Inexpensive ideas for memorable wedding favors

Inexpensive Wedding Favors

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Ideas for Inexpensive Wedding Favors

Any ideas for inexpensive shower and wedding favors? There are 150 people for the shower and 300 people for the wedding.

A Notable Idea

At my wedding I made up printed notepads. An artist friend drew up a "logo" of my and my husband's monograms. Another friend scanned it and set up a quarter page design that included the "logo", our wedding date and a thank you message leaving plenty of room for writing.

I took it to our local printer who then printed them 4 to a 8.5 x 11" sheet (I asked for colors matching my wedding party) that were then cut and glued onto backings to make note pads. Now when we go to friends' houses I see the notepads going to good use. The cost was about a dollar apiece, but the printer (a small shop) was so impressed with the idea he gave them to me free!

To Favor or Not

I think the first thing to consider (that lots of people don't think about!) is whether or not favors are necessary at all! Hear me out. Newsgroups like discuss this issue all the time, and the general consensus is that not having wedding favors is fine in many areas. People who go to lots of weddings are even grateful for not being obliged to take home little knick-knacks that may well get thrown away or tucked in a drawer and forgotten. If, however, you feel like you really must have favors, then a lot depends upon the people you're inviting. One very easy thing to do is simply package candy (mints, M&M's in your wedding colors, Hershey kisses, chocolate hearts, etc.) in a piece of tulle. Tulle is inexpensive and easily found at fabric stores, or you can buy precut circles for a few dollars at craft stores, in the wedding section. Tie with a bit of ribbon, and you have your own color-coordinated favor bags.

Related: 26 Ways to Cut Your Wedding Bill

One neat idea I saw was that a small piece of paper with the bride and groom's new address was attached--a very useful thing to have, even if the guest doesn't like candy.

Forget the Favors but Save the Pamphlets

I would like to add my two cents to the "Wedding Favor" question. I worked for a catering company while I was in college and I have attended many, many weddings as a guest. I can easily say that wedding favors are the most unnecessary part of the wedding! While I was working the receptions, we threw away so many favors each night. It was a terrible waste of money. Matchbooks, picture frames, candy, bubbles, paper fans. Into the garbage, although I think more than one frugal worker took home a few bottles of bubbles for their kids. This stuff is like the penny prizes you get at the school carnival. It has no real use in real life.

I always save the printed pamphlet from the wedding listing the bride, groom and all of the wedding details. This serves as my sentimental reminder and will last a lifetime, even if the marriage does not. In the long run, people will remember the sentiment of the wedding, not whether or not they got to take home a little paper box with 3 candies in it!

As a two-time bride myself, I can easily say that the most rewarding, extraneous expense was the purchase of several disposable cameras for the reception guests to take pictures with.

Slideshow: How to Reduce Wedding Expenses

Let the Bells Ring

We had dual-purpose favors at our wedding. We bought little jingle bells and 1/4" wide ribbon at the craft store. Then we wrote a cute little saying on the computer and printed it out. We then went to Kinko's and printed out about 2 pages worth of the tiny saying on card stock. On the other side of the saying were our names and the day we got married. We also laminated the card stock but you don't have to. We cut the card stock into little tags and punch a hole in them. Then we strung the bell and the tag on the ribbon and tied it shut (or you can use hot glue).

When our wedding day came, we had a bowl of these by the entrance of the reception hall. Everyone took one and jingled it when they wanted to see us kiss. Instead of throwing rice, we had to run through a gauntlet of jingling bells when we left the reception. We stopped and kissed every 2 feet! It was great fun for us, everyone loved the originality of the favors and there was no rice to clean up (which is important since most reception halls have rules against rice or make you clean it up on your own). We have been to 2 weddings since where the couple has "stolen" our idea.

Sharing Resources and Colors

I went to the dollar store and bought boxes of 6 votive candles in one of my colors for a dollar each and bought clear glass votive holders at Wal-Mart for 52 cents each. I wrapped each one in tulle left over from a bolt at a fabric store that was discounted, tied a bow on top with ribbon from fabric store that I got on discount for 4 rolls for $1. It also happened to be the other color for my wedding. I used burgundy and pink. Total cost for each favor was less than a $1 and I did up about 75. I also used clearance Easter packaged Hershey kisses in pink and made little bags of three with a bow out of the left over tulle. I joined a June 2000 wedding list and exchanged the other colored kisses to other girls who were doing the same thing but needed green or blue. They in turn sent me all their pinks. It worked out rather well. You can also use Hugs.

Related: Could a Wedding Planner Save You Money?

Lollipops Are Easy to Make

I recently made chocolate lollipops for a friend's bridal shower. You can buy chocolate 'dipping bars' at Sam's Club or you can buy the chocolate at a craft store. They come in the form of small disks, but it is more expensive than at Sam's Club. You can buy the lollipop sticks and little plastic bags and plastic molds at a craft store, and satin ribbons either at a craft store or a party store.

You cut the chocolate into small pieces and then melt it either in a double boiler on the stove or in the microwave. Then you pour the chocolate into the plastic molds. You place the lollipop stick into the indentation on the mold. Then you put the mold with the melted chocolate and stick into your refrigerator for 20 minutes. Then you just 'pop' each lollipop out, put the plastic bag over top of the lollipop so that the closed part is at the top and the open part of the bag is at the bottom of the lollipop, wrap the ribbon around the closed part of the bag (and also around the stick) and tie the ribbon twice, then 'curl' the ribbon with scissors.

If you want to make chocolate candy pieces instead of lollipops you follow the same procedure except you would buy a plastic mold without the lollipop stick indentation and of course you don't need to buy the lollipop sticks either. You can buy plain chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate dipping bars.

At the craft store I found some vanilla flavored disks that were different colors (i.e.- green and red). I made lollipops using a 'rose' mold of white chocolate for the rose and for the leaf I used the vanilla flavored green disks. One more thing: After you pour the melted chocolate into the plastic mold make sure there are no air bubbles by gently moving the mold back and forth before allowing it to set in the refrigerator. You will find all of these instructions and tips on the back of the chocolate packages and plastic mold packages.

Bookmarks Are Great Gifts

My husband and I made bookmarks as favors at our wedding. On one side of the bookmark we put our names and wedding date, while on the other side we put a poem that was read during our marriage ceremony. Using Microsoft Word, we designed the bookmarks so that they looked similar in style to our wedding invitations and thank you notes. We printed the bookmarks on heavy card stock (bought cheaply from an office supply store) using a laser printer. Since we printed four bookmarks per sheet, we had to use a paper cutter (borrowed from work) to cut them. After we were done with all of this; we took the bookmarks to a print shop and had them laminated. As a final touch, we punched a hole in the top of each bookmark and tied a ribbon through it. We used ribbons (bought cheaply from a craft store) that matched our wedding colors.

Everyone loved these bookmarks. Even now, almost two years after the weddings, I often see these bookmarks being used by my friends and relatives. Most wedding favors cost a fortune and get thrown out shortly after the wedding. My bookmarks are still being used today, and they cost about $50 (Canadian) to make 150 of them.

Reviewed January 2018

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