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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Nelson

To have wedding favors or to not? The pros and cons!

Wedding favors are a fun little take away for your guests to have as a reminder of your big day and over the past few years have steadily gotten more and more popular. Or not, depending on who you talk to. But, do you really need them at your wedding? Let's chat about them.

So, are wedding favors required?

Let's take a quick stroll down history lane. The tradition of handing out wedding favors can be dated back as early as the 16th century in France and England.

It is believed that the first wedding favor, common amongst European aristocrats, was known as a bonbonniere. A bonbonniere is a small trinket box that was made of crystal, porcelain, and/or precious stones. The contents of these precious boxes were generally sugar cubes or delicate confections, which symbolize wealth and royalty.

As sugar became more affordable, almonds were then handed out. You may be familiar with the tradition of Jordan almonds being the wedding favor of choice and something I learned about that tradition is that 5 were given to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness.

Now that we are all caught up with our wedding favor history, are wedding favors required? Technically no, but they can be quite fun to give out as a token of your appreciation as well as a fun reminder for your guests.

Some popular favor ideas, that I have come across, are engraved mason jars for guests to sip from throughout the night, small candles with the wedding date on the lid, and of course candy goodies, like the above mentioned, Jordan Almonds.

However, if you are on a budget, this might seem like an extra expense that you don't want to take on, so let's breakdown the average cost before diving into the pros and cons!

According to The Knot 2018 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding favor cost is $245 in total. With the average headcount at 136 guests, that makes the average spend on favors per wedding guest roughly $2. That's not too bad right?! You can certainly lower that amount by being a little more thrifty in your planning or go above and beyond with some extravagant gifts!

In an effort to understand and ultimately decide on whether or not I wanted to give out favors at my wedding, I asked my mom about them and she mentioned that when they got married it was matchboxes or bubbles. Nothing too fancy at all and the matches were useful! Still, I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted wedding favors. So I came up with some pros and cons to help me decide.


As mentioned before, wedding favors are another way of saying thank you to your guests for attending your wedding. For some, it is a great reminder of the day and how much you mean to them.

You can share with your guests some of the things you really love. Maybe you have a favorite perfume or lotion, or as a couple you have a favorite drink. Find small sample sized versions and hand them out to share with everyone.

Keeping up with tradition, can be something that means a great deal to you and your soon to be spouse or family.


Since technically they are not something required at a wedding, and these days are just another popular wedding trend, there is some pressure to come up with a cute and on theme wedding favor to give out. The added pressure to hit it out of the park can cause some extra stress on the wedding planning as well as eat into your budget.

They also can be somewhat useless. When we were planning on having a more destination style wedding, I had to think about what people would be willing to pack into a suitcase. That ultimately ruled out any glassware that could break, as well as anything perishable.

Wedding favors, while nice, can also go to waste very easily. I can not tell you how many weddings I have shot where, at the end of the evening, there are lots of leftover wedding favors that weren't taken home. If you put a lot of time, money or both into your wedding favors, it will be a big disappointment to then have to deal with the extras once your wedding day is over. A lot get thrown out and it's such a waste!

Most non-edible favors run the risk of being left behind because people typically don't feel the need to have another bottle opener, koozie, or keychain. Especially if your favors are too customized around your wedding day with dates and names on it. Don't get me wrong, some people will love them, but you want to think about the majority of your attending guests.

As you can see, I found a lot more cons when it came to wedding favors and whether or not to have them at our wedding. To each their own!

If you are not convinced and you are looking for some ideas for wedding favors, check out how to DIY your wedding favors.

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