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Wedding Favors: Top Tips for Fabulous Wedding Favors

Send guests off with one last token of your appreciation with these tips for picking and creating amazing gifts they won't want to leave behind.

Photo: Love Ala

If you are making (or even just packaging) them yourselves, enlist the troops to help: Throw a favor-assembling party and bribe your friends, family and bridesmaids with cocktails and snacks.

Pick practical gifts

To ensure your favors serve their purpose, choose a gift that is one of two things: edible or practical. Edible favors are a fail-proof option that guests can enjoy on their way home. Some of our favorites include cake pops, mini pies and personalized candy bars. Among those in the something-useful category are stemless wineglasses, martini shakers or even luggage tags.

Make them meaningful

Choose favors that express your personalities, or share something you love with your guests. Are you both into wine? Mini wine bottles with personalized labels will go over big. Spend almost every weekend hitting the links? Give out golf balls or tees customized with your initials. Share a piece of your unique heritage by giving out tins of Asian cookies or pastries, or authentic olive oil from the region of Italy where your ancestors were born, for example.

Think twice about putting your names on them

Avoid the common pitfall of turning a useful gift into something unwanted by personalizing it. Before you add your wedding date and initials or photo, think about whether your guests will still use an item that bears your wedding date and initials or engagement photo. No one (except for maybe your mom) wants coasters featuring your engagement photo.

Order (or make) extra

Whether you choose to give one favor per guest or per couple, always have backup ready (figure about 10 extra favors for every hundred guests) in case some get lost or broken. Plus, some guests will take extras, and you may want to hold on to a few favors for keepsakes.

Do before you DIY

While DIY favors might seem like an easy way to save money, keep in mind that assembling and wrapping 200 favors is probably more time-consuming than you think. And if you're attempting to make a more complicated favor, all your efforts may go down the drain when the finished product falls short of your expectations. To avoid wasting your time (and money), try making a few samples to gauge whether you're up for the project before you commit.

Try before you buy

If you're ordering favors online, purchase a single sample before you add 200 to your cart and click "buy now." You want to make sure the truffles taste good or the pashminas are the actual color they appear to be on your computer screen before you end up with a hundred of them. Some vendors will supply samples for free, so it's worth asking. And if you're purchasing personalized favor tags or packaging, ask to see a proof to make sure everything is spelled right and the wedding date is correct.

Add a liner to edible favors

Edible favors require special packaging. Paper bags or boxes can quickly absorb the grease of cookies or custom popcorn (leaving you with an unsightly favor box). Make sure you line the container with wax paper before adding any edible goodies to keep grease from leaking through and ruining the pretty packaging you chose.

Put your personal stamp on each one

Adding a personalized touch will make your favors exponentially more special. If you're a whiz at Photoshop, put those skills to work and design your own custom label or tag bearing your wedding date, your monogram or motif, a meaningful quote and/or a note thanking your guests. You could also use a custom rubber stamp to add your monogram and date. Though it's time-consuming, consider handwriting a thank-you note inside the tags -- it's an inexpensive labor of love your guests will appreciate. Or have each favor tag hand-calligraphed with a special thank-you note. You can also buy personalized favor tags that have your monogram, names and/or wedding date on them at online event and bridal retailers.

Plan out your favor display

Smaller favors that are wrapped in pretty packaging can add to the table decor -- arrange them on guests' place settings or prop them on their seats. If you plan to arrange favors at each place setting, do a dress rehearsal. Ask for samples of your linens, plates and glasses, plus any other items like menus and place cards, to make sure that everything works together and won't crowd your tables. If your favors are attractive and big enough, you may decide to make them a centerpiece of the room. For example, assemble cupcakes or slices of groom's cake in store-bought boxes and arrange them in the shape of a layer cake. Tuck fresh flowers between the boxes to decorate.

Don't forget signage

If you're leaving the favors out rather than delegating someone to distribute them, make sure guests know that they're theirs for the taking by attaching favor tags to each one, or by placing a legible framed sign nearby that reads, "Please take one," "Be our guest" or simply "Thank you."

Assign someone to set them out

However you decide to present your favors, put someone in charge of setting them out (a planner, site manager or amazing friend) and make sure they know exactly where you want them. Ideally, you'll want to give them a picture rather than just a note -- "on the tables" can mean near the centerpieces, on the plates or on the napkins. So pick a precise place for the favors and give that person detailed directions.

See More: Wedding Favors