Choosing the perfect wedding favors
The fiancée and I had several debates about what to give away as favors. We wanted it to be somewhat practical; something that our guests could use or enjoy either on the day of the wedding or afterward. We also wanted whatever it was to share something about us without being some random monogrammed thing.
Unfortunately, as it turns out, anything times 100 (or more!) equals a lot of money. And for something your guests may not even like or use anyway. And then it’s supposed to be something clever and elegant and explicitly “couple-y” according to every wedding site in the world, so what is a couple to do?
Jon and I ran through many different favor ideas for our wedding in an attempt to determine what we might do. I understand why couples give edible wedding favors (chocolate, biscotti, and decorated cookies are a few I’ve seen at recent weddings we’ve attended), but most guests are pretty stuffed by the end of the wedding, and many food items are not necessarily very portable.
Other affordable wedding favor ideas we considered:
- Bookmarks (because he writes book reviews, and we both like to read and write)
- Playing cards or another game-related item (we often play board and card games together, and actually requested some games on our registry for this reason)
- Seed packets (we liked the idea of growing together as a couple, planting something that could last, etc.)
- Giving away wedding décor items of some kind (yay, dual purpose!)
- Spices (we have a favorite spice shop that creates some wonderful custom blends)
- Something garden-related (since our ceremony was taking place in a garden)
- Some kind of mug-cake mix (this just seemed like a cool idea)
The perfect wedding favor: Hot Chocolate!
After much thought, we came up with our thing— white and dark hot chocolate mixes! After seeing our first-ever picture together, one of our co-workers commented: “Well that’s chocolate and vanilla!” The hot chocolate idea made sense, as we both spend a lot of time in coffee shops (or our own at-home “coffee shop” room, a converted bedroom that is decorated to look like a cafe) writing, playing card games, etc.
Jon doesn't actually like coffee, ironically, but he usually orders some kind of hot chocolate. I, on the other hand, prefer drinks that are sweet and caffeine-laden, so we ended up looking for a mix that could be used in coffee or standalone, thus providing a treat to the masses. 🙂
One of my proudest budget-savvy purchases along this vein was a collection of glass bottles. These particular bottles came from American Science and Surplus, a local science-supply store for teachers and the homeschooled. The store carries everything from home science kits to formaldehyde frogs for dissection, so it’s not the kind of place you’d expect to find anything particularly romantic. Nonetheless, I remembered their extensive collection of test tubes, miniature vases, and—ta daaa!—glass jars. The particular ones we purchased were frosted glass, square, 4.5 ounces, and less than $1.50 each. On top of that, there had recently been a Groupon for the store, saving me an additional $10 off the purchase!
Getting the supplies for our DIY Hot Chocolate Favors
We got super-sized containers of hot chocolate at Costco, and we managed to find some awesome Starbucks cocoa mix (good for mochas or hot chocolate) that ended up being fairly inexpensive.
Our original plan had been to layer milk and white chocolate together to mirror the unity sand we were planning to do for our ceremony. However, it turns out that it is extremely difficult to find a white hot chocolate mix that is actually white in color.
When we finally did find some, it was fairly expensive, so we didn’t want to buy both the regular and white chocolate in the same brand. Plus, we figured people would appreciate the Starbucks option. So, because the two types of mix had different instructions, we chose to instead have two options for our guests to choose from.
Creating our Hot Chocolate Favor Labels
After purchasing the chocolate, it was on to the labeling. We had a bit of a tough time finding the right sized labels for our very specifically sized jars. If you are in need of specialty-sized labels, we recommend checking out OnlineLabels.com.
We used Microsoft Word to put them together. I included our wedding date location, etc. on one side, and directions and a brief coffee-shop-theme explanation on the other.
From there, it was just a matter of washing all the containers, making a massive mess of our kitchen as we funneled the mixes into the containers, and creating an assembly line of sticking on labels with the help of two of our bridal-party members. Voila!
Lessons learned tips from making our hot chocolate wedding favors:
- Hot chocolate is a seasonal item, so we wouldn’t have found it in Costco if we had waited. Keep this in mind with whatever items you may want to purchase—you may end up spending more overall if you have to order online and have items shipped.
- 4 ounces is actually pretty big for a frosted-glass jar. It was not an option for us to fill the jar with spices due to the cost and the fact that 4 oz would be a ridiculous amount of spices! Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you want to do with your jars before you purchase them so you can buy an appropriate size.
- It turned out that our jars required weirdly sized labels in order to look right. We actually had to special-order floppy-disk labels—because absolutely NO ONE uses these things anymore—to fit appropriately, and when they arrived, the box was in Spanish (not that it mattered). This is another interesting dimension to consider in the process. I also had to input my images and text into Microsoft Word sideways because of the way things needed to fit.
- Funnels should be as large as possible.
All-in-all, we were able to put together favors that were “us.” Luckily, they also were not terribly costly (our total cost was less than $250 for 120 hot chocolate wedding favors!). It was an interesting project to say the least, but we were satisfied with the final result.
How did you decide on your wedding favors? Did you decide to DIY your wedding favors?
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.