garbage.
Unfortunately, passed-over wedding favors are an all-too-common reality. It turns out most people simply don’t want or need a tea towel or beer koozie personalized with your initials and wedding date.
If you want your wedding favors to be a hit, you need to offer something that (in the wise words of Marie Kondo) sparks joy, so your guests not only remember to take it home, they take it home with gusto. And we all know that few things spark more joy more universally than things that taste good. That’s why the best wedding favors are edible wedding favors.
Then, there’s the fact that edible favors can do double duty as late-night snacks. At the end of the reception, when appetites are running high from hours of dancing and revelry, you can put out your edible favors instead of worrying about ordering more food from your caterer or sending your guests home hungry.
So, what sorts of edible favors should you offer at your wedding? These ideas are just the beginning.
If there’s a particular cookie or dessert recipe your family cherishes, recruit the talented bakers in your life to make big batches to give away to your guests, recommends Kathleen Brown, owner of Bushel & A Peck Event Creative and Design. She likes this approach because it lets more of your family have an active hand in your special day.
“Usually, so many people are looking for a way to assist the new couple, and this can be really rewarding for them,” she said.
You can prepackage the treats in bags or boxes, but Brown likes displaying them in a fun and interactive way to let guests help themselves on their way out the door.
Fast food on the fly
Save your guests a post-wedding pitstop at Jim’s Steakout by bringing the fast food to them. At the end of the night, pile a table by the exit with your favorite greasy, guilty pleasures like McDonald’s french fries, Popeye’s chicken sandwiches or Mighty tacos—all still wrapped in their to-go packaging for mess-free portability. If you shuttled your guests to the reception, hand out something over the top—say, a small Domino’s pizza to every person—as they board to go back to the hotel.
Let’s say you love Swedish Fish, and your significant other loves Sour Patch Kids. Do what Brown does for her clients: order both in bulk and package them separately in clear bags secured with a decorative sticker indicating which candy is whose favorite. Then, invite guests to take home one of each as they leave.
“It’s a nice way to showcase the unity between the couples,” she said. “And everyone can relate to the difference in opinion between couples when it comes to candy!”
Custom ice cream
When Syrie Roman, principal planner at Social Maven, found out her clients were Churn Soft Serve fanatics, she asked the North Buffalo ice cream shop to turn the couples’ favorite cone flavors into individually packaged ice cream sandwiches they could give out to their guests. Churn gladly obliged. The moral of this story is: Don’t be afraid to ask a food purveyor to do something custom for your wedding.
“Just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it can’t happen,” said Roman.
For your spring, summer or fall wedding, package in-season produce from local farms like berries, hearty herbs, plums, tomatoes or apples in decorative baskets for your guests to take home and cook with the next day—or snack on in the car.
Move over, cupcakes: These days, mini pies are the fashionable, diminutive desserts folks love. Roman has seen an uptick in mini pie requests among her clients, and guests can’t seem to get enough of them. She says almost any local bakery that makes standard size pies will make mini versions by request.
Sometimes the best favors aren’t edible—but drinkable. If you have a favorite local beer, buy cans in bulk directly from the brewery and then personalize them with custom labels you design and adhere. Or, if you have experience, brew the beer yourself.
If beer isn’t your thing, apply the same idea to cans or mini bottles of sparkling wine. No doubt, your guests will think of you and your special night when they crack it open days or weeks later.