Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Do me a favor...

When was the last time you went to a wedding and said to yourself on the car ride there, "I can't WAIT to see what the wedding favor is!"?  If I may be so bold as to answer for you, I'd say not recently, unless you had the pleasure of attending the imaginary but delicious wedding of Little Debbie to Willy Wonka (can you tell I'm craving chocolate?).

Poor wedding favors...somehow they've become the bane of every bride's existence.  Seen more as an obligation rather than an opportunity, favors have become, well, a wee bit unfavorable (wonka wonka wokka wokka).

I find that friends and brides alike come to me to ask for suggestions on favors, and it's always a similar ask, prefaced with a big, heaving sigh and usually paired with some degree of eye rolling.  Brides are emotionally and financially spent by the time they get to the "buy favors" line on their to do lists, and they just can't find the energy to devote to the task. 

I'm not sure how favors (d)evolved into plastic bubble containers and disposable cameras, but I am the first to say that, unless you can use it or eat it, don't buy it.  I have never seen a bride opt to frame a drunken photo of their cousins taken with a disposable camera, nor have I seen a grown man blowing wedding bubbles (sober, at least).  If any of these offending favors are on your short list of potential favors, I'm going to close my eyes for a moment - please use this time to quickly and furiously scratch said tchotchkes from your list.

I personally feel that favors can and should serve more than one purpose at your wedding.  Whether it's part of the decor, part of the entertainment or part of the meal, start thinking about what sorts of things may be able to double as the favor that could also be (gasp) fun.

Here are just a few ideas to consider that will hopefully help you break the mold of what a favor can and should be:

Photo booth: lots of brides are gaga over photo booths but can't justify the added cost (which averages $1,200-$2,000 here in New York).  Divide $1,200 among 200 guests, and you're looking at $6 per guest.  Remember that you get a copy of each photo, too, and it's a double win.

Food truck:  Gaining popularity across the country, fun food trucks make an unforgettable end to an unforgettable night.  There's a truck for everything, from pizza and tacos and korean barbeque to cupcakes and ice cream and snow cones.  Heck, you could make a whole wedding out of food trucks.

Edible surprise:  My Beth was so excited about a little surprise she had planned for her 300+ wedding guests - butler passed individually wrapped egg & cheese sandwiches at the end of the night.  Talk about a bunch of happy (and drunk) wedding guests!  Turn a food that you love into a delightful and unexpected treat for your guests once the real dancing is in full swing.  Maybe it's spiked milkshakes or a vodka luge (ok, maybe not) or butler passed warm chocolate chip cookies that await your guests as the clock strikes midnight.  Or maybe it's bagels, and OJ and the New York Times in the lobby as guests leave for the night.  Whatever it is, the fun is in the whimsy of discovering something totally spontaneous. 

Charitable donations: Being that my husband is a cancer survivor (which happens to play a big part in how we met, but that's a story for another post), we decided to include LiveStrong bracelets in our candy buffet.  We purchased a bracelet for every guest and made a contribution to the organization as an easy and wearable way to acknowledge a cause that was important to us.  Don't think you're cheating your guests if you choose to give to a cause that has special meaning to you, your fiance or your loved ones.  My only request is that the donation be an accurate reflection of what you would have spent on favors, meaning dropping 75 cents in the animal shelter donation box at the gas station does not count.

Decor:  If you and your fiance are known for your elaborate dinner parties and window ledge herb garden, give your guests individual pots of your favorite herbs, complete with your famous sage & ricotta ravioli recipe.

Have a modest flower budget?  Line each of your long dinner tables with these individually potted tulips showcased on the Design Files for double duty decor and takeaway. 

What favors have you loved from weddings you've attended?

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